Monthly Theme for August and September newsletter 2014
Monthly Theme for August and September Last week I was a super hero to my kids, for a few minutes. Visiting my mom, my kids and I asked her to read a book about a boy with a very long name -- so long that it nearly costs him his life. 21 syllables of name, starting with "Tikki Tikki Tembo," the name of the book. All day we tried to say the name but only remembered the beginning. We mostly just had fun making up our own rhyming versions in the car, the pool, the garden, at dinner. Instead of reading the book again, I slept on it. In the morning the name rose by itself to my mouth. Shining with amazement, my kids asked me, "How did you do it? You have super powers!" Of course research has already proven the superpowers of rest in learning, memory, response time, and immunity. But what is this resting thing? What is actually going on when we feel that restful feeling, whether we are on a hammock, a bike, or meditation cushions? And what is restful for you? What makes us feel safe enough to drop out of habit-energy and into another mind? To be absorbed yet open. Not self-absorbed, not distracted. Last October an old friend asked me what I do exactly. "Is it vipassana?" she asked. I searched for words to describe what happens on deep rest retreats: "Well, tuning to the aliveness in experience as a step towards deep meditation, and along the way also a kind of...uh, somatic experiencing--" "Oh, I do somatic experiencing, too," she said. I could hear the sound of a trademark. "No, no, not a technique, just a natural feeling into nonverbal intelligence that can guide us well." It turns out that there is a field called Somatic Experiencing and trauma healing, and it backs up our beloved deep rest with decades of neurology and human experience. The lively Peter Levine and others discovered that many disorders are symptoms of shock or "trauma response," no matter what caused the shock-- surgery, accident, violence, surprise.... And just like on retreat, to dissolve the defenses, they suggest we can lower the "alarm system," meet what hurts with tenderness, yet not focus exclusively on the pain, stay tuned in, and even place hands on body in ways similar to Jin Shin Jyutsu! I am glad that what has emerged independently on deep rest retreats has found its way to many other meditation circles through trauma work. This simple and graceful approach demystifies and untangles many of the challenges that can arise on the path. In meditation through deep rest, this kind of healing often seems to happen as if by itself, more as a by-product of spiritual deepening. People's practice and lives make the super heroic, tectonic shift from problem-oriented to life-oriented, with room for pain and healing, but within a bigger picture of aliveness, spaciousness and mystery. How did you do that? Tikki Tikki Tembo no sa rembo chari bari ruchi pip peri pembo!