I rounded for a couple of weeks at the end of May and the beginning of June. For those unfamiliar with rounding, the term refers to an extended practice of the Transcendental Meditation® and TM-Sidhi® programs as specified by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. This extended practice allows time for deepening one’s experience of the transcendent and getting deep rest at the same time—all in all, not a bad way to spend one’s time. Rounding here at the University is practiced in the two golden domes on campus; these domes offer a cool and comfortable environment for this extended practice.
The idea of rounding considered as a term kept turning over and over in mind (yes, pun intended) during these two weeks. We speak of rounding a corner or rounding off an amount. Yet, here, rounding speaks to the idea of repetition. Most of us may remember singing rounds when we were children–some singers beginning a lyric, others starting the same lyric later, and everyone repeating in an ongoing refrain. In Girl Scouts, we sang: “Make new friends but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold.” Different groups would start in at the beginning as the previous group got to the second line, and everyone would keep repeating until someone called time.
Each round was a turning back to the beginning. This musical practice evokes for me the dynamics of self-referral when we transcend. When we meditate, we experience a turning back onto the Self, that silent, transcendental field of Being. We meditate and the body becomes relaxed and the mind settle down and transcends finer and finer levels of thought to experience the simplest form of human awareness, the Self, a state of unbounded consciousness. This process happens again and again in the course of a meditation as the awareness settles down to that transcendent state.
The thought of this musical parallel charmed me as I entered the dome each day for my two weeks of rounding and found my place on the foam to meditate. I didn’t burst into song although I occasionally felt like it, at least the first week. The second week, my rounds more often ended with a little nap. Luckily, I was rounding, so I could just sit up after my nap and do my next round. Rounding, like the circle it implies, is suggestive of eternity, of infinity. Even when I don’t get to round myself, I like knowing that others are in the dome, going through their rounds and enjoying the infinite experience of the transcendent.