May 3, 2013

Accepting Sadness in Meditation. ~ Shane Armstrong & Carolyn Riker

Source: ynspire.me via Yoga on Pinterest

Week 3: Share My Path Series.

Week one of what I now deem the Share My Path project hadn’t been up more than an hour before Carolyn Riker offered to share her path. It’s presented here in her own words.

My first introduction to meditation was in 1989 or 1990. I was attending a Gestalt five-day workshop in rural Virginia. The facilitator was an interesting hippy-like guy with big ideas.  He incorporated yoga, meditation and a slew of other modalities of healing to transport us all on our journey.

The meditation piece intrigued me because there was a quietness that I longed for. For each participant there was an individual ceremony and I was given a secret mantra. I don’t like secrets because they feel too much like a rule, so I shared my mantra to anyone who asked.

I vaguely remember it as she-ring.

Initially meditation was calming, relaxing and quite centering. Then I started to tap into other emotions that I immediately warranted as negative and fearsome. I hit on an overwhelming sadness. I would cry every time I attempted to meditate.

Then another strange occurrence happened. I kept seeing a bright light ahead of me, which terrified me.

Instead of leaning into the experience, I pulled way back and stopped meditating. I deemed it as probably an evil force but in my heart I knew there was more.

Zipping forward some 15 years later into the continuum of my meditative life, I revisit the quiet times I originally found as a great comfort. I also slip into those lesser ‘nice’ emotions.

Now I sit more readily with my emotions and let what surfaces, surface. Maybe it’s maturity? Maybe it’s acceptance? Maybe is a lovely word for letting it be.

Meditation comes to me as a gift for finding answers to questions. We all have this free intuitive ability but allowing it to surface and listening to it is as necessary as breathing. Sometimes I want to hold my breathe and go into the shallow ends; now I’m willing to swim in the rapids and the deep end. I won’t drown. It’s all good. It’s all real. Meditation is an essential part of who I am.



Share My Path is an archival project seeking to build a repository of the paths taken by practitioners of meditation and is hosted here at elephant journal. If you’d like to have your path featured and made part of the archive please e-mail or find us here for more information.

Read the other article in the series here:

Your First Time: Sometimes It Hurts.

What Keeps Us Coming Back to the Meditation Cushion?




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Ed: Brianna Bemel

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