To my great delight I am finally allowed to participate in programs at the Space of Good Feeling: Yoga and Meditation, Maribyrnong. Durgananda (my Swami mummy) said I could attend if I was well behaved. Personally I think my behaviour is always exceptional, especially for a cat! This week I attended yoga and Self-inquiry.
Self-inquiry Group (a meditation-type group that explores the relationship between thought and feeling) was a little awkward to begin with. I came into the room and said hello to everyone. They were happy to see me and very inviting but as I rubbed up against everyone I thought they seemed a little strange. I settled myself down by the heater. I really like the warmth and I needed a little bit of protection as this was all very new to me. There was a slightly turbulent energy in the room, so I curled myself up, into a very, very tight ball and waited to see what would happen.
Durgananda led the room in a guided meditation during which we looked into our inner world to see what was going on. She was a bit like a tour guide. I found her voice very soothing and meditative. We focused on four energy centres in the body; the navel, heart, throat and third eye. I think I may have even felt them but I wasn’t quite sure. Following the meditation, each person gave a short report about what was happening in their inner world; which chakra felt the best and which one felt the worst. I think my attention was in my navel and third eye. But mainly I was just watching and observing to see how Self-inquiry works – and if it works.
Durgananda now asked the group which of us wanted to ‘play’. For a moment I got very excited. I wanted to play. But then I realised it wasn’t the type of playing I was used to. I thought we might all chase balls of paper around the room, but it turned out that ‘playing’ in Self-inquiry is actually talking about your own inner world, describing the main feeling that is blocking our energy and sharing a little of the story that relates to it. The fun in this game is subtle. It is to chase negative feelings and to turn them into positive ones through the power of language, or matrika.
I dozed off a bit during this (Natji did as well, so I figured it was ok) and my dreams were full of changing images where I was aware of the room but not quite in it. I may not have been asleep but it felt a lot like sleep. Durgananda said I was actually in a meditative state called tandra. During these dreams I felt a lot of energy. I think the energy I was feeling was also moving around the room as people played. My body would twitch and switch around. I think this is called a kriya, which is a spontaneous movement of energy. Interestingly, while this was happening, I found myself unravelling from the tight ball I had started in.
When I woke up a little more I was given the opportunity to play. I discovered I had a slight feeling in my navel, a bit like a burning pebble. At first I thought it might have been the tuna I had for dinner but then I noticed it seemed a little more subtle and not quite as gassy. I was given a few statements to try on. My A-statement (accurate statement of present feeling) was: I want to do things and I want to chase possums. I discovered I also had a frustration in my navel that related to communication. No matter how hard I insist, or how much I want something, the outer world does not always bend to my desire. I think this must be the feeling that a lot of humans have. Sometimes I am able to get around this frustration by finding an open window when all the doors are closed but usually a human finds me first and I don’t get what I want; then the tension in my navel builds.
My B-statement (beneficial statement or feel better statement) was: I surrender, I let go my desires; the possums will still be there tomorrow. I was really surprised by this. I thought a B-statement would be about getting what I want, when I want it. But maybe, in order to keep the space of good feeling, I have to learn how to go with the flow of energy. Perhaps by not following the pull of desire in my navel, I will find peace.
My G-statement (a bigger picture perspective that God, a Guru or a Great Being might take in order to align our vision with a higher, more universal, understanding) was: My nature is svatantrya, freedom. I thought “Yes, that’s true”, even though I am only sometimes let outside, I can always feel the feeling of freedom inside myself. When I feel like that, I don’t mind where I am or what I’m doing. I just feel good and I don’t even care about the possums. Maybe this language thing, which humans insist on using, actually can be a means to transform negative feeling into positive feeling?
By the end of the group I felt fabulous. All the tension I was carrying in my body had dissolved; I gave a big sigh and stretched out like I had never stretched before, which is rather surprising as, being a cat, I am very experienced in stretching. What deep and wonderful freedom!
The Self-inquiry Group was over and the energy was ecstatic. Natji said he felt a lot of Shakti, or spiritual energy, in the room. I was definitely full of joy and love and the spiritual energy was exploding out of me. Sometimes I think us cats can feel Shakti much more clearly than humans. You see, we just feel what’s there and we don’t complicate things by trying to work out what we ‘should’ be feeling or ‘could’ be feeling. We just ‘be’ with what we are feeling which, at that moment, for me, was what I now know as Shakti.
I was so tremendously full of life after group. I felt more energy than I could imagine having. As people left I raced around the room. Durgananda then told me that I will have to learn how to contain and hold the Shakti in my inner world because this energy is the Kundalini energy. The Kundalini will transform my inner world and make me into Cat Number Seven, a Self-realised cat.
After everyone left, I took the opportunity to leap onto the puja – I could feel that the energy was particularly strong in this part of the room. I grabbed a flower and threw it across the room, pursuing it as quickly as I could. I swatted and shook it between my teeth until all the petals scattered all over the carpet. I was overjoyed. I thought the room looked fabulous covered in rose petals. Unfortunately, when Durgananda returned she did not agree.
I offered to help clean up, and even tried to, but my presence was not wanted. Durgananda removed me from the room and I went to the windowsill to sulk. Feeling quite dejected, I began to wash myself. As a gazed out at the Maribyrnong river I realised that I didn’t want to remain feeling like this. Natji came over and reminded me of my shifting statement in the Self-inquiry group, and I tried to get in touch with that feeling of surrender and letting go of my immediate desires. Again, this process worked, my navel centre softened and I was happy again. I’m learning that I don’t always have to have the outer world the way I want it; I would rather have the space of good feeling in my inner world.
Even though my behaviour was a little extreme after the Self-inquiry group, I hope I will still be allowed to attend next week’s group. I love watching and experiencing how language transforms energy – contraction to expansion, worry into good feeling, frustration into peace. I definitely want more of this!