It’s a bit early to go to bed, but I’m tired. Something’s bothering me and I don’t want to wake up in a few hours with it still on my mind. I don’t want to lie awake for hours, my mind crawling with thoughts, becoming what the shamans call flyer food. Shamans see flyers as entities that feed off human agitation, and thoughts generate agitated energy. As I drift off to sleep, I ask the universe and my dreaming self to take the “bothersome something” from my mind so I can sleep peacefully.
“Please give me something so I can get through the night without disturbance,” I ask.
Immediately, I am standing in a windy desert. I look down and see an aluminum pie plate in the sand at my feet. I put my thoughts into it, in little bits and pieces like rolled bits of pie dough until the pie plate is filled. The wind, already strong, grows stronger now. I watch, as first one and then another bit of pie dough blow away, then another and another, until all the bits of pie dough have blown away. Then the aluminum pie plate blows away too.
“Oh,” I say, “that’s how I’ll do it. I’ll just keep putting bothersome thoughts into the pie plate and let the desert wind blow them away.”
I go into the desert many times throughout the night and each time I do the pie plate is lying at my feet, once again returned for use. Dropping little thought-clumps onto the pie plate I watch them pile up and then watch as they and the pie plate blow away in the wind. Each time I do this, I am aware of the power of intent to create exactly what is needed. I remark to myself in my dream how well it works and how calm and peaceful I feel. In addition, I notice that the contents of the thought-clumps never materialize in my mind, not even for an instant. I am so intently involved in the process of rolling them up and watching them blow away that they never become real. Thus, my mind is totally empty and at peace.
I sleep deeply. When I wake up in the morning I am calm and well rested. I tell Chuck of my nighttime process.
“It really worked, I slept so soundly,” I say. “I was able to not only sleep deeply but my mind was perfectly empty and calm even when the “bothersome something” arose. I just went through the process as it came to me and let the wind take it. It’s really an excellent mindfulness practice.”
Chuck reminded me that I had mentioned to him the other day that Byron Katie spent a lot of time in the desert after her awakening in 1986, listening to her inner stories, letting the winds take her thoughts, thoughts that came out of her, both her own and those that did not really belong to her personally. Although I live far from the desert, the desert winds appeared just when I needed help too. Who knows what else lies waiting to help us, just for the asking.
To be clear, there’s a huge difference between ridding the mind of bothersome everyday thoughts and what goes on when one is engaged in deep recapitulation. As Byron Katie discovered, she had to encounter her own darkness; in order to heal she had to face everything that came up out of her. In contrast, I just didn’t want useless thoughts interfering with my sleep last night. I had no intention of inviting the flyers to a feeding frenzy.
In addition, I had no intention of going back to or revisiting any thoughts that might arise. I sensed them hovering about, waiting to see if they’d find an opening, and set my intent to do exactly the opposite, to not become available. Instead, I encased them in pie dough, letting them know that they were inconsequential thoughts of no significance and I would give them no energy whatsoever. In letting the wind take everything, including the pie plate, nothing was left behind for the flyers to feed off; no crumbs even to lick clean.
We have to accept that thoughts naturally arise, seeking a place to land. In meditation practice, it’s the eternal process of letting go of thoughts that eventually allows us the experience of peaceful mind, as they drift through our mind without attachment. I see the pie plate and wind of my desert dream as a natural meditation tool. Give it a try; it really does work!
It’s even often appropriate to send thoughts away during recapitulation, but we have to be aware that some of the issues we’re trying to push away will return, no matter how far the wind blows them, until we are done with them. This is because the intent of recapitulation is to heal, totally, and total healing takes many forms, painful and blissful alike. However, I could see using the same practice as a recapitulation tool to send interfering thoughts away that are blocking the truth, or for sending away self-defeating thoughts, old scenarios that are no longer true, as well as the voices of others. It may also help in dealing with the onslaughts of messages from the deeper self that we are just not ready to acknowledge yet.
Once we’ve healed, the flyers leave us alone for the most part, and we are free to dream new dreams.
Passing it on,