Stillness has always been one of the things I’m restless with so when a marathon opportunity of stillness meditation came up at the end of the ashram experience, it was one of those strange moments.
There was talk of the cave and now the commotion in front of my hut about a trial like this. They said we would have to pass that amount of time to be pre-qualified for the cave.
My instant thought was 2 hours 20 minutes? Yeah right! No way…I think I’ll just stay in the hut and try to salvage something of these random DVD’s again.
Even though I’ve done 1000s of hours of sexual meditation and alchemy (almost exclusively with audio and video), I have had little patience for stillness.
Also because stillness seems by and large to be the popular valuation of spirituality in the West; I have had resistance towards embracing it for years while continuing to further ‘active’ sexual alchemy meditations.
At the ashram they called it dry vs. wet path of spirituality.
I can DO zen meditation (dry) fairly effectively for a few minutes, but I’d never done more than 5 minutes on my own before this experience. I did do the high-altitude tent a couple of times for 40 minutes with others here which did help prepare me (of ‘dry’).
Because of our sexual background, most of us were also wanting more ‘wet’ which is more active and closer to anything to do with transmutation and tantra; whereas dry is stillness.
(That I ended up in the wet pool to do dry spirituality, I found a bit ironic).
I was still in a state of abjection (that sounds like the right word). Then I went to the beachfront cabana to see what the update was and get more information about the cave or marathon so I could confirm that I was out while they suffered.
People look at me funny when I say I’ve never done yoga and I can’t even sit properly for lotus position (nor do I dress like any of the popular conscious styles). 2.4 hours would have been entire TORTURE had I not done it in the pool b/c my back and abs aren’t conditioned at ALL for that type of position.
But they said I could do it in a chair so I started thinking faster…MAYBE. But then they brought up the pool was the other option, so that helped me to crazily agree to go with it. I was thinking fast and just kind of gave in.
It was like, “Ok, screw it – I’m in.” And run back to the hut to grab something. I had no idea what to expect, but I do remember them saying about stretching out limits so that was what made me do it – that and that I could do it in the pool which is FAR better for my back than traditional lotus position.
It’s probably good they didn’t tell us about it until right before but I knew the cave was important.
If it indeed was a contest of sorts, my money anyways would have been on my room-mate who already did those lengths of meditations in the pool but they said he should do it on land near the cave entrance.
He bypassed the sand island experience to mostly be in the pool (b/c of his skin yet still got tanned in the shade).
I ran back to the room to get a long sleeve shirt just in case as well as his awesome eye shades which I put around my neck.
I remember saying to a well-prepared and professional looking Destin on the concrete path as we crossed paths that ‘this is crazy, I’m into transmutation and haven’t done more than 5 minutes before this but I’ll give it a go’.
Well, at least the weather was perfect. The 2 others were already in the sitting pool with their water on their head so I assume they started the clock for them.
So it began. And the earlier preparations helped me for it (we did this once for I think 30 minutes) on day 2.
It was a continual light battle of the ego popping up and letting it go or sacrificing it and then resting back into stillness. B/c of my different meditation back ground I’m able to actually silence my mind very well but it’s the length that has been contested.
Occasionally I’d try different meditation techniques to focus on sounds or breathing or blotches of light at different times. But I was handling it quite well as none of it was really torturous.
What helped is knowing that I was meant to be here at this point in time and was on ISLAND time…I think that helped prepare me for it too and that I had a good dinner awaiting later.
I didn’t daydream much at all either although could have.
Fortunately the ego didn’t get loud enough where it became consistently unbearable (and my WHOLE LIFE I know what that’s like b/c I can have the least patience in some situations).
I remember G. leaving on my right sometime after an hour or so. From the few times I peaked the other one in the pool, it didn’t look like he was meditating at all but just enjoying the ocean view with his eyes wide open. Around 1 hr. 45 he left.
At some point it was clear there was a loss of sense of time however towards the end it really started feeling like the actual time was nearing but I’d keep slipping back into the predominant stillness zone.
At one point I could finally hear commotion of others which to some extent was a sign of relief but I kept tuning back into the experience itself.
Finally I was informed that I had gone over 2 hours 30 minutes and asked if I wanted to keep going. I had single-handedly won the contest. I looked over and saw the rest of the group with a sign of approval from my room-mate.
The crazy thing? I could have kept going except I really did have to pee. Notice there’s no ‘p’ in our ool.
I was still kind of shocked that I had ‘won’ things b/c I wasn’t viewing it as a contest – I expected that most of the others had made it too but for their own reasons dropped out. My room-mate came REAL close but had sharp physical pain in the last minutes. (With that said; I wouldn’t have lasted an hour in lotus position – not even 10 minutes in proper position).
But there was this great feeling of personal victory as well as success and social standing/success (not that I needed it but it was healthy). People were congratulating me while I was still in light shock that I had even done something like that.
Fortunately the dynamics were set just right for me to agree to do it and the ashram knew what they were doing probably more than we’d give them credit for.
Without SOME incentive of a cave, it would have been unlikely to get me to the point of acceptance. Sure it’s appeasing to the Western mind you could argue but the effect was in setting up the dynamics for the (spiritual) experience, not that is actually WAS a competition.
Somehow, part of me just assumed we were all going to the cave anyways (which is actually what happened) b/c I also saw in a previous video there were many in the cave.
I wasn’t even thinking that it was a competition dynamic (fell back into presence)…I kind of assumed everyone would make it but maybe it’s good b/c it gave me support to also make it and go the distance.
It wasn’t even PAINFUL like it would have been if I was using my ego mind to win a battle had I really valued it as a competition. This was a major personal victory (and of great importance). It wasn’t like how I would have guessed it to be.
The real competition was with my own ego also b/c if I was mentally ‘competing’ it would been too much ego for me to handle for such a relative GREAT length of time (and would have defeated the purpose in a way).
What matters is the experience itself and my new levels of mastery (of the mind) and connection to stillness. I do have a new-found appreciation for zen meditation and stillness that I’ve never had as well.
There was also some new spiritual experiences esp. towards the end which are hard to describe.
It also felt really abundant too – truly in a zone. If anything I was the weakest or 3rd weakest with zen meditation (stillness) of the group and to come out the sole survivor of sorts, was something I didn’t expect. I wasn’t even thinking ahead. I had to remain present during the experience in order to get through things so I just kept surrendering my ego to be present knowing that time eventually it would have to be over.
Truly, this was one of the major areas where I’ve not even been competent in and has been a large gap.
The thing is; stillness helps you with the wet path as well. So if you’re into sexual alchemy, it’s also important to be connected to stillness AND it will give you more mind control power as well as connection to source to be IN your greater consciousness.
Now…even though I could be seen as a leader in wet spirituality, from that major breakthrough alone I have far more depth, value and power to serve. AND I only adjusted the cup of water on my head twice! (poolphoto)