Relational Meditation: A Bolt of Lightning

by mandy lipka

Lucky for me, a few weeks months ago I weathered a tornado-threatening storm to attend a special meditation event—a large leap in my latest endeavors into the world of psychotherapy. Not wanting to leap into the relationship dialogue alone, I demanded (while withholding all details) a dear wolfish friend join me.  Sometimes you have to see if inquiring minds will simply leap without looking.

It worked.

The experience was yet another unforgettably empowering moment for the two of us. It all unfolded magically.

I arrived after having stopped off to soak in the beauty in the eye of the storm. Filled with deep vibrating connections to our dear mother, I leaped a bit further. As I made my way around a beautiful local organic garden store back toward my borrowed vehicle, I found myself face to face with another mother—a turtle.

Immediately, I knew she was a femme soon to be on the wrong end of fatale. I got closer to her so she could smell that I was on her team while I talked her out of inching toward her imminent death by Route 20.  She got visibly angry at my attempts so I walked away to grab a sly photo and let the shop folks their turtle escaped and is threatening suicide. But little miss turtle was determined. She stood up like a triceratops and leaped toward my car. I couldn’t let her do it. So I ran back and stood in her way. You are NOT leaving your babies like this. If the baby daddy hurt you, he’s NOT worth it. Now PLEASE go back to your home.

Just then a ranger dude pulled up in a white, commercial sedan in a panic.

“I was dropping people off and saw her and just knew I had to come back. She’d never make it. We need a box.”

I stayed with Little Miss Turtle as he ran to the checkout guy to let him know we are on turtle suicide watch. We talked about how LMT was recently preggers and that many of these turtles attempt the journey from the nearby swamp. Naturally, not many make it to the other side.

Not today. Ranger dude urged checkout guy to get a big box. Together we all managed to get Little Miss Snapper into said box safely but she sure put up a fight and a stink.

We carried her across the parking lot toward the swamp. Checkout guy had a shovel just in case. We got LMT out of the box and the fellas walked away. Mission accomplished.  I stayed for a moment as LMT looked a bit defeated in a pile of swampness. I took another photo and congratulated her. Today, is not her number-calling day.

Twenty minutes later, I arrived in Arlington and parked at the local fire department. The rain held off but the air was moist. I got to class in time to hear the introductions and soak in as much as I could. Greg (of fame) motioned me to enter the circle but I couldn’t leave my friend behind. I politely declined as I listened and reached for my notebook.

Greg set the tone perfectly. Inviting us to join him in the journey of depth psychology, or how he describes it– “how the mind, how the heart gets bound.” He spoke to my soul. My wolfish friend arrived just in time for the practice to begin. I hugged her and then we were off. We criss-crossed the round room to “find” our partners for the evening. I made gratuitous eyes toward Greg and continued on only to stop in front of a Gram-flattering mango-shirted lovely lady. I stuck out my hand and somehow she immediately divulged that she was a fish. This was going to be good.

Our goal for the evening was to meditate in front of a partner and then each of us would have an opportunity to speak while the other simply listened and breathed. The storm found it’s way above our heads lighting up the skylight with fireworks. In the midst of our first phase of tandem meditation, the thunder arrived. And at the peak of our evening, the rain came pouring. I hadn’t felt so alive.

I stayed on the ground looking up toward my fish friend, often taking moments to yoga stretch and reach toward the sky in an effort to channel more energy in this beautiful connection. In our own ways, fish friend and me divulged our family pain, self pain and physical pain. We offered one another our own helpful solutions and an understanding, compassionate disposition. All in less than two hours. It’s as if she knew me and I knew her for 10 years. She felt my soul and I knew her struggles.

Just as Greg explained in the intro, this relational meditation activated what he calls coupling— sensory organs, learning power, pattern recovery, adaptability… which connect the brain/body system. That’s what made our connection so powerful. We each took turns speaking and listening and then providing a little feedback. But it’s what we weren’t saying that was most powerful. It’s what our bodies immediately picked up– the vibrations we were feeling as the thunder cracked and the sky flashed in the skylight above us.

We ended our meditation with our partners and gathered together in the center of the room. A few participants shared the power of their experience. Some folks wept. Some laughed. Some were a bit frightened. My friend was a bit overwhelmed by the experience in the heat of the moment, but when she stepped back, realized its power.

In the basic matrix of being, as Greg explains, it is extraordinary. Relational experience is powerful as there are specific parts of the brain dedicated to identifying faces, emotions of others. This is what we activated as we connected in a metaphysical world and felt each other’s pain and suffering.

In the end, we activated a “non-evil passion” and proved Greg’s point– my favorite of the evening:

We survive because we’re social. We can be smart and dead.

Relation in practices of meditation puts us on a path of awakening, toward enlightenment. This was certainly a beautiful gateway. I will think of my melon-clad friend fondly.

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