I was asked to teach meditation at the Upper Midwest Druidic Conference this past weekend. It was the first druid event I had ever taught at, and I was a bit nervous, but I felt like I had a lot to share and we easily filled up the two hour slot talking about the challenges and advantages of meditation, the importance of managing willpower, the differences and similarities between trance and meditation and I also shared a number of different meditation techniques. As I have worked with my meditation practice I have created a number of different techniques that I use and have shared. One that I haven’t shared here yet is based on the laws of thermodynamics.
The first law of thermodynamics states that energy cannot be destroyed or created it can only change form.
The second law of thermodynamics states that energy tends toward chaos in a system, or maximum entropy. I read somewhere that if you look at it in terms of information, it can be stated that within a closed system, energy tends towards a more complicated way of being described. For instance, if you have four atoms lined up, that’s an ordered system. It’s also easy to describe. I just did it. But we know, because of the second law of thermodynamics, that those atoms are going to wander off just like unsupervised teenagers. One might go mope in the corner, two will hang out down by the mall and one will just keep wandering around hoping that the moping one will notice how interesting and deep it is. See how much longer it took to describe the four atoms once they got out of line? There’s more information there, even if I take out the teenager references.
That’s a bit of an interesting aside. For the purposes of this meditation all we really need to know is that heat will spread out evenly within a closed system, moving from a place of higher heat to lower heat. In real life we feel that when we pick up a stone and hold it. Usually stones are colder than we are, unless they’ve been sitting in the sun. For the purposes of this exercise, don’t put your rock in the sun. By the way, you will need a rock. It can be any kind of rock, though I prefer rounded river stones for the way they feel in my hand.
In this meditation we will use our knowledge that as we hold a cold stone it will be warmed by our internal heat as a metaphor for the transfer of emotionality. Because we are sensory beings it’s good to invoke the senses when we meditate. In this instance we are using touch.
Okay, so enough science-y stuff. Let’s meditate all ready. Get yourself into a comfortable position: sitting or standing with feet flat on the floor and your spine straight. Hold your stone in your hands.
Close your eyes. Take a deep breath in and then push that air back out forcefully. Take another deep breath in and let that air back out again. Take one more deep breath in and gently let that air and empty your lungs completely. Continue to breath deeply and evenly. Focus your attention on the stone in your hands. Notice how it feels cool and feel yourself warming it with your internal heat. As you warm the stone allow any feeling of stress or anger to flow into it as well. Imagine that you are sending any frustration or pain into the stone as well. Feel the coolness of the stone on your hands and let the peace and stillness of the stone come into your self. Allow yourself to trade the heat of anger for the coolness of peace. Know that the stone does not mind, it is stone, washed by water, eroded by time, slowly becoming soil and earth. This stone is a connection to the Earth Mother herself. Imagine now where this stone might have come from, a mountainside or a riverbed. Imagine yourself there for a moment, having shared the experience of being human with a stone, now share the experience of being a stone. The stone will be warm in your hand now, but that heat will fade once again and the stone will be there when you have need of it. Take one more deep breath in, and out, and when you are ready, open your eyes.
Take your time with this meditation. Part of the metaphor is identifying with the cool stone, which evokes slowness and stillness. You can experiment with different stones and see if one kind or another works better for you. Recently I’ve been working with stone from a mountain I visited this spring.
Here’s a couple of other meditation techniques I’ve written down: