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February 2018

Spinning Circles

I recently completed a 10 day meditation course serving students here in Dallas.  Its the sixth course of its kind that I have attended at this center.  I spent most of my time cooking meals that were vegetarian and worked with 12 other older students and also meditated 4 hours a day.  It was an unexpected break that left me feeling empowered and empty of thoughts.

I had moments during the course that felt like it was a purging of thoughts, emotions and physical symptoms that were deeply embedded into my being.  The acid test of sorts that indicates the Vipassana meditation technique is truly working as it is intended to.  

On day 9 of our course, I was waiting for the night discourse to be finished and was returning from my room to the meditation hall.  I was coming down a set of stairs and I heard this awful sound coming from a man in the men's dormitory.  The sounds he uttered was chilling and urgent.  A primordial call of sorts from the base of his being.  The sound you would imagine of man being tortured.  He was making repeated sounds of distress and getting to him seemed paramount.

I could feel my body moving toward the sound and my footsteps quickening.

I had reached the spot where the sound was coming from and saw a younger man on his back on the floor, spinning in circles, propelled by moving of his feet.  It was a heart quickening moment and I quickly knelt down near him and quietly starting talking in a calm manner.

My words seem to resonate with him and after awhile he stopped moving and just stared at me.  I asked him if he would get up and sit on a nearby chair and he slowly got up from the floor.  When he was seated I kept repeating for him to breathe through his nose and that he would be ok.  He slowly got up without saying a word.  He had walked away to his room and I returned to the meditation hall.

I wondered the rest of the night whether the man would make it through this demanding course.

The next morning I happened to see him in the men's dinning hall.  His eyes were clear and his energy bright.  A complete transformation from the night before.  I asked him if he was indeed ok and he said yes.  He mentioned that he was ashamed and that his mind could not take it anymore with nothing to do.  I responded with my own experience on my first and subsequent courses and told him that I had admired his courage to face his own mind out of control.

We both soon had stopped talking and tears poured from both our eyes and I could no longer speak.

"I am glad you were there." he softly said.

I am too, I had thought, and bowed to him in respect and walked away.

I spent the last few days ruminating that entire experience.  Perhaps this was the perfect setup for me to see the growth of my own existence and to help somebody along the way.  I remembered the entire sequence of events and how my body moved towards the pain and it knew intuitively what to do and say.  

This is what the heart would do I thought.  It moves without judgement or self protection and is naturally spontaneous.

"The mind creates the abyss, the heart crosses it."  Nisargadatta