What is recollection? Even my spell check doesn’t seem to recognize it. We value recollection enough to name our approach to meditation “Recollective Awareness Meditation”.
I practiced mindfulness meditation for about 25 years. I was sincerely committed to the practice, meditating daily and regularly attending meditation retreats. I attended to the sights, sounds, and body sensations throughout the course of each day. I started young, in my twenties, and later in life believed that mindfulness meditation had “made me who I was”. I often said that I did not know who I would have been if not for this meditation practice. What I mean by this was mindfulness had altered my thought stream or consciousness. Rather than being caught up in so many disturbing thoughts and reactions, I became very practiced in refocusing my attention. For example, rather than worrying about my finances I could focus on my feet touching the ground. Or rather than being upset when the person I was sexually attracted to seemed disinterested in me, I would send them thoughts of loving kindness or “metta”. I felt calmer and less reactive.
Eight years ago when I was introduced to Recollective Awareness Meditation, I was immediately riveted by the aliveness, honesty and kindness I heard in the “recollective interviews”, when other meditators reflected on their experience in meditation and Jason Siff questioned them. I took up recollective awareness as I had taken up mindfulness, in a serious and committed way. Now “recollection” is seamlessly integrated into my thoughts. My consciousness seems infused with a questioning and looking back at what just happened. I am really interested, at times even fascinated, by what I think and do. This way of looking back or recollecting can feel like a treasure hunt, the treasure being a new perspective or more understanding.
Something is often missing from my consciousness that used to be there. A harshness or underlying belief that I really should be doing better- whatever I am doing or thinking. Somehow it gets trumped by curiosity and the search for more understanding.