Just beneath the surface


Things float in and out and just underneath my awareness all of the time. I’ll be doing something and a memory might come, kind of like a shadow that moves across a wall while you are sitting at the table thinking about something else. It comes, but it comes in the midst of some other activity so you don’t stop and think about it, but still, you perceive it. You know it’s there, but it doesn’t require anything of you. It deposits some trace while you carry on.

I’ve been away from home for the last few days, and I’ve had a little space from teaching and family and household chores. I have been in the company of a group of exceptional yoga practitioners and teachers and I have the pleasure of being in the student role. I’ve also had some quiet and some time. Because of this space, I’ve noticed the shadows of images or memories or even dreams that move across the wall. Noticing them pulls them up from just under the surface.

I had a dream about snakes and it keeps coming up. In the dream, my children were playing chase and they kept running across this little landscaped area where vines covered the ground. When they were all through, several large snakes came out from under the vines and revealed themselves. Some of them were venomous. FEAR. GRATITUDE.

I was visited by the memory of the day that I had my wisdom teeth removed. I had just come back from the hospital and was on the floor in the hallway of my parent’s old house. I was on such strong pain medication that I couldn’t quite make it to the bedroom so my mom brought me a pillow and let me stay there. Some time passed (hard to say how long) and then Dave was at the house sitting with me. When I looked at him, he had a very worried look on his face, perhaps because mine was the size of a small blimp, packed with cotton and drooling. I looked up from the floor and my mom was standing there with my dad. They said they were going to the hospital because they got a call about my grandpa. I asked if he was okay, and my mom said that she thought he had died but they won’t tell you that over the phone. And then they turned to leave. GRIEF. PAIN. ADMIRATION. LOSS. LOVE. GRATITUDE.

It seems so strange that these things can just come bubbling up like that. There they appear and sit there for just a moment. And if I happen to be quiet at that moment, and if I have a little space, I may catch a glimpse of what is going on underneath the surface. I can notice the feelings that are still in me, perhaps undigested.  I may even have insight about what needs to be done.

Yoga Sutra 1.38 svapna nidrā jñāna ālambanaṁ vā

The knowledge derived from sleep and dreams can support meditation

(Liberating Isolation, Frans Moors, 2012)


7 thoughts on “Just beneath the surface

  1. Interesting to know that dreams can be a way to help bolster one’s meditative practice. Probably by letting the subconscious mind take over by dwelling on the meaning of the dream makes one have a better mindset for meditation. Thanks for sharing this post. Looking forward to the next one.

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