Practice Pages
Meditation as Inner Travel
Dr. Lorin Roche

What happens when I meditate?

I close my eyes
… and instantly I am flying through space
Toward an unknown destination.
Then I take a breath and realize,
Ok this is normal, this is just reality,
This Earth itself is flying through space
At over 60,000 miles an hour,
And our galaxy is spiraling at 1.3 million miles an hour.
That’s how fast we are moving when sitting still.

Another breath and suddenly
Millions of multicolored meteors
Are shooting in all directions.
What is this?
Oh yeah, just the brain doing its thing, 80 billion neurons,
Each connecting with ten thousand friends, all of them chatting away, singing to each other and laughing
As they build my virtual reality.

How is a person to get some inner peace around here?

In the next breath I am falling, descending into
The world of trillions of little bits of something
Vibrating away in quiet luminosity.
Aha, this must be some kind of cellular awareness.
The human body is about 100 trillion cells,
Give or take a few.
And they are all pulsating as they do their job of sustaining life.

Out of this chaos condenses my to-do list.
I am lost in a long sequence of chores and tasks,
Mental movies of intricate step-by-step actions
That are calling for completion.

Another breath my entire being enters a state of awe
At simply existing. All of this improbable magic.
A beautiful lively hum fills me
With something better than silence.

I open my eyes, grateful that the outer world is still here.


Space itself is expanding

Was already flying but had not noticed
This goes on for an aeon
What is this?
Oh actually I am sitting still
As still as a trillion trillion vibrating molecules can be
It is the Earth that is flying through infinite space.
I’ve got it easy.

Swirling chaotic flows
Trillions of items to be sorted

Another breath,
I am sitting on the side of a hill
Overlooking a valley in Tibet,
And I have been meditating here for a thousand years.
I am a mote of awareness. A microscopic dot.

Then I accept another breath
And on the outer level all that has happened is I have settled into the cushion.

Another breath informs me
I am on a hillside somewhere eternal
I am in a valley in Tibetan Himalayas
I have always been here
A particle of awareness, watching

Space is expanding
Then I take a deeper breath

Take a breath and notice
My spine has lengthened a bit.

The earth is beneath me
Immensely steady and friendly as always

What’s happening when I meditate?
I never know in advance
Each microsecond is new and surprising

from one second to the next

This whole world is always inviting me
And you
To take our refreshment everywhere

I am standing on the surface of the Sun
Feeling refreshed

I open my eyes
And all this is dancing around me

I close my eyes
And I am seeing far into space
Space is a song

I settle a bit on the cushion and realize
I am sitting here and I am on a sphere that is flying through infinite space
And have always been
This is normal
This is what here actually is
And always has been

I am in a long sequence of thoughts
Lining up the action sequence
Deeply involved in sorting papers on my desk
This goes on for hours
And then I am surprised to find I am breathing
It has been maybe a minute of clock time

When the first people stood on the moon and looked back at Earth, they said: "We came all this way to explore the moon, and the most important thing is that we discovered the earth."
— William Anders (He is, along with Apollo 8 crewmates Frank Borman and Jim Lovell, one of the first three persons to have left Earth orbit and traveled to the Moon (of only 24 people to date).)

one of the great things about travel is that it opens the apertures, the senses open wide
Human beings are always exploring, and the fulfillment of this exploring is to discover what home is. 

We are always exploring. this is what human beings do. The fulfillment of this exploring is to discover where we are and what home is, what OM is.

Meditation is an entirely customizable experience. 

two urges
GET ME OUT OF HERE  - this headache, cubicle, stress, boredom, humdrum

there is journeying across space, journeying in time, and journey in consciousness.

I have two totally conflicting desires: I love to travel, and I love to be at home. Fortunately, meditation satisfies both.

When you open your eyes after meditating, does the world look fresh and a sense of novelty? If not, you may not be doing the right kind of meditation for your type.

interplay of opposites
being truly at home, in yourself, your base, then traveling in time and space
is your meditation truly home? 

Meditation is accepting the urge to travel, inward to rest in your own essence, and then be changed. 

in order to travel, you need a home in yourself.
The travel sutra.
keep moving.
BE there.
Don't be here, let your here expand to being THERE also.
which sutra is that?


TRAVEL - seeing the world with new eyes, hearing with new ears, feeling with new skin 
Seeing the World With New Eyes
New Skin

Meditation is time travel and sensual travel. 

The world is becoming more the same. A hotel on the beach anywhere in the world has a lot of similarity. 

Fresh startling
in meditation, you are invited to perceive each breath, sensation, sound, color, texture, as new, fresh, surprising. A fresh revelation of pranashakti. This happens if you let it, if you allow naturalness to be your guide. 

When I open my eyes after meditating, it's a new world. Everything glows a little. Sounds are sweeter. 

