When I committed to going at least once to ‘Dynamic Meditation‘ as a gesture of support towards a friend fundraising for a good cause, all I knew was that it was something to do with movement and an alternative to the sitting meditation that I, like so many, find challenging to the point of avoidance. I have always preferred to get my dose of meditation via a bit of yoga, or being aware of my feet on the ground as I walk through the park and inhale deeply into the bottom of my lungs and slowly out again. ‘I am here, now.’
What is immediately apparent about the DM facilitators, Chetna and Swaram, is the lack of fucks they obviously give. About the general absurdity of human existence and most definitely about what you might think of this voodoo dancing/howling shebang for which they ooze passion – and humour. ‘You can’t tell your boss he’s a wanker in the office, so say it here, scream it out, release it!’ cackles Chetna with a gloriously fuck-free sparkle in her eyes.
The sequence is an hour long and comprises:
- 10 minutes of mad breathing out through the nose (creating chaos in the body)
- 10 minutes of screaming, swearing, crying, calling your boss a c**t, whatever floats your boat (more chaos)
- 10 minutes of jumping up and down with your arms in the air chanting a chant that I’ll describe as ‘Ooh’, like a monkey sound. Appropriate because here is where your demon monkey mind will most try to talk you out of continuing with this shit: let’s just walk out and leave these weirdos to it, there’s that cute pub round the corner we saw on the way in, Christ my calves hurt – why are they screaming at me to keep jumping when I’m obviously about to die here? Fuck this!
- 10 minutes of complete stillness. It reminds me of that childhood game where you’re dancing and whatnot then suddenly have to stop and freeze in the exact position you’re in. Actually it’s precisely like that. There’s also silence for the first time here; the crazy drumming music I find myself describing as ‘shamanic’ has stopped and will give way to gentle, body-swaying tones when the 10 minutes are up
- 10 minutes of hippy dancing to hippy music. My first session of Dynamic Meditation was in a moment where a new, raw layer of grief had been rising in me following the death of my older brother almost five years ago and I shit you not, I was dancing with him for the last 10 minutes of this thing. Maybe it was the weeks of work burnout, heart-pumping anxiety and crappy chemical sleep I’d been experiencing leading up to it, maybe it was my empty stomach and low blood sugar, maybe it was something shamans mostly know about and I’ll talk about another time. But I laughed and cried simultaneously under my blindfold like the demented creature I am proud to be as I swayed and swung with my curly-haired spirit guide. Oh yeah – blindfolds are worn during this voodoo, I should have mentioned before 😀
I’ve now been to four Dynamic Meditation sessions and it’s becoming more and more obvious to me that there is a lot, *a lot*, to be said for ‘pushing through’, and I’m not even talking about times of crisis when you’re on your knees in despair, howling to whatever gods you might muster for some reprieve from the agony that is your own mind.
I can’t do this, says your mind. Push through. I’m hungry, I’ll pass out – push through. I’m mostly a calm and sorted person, I don’t need this. Push through. I’d prefer to sit and read a book about mindfulness and continue to appreciate it cerebrally rather than with every fibre of my feeble human body that cries out to me daily for movement, enactment of all this shit I’m reading about and in the process glimpsing truth like glitter on some party girl’s face on the tube. Push through.
With Dynamic Meditation specifically, they say after three sessions you feel something change. Maybe for me it was mind over matter, but the prophecy came true and I started to sleep naturally again. Terror of the unknown lurks on the outskirts of my consciousness as ever, but it has ceased keeping me awake for the moment.
I am here, now.