Last night I had dinner with yoga friends. (I love having yoga friends that have dinners!) After, we watched Baraka, which I had not seen. Suffice it to say that yesterday? I desperately needed a distraction (in dinner) and some thoughtfulness (Baraka). I’ve been thinking a lot about trance lately, and I’m not sure if that’s the word to use because trance makes me think of trance of the trance music genre, which is really not my thing. I prefer to experience trance by other means. For the last year or so, I’ve found myself wanting to escape from my analytical mind. I think that grad school has fostered this hyper analytical mind in me, which is great, but because of the intensity of it, I feel imbalanced. Somewhere in between the first and second year of the PhD program, I couldn’t even listen to music because I didn’t feel I could spare the psychic energy. That still may be true, but in the past year, I’ve been letting myself go there more.
The first time I really started to learn and think about a trance-like state was through yoga. The movement of the sun salutations and the pranayama (ujjayi breath) takes me out of my analytical mind and allows me to be more fully in the moment and experiencing my body, movement, sound–thinking and the need to think dissolves. This feels important to me, and it is part of why I have pursued yoga in a significant way. Yoga is one of the few things I’ll spend money on. My part-time job is as a yoga teacher. Some of my most recent friends and last boyfriend came into my life through yoga.
As I began to practice yoga, I also started to learn about meditation. The two go hand in hand. Later, I was asked to teach meditation, which meant I had to learn a lot in a short amount of time. There is still much to learn about meditation, but my meditation classes are based in yoga philosophy (I haven’t ventured beyond that too much). The point of most of my meditation classes is to let go of thinking. We do that through the practice of Om and through some chakra balancing movements. But we also do it through a quiet, motionless meditation. It is not always hard to achieve, and even harder to maintain. But in those moments of meditation, I am out of my analytical mind and at peace.
There is more to say about music, sex, and drugs, but I will leave it at that for now.