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can be elevated to the level of meditation when the goal is not the finished
product, but instead to be fully immersed in the process. You can meditate
upon washing dishes, walking, chanting, or the flow of thoughts through
One of my favorites
is a writing meditation. Record your thoughts without editing, filtering,
or judgeing. Keep the pen moving, if only to write about how you have
nothing to write about. This exercise eventually slows the mind down to
the rhythm of the pen and from this slower rhythm our unconscious mind
is able to occassionally break through to the surface, surprizing and
This is a wonderful
exercise in letting go of control. When you are finished you have a written
record of your meditation, that can be revisited at a later date.
Below is a fun little
peice that I wrote several years ago at my first Mexico Mind/Body Writing
Retreat. I had tried several times to write with out editing or judging,
but was easily distracted by thoughts like Ôthis does not make any senseŐ,
or worrying about switching tenses in mid sentence. My intellect would
take over and I would end up writing a peice that was grammatically correct,
and made perfect sense, but was uninspiring. This time however, when I
realized that I was writing nonsense, and later when I suddenly changed
directions without warning, I was able to surrender to the flow of words
and not let my ego take over. I wrote with abandon and actually enjoyed
Glaciers and Chess Games
- Spring 2001
I watch the glacier
closely, convinced that watching long enough I will see it move. I know
that this is a contest of wills, and blinking I will be presented with
an accomplished fact. Glaciers do not flow, they jump from one small quantum
state to another, if only we look closely enough. They prefer to do this
unobserved, and scientists returning each day measure their slow progress
down the valley and are satisfied to imagine that they flow, but I know
better. The scientists blink and the glacier seizes the opportunity to
reposition itself more comfortably on itŐs bed of rocky moraine.
This is a test of
will, mine and the glacierŐs. If only I do not blink, the glazier will
be forced to reveal its will to action. I can feel the glacier, increasingly
uncomfortable, longing for relief, but too proud to reveal its true nature
to mortal man. It whispers softly to me, to abandon my silly quest, that
humans come and go and glaciers remain. My eyelids grow heavy but I shake
off the trance. I know it is growing desperate. I can feel itŐs creaking
ice and hear the ache of its fissures. I imagine how powerful I will be,
how triumphant, exultant, conqueror of glaciers, and smile wistfully.
The glacier feels my resolve and groans under its own weight.
am 9 years old, sitting across a 3 foot high African wooden drum from
my father, already an old man. We are playing chess and I am winning.
He whistles uneasily, discordant whistling that ofttimes jarred opponents
I have been here before,
perched on the edge of victory and let him slip through my fingers and
dance away only to return, driving hard into an exposed flank, or sit
back to pick off neglected pieces one at a time and always... always I
had lost. But not this time!
He grins mischievously
at me, proud and embarrassed at the same time, as I press the attack carefully.
He desperately throws out bait to distract me with an easy kill and I
pass it by, taking my time, closing relentlessly for the kill. His last
option closed, he looks into my eyes confirming that I too see it and
will not be swayed... and tilts over his king in formal resignation...
I am shocked to find
mixed with the pleasure of victory my first taste of mortality. The world
just lost a little of its magic and I am older and I see clearly that
my father just grew older too. Neither of us celebrate. My father and
his youngest child are closer now than ever, the pedestal removed, the
harsh reality of life, of competition, of predation lay exposed between
us, recorded in the patterns of the board for any trained eye to read.
I am not yet ready.
I still need to believe in something larger than myself. I still need
the magic of mystery. And so I blink, slowly and deliberately - and the
glacier sighs and for today at least remains a mystery to me. Namaste'
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