One day in 2010 when I was sitting a 10-day Vipassana meditation retreat, I was about to go nuts. A spot on my face had started to itch and it became my focus in that I sat there for probably several minutes planning when and how I'd reach up to scratch it. An itch. Gotta scratch an itch! At some point the simple meditation instructions repeated in me: meet everything that arises with equanimity, as impermanent, and from the field of loving presence. It occurred to me that the itch is the same as anything else that would arise, and I'm here to do this particular practice.
My agreement with the itch then changed. It stopped being my target to get rid of, stopped being an exception to the practice, as I had been uncuriously seeing it just moments before, and surprisingly it started to move and stretch out across my face and scalp and down my neck... I witnessed the itch turn into warm energy and its movement opened my bodymind and a realization about something in my life I had no idea was coming. That sort of thing happened over and over in those 10 days and still happens. It's a new way forward from before.
How many itches of so many sorts happen in a day in a life? How many opportunities are we missing by reflexively, uncuriously scratching away and blocking our doors to greater awareness, with conventional beliefs about things we've labeled as solid state things?
If I haven't just fallen down and I feel something start up in my body, I learn to allow it. And even if I did just fall down, the only thing really to do is move openly from there. I find out over and over that nothing is separate. There is no body separate from mind separate from emotion. It's all one movement with countless facets we can perceive in a moment. Aware of my context, that I'm not standing in the middle of the street about to get hit by a car but something just came across my mind and I contracted, allowing pause and openness lets me learn, unexpected and undirected by my thoughts. Things that are held separate from the rest of it by my beliefs, perceived exceptions to the practice that my personality holds out as special, even that stuff is just energy trying to move.
The only barrier is our strongman beliefs about ourselves and the world as solid state.
One morning in college, my biochemistry professor suddenly stopped lecturing mid-sentence. He became very still, then sat down. The entire teaching auditorium full of students was paused and open and silent. He eventually told us to go home but no one moved until a few started going down to him. We learned later that he was having an aneurism, and that the space he created in himself, probably made even more potent by the space we all created for him, saved his health and maybe life. He was fine. Had he continued pressing on or had he gone into reflexive contraction against that movement, the pressure would have compounded in his brain. Instead, it got to dissipate and move through.
What if we all practiced everyday to meet life this way? What if a sudden itch or pain somewhere is not met with reflex habit or fear and contraction but open kind awareness? Faith in life itself. We can still be taken to the ER or equivalent, but on the way we can be spacious inside and allow for the unexpected pathway to open.
Hi, it's Ginger. I hope my thoughts here will add to freedom, expansion and creativity for you as you read them.