For when the heart is open and the mind is clear
they are of one substance, of one essence.”
Although I did awaken at around 4:30, to participate in my early morning recycling project, I immediately returned to bed. There, I followed my breathing into "dozing/dreaming meditation."
To Sit or Not to Sit
For decades now, settling into a one hour morning meditation "first thing in the morning" has come quite naturally most every day. I committed to it long ago. Usually, the momentum of this commitment carries me along like an autumn leaf floating on the surface of a dancing brook under a clear blue sky. Life flows on. I flow on. When it's night time, I read a bit of dharma. Then I meditate into sleep. When it's morning, I awake. Then I get up and pee. Then, I Sit Still for an hour.
That bedrock ritual became a bit rocky this past week, though.
I actually missed my morning meditation three days in a row, then only sat for 20 minutes the next day. Yet, what's the big deal? After all, I still meditate -- a lot.
To be honest, most of time, I don't know. I just do it.
What I do know, though, is that this morning, I woke up late and was off and running! I actually had sat down in front of the computer, ready to tackle the first thing on the list, before I hit the pause button. I stopped, sat up a bit straighter and took a long, slow, deep breath. Sitting there, I sensed that place in me that appears to make choices. It became clear to me. Rather than just "go with the flow"this morning, I had to stand in the way of my own momentum. A real decision had to be made.
After a few more conscious breaths, I stood up and headed back to in the bedroom. I faced the altar. As I've done thousands of times before, I bowed, set the timer for an hour, and Sat.
I'm glad I did.
During that hour, I settled down and rested in the awareness of my breath and my body. I chose to let go of all the narratives that emerged, and opened my heart to the feelings that had surfaced during my early morning dream. Tasting directly the energy of these feelings, I could feel the universal nature of our human suffering. I breathed it directly into my heart. Opening further, relaxing and widening my inner gaze, I came to rest in the vast, spacious embrace of the One Love. Then, I breathed out care for all. I did this again and again.
Now, sitting here at this old Mac laptop, I'm filled with a sense of wonder, exhilaration, and deep gratitude. With Practice, I've again seen that this tender, caring, achy-breaky, wounded little human heart glowing in my chest is my direct connection to the vast, warm, bright, spaciousness of the One Love. In fact, I've seen clearly these are "not two". In Love, there is no separation.
Life flows on. Inseparable from Life, I flow on.
At age 75 (almost), I really do see that I am like a leaf floating along the surface of a sparkling brook as it dances toward the sea. In this dance, there is breathing and seeing and hearing and touching and feeling and thinking and deciding. There is knowing and not-knowing.
Sometimes, thoughts and feelings can swirl me up with them into the vortex of a powerful whirlpool. In the past, these whirlpools would sweep me away. Sometimes for months. It wasn't pretty. In my blindness and confusion I harmed myself and others.
Floating along the surface of life's stream, it's clear to me that there will be always be whirlpools and there will periods of calm as the brook dances its way to dissolve into the vastness of the sea.
I'm sure glad I sat this morning.