Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Angry? Me? Never!


Let's talk about anger.

I don't consider myself an angry person, but I'm starting to wonder if my self-awareness is a bit off-kilter, because I've been struggling with a lot of anger as of late - and been hearing from people in my life that I am angry - and screwing up relationships because of even though I don't CONSIDER myself angry, gosh, maybe I need to change my perspective.

It's confusing, though, because I really don't FEEL angry. Well, except for sometimes.

Which leads me to the practice of Osho Kundalini Meditation, because I think there is a connection between my experience with the practice and my current inability to SEE myself as angry, even though I'm hearing from a lot of people that I am, indeed, such. I had an experience with anger last August that didn't make a ton of sense to me at the time, but it's starting to make a little more sense to me now.

About halfway through Yoga Teacher Training at Kripalu, we did the Osho Kundalini Meditation practice. Instead of trying to summarize this meditation technique, allow me to quote the Osho website:

Many meditative techniques require one to sit still and silent. But for most of us accumulated stress in our bodymind makes that difficult. Before we can hope to access our inner powerhouse of consciousness, we need to let go of our tensions.
Osho Active Meditations have been scientifically designed by Osho over a period of time to enable us to consciously express and experience repressed feelings and emotions, and learn the knack of watching our habitual patterns in a new way. (from the Osho website
At Kripalu, we were guided in the Osho Kundalini Meditation one fine Sunday morning, and I am pretty sure I went into it with an open mind and heart. I was two weeks into my YTT experience, and I was probably the happiest I'd ever been in my whole life, save a few choice moments at Kenyon. I was eating amazingly well, practicing at least four hours of yoga a day, surrounded by like-minded human beings with the most incredibly kind and generous spirits, getting eight solid hours of sleep an night, spending an hour in the sauna and hot tub a day, in one of the most beautiful places on earth. And I was IN SCHOOL, working toward a goal, feeling completely in the right place at the right time. All of this to say that I was NOT. ANGRY. Not in the slightest.

In the Osho Kundalini Meditation, you go through four stages over the course of one hour, all to a very specific soundtrack of music. The first stage is shaking - just shaking to this pulsating music, trying to feel the shake originate from somewhere deep underneath you, feeling the energy bubble up through the soles of your feet and letting it move your body - pulsing and shaking while standing mainly in place. The music is rhythmic and loud and INTENSE. The second stage is dancing, again to very specific and intense music. You dance like there is no tomorrow, letting the dance emanate from deep inside of you instead of YOU dancing the body. You let the dance be organic and natural - it doesn't have to look like any dancing anyone has ever seen before - it's all YOURS. Dance like it's the last time in your life you'll feel this way, be able to express yourself this way. Dance. The third stage you either stand or sit, completely still, and just WATCH. After thirty minutes of movement, you simply stay completely still and watch the flow of energy that you created as it bubbles through you, noticing thoughts, feelings, emotions, physical sensations as they occur, without inviting them or pushing them away. Just being AWARE. There is a soundtrack for this, too, that facilitates stillness. Lastly, in the fourth stage, you lay in savasana posture and simply let go, relax. Breathe. You stay here for 15 minutes.

So the theory behind this makes sense to me - it's hard to just SIT in meditation without transition, without releasing any pent up energy in the body first. This is why I always start my meditation classes with about ten minutes of light yoga - mainly pratapana and movement. But Osho meditation takes it to another level, with thirty minutes of intense, purposeful, powerful movement. And then you sit (or stand) in stillness, and then you relax. And then? Well, I guess that depends on who you are.

We were encouraged, immediately following the four stages, to spend another fifteen minutes writing ourselves a letter. And for this specific practice, we were encouraged to open our letter "My Dearest ______".

I was aware I was FEELING something powerful bubbling up inside of me as I sat to begin writing this letter to myself, but it was undefinable. However, as soon as our guide added the caveat of writing from a place of love and compassion, I felt something inside of me break wide open and I was SEETHING. I felt as though I was in a blind rage, I was so totally and inexplicable furious. What I wrote in that letter is immensely personal and not something I'm sharing on a public blog, but suffice to say I was PISSED OFF. And I'm not someone who considers anger a dominant emotion in her life. Hmm.

Now the inquiry, yes?

In any event, I'm leading my meditation group tonight in the Osho Kundalini Meditation, and I'm already thinking in terms of holding space afterward for whatever people might need. This can definitely be an intense experience. After I did it, I skipped lunch and spent two hours in the hot tub, letting the scalding hot bubbles mirror the anger that was pouring out of me. Unfortunately for my meditation students, I don't have a hot tub. But a comfy couch, a shoulder to cry on, Skinny Girl margaritas, snacks and leftover Sweet & Salty cake? Yup, I've got them covered. =)

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