It’s not everyday that I get the chance to meditate for a significant amount of time. Over the course of the last eight years or so though, I have taken the opportunity whenever it arises to complete long stints of meditation (e.g. 3+ hours, full days, 5 days or even 10 days).
These more intense sessions really allow me to let everything go and wake up to realities about my Self in a much deeper way than normal compared to short amounts of daily practice. While both are important, I highly encourage people to totally unplug on occasion for deeper self-realization.
Today, I got another chance to do just this as part of the Meditate to Educate fundraiser for the Integral Heart Foundation (IHF) based in Guatemala. We sat in meditation over a 12 hour period for 45 minute sessions that were opened up each time by well-known teachers from various disciplines.
My typical practice is ‘just sitting’ in the sense that I usually don’t have a particular object of focus (e.g. counting, breath, etc.). Given there were multiple teachers today instructing on meditation, it gave me a chance to try out some not often used methods which I appreciated.
The key instruction that I typically work with is to “have no relationship to the content (e.g. thoughts and feelings) of consciousness” which in my experience sums up the essence of meditation exactly. The result in such an approach is rather uneventful since both positive and negative experiences are recognized to be empty of inherent significance. Nevertheless, it produces an expansive sense of awareness of the ever-present ground of being that underlies all experience.
To summarize my takeaways from the event, I put together a short video explanation in hopes that the profundity of the day would come through better via voice than text. Take a listen…
Have you had profound experiences of meditation while sitting for significant lengths of time? What’s holding you back from taking this kind of time out to let go in this way? I’d be great to hear about what sorts of things come up in your life around this topic in the comments section below.
For a complete list of the day’s activities and links to the audio clips that we listened to, you can access the schedule here. If you are moved by the work of IHF, please direct your donations to my partners fundraising page.