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Meditating with Character


I’ve learned about the simple bliss of making contact with my experience through meditation and character structure. My ‘heady’ part can now more easily dissolve into the ease of just sensing the softening of the scalp. In fleeting flashes, there is no me or mine in the way I conceive of me or mine in my every day mind. There’s just this body, sitting and noticing sensations arise and fall, nothing to do, nowhere to go. A sigh on the out breath as my shoulders drop a few millimeters and I soften into the earth.

The entertaining side of my character inwardly cries out at the relief of being quiet; no audience, performance, or rush. The only job is to be enchanted by the breath and its awesomeness. I relish the texture of the breath, how its movement brushes my clothes against my body. It rolls on, no pushing or pulling, no beginning or end. Occupying this sense of being a body, even though there’s nothing to occupy apart from sensations, feelings, thoughts, and even they keep changing. Fear arising as I have no one to entertain but myself, breathing into that fear, surrounding that fear with loving-kindness, I settle and feel an unclenching deep within myself.

After 20 years of meditation and practice, I do feel more anchored and calm, but those have arisen as much from the struggles and messiness of staying with my experience as the moments of bliss and inspiration. My experience of meditating with character in mind has been that it’s hard to spiritually by-pass anything, because you are more likely to witness what you’re doing, as you do it, becoming more aware of your armoring, little by little. Not comfortable, maybe, but growthful. Spirituality has to be embodied, else it probably isn’t spirituality.

Meditation and embodied practice offer us an amazing doorway into the heart of the furnace of seeing how our characters were formed from pre-conception to the present day (and how character can change in the furnace’s heat). To enter so deeply into our habits and strategies, our views and beliefs, that we come out the other side and wonder what the fuss was all about.

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