I went to a mindfulness meditation in Orleans, MA yesterday. This is a weekly drop-in meditation that I just learned about. The practice leader guided the 1-hour group meditation in several ways. First, she conducted a thorough body scan. I noticed that she acknowledged the noises outside our room and made them a part of the practice, it mitigated the distraction. Then, she broke the six of us into pairs and asked us to engage each other in a 90 second one-way conversation. She explained that interacting with others is a huge part of our daily life, so that it is appropriate to incorporate social interaction into a mindful practice.
She asked the person nearest the side wall of each pair, to speak first describing how he or she was feeling at that moment. The other person was asked to actively listen without speaking. I could sense a bit of excitement in the air, however since I was the only newbie in this group, I may have been the only excited one. She started a timer on her phone and directed the speakers in each of the groups to begin. I went first in my group and then we switched. The conversations we had were thoughtful and contemplative. I came away grateful for the opportunity to engage another mindful person so directly.
Another technique she used was ‘the open sky of the mind.’ She invited us to close our eyes and explore the expansiveness of our minds as a focus of our meditation. It was quite extraordinary for me. My head kept feeling like it was leaning way back, looking upwards. It did feel expansive, my mind that is. This simple act of visualizing the expansiveness of the mind, made me ponder how limitless the mind is. It is truly limitless, which was a stunning revelation.
So, I did what anyone would do having encountered something new, unusual and thought-provoking. When I got home, I googled it. I googled, ‘open sky of the mind.’ I found some great references, like this online meditation led by Joseph Goldstein. Check it out.
I found more references as well as images resulting from this search, like those I’ve posted above. Then, I went looking in my directories for a photo I took of a sunset in Falmouth, last year. The memories of that moment, came flooding back to me as I viewed the sky in this photo, enhanced now within a more expansive context.