Daily Archives: October 5, 2019

Come up for air!

Every swimmer comes up for air and the skillful ones have developed a method of incorporating their breathing so that it is natural and effortless

Just so, our meditation practice might be seen as coming up for air, rising above the sea of thoughts that are ‘drowning’ us. While in the insight meditation tradition, we simply focus on the breath and other sensations, sometimes it’s useful to try a little imagery to refocus our attention. Most of my students found this very helpful, but it’s not for everyone. If the metaphor of water is uncomfortable for any reason, you can dry the experience out and still have that sense of coming up for air, of rising above the world of busy thoughts.


MEDITATION
Settle in as you would for any meditation, relaxing and releasing tension and noticing sensation, Now focus on the light on your eyelids. Then, if you can, lift your gaze just a bit more. That sense of lift enables you to rise above all the thinking-thinking and to breathe clear air in.

Rest here awhile, breathing out and in.
Let the air breathe you!
Let the freshness in!

If you find yourself sinking, just begin again.
This is a lot to take in,
but you were made to swim, not wallow

Spend as long as you like meditating.


Here are the instructions for after meditation, when you are relaxed and have the time to notice thoughts as they arise in your experience. If you’ve been following these dharma posts, you’ll recognize the Three Poisons of greed, aversion and delusion. One of my students found it helped to remember the three with the acronym GAD. To take her thought a little further, when we find ourselves caught up in Greed/Aversion/Delusion, we are GADabouts, and when we come across one of them, we might say e-GAD! I’m all for any way to help us skillfully recognize them when they are present, and help us compassionately release them.

AFTER MEDITATION EXPLORATION

If you want to dive deeper, keep coming up for air
so it stays clear what you’re seeing down there.
You’ll find all kinds of creatures in the deep
but notice how they fall into three categories:

There are greedy gulpers, eating more than they need

There are grumpy gashers, attacking everything they see,

and the go along to get alongs can’t see up from down or right from wrong

Greed, aversion and delusion:
They are all there, and they pair down there.
They take all forms and create all kinds of drama
and once you buy into it, oh baby, you’re a goner.

See what you see but make no enemies.

When you’re running with the pack
and fear drives your every move
come up for air, come for air, come up for air!

When you’re gorging on the goodies
and you still feel unsatisfied
come up for air, come for air, come up for air!

When you’re so convinced you’re right
that you’re uncomfortable with questions
come up for air, come for air, come up for air!

The air is fresh and free and you’ll feel fine again
you were meant to breathe even while you swim


Having only had this idea a week ago, I am still experimenting, and you can too. I am finding that ‘Come up for air’ is useful instruction at any time during the day if I am caught up in thinking-thinking. It’s very clarifying.
Let me know if this is helpful to you, both the meditation and the self-exploration. Comment by clicking on ‘reply’. — Stephanie

Image by Pexels from Pixabay