Annie's Journey into Being

iRest feels like coming home.

To yourself, just as you are;

to this moment, just as it is,

without fixing or changing;

to every emotion, thought, sensation, image, memory that is arising…

to welcoming all that is this life we have been gifted.

Annie: me in Joshua Tree National park, Feb. 2017 after my iRest Level 2 Training. 

Annie: me in Joshua Tree National park, Feb. 2017 after my iRest Level 2 Training. 

I came to iRest in November of 2015 after some personal life turmoil and I am so grateful for this practice. It reshaped the grief, pain, hurt and anger that I was experiencing, into emotions that I could process and welcome without having to “do” anything. Since then, I’ve practiced meditation daily and I am so grateful to have found the practice that felt like home to me.
No experience necessary - you simply find a comfortable lying down position to stay in for 40 minutes while I guide you through the practice. I hope you come and experience the wholeness that is already within!

Path of Meditation, By Annie Marcum

Today the curtain is dark. Completely obstructing anything that may lay beyond it. All he can see are the folds of the fabric, lightly swaying with the blow of AC that comes intermittently. Each day is spent much the same way. Watching the curtain, wondering what may be hidden behind its dense fabric, wondering if this is really all there is. The curtain does not seem to notice him at all. Perhaps the curtain needs to be appeased, he thinks. If I can get on the curtains good side, if I can do something it likes, perhaps it will slowly part open. Perhaps I can find the right way to convince the curtain to trust me, to allow me to see beyond, that I can handle it. He continues to brainstorm as the curtain stays closed, dark and heavy, just the slightest movement at the very bottom near the vents. It continues like this.

It continues, he watches and wonders. Thinking if he can only find the right way, the curtain will open and his life will really begin, it will finally make sense. If the curtain opens, he will feel a sense of purpose, of belonging, an understanding of his place in the world and what he is meant to do with this life. Until the curtain opens, he is stuck. He must stay in this loop of hoping and waiting and watching, waiting for the moment his life will really begin, feeling like it’s just out of reach. 

It wasn’t always like this. There was a time before he even noticed the curtain. He lived as he thought he should, in the ways he was told to live, following in the path that seemed necessary to follow, the same as everybody else. Day in, day out, not really noticing much else except the ways in which he was expected to behave and act, and he did those, as did the others. This was just the way that it was. No one was meant to question anything or look outside themselves and their directed path. This was just the way it was.

But then it happened. One moment, without warning, the curtain parted. It was brief yet felt like the longest, most full moment of his life. The curtain parted and he felt his own existence dissolve. The path, the intended trajectory he was meant to go on, the others… everything fell away and he was just being. There. With himself, as himself, and fully outside of himself, all at the same time. Had he ever noticed the curtain before? Had it been there, closed, this whole time? Why hadn’t he been watching, waiting for this moment? Had it already opened once before, and he’d missed it? With that one glimpse of what lay beyond the curtain, his entire world shifted. He began to see that the trajectory he was on, his intended path, was built by someone else. It was laid out under the grand illusion of how life was meant to be, for someone else. For someone who hadn’t seen beyond the curtain. He realized the moment he saw beyond the curtain, he would never be the same. His life would become a quest to find what lay beyond the curtain, to melt into the beingness, the nothingness, the total dissolution of all construct that lay beyond the curtain. He had touched the spacious totality of life itself, in that moment of complete seeing. Seeing truly, for the first time. 

So he continues. He practices by watching the curtain, closely and with concentration, allowing himself to merge with the folds of the fabric through his sensory perception. He practices in the moments of conflict, the moments of discomfort and disease that naturally come. He practices by allowing those moments to wash over him completely, like the folds of the curtain, feeling himself as one with the arising and the passing. Remembering how it felt to be fully connected to the flow of life, in the flow of the curtain, without questioning or judging. He practices by seeing himself in everything he meets. Seeing himself in the curtain, in the others surrounding him, in the AC vents, in the walls that frame this existence. The practice can be challenging, it can feel difficult, but he knows it is the only way. It is the only way to get a taste of what lies beyond the curtain, to remember himself as much more than this, as the completeness of absolute emptiness. 

He is becoming better at noticing. Noticing what works and what doesn’t. What brings him closer to the feeling of the curtain parting and what takes him further into the monotony of existence. It started with a profound shift. For the first time when that curtain parted, he truly felt himself. Deep, like a well that has been left unnoticed, untouched his entire life. The well felt just as empty as it was full. Like an enormous hole that is so big, it contains everything. The moment the curtain parted, he felt himself drop into that hole, containing all of himself, all of life, and completely desolate at the same time. When he tries, he can feel himself drop back into that depth. It is like learning a new language - it takes practice, an active listening, attention and focus. So he practices feeling the depth, even as the monotony of existence continues to arise. Even as the curtain stays closed, he practices feeling the depth within. 

So, now what? Where does he go from here? Spending more time practicing feeling the depth, welcoming that new sensorial experience that has shifted his perspective entirely. He no longer sees himself as separate from the curtain, from the world around him, from himself. He has a felt experience of everything, all of THIS, as simultaneously everything and nothing. There is no separation because the word separate doesn’t even make sense in this new perspective. Now that he recognizes this, how can he continue with the monotony? How can he go about each day as though he doesn’t know it is all equally meaningless and full of meaning? Beyond thought, beyond understanding, beyond the beyond?

One day, the curtain looks transparent. It is as though he can see through the curtain, like he has gained another sense, a deeper vision. He is transfixed at the images he can see through the curtain. All of life laid out before him, just beyond the transparency of the curtain. And then it changes. It dissipates, into a spaciousness that is beyond measure. An open chasm of blackness, containing everything and holding nothing. He feels as though he could move within that chasm, becoming it and seeing out from the chasm into and as everything. It changes again. Suddenly he is met with himself, the image of his own being, like looking in a mirror. It draws closer to him, until he is becoming the image of himself, as himself. A wave of tranquility washes over him and a deep knowing that everything, just as it is, will be okay. All is just as it should be. The curtain returns to its blackness. He continues to be. 

Annie: This is me with Kirsten, senior iRest teacher and my supervisor, after I'd become fully certified in June 2018.

Annie: This is me with Kirsten, senior iRest teacher and my supervisor, after I'd become fully certified in June 2018.

Practice iRest with Annie every Friday morning and once per month on Saturday! Check out our schedule to sign up.

Ruby Chandler