My Recipe for Transcendence

I have had moments in my life, “openings, “ if you will, periods out-of-time where I have been able to transcend my small self,  break free of my conditioning, and see new and thrilling possibilities for living a more expanded existence.

These moments have been few, but they’ve been profound.

They have happened

  • On the cushion during meditation retreats
  • During (or more accurately, after) intense yoga practice
  • During “wave work” (a guided pranayama practice)
  • At the top of high mountains

Some of these experiences—like the mountain climbing ones—might be attributed to brain chemistry changes (endorphin rushes).

Certainly pranayama practices (“wave work” being an intense form of this) are reliable vehicles for attaining mind-altering (read: blowing) experiences.

It is harder to explain how cushion sitting works.

The cushion is, for me, a place where the engine (my brain) is allowed to idle until it runs out of gas.  Once all the fuel is used up, it has no other choice but to stop.  When it stops, there is an astonishing clarity that I can only describe as “transcendent.’

Do I live most of my life in this “transcended” state?

I wish.

But no.

But if I wanted to get there, do I know how?  Yeah, I do.

But this is what I try to do:

I try to organize my day, every day, so that I can spend some time “getting high,” (i.e. transcending my ordinary, rat-racey, goofbally, time-obsessed, to-do list-driven, whackadoodle life) by

1) breathing fast many times in a row,

2) moving my body in crazy ways that I think it ought to be able to move, but doesn’t

3)watching the shit storm that rises up in my brain when my body doesn’t move the way I think it should, or want it to

and then

4) sitting very still on a cushion and letting the whole drama, the whole storm die down in my brain.


And that, in a nutshell, is my Recipe for Transcendence.  Try it for yourself.  Feel free to substitute local ingredients and monkey with the proportions.  It’s kinda foolproof.

(So, do I get to add that to my 100 Recipes category,… or not?)

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