Oceans of Awareness
Observation and awareness is the foundation of the Ontogonic meditative journey. The first step is to refine the purity of our observer and to expand of consciousness in a more direct way. We do this using a variety of observation and meditation techniques proven to be simple and effective over centuries of use.
By bringing conscious attention into the body and using the breath as a vehicle for exploration, we begin to awaken to the dynamic aspect of the thoughts, sensations, and emotions constantly arising within our immediate experience. As we become more familiar with ourselves in this way, we can begin to relax into this natural process and develop a deep and abiding appreciation for all the aspects of ourselves, others, and the world.
The physical reality of the ocean is a great arena for meditation, meditative focus, and meditation instruction, especially for those who love vastness and waves. Our bodies are mostly water – salty water. We are, in a sense, part of the ocean that is up here, walking around on Earth. Within us, we carry a private ocean: our bloodstream, flowing and pulsing through tens of thousands of miles of blood vessels, many of them microscopic, barely bigger than a blood cell. When we meditate we are invited to delight in this inner sea and be refreshed and renewed.
Another ocean that we are part of is the atmosphere. The Earth is a sphere and the atmosphere is an ocean of air surrounding the world. When we breathe in, this ocean of air comes into our bodies as a wave and circulates to every cell. The universe flows in and suffuses us with fresh air (prana) that is always new in every moment. In this meeting of the outer ocean of air and the inner ocean of our fluid bodies, life is renewed.
Meditation can be thought of as a meeting of oceans. In Sanskrit meditation texts, a number of words refer to the ocean or include ocean in their definitions. Nitya, a central term in meditation texts, is defined as “innate, native, constantly dwelling or engaged in, at home in the ocean of eternity.” In the state of meditation, the integration of the personal consciousness with the vast, impersonal and primordial ocean of information is experienced.
Life is rhythm. Our hearts beat, our brains flash with electrical waves, breath moves in and out, and we flow in a sequential pulsation of waking, sleeping, and dreaming. Meditation is not a stoppage and stagnation of the rhythm of life, rather it is a way of being centered and in tune, following the beat of our own heart. When we delight in the rhythm of breathing, many senses give us information about what is happening—smell, temperature, touch, motion, balance, and hearing, to name the more obvious ones. As we attend to these senses our experience of life itself is enriched.
Wave motion is a natural and essential movement of the life within us. When we allow our attention to be enchanted by the wave motion of breath, it is sensual. There is no particular reason to sit still when meditating with the breath. We can join with the motion of breathing, dancing, moving, undulating. It is particularly profound to let wave motions ripple through the spine, from one end to the other. When we tune into the inner world, we realize this subtle wave motion is always going on. It can feel like coming home to our body, to nature, and to the primordial rhythms of life.