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9 friends meditation

Updated: Mar 24, 2022

beach: study the map, memorize the friends

waterline: assume a comfortable meditative position

lagoon: greet each friend; take as long as you want; feel free to make gentle adjustments;

  1. sense posture

  2. sense pulse

  3. sense breath

  4. sense body

  5. sense smile

  6. sense companionship

  7. sense suffering

  8. sense acknowledgement

  9. sense ocean

seasick: greet a friend; any friend or combination of friends will do; take as long as you want; when you're ready, head back to sea

drowning: return to the lagoon; greet as many friends as you want; stay as long as you want; when you're ready, head back to sea

done: bow gently 10 times; the 10th friend is you

brief guidance:

  1. posture - balanced, aligned, open, soft; give the heart a nice perch to gaze from

  2. pulse - feel the rhthym

  3. breath - if the breath feels stuck or erratic, breathe: belly, nose, ahhhhh

  4. body - sense specific areas, & generally

  5. smile - smile naturally & comfortably

  6. companionship - feel free to get creative & cut loose; see if you can make yourself glow & chuckle

  7. suffering - recognize the four aspects occurring; let them come, go, & be

  8. acknowledgement - yes is a healing fire: let it roar!

  9. ocean - enjoy this opportunity to rest within experience; trust your friends to be there when you seek them

extended guidance:

  1. posture - do a body scan, as slowly as feels comfortable, & invite your posture to naturally gravitate toward a healthy form; if sitting starts to become uncomfortable, switch to lying down or standing, & feel free to rotate throughout the session;

  2. pulse - explore the heart space, feel free to play around: count pulses & see how high you can go without losing track; try to notice variability in your heart rhythms; let your pulse be a drumbeat & enjoy the music

  3. breath - explore the breath, feel free to play around: count breaths & see how high you can go without losing track; try different breathing styles; on your exhale, generate a steady vibration in your mouth, your throat, your chest, or your belly

  4. body - feel your body from within; if the center feels too intense, work your way outward, all the way to the tips of your fingers & toes, then gradually back inward; feel your bones, your muscles, your skin, your organs, your fluids, your nerves; feel the general sense of your body, its vibrancy & aliveness; if areas feel dense, numb, etc., gently feel around & into those spaces

  5. smile - the smile can be hard, especially if your mood is funky; smile however feels natural, & invite the smile to grow; try using gently spreading hand motions to help coax your smile out of hiding; if you're struggling, try this game: (1) starting with a poker face, let a smile dawn on your face as slowly & steadily as possible; if you lose focus & the smile sags, good, resume from there; if you reach maximum smile intensity, wink, & let the smile gradually return to poker face (2) maintaining poker face, play the same game with the heart: let the heart smile as gradually & steadily as possible; play around, explore what a heart smile feels like (3) starting both face & heart at poker face, let them dawn smiles in tandem, as slowly & steadily as possible

  6. companionship - feel free to cut loose & really go for it here; no expectations, no rules, no limits; make it a playful game where you see if you can get yourself to smile & laugh, the way you might try to cheer up a child or friend who's feeling down; play beloved songs or movie clips in your head (a favorite go-to song of mine is "Oh Yeah" by Mello, helps soften & lighten my mood); speak in a silly voice or use an accent; reminisce about good times; offer words of praise, congratulations, & encouragement; say warm words like "love," "harmony," "peace," & "friendship"; if you're having trouble breaking the ice, try saying: "I forgive...I trust...I forgive...I trust..."

  7. suffering - be a birdwatcher of suffering; be a coinnoisseur of its sometimes subtle aspects; sense them occurring in your body & stay with the sensations as long as you comfortably can; we create more suffering when we fight it, indulge it, or ignore it; practice the great art of attending to your suffering intimately, receptively, & respectfully

  8. acknowledgement - try to say "yes" as silently & inwardly as you can; then say it as loudly & expressively as feels comfortable; then explore the full range in between; yes is a balm, a medicine, a liberator, a bottomless friend; ignite the fire of yes & let it roar;

  9. ocean - the ocean is where the deepest discoveries & healings occur; it can also be the most difficult friend to stay with for long; let yourself drift, & let yourself return to the other friends as often as you want; the poet Rumi wrote "be silent / only the hand of God / can remove / the burdens of your heart"; the spiritual teacher Echkart Tolle said: "You cannot transform yourself...All you can do is create a space for transformation to happen, for grace and love to enter"; the ocean is that sacred silence, that transformative space; come & go, come & go;

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