A Time of Meditation
I sat on a rock in the river meditating – inhaling deeply, exhaling slowly, and in the process coming back to the present moment. As I did this I was totally aware of the river flowing powerfully by me. It had rained for several days and the water was deeper, faster and more powerful than usual. This river (the Quinapoxet River) is usually sleepy and gentle. By August it will be shallow enough to wade almost the entire length with only knee high boots. But on this day it was much wider and deeper. As I gently closed my eyes in meditation I was impressed and respectful of its power.
After twenty minutes of following the breath and actually breathing in the river itself I opened my eyes and became present to a particular branch that was right in front of me. Of course the branch was there when I closed my eyes. But when I closed them I was not really there. After meditating everything else fell away. There was just this particular branch, in this place, at this time, for this particular person who was now seeing not only with his eyes but through his Soul.
On the one hand, the branch was simple, common, utterly average and normal. On the other hand, it was simultaneously, completely magnificent, totally captivating and absolutely perfect. The most beautiful dozen or so leaves were right there six inches from my face. They were perfectly there. Some leaves had “flaws,” holes, created by some insect and yet even that was just as it was meant to be. I just breathed with them and truly saw them in their ordinary magnificence. There was in that moment a loosening of the mirage of separateness. The leaves offered themselves to me, knowing I was ready to see them, breathe with them and be with them.
Meditation softened my heart, relaxed the hard edges around my being so I could open and see with soulful eyes. The soft soulful eyes then opened my heart, which released me still further to see these new friends. We entered each other. I know that they came into me and I still carry them in my heart. And I believe that I left a part of my being with them.
The poet, Mary Oliver, in her book Winter Hours, says, “I could not be a poet without the natural world. Someone else could. But not me. For me the door to the woods is the door to the temple. Under the trees, along the slopes of sand, I walk in ascendant relationship to rapture, and with words I celebrate this rapture…. What I write begins and ends with the act of noticing and cherishing, and it neither begins not ends with the human world…. I am forever just going out for a walk and tripping over the root, or petal, or some trivia, then seeing it as if in second sight, as emblematic. By no means is this a unique way to live but is, rather, the path found by all who are mystically inclined.”
(My next posting will discuss the second half of this experience.)