Seeing clearly, living fully — why I practice Dyad Meditation
„I don’t wear my glasses anymore and yet I see more clearly than I have ever seen before,“ I write down in my notebook. I sit down on a landing stage in the afternoon sun. Knut, my VW LT Oldtimer Camper Van, is parked at the edge of the lake behind me.
I have spent the last six days with about 40 other participants in a retreat center in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern in northeast Germany. From early morning until late at night I have asked myself „Who am I?“ in a total of 67 Dyads. A Dyad is a pair-based meditation with a very clear structure based on two simple roles: the Witness asks a question, holds the space, and practices empathic listening (without verbal or nonverbal reaction); the Dyadee inquires the present moment and describes out loud their experience regarding their question. After 5 minutes we change over. That’s how it goes, a 40 minute long ping pong. After a short break, we find a new partner and start again. „What is life?“ „What is another?“ „What am I like if completely alone?“ Outside the Dyads we are in silence. Always committed to our question.
The moment at the lake is now almost two years back. I never put my glasses on again.
Practicing Dyads has become an integral part and a precious routine of my everyday life. It has replaced the silent or guided Vipassana, Samatha or Metta Meditations I had been practicing for more than seven years by myself and in groups. Almost every day, I do a Dyad of 40 Minutes, either online with other Practitioners from all over the world or face to face in real life with a friend or one of my fellow Dyadees in Berlin.
I am in deep gratitude and awe for this Meditation Practice and I have become quite the „Dyad Ambassador“, wanting to share this magical experience with as many people as possible. How did I become so enthusiastic about it? Why is it that I believe Dyads, not only serve many of my human needs, but can also have a huge impact on how we interact with one another? I identified the following ten ingredients that enable the Dyad Meditation to alter my consciousness so remarkably.
The structure of a Dyad is very simple, the tasks are clear, and that reduces complexity, creates the feeling of safety and gives space to whatever wants to unfold. We need this safe space in order to open up to our vulnerability and pain, but also to our resources of joy, pleasure and truthfulness.
2. A Beginner’s Mind
„Laura, the Explorer“, I once was called by another Dyadee. And he was right! A Dyad is an invitation to explore and show myself, to see and to be seen. What an empowering feeling it can be, to overcome barriers and step into the unknown, getting familiar with all the things I cannot control. Over and over, I begin again. Life starts now.
Alan Watts once said “You’re under no obligation to be the same person you were 5 minutes ago.” A very liberating quote, if fully internalized. Change changes all of us. All the time.
4. The absence of judgement
The role of the witness in a Dyad is to listen with compassion and to practice non judgemental listening and acceptance. What resists persists. As the one who is inquiring, we learn that in the presence of the other we can experience radical acceptance. We don’t only imagine being compassionate with someone else like we do in a Metta Meditation, but we literally practice loving kindness.
In a Dyad we seek a genuine experience of truth, to step into our higher self, connect with our purpose and gain access to the so called inner guidance, the wisdom that we are all connected. That may sound esoteric, a thing that’s unprovable, but it is not. Because …
… We are a continuous flame of inter-becoming.“ Tom Chi, inventor and co-founder of Google X, did this calculation that in a given day 7% of our body is replaced. That’s roughly the mass of an arm. In this short video he describes in practical terms how we’re all interconnected.
Having experienced countless hours of Dyads over the last two years, I feel that it is the nature of the Dyad practice to create social interconnectedness and to open us to the experience of oneness.
7. Going alpha
Closing our eyes for a moment, letting the question sink in and purposefully going inwards, we greatly reduce the amount of sensory data from the outside environment. When in the presence of a loving, open-hearted, and still-minded witness, our brain waves naturally slow down, our system easily goes into alpha, relaxes and opens up access to our inner world. And that’s a space in which we find connection to ourselves and others.
8. Longing to Belong
„We’re all just walking each other home.” (Ram Dass)
During a Dyad, we get in touch with our longing. For me, the most common human longing is to overcome the feeling of separation and solitude and to belong to something bigger. Realizing that I am already home inside myself and I am all that I need has been a big relief to me. I am alone. I am all one.
Neuroscientists at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences (MPI CBS) in Leipzig, Germany, published findings on a so called “Contemplative Dyad” which resulted in increased social connectedness and reduced loneliness.
„Everyone has to search in total loneliness, and in totally dark realms, but the very search becomes the light. The very awareness of being alone destroys the loneliness, and creates its own courage.“ („The Silent Explosion“ from Osho / Baghwan Shree Rajneesh)
9. Immediacy and Embodiment
„Everything we do we do with our body.“ It is only our mind that wanders. Our thoughts can take us out of the presence, but our body always knows exactly where it belongs: in the here and now. This is why Immediacy is not only one of my favorite Burning Man Principles but also an essential element of a Dyad. When we receive our question we do not only inquire our mind, we also ask body, heart, spirit and soul.
10. Intimacy, Intensity and Intention
With the help of its clear structure, the presence of a witness and the inquiry question, a dyad is an intentional space between two strangers. To be received and understood by the other creates intimacy and trust that helps to open up and express our truth. It invites our most vulnerable and precious aspects to show up so that the intensity of our human existence can be expressed. Being received unconditionally is a huge gift that we can offer to one another. We become teachers, Gurus, to ourselves and to one another.
I thank my teachers Clare Soloway and Kira Kay, Simone Anliker, the initiator of „The Dyad Inquiry Project“, Robert Gonzales, the Co-Host of the Facilitator Training and every single other „other“ from all over the world I had the honor to dyad with.
Curious and keen on dyading yourself? Get in touch!
I offer Dyads online and in person in Berlin.