I’ve always struggled with my own heaviness during seated meditation. I relax quickly – disconnecting from the body is easy – but I sink, untethered in this way. It’s like being dropped in dark water, and feeling icy, unpredictable currents flowing around my thighs, over the sensitive skin of my upper, inner arms. I can abandon my body, but not the metaphors of pain.
Not having much affinity for Freudian therapy, I don’t believe understanding where it comes from will ever help the feeling go away.
Running is different. I can focus on my breath, and on my body as the point of entry with this world and the source of all my experience. I disconnect by observing connection. Circles of awareness that must include the root-tangled earth, and often include birdsong.
After watching the film To Spring from the Hand, a documentary about the former dancer and potter Paulus Berensohn, I decided to try seated meditation while working with clay.
Pay attention to the breath, he says.
And I do. The breath, and the slowness that comes. The balance of wills: my will and that of the clay. Give and take. Inhale and exhale. My mind through my body, connected to the earth.