This summer, I had the opportunity to offer one of my favorite meditation exercises, the primal scream. It is an activity that I developed when I was a participant here in 2011, and have been working on and returning to ever since.
Meditation exercises often focus on silence and tuning out other noises. However, I often struggle to find ways to focus on being silent while I am meditating. The Primal Scream emerged from the need to draw contrast between my ability to produce noise — by screaming — and my ability to be silent and focus on the silence and the noises around me that are out of my control.
The Primal Scream, however, is more than just screaming. We focus on different breathing exercises, alternating between silence and screaming. We also took meditation exercises and adapted them to screaming, such as using our voices and our noise to propel our problems away from us. As with all good primal screams, we ended with a long run down Chapels Field, screaming for as long as we could.
After that, when we had been able to hear both our noises, our voices, and our silence, we gathered back together to appreciate the silence. We then read a passage from I Kings about Elijah the Prophet, who sought to find God through wind, earthquakes, and fire, but instead encountered God in a “Small, still voice,” or in silence.
The Primal Scream is much more than just uncontrolled screaming. It is, at its core, using noise and silence to find connections with something bigger than us. Some of us might call that God, while others might not. Despite that, the Primal Scream is one of my favorite meditations, and one that I was glad to share with participants this summer here at BIMA and Genesis.
- Community Educator Amram A.