Come Home to Yourself
The sensuous ebb and flow of the breath,
The warmth of the sun on the skin,
The touch of light on the eyelids, like a kiss,
The soothing sound of leaves rustling in the breeze,
The satisfying release of bodyweight into the support of the Earth –
Nothing in particular to do or be,
Just savoring the texture of life in this moment...
Relaxing, melting, softening into lusciousness.
Sinking down, letting go, deeper, deeper…
Breath spreading, massaging everywhere inside, a gentle caress…Ah…
Muscles release, a sigh of relief, all the way to the bones.
Here, now, the movement of life, touching me,
Healing me, revealing its simple truth –
I am immersed in the embrace of life.
Yes, I hear the Yes.
And my response, Yes.
I am this movement.
I am home.
This is meditation – luxuriating in the sensory world, resting in the simplicity of your own being, enjoying yourself shamelessly.
“What?” you ask, “But I thought you had to sit in silence to meditate. I thought you had to detach, override desire, empty the mind?” Our answer, from more than 50 years of experience between us, is a resounding NO.
Nature designed us to blossom in the bodily state of pleasure. When we give over to this basic need, every cell, every fiber of body and soul, gets to receive and come alive. Something way down inside is met and satisfied, that primitive place "underneath" our everyday human personality. Touched and fed with pleasure something awakens, like an animal purring into health and power, or a tender plant blossoming into glorious vibrant color.
This simple pleasure of being completely at home in the body puts us in rapport with the ongoing rhythms of nature. It is a tangible sense of ourselves as an organism within the larger natural environment – connected, contained, safe. As we relax in enjoyment within ourselves we feel free to release, deep inside, into a condition of easy flow. The pulsings of breath and blood slow into a soothing dance. Our senses dilate; we feel closer to the processes of life.
This openness to the touch of life is at once deeply healing and nutritive. The body opens up to receive, and we are informed – in-formed – by the vast, fecund, life-giving natural world. And we know:
Life is here. I am here. I am alive.
Your meditation time is the perfect place to cultivate this primary connection. It may seem like an indulgence, a luxury. But it is actually a vital necessity. For women to be healthy in meditation, it must be based in this primary sense of pleasure. No denial of the body, of the instincts, of emotion, it should be a deeply intimate relationship with yourself, with breath, with life. Deep pleasure is like a stem leading down into your feminine roots, connecting you to the rich, fertile ground of being, and drawing life force back up so that your individual essence can bloom. With pleasure at its foundation, your meditation is a coming to your senses, a coming home.
Meditation is time carved out for yourself – sacred space – to feel that underlying “Yes” from life, the affirmation of your being. In this spacious welcoming, you may feel the “Yes” of your own response to life welling up from the depths – not from discipline, but from pleasure; not from demand, but from love.
What woman doesn’t yearn for time for herself, without having to be anything for anyone else? To rest, to restore, to settle in. To catch up with all the thoughts that fly in and out all day. To sort out her feelings from the tangle of everyone else’s. To be in touch with herself, her body, her rhythm. To clarify her own sense of things. To get back to her essence…
We hear this all the time from the women we work with. But when we mention meditation, resistance rears its head: “I want to meditate, but I just don’t have the time. I can’t sit still, forget about cross-legged – it hurts my knees. Cleanse my mind of thoughts? Are you kidding? Be calm and love everybody? Get real. I can’t stop the whirring in my head. I don’t have the discipline. Meditation’s supposed to be good for you, right? But it sounds so dry and boring. I would never want to deny so much of myself.”
What if we told you that there really are no odious rules to follow – that meditation is just being yourself? What if we told you that you don’t have to change yourself in any way to reap the benefits of meditation?
Well, that’s what this book is all about.
The marvelous truth is that you already know how to meditate. We’re just here to give you permission to do it – and to do it in your own unique way. If you set up favorable conditions, meditation happens spontaneously. This book is about how to set up those conditions for yourself. Meditation is a rest deeper than sleep, and is refreshing and rejuvenating. It’s good for your health, enables you to better deal with stress, and helps you live in harmony with your world. Hundreds of scientific studies map out these beneficial effects. But you’ll receive these benefits most fully if you figure out a female way that works for your individual life and not against it.
There is one sobering but ultimately liberating truth that you need to understand right off the bat. The ancient meditation techniques were not designed for women’s bodies and psyches. For years Lorin and I have asked, “What is a female-savvy approach to meditation? Why do some women thrive in meditation while others languish or quit?”
In listening to women talk about their meditation experience, there is something we have both consistently heard and seen. Women are natural meditators. Given the chance, they will settle into deep meditation and stay there for quite awhile, even if they have never meditated before. Lorin has discovered that many people spontaneously invent meditation techniques and practice them for years with very good results – often unwittingly recreating those in the classic texts. Likewise, many women have come to work with me because they want to explore in an embodied mode through subtle sensing and movement. As we stretch their understanding of what meditation can be, they enter profound and transforming states of awareness.
Bottom line: women need a different kind of meditation approach. Every woman needs a handful of techniques, not just one. The old rigid time frames, rules about immobility, and devices for blocking feeling deny a woman her basic rights to crave, taste, and experience life as she truly does. Women live right inside the natural rhythms of life – an emotional and physical connection that must be honored and satisfied.
In Meditation Secrets for Women, we invite you to use meditation as a way to connect with that natural rhythm, not contort it, to embrace yourself and all of your experiences, whatever mood you’re in, without having to deny or push away what’s really going on. Meditation should be joyful, sensuous, engaged, alive. It should be rooted in pleasure.
The Secrets are so simple that they could easily be overlooked. Why is the value of deep pleasure for women such a secret? It is a state so natural and fundamental, so life-affirming, that you would think we would all celebrate it, almost take it for granted, accept it as second nature, or in fact, as the first nature it really is. Many of us find it difficult to allow ourselves to dwell in that most basic and nurturing of states. As if we need permission! As if the world will fall apart if we let go, or we will be stoned to death or burned at the stake if we give in to our natural sensuality. When we relax into ourselves with pleasure, we eventually encounter deep-seated cultural taboos against sensuality, against loving our bodies, against resting in our feminine selves. There is a hidden judgment that this is hedonistic, selfish, base, naughty, shallow, frivolous, or sinful. (Care to supply your own adjectives?) So when you meditate, you will probably have to face those taboos – all the control structures that you’ve been taught as a woman. All your judgments and criticisms about yourself are sure to surface too. The beautiful thing about meditation is that it gives you the chance to rest in your own nature and learn to celebrate it.
Enter Secrets as you might a doorway into a world you’ve always longed for and suspected was there all along. And please, please come as you are. Don’t feel you have to change or “improve” yourself – you don’t have to be reverent, you don’t have to be serious. Come any way you are at the moment: curious, laughing, tired, rebellious, loving, grumpy, nervous, playful, buzzing with energy or sleepy. Come on in. Step into this wide-open embrace. Welcome all of who you are, from the small to the vast, the tender to the wise, the mundane to the divine. You'll find that meditation nourishes your heart, and like a visit to an inner therapist, a quick vacation, an emotional tune-up, or a magic healing treatment, you'll emerge more whole and real and empowered to be your best self.