If your world does not look and feel fresher after meditating, you may not be doing the kind of meditation that supports your life. 

Buddha said, Monks, I have given you 84,000 different techniques. 

Talk about traveling - "going forth into homelessness."

The meditation traditions are like a combo food store and drug store. There is something for every need.
Thousands of techniques. For every need. Like a medical toolkit. Anesthesia, amputation, things to induce vomiting. Commit suicide. Things to do if you are trapped in a cave at 16,000 feet with no food. A complete drugstore. 
there are life-supporting meditations
life denying. to create boredom, fatigue with the world, "I am outta here."
The ancients recorded every superstition, every terrifying fear. 
In the Old Testament, you are supposed to stone a woman.

When the Dalai Lama was at UCLA in 1997, he read The Precious Garland. How to break up with life. Cultivating disgust. Why would you need to do this?

The Inner Astronaut

Launch pad is your cave. Leave earth behind and shoot into space, never to return. That's yoga. In Buddhism, there is the thought, Except as a Bodhisattva. 

In a sense, there are not really "life-supporting" and "life-denying" meditations, it is just "What supports your life, your dharma, your path?" Because maybe your path is to go to the Himalayas, get accepted to a lamasery, then go up to a cave and get bricked in, to meditate until you leave the body. The repertoire of possible meditative techniques includes this, and every other possible life path as well. 

The Play of opposites: being at home and traveling

What is true for you? What works for your life? If you have been born into this time, which subset of all possible meditations supports your daily life, so that you thrive?
Dr. Oz, like most doctors, is very minimal on the medications for his own body. If he has a headache, he drinks a glass of water, because most headaches are caused by dehydration. Only if it does not go away after half an hour. 

For some, die to the old self in order to see the world anew. The path of the monk or nun.
For Path of Intimacy, see this world fresh. See your lover new each moment. Take a walk to the restaurant and feel new. 

Meditation is a complex state with many rhythms and components. A lot happens in a short time. 

For the path of intimacy. Because you only have 20 minutes. Half an hour, in an out. You have to be good to go.

You will probably be tempted to try to suppress:

- action rehearsal
-running through your to-do list


Lie down in a dark room at 2 in the afternoon. If you fall asleep, you have a sleep debt.
Don't hurry or constrain you attention during meditation. If you are casual, you may begin to perceive afresh.
Sleep more.

Catch up on your sleep.
Don't look at screens an hour before bed.

allow sorting during meditation. If you want more quiet time during, then make time before meditating to catch up on your sorting.
the Vacation effect - you arrive on a beach in Tahiti and immediately find yourself drifting to unsolved problems at work. This is natural.

The way to fix that is to do the clearing in advance.

There is no maid you can pay to clean your mind for you. You have to do it yourself. About half of meditation is the equivalent of sorting socks.

Salute all your senses. 
Taste things.
get a massage then meditate.
take a nap then meditate.

Let your mind wander. Encourage it. Have something beautiful, gorgeous to return to.
There is this big thought that meditation is supposed to be boring.

pranava rising fresh
prana is a breath of fresh air
don't impose stale concepts on yourself. Mindfulness. No one concept works for everyone. 
I am very Hinduized. I felt at home with Tantra the instant I first heard word, the moment I first saw Tantric art. Most Americans probably are not at all at home with Hinduism.

What is refreshing?
vigorous pranayama
don't control anything. If you release all control and allow your mind to just be itself - infinite.

don't make a boring script. 
it takes relaxation, confidence and skill to allow each moment to be surprising.

Altering the balance of your senses can be quite a change, traveling while in place.

Is your meditation truly yours?
Let go of anything that is not you. Any rules you have imposed on yourself. 
What ideas are collecting dust in your mind and heart?
Face your unpleasant emotions.

You can't escape by leaving. You can get to Nepal and find yourself worrying about the same things. 
Give yourself permission to dream. 

dancing is meditation for people like us
meditation can feel like dancing

traveling, journey across the ocean, mountains, desert
area traveled
passage or progress from one stage to another

excursion jaunt, tour, expedition

Word Origin & History

early 13c., auenture "chance, fortune, luck," from O.Fr. auenture, from L. adventura (res) "(a thing)about to happen," from adventurus, future participle of advenire "to come about," from ad- "to" + venire"to come" (see venue). Original meaning was "to arrive," in Latin,

I’d had it wrong before, when I’d seen the dog teams as saints on the cusp of a religious vision. It was the opposite. Visionaries are trying to escape into something larger. Mushers are heading into something larger that they have to escape. They’re going into the vision to show that they can come out of it again. The vision will be beautiful, and it will try to kill you. And (oh by the way) that doesn’t have to be the last word. That’s why you go to the end of the world — to see whether you’re still there.