Recently I came to my morning meditation with a headache. By really listening to what my body was telling me, I soon found myself letting go of the idea that my meditation practice had to look a certain way, that is, sitting upright or kneeling on a cushion. As I listened to the intelligence within my body that is a part of the wisdom of Nature, my headache began to show me ways in which I was not in balance. I listened, without agenda, to a natural impulse that rose effortlessly within my being. Its agenda was to guide me into greater integration.
As I stayed present with what was here and now, without judgment, what arose was the impulse to uncross my legs and roll onto the floor. I let go of any distracting thoughts (such as “Can’t do that – that’s not meditation, it’s naptime!”) and proceeded to trust the unfolding. I lay on my back watching my breath, open arms, knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Soon the notion floated before my mind’s eye: “What if I could totally relax, in this moment, now?” It felt like a divine invitation.
The quality of my breath effortlessly deepened. I began to feel my whole body soften like melting butter into the ground. I felt totally supported by the Earth. As my body released towards the floor, I could feel an equal energy move upward to carry me. I noticed that part of me wanted to keep the tension in my body, as though it were my identity. I lovingly acknowledged this thought and let it go, as though seeing a cloud pass through a clear sky. I continued to soften, and open to the possibility: “What if I could totally relax now?”
While still very connected to the sensations within my body, I began to witness a pathway of information take shape through my tissue, electrical and nervous systems. My ego was getting out of the way, and giving my soul-voice/spirit/nature room to express itself through me. I could see how part of my mind would want to become engaged in what was happening, own it, take authorship – as though my ego could have authority over this moment. (That is such a funny thought!) I knew, more deeply, that none of that mattered. I continued to soften.
This unraveling process went on for some thirty minutes, bringing with it the unexpected, the graceful, the light and the profound. Waves of tears rolled down my cheeks, then my lips broadened into a smile, a giggle spilled out, then my jaw dropped into deep sighs… one moment after the next – fresh, new, unknown, perfect. I did not need to know what caused any of this. I did not need to know what it was, how it got there or where it would go. I did not need to have a story to it to narrate or understand what was happening. I just opened in love, in trust, in possibility.
By the time this process had moved through, my headache had completely dissolved. It was clear that through this past half hour the backlogged information that was traffic jammed in my energy system and had become a headache, was somehow processed, digested and released. All I had to do was give it space to be and get out of the way.
Like an Earth-bound creature, I rolled slowly back up onto my cushion, sitting in the way I normally meditate. This time, no headache, still meeting the moment, just as it is.
To try a witnessing practice for yourself, please see my Meditation article in this month’s issue.
Parvati Devi Known as the Positive Possibilities Lady, Parvati inspires magnificence through music, yoga, words and activism. An award-winning musician, Parvati brings joy and hope to top 40 radio with her celestial pop songs “I Am Light”, “Yoga in the Nightclub”, and “Shanti Om”. Founder of “YEM: Yoga as Energy Medicine” and author of “Confessions of a Former Yoga Junkie: A Revolutionary Life Makeover for the Sincere Spiritual Seeker”, Parvati has been featured on radio and television talk shows and news and wellness magazines globally. She is the founder of Parvati, a not-for profit dedicated to realizing MAPS: The Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary to help stop global warming.
More about MAPS, free YEM videos, self-help articles, her music and more at parvati.tv and parvati.org.