Refusing the Call is Part of the Dance

Whenever we feel the need to renew ourselves or gain greater access to our inner and outer resources, we are on the path of adventure. Even when we push away the felt sense of need, saying, "I'll deal with that later," or "I don't have time," we are in mythic territory. Most of the time, it seems, we have to refuse the call. We need to be attending to the outer world. But sometimes, the inner world has a gift right now – an intuition, a quiet or intense feeling – that can help us cope better.

Learning the balance of this inner and outer is a great skill.

We are always catching our inner life in the midst of some mess. Meditation is often like walking in on a friend with her hair in curlers, newspapers strewn about on the floor, in the midst of this and that.

The Inward Phase

The pull to go within can be called the "inward phase" of meditation. It is characterized by:

increasing restfulness
breathing becomes regular and slows
perception shifts to subtler levels
absorption in internal process
increasing internal quiet
moving toward silence
objects of focus fade away
awake inside, noticing the spaces between thoughts

The Outward Phase

The pull to attend to action, to plan and choreograph future actions can be called the "outward phase" of meditation.

increasing restlessness
increasing mental activity
activated physical (involuntary movement)
breathing faster
lost in thoughts
release of tension
emotional release
repair work on the body
sleep or blanking out
emerging into thought

Rhythms of Experience