The Return to Interiority

The Return to Interiority

Even though I get melancholy when the season changes from summer to fall, and even more so when it changes from fall to winter, I have to admit that I really do love the return to interiority.

I just read a piece in Elephant Journal by a woman who went to a retreat at Kripalu and decided that she didn’t want to be alone with her “Self” after all.

That’s not me. Not at all. Me? I need solitude, a strong daily dose of it. When I am too much the “social butterfly” I become lost and scattered and my “self” starts pixelating beyond recognition.

In the Stephen Cope book I am reading now, I underlined this: (he is talking about Robert Frost here.)

“He intuited that he needed a life set close to nature–nature, which had always been his muse. Frost was intuitively aware of an important principle: In the cultivation of dharma, there is nothing more important than understanding what conditions are needed, and relentlessly creating them.” (p.81-2)

This has made me think about what conditions I need, and to try to actively create them. Do you know what conditions make you feel like you are living like your True Self?

As a result of reading this, I have instituted a new morning routine. I now get up a little earlier and make myself a cup of decaf . But instead of sitting down at the computer and checking email and Facebook, which was my usual habit, I now take my cup up to my Space Chair, turn on the little heater, and settle in with my book for an hour.

Winterized Space Chair

I can’t tell you how cozy and delightful this is! It seems like I’ve been whining forever about how I need  more time to read, and here it is. Now, instead of leaving my book to the end of the day, when I am toast, I am reading in the front part of the day, when I am rested, alert and receptive.

After an hour’s read, I go and make myself some amaranth cereal and bring it back up into my cozy lair and start alternately scribbling in my journal and shoveling cereal into my mouth.

When another hour has passed, I am good to go: ready to be physically active and socially engaged.

These may not be all my “conditions” but they are certainly key: solitude, reading, and writing.

Do you know what yours are? Care to share?

Space Chair

I am playing catch-up with Photo-A-Day. I have missed: Chair,  Garden, and today’s prompt, Lunch.

Chair is an easy one for me because I have a Space Chair. I call it that after Eckart Tolle’s idea of “space consciousness” which, if I understand it, means the act of becoming aware of what you are doing while you are doing it, or in other words, “becoming the witness.”

So, for example it would not be: “I am aware that I am typing on a keyboard.” No. That would be object consciousness.”

Space consciousness is more like: “I am aware that I am aware that I am typing on a keyboard.”

So what does all this have to do with “Chair?”

I don’t know, all I know is that when I sit in this chair, I start ruminating, or reading about things like that.

Space Chair

This is my Space Chair. It’s in my bedroom, which means that it’s not in a public room in the house, so when I sit in it and read, and think, and write, and meditate, nobody else is in the room with me.

I don’t have any electronics in my bedroom (except for my Zen alarm clock) so any electronic-y thing I bring in there is a deliberate choice. And I do bring electronics in there, namely my laptop.

I write my 750 words there on most days. I read there. A few years ago I sat and did Holosync there every day for over 450 days.

I scribble in countless journals while sitting in that chair.


The chair itself is one of those Poang chairs from Ikea. My first Space Chair was a Papasan chair, but I upgraded. This Poang is very comfy and conducive to relaxation, especially with the ottoman.

The picture above is what it looks like now, in July, but in the winter I drape a Woolrich blanket over it which makes it much more cozy to snuggle in. (The dog sleeps there in the winter. Dogs know the coziest places to sleep.)

Winterized Space Chair

Virginia Woolf said that every woman needed a room of her own. I totally agree. But I think that every woman also needs a Space Chair in that Room of Her Own. Every person (not just women) need a place to go where they can shut the door and be alone. Everyone needs a room with a door that closes where it is possible to sit and be transported out of object consciousness  and into that special kind of awareness where awareness itself becomes the main event.

2012 Reading List

Today I gathered together the books I intend to read this year and amassed them next to my winterized Space Chair for this photo-op.

Winterized Space Chair

It’s a good list, I think, but a long one.

reading list (with Vishuda)

(Vishuda is my gargoyle hand puppet, in case you were wondering.)

The 2012 stack

I have had these books in my possession for a long time but have not “gotten around” to them.

One, the Tantra one, I read awhile ago but feel the  need to re-read now that I have been through so many trainings.

I have also started the Daniel Ingram book multiple times. I have gotten through one chapter doing the exercises in the Contemplative Photography book, as well.

So here’s my rather daunting  list from top to bottom:

Yoga Spandakarika

The Spiritual Teachings of Ramana Maharshi

The Great Good Place

Bringing Home the Dharma

What We Say Matters

A Path With Heart

Tantra: Path of Ecstasy

Transformational Speaking

Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha

Yoga Body

The Beauty of Different

The Practice of Contemplative Photography

The Practical Encyclopedia of Feng Shui

If you made a reading list for this year, care to share?

Space Chair

I have a “Space Chair.”  Do you?

Everyone needs a Space Chair.  Virginia Woolf claimed every woman needed a room of her own. I don’t really need a room, all I need is my Space Chair.

My Space Chair isn’t something I ordered from Brookstone. It doesn’t give me a Shiatsu massage. It doesn’t vibrate me to orgasm. It doesn’t have speakers built into the headrest.

My Space Chair has a lot of dog hair on it. I bought it at Pier 1 for $80. It’s a papasan chair, –you know, one of those bowl-like chairs college kids buy for their first apartments.  I bought the ottoman, too (always get the ottoman.)

It’s in my bedroom. I sit in it to meditate. The dog likes to sleep on it at night so before I go to bed I lay a beach towel on it for her.  In the morning I take off the furry beach towel, and it magically transforms back into my Space Chair.

I call it a Space Chair because it’s the place where I go to access “space consciousness.”

“Space consciousness” is an Eckhart Tolle-ism. It’s short for that head space you get into when you ask yourself: “Who is watching this effed up “movie of me” that’s running nonstop in my brain?”

The answer?  “I am.”

“And who, pray tell, is this “I am” who is watching?”

And that is the question that short- circuits the brain, and blows up the movie.

That’s the question that doesn’t have an answer. That’s the question that starts the experience.

And it is this experience that Tolle calls “space consciousness.”

So that’s why I call his pet-hair-infested chair from Pier 1, my “Space Chair.”  It’s my teleportation device into space consciousness, and as such it’s the most magical piece of furniture in my house.

My friend Joan Tollifson who I used to sit Zen with a long time ago, has a chair in her house she calls a ‘Bliss Chair.”  (She describes it in one of her books.  I think it’s this one.)

It was her only piece of furniture for a long time when she moved to Chicago from New York. She placed this chair in front of her living room window and sat in it and just stared out the window.  Eventually the staring morphed into the “Bliss” state.

You see, it’s not really the furniture that brings on these altered states (though the orgasmic shiatsu massage chair from Brookstone might), but it’s rather the ritual activities that are performed in these chairs.

Joanie sits and stares and finds bliss. I put on headphones and listen to state-of-the-art brainwave technology to access my space consciousness.

It’s all the same, and it’s all good.

Everybody needs a Space Chair, I think.  Everybody needs a place to go and sit and ask the important question about who is responsible for this crappy head movie.

And everybody needs the brain blow-up that results.

Call this experience “Space,” call it “Bliss.”  Everybody, every day, needs to pull the plug.

Don’t you think?