Who knew silence and stillness could bring such joy?

August 5, 2019 by Joshua
in Awareness

Thrive Global is launching a meditation podcast and asked its contributors, including me, to write stories on meditation. I updated my 2009 post Jumping for Joy. The new story is also called Jumping for Joy.

My Thrive Global piece begins . . .

By the second day at a recent five-day silent meditation retreat, the mental static of everyday thoughts had mostly passed.

Silent meant the whole shebang: no reading, writing, talking, internet, or anything but instruction and focus. Intense and challenging but rewarding, in my experience.

The 9am session switched techniques from focusing on breathing to body scans, observing sensations. After one or two scans I found I could hardly sense anything subtler than, say, my shirt on my shoulders. Frustrating.

I sensed how tense my whole back, shoulders, and neck were. I could only sense any nuance in my back muscles around the bottom of my rib cage. Sensations from areas around the inner muscles were hidden by the tension in the outer ones.

When I focused, I could feel the outer muscles relax. I moved my back to experience the relaxation. That motion revealed tension higher up previously masked by tension in lower muscles. As I relaxed each higher muscle, I could sense the tension in the next set of muscles.

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