As I sat for early morning meditation led by my dear friend Shannon, I wasn't sure how easy it would be to sit. The days before had been so full of intense work. We were all swimming in the bliss of spending precious time with our teacher, taking time away from our daily lives, and playing in the vibrant city of San Francisco. On the first day of the training, I had been overwhelmed with happiness at our deep friendship and the years we had all shared together. We had been working very hard and long days had meant very little sleep for us all. So, on this morning, I simply showed up.
Partially to be supportive and partially to be fully receptive, I positioned myself directly opposite Shannon. I sat on a blanket and immediately felt comfortable. It seemed strange to be so comfortable so early in the morning. Without questioning, I settled in, placed my hands on my knees and closed my eyes. I was in such a grounded state - being reconnected with my teacher, with people I loved, and feeling very full. As I listened to her words something began to shift. I noticed that I could no longer sense my arms or the connection of my hands to my knees. Instead of being alarmed, I felt completely intrigued with the sensation. I stayed with the steady rhythm of my breath and with Shannon's words.
At some point, we were sitting in silence. I noticed that I had no sense of my body at all. It was as if I was formless. I felt a moment of panic and thought about opening my eyes to bring myself back. I came back to my breath and decided to stay with it a bit longer. The next few minutes were filled with curiosity and utter delight in the feeling of being something that wasn't defined by or confined by my body. At once I felt the crown of my head as high as the ceiling - feeling unbelievably tall and at the same time incredibly small. I felt completely free. For a moment, I understood that I am not my body. I am not my achievements. I am not what others see. I am not that.
I began to hear Shannon's words again as she was guiding us back. As I opened my eyes, I was reoriented into the room. Here was my body, just as I had settled. My legs had fallen asleep. I reclined on my back and rested for a few minutes. Feeling the sensation return to my legs and being fully aware of my body, I felt so grateful for the glimpse at something both inside and outside of myself. It's so easy to get caught up in the external - how we see ourselves and how we want others to see us. When we are quiet and still, those things become less important.
Clarity comes at some of the most unexpected times and places. I cherish those moments.