Sitting and Waiting
There is an ancient teaching that says, “Concentration is like water being poured into a pot. It does not pour in a steady stream, but in drops. Meditation is like oil being poured into a pot, it flows in one steady stream towards it’s goal, the vessel.”
One afternoon, in India, Dug and I went for a walk along the river Ganga. We were high in the mountains, in a town called Uttar Kashi. I took off my shoes and found a comfortable rock to sit upon. I started gazing at the water, I felt my breath connect to the water, and then I closed my eyes. I started to focus on my breath, and then my mantra. I don’t know how much time had passed. Somewhere between 20 and 30 minutes perhaps.
“Concentration is the practice of watching the thought forms as they arise and not identifying with them.”
“Meditation is the state where the mind is still and quiet – when concentration on a chosen object of focus becomes one pointed and uninterrupted for some duration. You cannot ‘do’ meditation, but you can do certain practices, like concentration, that may bring about the meditative state.”
When I opened my eyes, I looked to my right, where Dug was sitting recording sounds of the water. He was gone. In his place sat a sadhu, a holy man. He was a quiet renunciate who must have lived in the mountains. At first I was startled. I stood up to find Dug. He was gone! I noticed the holy man’s stillness. More than notice, I felt it. So strong and loving was this man’s quiet, that immediately something in me shifted into quiet.
I thought to myself, ‘Okay, here I am pregnant, way up in the mountains of Northern India, and I think my husband had disappeared’. Somewhat hypnotized by the spiritual energy that surrounded me, I decided rather than fruitlessly letting my mind whirl, that I would sit and wait.
I watched the sadhu. He had opened his eyes at this point. He was whispering quietly. It almost seemed like he was crying. He made hand gestures to the river, slow, quiet motions from his heart to the water and from the water to his heart. I felt that he too was sitting and waiting, just not for something on the material plane.
I realized, watching this holy man, that I guess that’s what we are all doing. And that there is enormous power in sitting and waiting with watchful quiet, with humility, and with love.
Dug returned shortly after. We walked back up to the road together. I felt that I understood a bit more deeply what Sharon Gannon used to say in her classes, that yoga is the path of becoming receptive.