By Ellen Gravklev.
An action with undulating effects
When you throw a stone into the water, ripples form that slowly spread outward. One stone, one throw, many ripples.
A warm look, a smile, a sure hug. A wrinkled, angry voice, someone pulling you away. The first years of a child’s life have dominating effects for the rest of the child’s life.
A childhood with sensitive and safe caregivers will be more positive than being raised by adults who do not sufficiently meet the child’s safety and care needs.
When we meditate, a relaxing response is set in motion. This happens on its own, just like with water ripples. Repeating the sound of meditation can have results far beyond the recreation you experience here and now. Waves extending outward.
The process is open; the ripples find their own shape. Some of them are welcome. It feels good to relax, calm down and get more energy and inspiration. Other ripples may be more disturbing. There may be tension in the neck, restless legs, or restlessness in the abdomen. Calling in turbulent waters.
The pain a child feels when experiencing something unpleasant can be hard to contain. We acquire defense mechanisms that protect us. Discomfort is removed from consciousness as if it did not exist. However, what we have repressed lives on in the unconscious, and is expressed in the form of tensions in the body, typical reactionary patterns, and distorted ways of understanding the world and other people. When this type of tension is refreshed in meditation, the immediate effects can be difficult to approach.
We sit down, close our eyes, and repeat the sound of meditation with as much freedom and effort as possible. We feel like we are relaxing and letting ourselves into meditation. This often feels good; we are in a flow. A free time we wanted.
We open up so that thoughts, feelings, impulses, and moods can come to the surface. They are there constantly like an underground stream. Through meditation, we provide the stream of thought with more freedom, making it more accessible to us.
We may have thoughts about what to eat for dinner, a disagreement with a friend, a vision of a work situation, sadness, memories of a trip to the mountains, a desire to move our body, a pain in the shoulder.
Shoulder pain! Yes, it is quite common in meditation and it is disturbing. We think it takes up too much space and prevents us from repeating the sound as we want. If only the pain hadn’t been there!
Pain is a rippling effect of repeating the sound of meditation with a free mental attitude. Our first impulse may be to push it away. Add a little extra effort to the sound, perhaps without us noticing. Get away from the pain. Get rid of bad thoughts. Take away the discomfort. Only then will we be able to meditate properly, it is easy to think.
If we meditate regularly, deeper processes are set in motion, often without our realizing it. What is set in motion may manifest as restlessness, dissatisfaction, body aches, or a desire to interrupt meditation. The sound may become blurry, perhaps a little distant, we are not sure if we are repeating the sound correctly.
What has repressed and hidden us is coming to the surface. Very often not as memories or emotions, but something more distorted. What was once overwhelming, causing despair or tears, may have turned into a pain in the shoulder.
In phases like these, our perception of how we repeat the sound of meditation also tends to be distorted.
Unconscious forces are working. We believe that we are repeating the sound of meditation with a free mental attitude. However, something is wrong. Time may pass slowly, we do not relax as well as before, we feel more resistance. Over time, it may occur to us to work a little harder, control the speed or rhythm of the sound a little more, or try to repeat the sound very clearly to make sure it is there.
Ripple effect with a twist, both in terms of content and practice.
Part of us takes sides with the defense mechanisms that once protected us from pain. We concentrate, often without realizing it. “I only use little extra effort with the sound, that makes everything better. “
It often takes a while to understand what is going on. Long meditations and guidance contribute to this process.
Free mental attitude
It may take time to understand what is under the pain. That the pain, for example, may be related to the fear of getting too close to other people, that there may be loneliness under the sore shoulder, that the discomfort in the mouth of the stomach has to do with anxiety. Or wanting more to happen is related to the longing to be seen as a child by a mother or father who was absent or very trapped in himself.
You do not need to understand the source of your difficulties. All you have to do is repeat the meditation sound with as much freedom and effort as possible, in the present moment. Listen to it and leave it as it is, whether the sound is clear, blurry, distorted, a little weird, or often fading.
Try to trust that the sound is good enough. Repeat the sound when you can. Trust that the process is going well.
Sound with a free mental attitude, here and now, you are always in the right place in meditation.
Then come the ripple effects. Today, in a week, a month or a half. An incipient certainty that this is good for you, the feeling of being on the move, the joy when you feel that you have more contact with your emotions when you dare more, there are fewer conflicts around you or you dare to open up more. to those you are close to.
There are ripples in the water. There are people growing up quietly.
Translated from the Norwegian by Eirik Jensen.
Ellen Gravklev is a senior advisor at the University of Oslo and an initiator of Acem meditation.
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