Even in a nice, long sit that feels really good, there’s still a lot going on. For me, it’s a layered experience. The metaphor that immediately comes to mind is an active volcano. There’s billowing steam and smoke at the top, swirling and mixing and following chaotic courses — maybe exploding forcefully once in a while. There’s searing fire and magma in the middle, coursing forth, destroying old formations and making new ones, throwing off smoke and steam as it hisses and seethes. And there’s ancient, solid, unmoving bedrock at the bottom, formed by processes far more dramatic than all this. It abides for eons.
What I want to say about that state of meditation — from this place of analytical writing-mind — is that it’s like having multiple experiences at once. That’s not skillful language, though; if meditation reveals those layers to experience, they’re probably present in all experiences, aren’t they? So it’s more skillful to say that there are multiple layers of awareness available throughout our human experience, and the active, survival-oriented lens of our attention sweeps through them constantly, but it takes effort and concentration to see them simultaneously. Usually, we’re too freaked out for that. This is why meditation can provide us with insight.
Naturally, it’s tiring to sustain that expansive attention! The posture is very important to enduring this experience, which is why I recommend a knees-down, three-pointed sitting posture if physically possible. That stable, triangular seat embodies volcano consciousness. The legs and core are the mountain. The heart is the magma flow. The head is the billowing cloud. Embodying this whole volcanic system shows how each layer interacts and affects the others, driving planetary changes.
When you get up from your seat, don’t forget: You aren’t some floating, disembodied mind — you’re a volcano that moves!