Last night I went to meditation class at Flow Yoga with Hugh Byrne. I came in with my head filled with what I call “negative loops.” These are things that I am repeating to myself, almost unconsciously, that become a kind of depressive whirlpool that pulls me down. I had had a busy day at work and felt dismayed at some of the mistakes that I had made in my writing and thinking. I felt that I should not be making those kind of mistakes at this stage of my career (life). I ragged myself for not drawing back and appling some kind of mindful craft to break out of my flaws. When I was walking from work to the studio, this thinking kept spinning.
After Hugh had made his opening remarks at the session, he started us into the meditation phase and suddenly the room’s ventilation turned on. Because the studio is being remodeling, the fans really come through unmuffled, like storms winds through a broken window. Hugh at first seemed disconcerted by the noise that, at first glance, seemed not suitable for contemplative silence, but then he asked us, fighting to make his voice heard, to focus our attention on the noise itself, to explore it, to come to terms with it and to welcome it into our awareness.
Meanwhile, my negative loops were still clicking away inside my head, keeping me from settling into a calm foundation. But when I started integrating the ventilation noise into my focus, it seemed to counterbalance and nullify the negative loops. As the practice move along, I seemed to be buoyed on these opposing currents: it was not a static peace but a dynamic equilibrium that left my mind aware and refreshed.