I went to a Meditation workshop recently with a friend. It was conducted by two people.
One was Tara Brach, author of Radical Acceptance, and psychotherapist, and the other, Jonathan Foust (Sudhir), the co founder of the Mindfulness Training Institute, Washington D.C.
Each took turns presenting a topic, and then we, as a group, at the same time, would practice the concept.
Tara's main focus was on helping us to rethink our tendency as individuals, of feeling unworthy.
Jonathan's was to help us focus on cultivating embodied awareness.
One of the exercises we did was an awareness exercise, in which you chose a partner, and interlocked arms facing your chairs in opposite directions. The participants who came to the retreat together, practiced the exercise together. One at a time, each person would sit, with his or her eyes closed, and tell their partner what they were aware of.
I am aware of my heart Beating.
I am aware of My Breath.
I am aware of feeling the warmth in the room.
I am aware of others talking.
I am aware of Your Breath.
I am aware of discomfort in my upper back.
If you were practicing with a friend this was not too awkward, for you knew one another, and you were facing different directions, with your eyes closed, but arms interlocked.
The next Exercise We were asked to pair up with someone we did not know.
This had the potential to be uncomfortable, because this time, We were face to face, in our chairs, knee to knee, eyes open
I am aware, that this will be uncomfortable for me.
I look to my right, and take a deep breath
committing to dive right in, and asked the man to my right, if he'd like to be my partner.
We arranged our seats to face one another, and introduce ourselves.
Next we were given the instruction.
Each, in turn was to look into the other's eyes, and say to his partner,
"Tell me, What do you Love?"
My Partner asked if I'd like to go first.
I generally try to, to ease the other's discomfort, and also to look my own in the face, since anticipating my turn, in an awkward situation would typically have my heart racing.
We agree that I will go first, but before we begin, he asks,
"Do You Bow?"
Being of a Yoga Mindset, I answer, "Yes, I do"
He suggests we begin by bowing to one another.
In Yoga, at the end of class, the teacher and the students generally Bow to one another, saying "Namaste'."
A simple translation is:
"I recognize the divine in You"
We now Bow together.
I bow slowly and deeply, for I feel it is a gesture of reverence.
I take another deep breath, look him in the eyes, and ask,
"Tell me, What do you love?"
He answers his first question, and I nod, to acknowledge his answer.
I ask again, he answers, and I nod,
each answer becoming more personal.
He answers once, "I love my family." And I begin to cry.
It's not the first time I feel what another is feeling, but I immediately recognize the power of the Namaste Bow.
I have recognized the Divine in him, and he in me.
When it was time, for me to share, He put his hand on my knee and was clearly
both grateful to be heard, and able to recognize who I was and what I was about.
I was grateful ,too.
I thought to myself, that day, what the world would be like,
If we all bowed to one another, before we interacted.
What I experienced that day, I Bow to,
For there is the spark of the Divine in
"I see God in Every Human Being"