How this Human Came to Being

Ever questioning, ever wondering, my long day’s journey into the night of soul, formally commenced with yoga and asana studies while still an undergraduate. I heard a lot about meditation, but was content with the release borne of somatic practice and conscious embodiment. Through Alexander Technique, I was introduced to mindfulness, Gurdjieff meditation and ultimately Buddhist meditation as taught by Pema Chodron.

Yet still I yearned: for greater structure to explore the vast unbounded, for something I could consistently practice and ostensibly grow. I felt physically connected to the cosmic through my somatic studies, yet still wrestled with paralyzing fear and doubt about how to best cultivate my gifts into a life of art, action and service. I felt intrinsically connected to “everything that is infinite, that is wondrous, that is YES”—but I didn’t quite know why.

So I tried to sit and listen to what the Universe might be whispering--but I heard nothing. I dedicated whole Summers to the task of “getting in touch with what I should be doing”--yet I touched upon nothing. As my Buddhist teacher instructed, I would patiently sit, follow the breath and try not to think; but in the trying, naturally, all I could do was think.

Beyond Breath

Frustrated, I realized I had no real technique. Following the breath clearly works for many, but as a singer who has spent her life studying, obsessing and mastering the use of breath, centering my mediation on it only stirred, rather than settled, my mind. I knew there had to be another means whereby to go beyond thought, beyond the confines of the ever familiar known.

Synchronously, I heard about a fellow--Thom Knoles--who could get anybody to meditate. As the Daoists say, when the student is ready, the teacher appears: so off I went to hear Thom, formally known as Maharishi Vyasananda Saraswati, speak. He studied with and assisted Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (the founder of Transcendental Meditation) for over 25 years and subsequently taught thousands to effortlessly meditate--so why not me? I was initiated, began regular practice and soon noticed a new shimmer and sheen in the world. I noticed deeper rest, more vivid dreams (a sign of stress release), less insomnia; but more importantly, at long last, I was a regular meditator who could make contact with herself and her source each day without a teacher or recording. I was finally captain of my own inward voyage.

Back to the Beginning—For The First Time

Regular practice bore many gifts—least of all—the ability to make space for oneself each day so to hold greater space for others when out in the world. Yet I suspected the practice could offer me much more.

So I made my way to a long weekend retreat, then privates with Thom and eventually to 10 days in India soaking up Vedic knowledge while practicing for hours each day. Never before had I felt such bliss. Ever my own fiercest critic, I lived life, unwittingly, as a perfectionistic—yet didn’t dare call myself such as I didn’t feel anything I did came close to any ideal standard. In India, I came to see that perfection is inherently boring: dynamism is the stuff of life. What I was most missing was that joie de vivre that sees the beauty not in spite of, but because of, the imperfection.

In India, I remembered--rather than learned--that bliss and joy are my birthright--one forgotten and eschewed in pursuit of accomplishment, education artistic mastery, some perfect, mythical grail.

Long before I meditated, my intrinsic mystic would quip that I was: celestial and terrestrial. In India, the self-prophecy, at long last, came true. I had returned to the beginning and knew the place of human-merely-being for the first time: the blissful source of infinite potential from which all that is creative, loving, relevant and evolutionary flows forth.

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