Friday, December 30, 2011

meditating with terror

Falls by the dam.
As I was heading out for my usual constitutional, I felt the woods tugging at me to spend time with the rocks and trees. I heeded the call and turned down the dam road. It's an old road that was probably constructed, not only to get materials down to build the dam that created the lake, but also to meet up with a hiking path across the lake and further up the mountain. When this community was originally put together, it was done with consideration and care and lots of rules. The original driving roads were lined with boulders and stones, just wide enough for two cars. The old dam road and the hiking path across the lake were built with the same kind of care (but have since fallen into deep disrepair due to lack of maintenance). Most of the homes here were once summer homes and the landowner of that time wanted to replicate hiking trails found in Austria and Germany. Well, that's my best guess without research. I've heard Europeans do like hiking trails in the mountains ~ but I could be wrong.

First, I had the Cannon with me and figured it would be great to chronicle the sights digitally, but the batteries gave me problems. After the first shot at the dam and dead batteries, I tromped back to the house ~ greatly annoyed ~ to switch cameras. Once loaded and back on the path, I settled into Slow Time walking and Paying Attention. Yes, lots of photos and then I had a nifty thought: Why not meditate for 10 minutes in the woods by the rushing falls? I'd skipped the Early Morning Med seeing Dirk off to work and then went on to making tea. I had a timer with me via a cell phone. 10 minutes. In the woods. By the falls. I could do that standing on my head.

I chose a rocky outcrop that overlooked the falls to sit, taking photos of interesting beings along the way. I noticed animal scat, a few days old, but present nonetheless. Someone else came by and left a note, not only for relief but also to mark territory. I ignored the note and sat in for my 10 minutes of meditation. Feeling grounded and settled in, I gave attention to breath and mindfulness of body. Then I began to feel . . . vulnerable. I tried to ignore the feeling of something feral stalking behind me, but it returned vividly and repeatedly with yellow eyes, sharp teeth and fur.

Intellectually, I knew I was safe. It's rare to see much wild life in broad daylight unless it's ill. I've gone by the general rule that they want as little to do with humans as possible, so they pretty much leave the premises when they hear some two-legged stomping around. However, when the terror of vulnerability comes up, there's little reasoning with it. I was out of my usual mediation environment. Unprotected by the usual walls. Exposed to elements and wild life. And 10 minutes is an eternity to the ego deathly afraid of dying . . . in the woods . . . alone . . . despite the lovely location and intentions.

Here was the trick: I had to step back from the terror. It became the mediation. What is this feeling about? Is there a real danger? How is the land speaking to me? Am I sensing this fear because I'm meant to? Because I've infringed on a coyote's space, ignoring the scat? Physically and energetically, the coyote created a boundary. Clearly, I crossed it. Sitting in meditation brought up the energy and intention of that boundary ~ to feel fear, to keep away. At that realization, in stepping back, I felt like Mr. Spock and thought, Fascinating!

Before my 10 minutes were up though, I did look behind and around me. My ego was doing some strong prodding that couldn't seem to be ignored so I succumbed. The moment I turned my attention back to meditation, the timer sounded. Ego breathed a huge sigh of relief, but another part of me was exhilarated at having sensed some message from the environment ~ even though fearful. And, nothing for nothing, I survived.
More rushing water.

The old dam road.

Leaves under ice.

Ice ferns.

At the dam.


Any portal in the storm.

Tumbling through the woods.

A little closer, my dear.

And yet again.

The rock I sat on. They look bruised and beaten.

More of the same rock.

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