rehearse moving through the actions of life in a more relaxed mode
as we emerge from this mental rehearsal,
which is also very physical, we
remember that we are meditating,
we orient to the outer world, notice it is still there,
and we can get up
or continue for another cycle.
. . . This rhythm is an observable tendency of the intelligent life energies. You can observe it for yourself. Always welcome the unique way this rhythm shows up in each moment. The pattern may have subtle variations in every moment. Every repetition of the rhythm is revealing.
Rhythms - life seems to like to flow through these modes of restoring and renewing itself. These R's may flow from one to the other in any periodicity, from every few seconds to every few minutes.
A full cycle may be very quick, 20 seconds, then slower, 40 seconds, then slower still, 90 seconds, then a leisurely 3 minutes.
Unpredictable and surprising. This is what makes things interesting.
Once you accept how surprising meditation is - and this is a great skill - the whole process becomes entertaining and absorbing.
There are different phases of the overall rhythm in which you may be totally absorbed in the flow of experience and not "self-conscious" so to speak. You are in a flow state. You may be enchanted by the beauty of breath or motion or a mantra, or you may be lost in thoughts, or absorbed in choreographing a conversation you want to have with someone.
Learn to be tender with yourself in these transitions.
2 or 3 or 8 Phases of the Rhythm
If you want to have 2 phases of the rhythm: rest and action. During meditation, you may notice there are times you are more restful, and times when you are oriented toward action. Because you are meditating, this action takes the form of mental rehearsal. You are practicing action while in a restful state.
3 phases. Even in a brief rest phase, the body attempts to do some repairs and restoring, so a 3 part rhythm is rest — healing — action. This is the Triple Shakti Model: "I love resting, I love healing, I love action."
You can say these are the Three Loves of Shakti because life maintains itself by flowing through these phases.
8 phases or the 8 R's. This is a more nuanced view of the same process.
These are observable rhythms in the dance of life. Get to know them in yourself and learn to notice them in the experience of people you are coaching.
Note that these are rhythms that life is engaged in. Life is a self-renewing phenomenon, which means that it is repairing itself and healing any damage as much as it can in the flow of the day. The Radiance Sutras approach to meditation is that we are cooperating with the evolutionary dynamics of life, the brilliance of the cells.
We notice the rhythms of life during meditation because we are giving in to them.
Skillful meditation is —
Surfing the wave structure of the rhythm of life.
Steven Leonard created this handy chart: As you accept the flow of the R's, one to the other, you learn to continue being deeply restful even while Reviewing, Releasing, and Rehearsing. This is akin to a physical sport, a kind of coordination and skill involving the whole body and mind.
The body and mind learn that there is no need to get stressed over the fact of RELEASING stress.
The R's are driven by the evolutionary energy of life itself. Life is a self-repairing, adaptive flow of brilliance. As you learn to flow with each of the R's, the spaces in-between open up. The transitions from one R to the other become interesting. The way each one manifests in each moment becomes more interesting.
As you learn to flow with each R and perceive it as a form of pranashakti, as a form of the dynamic life force, you gradually perceive the intelligent energy at work in each moment. In this perception, you are meditating on the life force itself, on the brilliance of Shakti, appearing as one of the R's. Thus there are no obstacles to transcendence. Your mind is not "wandering off" and then "returning to your real meditation, which is blankness."
The brilliance of pranashakti is functioning in every one of the R's and in the transitions from one to the other. Life is always wanting to repair itself, tune itself up to enjoy and thrive in this amazing world.