Opening: 0 to 1:29; Stretch and Breathe: 1:30 to 5:02; The Story and Meditation Prompts: 5:03 to 10:00
Opening: 0 to 1:29
Adam, I just wanted to tell you that the first text I opened after we got off the phone talking about how many books we’re going to read, Frank, the first text I opened, I opened Ram Dass’ Be Here Now to this page. “In my case, I kept reading the books, but I didn’t understand them. They were yelling the subjects. They were yelling the secrets. But I couldn’t hear them, because I was looking at them from the wrong place.” I was like, I turned around and look at the bookshelf and there’s a lot of secrets being yelled, which is, I think, why we’ve turned to this practice of being in silence so often.
That actually is part of the narrative today, which is why I had the Ram Dass stuff out. All right, my loves, let’s sit. Begin with the breathing again. Yeah. We’ll do the same sort of 15-minute opening to prepare the heart and body for meditation. If you are in a place where you can stand and you want to stand and do this, it’s fine. Because I’m just trying to get the heart, the physical part of the body that allows the shoulders and chest to be open and to wake that up, and then to get some breath work so our blood’s moving while we set, we’re prepared.
Stretch and Breathe: 1:30 to 5:02
Just start rolling your shoulders. Really try to get deep articulation, bring it all the way up to the ears, squeeze the shoulder blades back, bring it all the way down, and make like this long giraffe neck, very slow and luscious. [inaudible 00:01:44] like it adjoining with the space around you. You could imagine us sitting in a room, a physical room, and listening to one another and trying to hit the same pitch. Om. And then we’ll make a bigger sound. We’re going to do a full minute of oms at your own pace. Just big breaths. Bring it up from the base of the body. Let the full body participate in the exhale. Hold it. The ratio is four “oh” of the O sound, one of the “mm”, and then of the pause at the end. Whatever length your breath allows. Take a big inhale, fill your lungs to capacity, exhale completely. And then inhale again. Open your beautiful mouth and make a sound to the universe.
The Story and Meditation Prompts: 5:03 to 10:00
Where we are in the story, as we’ve come through the Passover, the beginning of Passover, in the Holy city. We’ve already gone through the experience of coming in, of having the last supper, of giving your final and most important teachings of anointing and appointing people in the journey that is to come. We’ve gone through the Good Friday and all of the drama surrounding the apparently false conviction, and the crucifixion in its metaphysical sense. And now, all of that is done. And the body of the Christ has been wrapped in linen and is laid in a stone tomb on a hill outside of Jerusalem. Stony ground, outside of the secure part of the temple where the crucifixions all happen, the Hill of Skulls. His body has been removed into a tomb into the wall and a stone rolled in front of it, and that is all we know right now.
If you were in His circle at the time, perhaps you would’ve known of his promises, or you would have known of the mystical component of coming back, of living beyond the body. Maybe you wouldn’t know that. Maybe you would just be suddenly in your grief, or suddenly in your curiosity or abandonment, or who knows where you would be. Every range of human emotion is expected. His mother, and His wife, and all of the people who are attending the tomb are sitting vigil, but they come and go, because it’s done, and it’s also the Sabbath. Why does this day in Holy Week in the Christian calendar get so little attention? Things happen on Friday. Nothing happens on Saturday. Then it’s Easter.
But this day, actually, to me is one of the most important days in the process, because it’s on this day that you are in the ambiguity. You’re in the space of waiting and not knowing. You think things are one way, and the mystery hasn’t yet, or the promise hasn’t come to fruition. And particularly with this time in our collective life, the idea of being in the ambiguity, being in the waiting, seems particularly poignant.
It’s what I notice in myself and in many people around me, particularly those who are kind of really analytical or big-brained, is that in times of waiting or ambiguity, you want to rush to conclusions. You want to just jump into, “I know how it is. I’m taking in all the data and drawing connections. I know it’s going to happen.” Because it creates like some kind of sense of security or knowing in oneself, some kind of sense of control.
But what the Saturday component of the Holy Week story is, is that’s not the case. You just be with what is. You be with the crucifixion has happened. They did this thing. Injustice is present, fear is present, power structures are present. This person I love so much is now out of the body, and all I can do is be with that. And so there’s this poignancy to this day, this empty day. Another reason nothing happens is because this is called God’s Sabbath. It’s the Jewish calendar, and nothing happens on the Sabbath. You’re supposed to rest. And so, there’s a God’s rest day in Holy Week, which is the doing nothing of the entombment just being with that.
Now, I have a question as we go into the meditation on what it’s like to have Holy Saturday without Easter Sunday. In your mind, can you hold the ambiguity, the not knowing, the death has happened, and just be with that grief or that sadness without the promise of Easter Sunday already in your heart? The very real, deep presence of the human experience of grief, and confusion, or whatever else might arise, and the aftermath of something like Good Friday, whether that’s the Good Friday of our times or an ancient story. If no miracle is coming, and you’re just in your body, and in your breath, and your home place, maybe the trees are still budding. Maybe it’s still spring time. Maybe you’re sheltering in place with your cat. Maybe nothing will change, and you’ll be in this situation forever. What is present right now?