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Meditation/New to Process

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Question
I have only recently started doing yoga and am slowly developing a meditation process for myself although am struggling with it.  I have fallen in love rather quickly with yoga and I want to continue to grow and change.  Is there any suggestions you can make for me?  I still struggle with shutting my mind off and not allowing intrusive thoughts to come up, especially of past abuse.  I was told our hips hold our trauma.  So any thoughts on how I can go deeper into the meditation process?

Answer
Hi, Tracy.

Personally, I don't think there is any need to do something about the "intrusive thoughts." In moving around all day - physically and in our directed mental activity of the mind - we usually aren't aware of this constant intrusive brain activity because we're too close to it. In sitting quietly, it suddenly becomes noticeable.

You can experiment to see if it isn't a good thing that these thoughts have become noticeable. I can't tell you how to work with the thoughts. You can only find this out for yourself. Sometimes the active thinking slows down on its own if it's given enough quiet time. Certain thoughts seem to need to come into consciousness and to be heard before they are willing to let go. There may even be some processing of thoughts and ideas that needs to happen before the brain can rest. The best way for this processing to happen may be continuing to sit quietly and sensitively, so that the nervous system has the energy of awareness to work with.

We all have a huge amount of unprocessed or partially processed experience that is clogging up our perceptions. Our poor systems only need some quiet but energized time for the processing to take place on its own. If you want to be able to go more deeply into this unfolding, have  you considered going to a 7-day retreat? I find that really helpful. Things happen for me in 7 days that I'm sure would take years to happen, if at all, outside of retreat. I can recommend the Springwater Center in western NY because it is one of the few retreat places that does not impose any particular traditional interpretation or practice.  The leaders there have many years experience and I find them very simple, direct, and honest. http://www.springwatercenter.org

I agree that trauma can lodge in certain physical areas. It probably varies from person to person. You may have noticed that for you it centers in the hips. The strange thing is that we seem to mostly relate to our bodies through movement. But when the body is still, sitting quietly with eyes mostly closed, the sense of the body for me is very different. It is not so distinct and there is not a feeling of "parts" being separate from each other. There is just a sense of presence that includes this "meatier" stuff of the body as well as the air around me and the sounds of fans and typing. This freedom of space seems to give all of these energies space to adjust themselves on their own.

I don't know if I've addressed your concerns. Feel free to write back, ask for clarification, or respond.

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Jay Cutts

Expertise

From nearly 30 years of personal meditative work, I am interested in exploring together the deeper concerns of our lives. How can we shed light on these concerns for ourselves - directly, clearly, moment by moment? At the same time, how can we come in touch with the simple beauty and affection of live that reveals itself from time to time even though our lives often feel anything but simple, beautiful or loving. If you have a question, I will try to work with you to clarify and explore it. Note that I change private questions to public so they are available to others. If you have something that is truly private, let me know.

Experience

Close to 35 yrs experience in spiritual, meditative inquiry, first in the Zen tradition and later through direct inquiry rather than traditional practice. I have attended retreats and worked with Toni Packer, of the Springwater (NY) Center for Meditative Inquiry and am interested in the work of J. Krishnamurti, who also worked with people in direct, personal meditative inquiry.

Education/Credentials
BA Linguistics University of Michigan MA Special Education University of New Mexico

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