Monday, November 1, 2010

Ticking Clocks and Other Blocks (to Meditation)

I once experienced a student walk out of a restorative class that I was teaching because the clock ticking in the room was irritating her and she couldn't relax through it. I felt empathy, since I am also easily distracted by repetitive sounds. I went to a meditation teacher, Sharon Allen (who I am so fortunate to share space with at GGBC), and asked her what she recommends for this type of distraction. She offered a practice that I have found priceless, once that I have expanded on and that often helps me during meditation. Here is what she shared with me, along with my development.
First, identify the sensation (in this case, it is the sound of a ticking clock). Really focus on it, as if you were going to describe it later on to someone. Be interested in its qualities. As you rest your awareness on the sensation, notice if there is any change in its qualities. Next, notice that while there is a space for this sensation, there is also a space where this sensation doesn't exist. In the case of the ticking clock, there is a space in the room where there is an absence of the sound. Allow your awareness to rest there fully. Notice any judgements or opinions about the sensation or non-sensation and let those pass. Rest in this awareness of sensation for as long as you are able to stay with it without attaching to the sensation. You may begin to notice other sensations, but do so with this balance in mind, taking in the sensation and non-sensation and meeting both with equanimity. I work this way with sound, bodily sensation (breath, physical discomfort), thought and emotion. Try it - even for just 5 minutes a day - and see how it makes you feel.

Schedule updates
  • Please see Lorien's schedule page for ongoing classes appropriate for all levels of health and abilities.
  • Coming soon: therapeutic and cancer support classes in Los Gatos beginning Jan, 2011.
  • Retreat with Barbra Brady coming next spring in Sonoma; more details coming!