attending three ten day retreats, meditating 7 to 11 hours per day. During this time, all students learned a Buddist style of meditation. It started with concentrating on the inhale and exhale of breath. With my eyes closed and barely a sound in the room, it was then that I was able to have an acute awareness of the physical sensations throughout my body. At the end all of us learned that we shared the same experiences.
Following each of these ‘retreats’, the intensity of the compassion I felt towards my fellow human beings, and other life on earth, only grew. And also the peace and contentment I felt surpassed anything I had ever experienced. During this intense inquiry, I learned so much about my insecurities and fears. My thoughts became very conscious. So now I knew what expanding self awareness, or ‘full consciousness’ was. The intense self enquiry allowed me to understand others more than I did before.
I wonder if it’s this knowledge that allows us to be compassionate towards another human beings going through hardship. I found that I became more patient, tolerant and understanding. For once, my life’s problems became less important than others problems. And I noticed that with regular meditation it seemed to sustain this ability. I could be compassionate more often. Perhaps the biggest observation was how similar I am to everyone else. That the concept of being human came down to the same basic human needs and desires. Down deep, maybe we’re all the same.
Most meditators seemed to think that it was easier to do the one hour ‘sitting’ with someone else or in a group. I can’t help but wonder if it’s the support that is felt while a common intension broadens and seems to fill up the room. Maybe it’s because when people share a purpose, this positive energy multiplies and allows for intensive healing.