The quote below caught my attention yesterday as I was reading a post from elephantjournal.com on Facebook. The author is Ricardo das Neves, who is described as a writer on spirituality and humor and a yoga teacher in Seattle, writing about how to fall asleep (both falling asleep and awakening are prerequisites to awakening):
As someone who dips his toes in the meditation pool, I also notice that if I’m lying awake thinking, it’s invariably rehashing the past or planning the future. In the present, there’s only awareness, silence. So to enhance my awareness of thoughts, I locate where in my brain I’m thinking. I notice that it’s mostly top-and-left-of-center, though occasionally it’s back-and-in-and-left. Now I “move” the thoughts over to my right brain. That is, I pretend to feel them coming from the right side of my brain. There’s no question I’m aware of thoughts at this point if I have to push them over to that location. Next, while exhaling slowly, I place short words in my right brain. “Sleep” is a favorite one. It’s not a command; it’s just an exploration of what happens when I say “sleep” every now in my right brain and then perceive all kinds of images that come up out of the blue. That’s the right brain’s language. I notice those random, fleeting images. I keep placing simple words in my right brain. I get images. Words in the right brain. Images. Wordszzzzzzz….
To read the entire article, go here.
I played with this technique this morning at Sunday service at Appamada. We sit for several 30 minute sessions with 10 minute walking sessions in between. Plenty of time to play with your meditation!
Like this: Imagine the word “word” (or pick another word–it doesn’t matter). Imagine it in your mind’s eye as being projected in front of you from your left brain. You get to pick your favorite font. It could be bold, outlined, italic, red, cursive, blocky, whatever you choose. You see a word in front of you coming from your left brain.
Now slide that word over so that in your mind’s eye it is projected from your right brain, and notice what happens.
Do this now before reading on.
For me, the word becomes pure image without meaning, and the letters begin morphing, become covered with fur, or snow. They may change color, dance, unravel and become new shapes. It’s slightly (or majorly) hallucinogenic, and harmless. It’s fun!
This morning during zazen, I also spent time noticing what I saw with my eyes closed. I was facing a window in the zendo (hey, rhyme!), which had morning light flooding through. I let the light in and noticed how my visual centers were stimulated to create vague changing shapes, like phosphorescence. This was fascinating to watch.
Even though I didn’t visualize the word “sleep”, by the time of the reading, I was so deeply relaxed, I caught myself falling into sleep a couple of times. I pulled myself out.
Sit and be still for 30 minutes sometime, if you don’t already. You may notice that rather than being boring, the opportunities that arise to have fun and be creative are endless!