Thursday, December 27, 2012

Moving Meditation (guest post by Susan Dowgiala)

or Ki....

If you have never tried this particular form of meditation, I highly recommend you give it a shot.  You won't believe the change in temperment, clarity and sense of well-being you will experience.

Suffice it to say, the last seven years of my life have been marked by more than a fair share of pain, loss, frustration and demoralization.  Compound this with some unwise investments, costly business "partnerships," and some good old-fashioned lack of clarity, and you have the perfect recipe for disaster.  Chaos is not a nice place to live.

Somehow, I found my way to the woman who is now my friend and my Roshi, or meditation master.  This was divine intervention.  With her guidance, I have experienced more breakthroughs in seven weeks than in seven years of traditional therapy.  For me, this has been amazingly transformative.

Every week, Roshi leads me in Zen meditation.  In truth, I never know what she has in store for me from one week to the next - but it always seems to be something perfectly suited to where I am mentally and's uncanny.

This past Tuesday, for example, I walked in feeling completely pre-occupied with an incresingly dismal financial situation, (a.k.a. perpetual unemployment), and a new business I am attempting to get off the ground, punctuated, of course, by the accompanying apprehension and self-doubt which permeates the soul in these uncertain times.

Enter Roshi - and this week's meditation - Ki excercises.  This was an active mediation during which I was to mirror Roshi's movements on the mat.  It was not strenuous, but slow and purposeful.  Not tiring, but profoundly energizing; involving simple movements, grand stretches, and elegant imagery.  It was like a beautifully choreographed dance, but with no music.  None is needed for this exercise to be performed and understood.

Roshi explained afterwards that part of the reason it works is because one is forced to focus on not simply copying the movements - but mirroring them.  This take concentration and one-pointed attention.

As she made a grand, circular sweep with her right arm, my first instinct was to do the same with mine....but no.  In order to mirror, I needed to move my left arm in such a way.  It was fascinating to see just how much concentration it took, while at the same time maintaining balance on the squishy dojo mat.  (Yes, I fell over sometimes - which made me giggle like a 3 year old with a new puppy)  The nice thing is that there is no wrong way to do it.  If you fall, you simply get back up and continue mirroring - no harm, no foul.  As I am prone to fits of laughter at my own ineptitude, this was also a practice in mental discipline.

I will tell you that by the time I left, I felt completely at ease, optimistic, relaxed and nearly joyful at all the possibilities life can hold.  I still had no job, my bills still overwhelm my inbox, no investor had magically appeared begging to bestow me with oodles of cash with which to launch my business; but I felt peaceful.  And that, my friend, is worth more than anything.

The best part is that the feeling stayed.

Want a piece of the action?  I highly recommend visiting the website for the Zen Studies Program of Rhode Island at:
Be sure to check out The Oracle Birds link, which will bring you to a funny and fascinating daily journal of the avian life which resides outside the dojo.  The program offers morning, afternoon and some evening meditations.  Both group and private sessions are available.  Please don't allow a lack of money to deter you from doing this for yourself, as cost is not a primary factor.  Read the website and you will understand.  Or simply drop in.

This practice is transformative.   It has helped me immensely, and in entirely unexpected ways.  You deserve this too.

1 comment:

  1. I've recently started taking meditation more seriously and now meditate everyday. I have a super active mind which would sometimes distract me while I'm painting. Meditation has helped me to be present and focus while I paint. It's an amazing feeling to let your ego go while you paint and just flow through each movement.