Embrace Your Senses Part 2 – Preparation for Meditation
This is part of a series on beginning a meditation practice that will appear in this blog on Mondays.
The beach was quiet. The rain was barely perceptible. I needed to clear my head and cleanse my energy before I headed home for the day. On most days a quick hand wash or a smudge will set everything right, but my last reading of the day had left some residual vibrations. It was far too cold for a swim, so a quick wash of the feet and hands in the Salish Sea would have to do. The rocks were still slippery from the rain, so I carefully made my way toward the sand. I have a close connection with the water (and not a water sign in my sun, moon or ascendant) so stepping into her embrace always feels like coming home. A simultaneous overwhelming sense of gratitude, purification and grace met me as I bent down to wash my hands - and all was well.
Rays of light began to appear through the clouds as I walked back towards my car. That's when I decided to sit by the wildflowers for a while - soak up the sea air for a few more minutes. Davis Bay is an incredibly beautiful spot on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia, but unfortunately the highway runs parallel to the beach from one end to the other. Sitting among the flowers, gazing out at the Strait of Georgia (aka as The Salish Sea) towards Vancouver Island one can become entranced watching a heron or a seal or even watching a lone tugboat creep its way along. Without fail however, these glimpses of divinity are interrupted by the whoosh of a truck or a long line of traffic passing by.
This was the perfect time to practice pratyahara - the fifth limb of raja yoga. Pratyahara is a practice where you focus intently on a sense, in this case sound, in order to reduce or even eliminate awareness of it. So, I closed my eyes and listened scanning the environment. I began by picking up on the sound of nearby birds in happy, post-rain chatter. Then a truck whizzed by and a dog barked in the distance. I could here my teacher saying "scan from sound to sound not staying on any one sound for too long". I heard voices walking on the seawall, voices in a nearby parked car and someone yelling at the coffee shop across the street. Then I picked up on the wind and with my eyes closed I watched it dance. The ocean crashed and I picked up on sounds even further away. I'm not sure what the last thing I heard was before my mind went still. Thirty minutes later, one of my feet was poking out of the blanket I had wrapped myself in and it was a chill that brought me back.
Pratyahara can be practiced with any sense. One of the more challenging practices is releasing the sense of touch. I used to practice Bikram's yoga and I remember being in savasana with pools of sweat forming in my ears - seriously how is one supposed to ignore that? Or perhaps you are giving a keynote address and a hair is brushing your face or worse, you need to adjust your undergarments. What about an insect on your skin? I once watched a dragonfly on my toe for close to an hour. At first, it was alarming and itchy, but after some time I felt nothing except mesmerized in its energy.
So rather than becoming frustrated because meditation is too hard or you just can't do it, try pratyahara - the practice of disengaging the senses. Pick one sense and dive in! Where could you practice pratyahara with the sense of smell? Did you know that each of the senses is connected to a different chakra and the ease with which you are able to disengage from that sense may reflect something about a balance or imbalance in that chakra's associations with the physical or emotional body? Want to learn more? Book an appointment today.
Love and light. Sadhana.
Integrative Healing with Sadhana offers instruction and guidance as a full healing package or you can choose individual practices such as Yoga, Meditation, Reiki, Space Clearing or Intuitive Readings in Gibsons BC. Either way, you will be met exactly where you are at and together, we will adapt practices to fit your individual needs improving your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well-being.
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