Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Every now and then it is important to stop and contemplate where you are at and how far you have come. In shamanic terms we call that "returning to your cave". The cave is not necessarily the physical cave, but an emotional and psychological cave. In energetic terms it would be the "Third Eye", which is the "check in" point. It is also the heart, which is the place where we find true connection with the soul and personal authenticity.
So we enter our cave. How does one do that? Over the last few thousand years there have been a few developments in that area. For example, there is the Vision Quest, where one isolates oneself in the wilderness, sometimes for days at a time, and fasts and waits for a vision to come. This works for some. It isn't my personal favorite because of the time requirement and the fact that when one is fasting it is more likely to induce an hallucination than a vision. There is also a Silent Retreat that can be experienced. This is where one goes to a temple, ashram, or monastery and spends days in total silence with food provided by the holy people who live there. Personally, I find this style more effective in that you are at least not starving to death for days and risking serious blood sugar issues. The time requirement, however, is still an issue considering that most people lead lives that are full enough as it is without having to schedule days to go and do this, which is also not "free" of charge. After all, costs must be covered for the hosts.
My personal favorite is Zazen meditation. With this one sits in stillness. That does not mean necessarily isolating oneself from the rest of the world. It means stillness. There could be a major party going on around you and you can still sit in stillness. The mental focus is then turned to the simple act of breathing. You feel the breath move in and out of your body. Your attention then goes inward (this is why the party can be happening and it doesn't matter). As your attention turns inward, you enter the cave. You then have access to the "inner" silence. As this inner silence is accessed you are able to gain great insight and wisdom and your response time for what is happening around you exponentially increases. This is how the masters of martial arts are able to move so gracefully and quickly and still be very calm and detached. The absolutely cool thing about entering the cave in this fashion is that, once you have practiced it a bit, it only takes a few seconds to a minute to be able to so. Go ahead. Try it. This is one that can actually fit into the busy day that you already have planned. And the best thing is that it helps you walk through that busy day with grace and ease!