I sat in the forest today.
I saw countless insects
making their way along the forest floor.
An industrious lady bug
clambered from leaf to leaf.
Ants kept finding me
and I kept brushing them away.
Sure, I was supposed to be still
but I didn’t want to be bitten.
Birdsong rang out now and again
echoing lightly from the trees.
Sometimes the sun shone on me
full force and I felt hot.
Others the breeze blew
as the sun hid behind clouds
and I felt cool and comfortable.
I tried to stay still
but my body grew tired.
I fidgeted and glanced
at the remaining time.
I looked to the trees,
the forest grass
the mossy stumps
for some kind of answer;
there was none.
Only this moment.
This moment is the answer.
This is it.
Sitting in the quiet
after everyone has fallen asleep
I give thanks for these simple blessings–
and a mind ready to let go of this day.
Softening into stillness
I let the silence rise up within me
until I can hear
what it has been saying all along.
That’s all I practice during meditation.
Of course I get hooked
by many thoughts
by sensations in my body
but then I take a deep breath,
determined to hold my seat,
to remain there
as I set out to do.
Sometimes I wonder
what doors will open
as a result of my willingness
to sit still in this one room.
After so much spinning noise,
it’s so nice to sit and just be.
But as my body becomes still,
the noise in my head grows louder.
Where is the spinner of noise?
Does she weave a tapestry of many colors?
Does she cackle and croon
and delight in all the textures?
Even in silence there is noise.
Even when my mind is quiet,
the noise continues on,
in the beating of my heart,
in the sound of cars driving by,
the TV downstairs where my husband
is watching a show.
I thought once that I wanted the noise to stop,
but I know better now–
the noise cannot stop.
The day the spinner of noise stops spinning,
so will the great green globe we call home.
So here is to sitting in the center of the spinning noise
and remembering the stillness that hides in the movement
and the sound that is concealed by silence.
I awoke tired and in a funk
mind swarmed with visions
of every horror that I have experienced
or was recounted to me this past week
Meditation was difficult
tired mind didn’t want to focus
I felt drowsy, I wanted to lie down
And then it was time to go to work.
I felt anxious,
mistrustful of the drivers on the road,
in light of recent experiences.
I was afraid I wouldn’t be calm enough
for my students,
calm enough to feel whole inside myself.
And then I taught yoga,
and all my personal stories melted away
in the presence of the Universal Teacher
who steps into my body
who speaks through my mouth
who reaches out with my hands
when it is time to welcome the Students.
No more Lorien,
just Teacher, ready for my beloved Students.
They came to me,
twenty-seven souls looking for union
twenty-seven body-minds finding
rhythm in their breath and movement
Today for some reason
I didn’t want to fill
all of the silence with the sound of my voice.
Today for some reason
I welcomed the silence,
saw it as a precious gift
that I wanted to offer to everyone.
I wanted to offer them space,
space for being
space for homecoming.
And because I left spaces
in between the sounds
and found stillness
in the midst of movement
I could hear
and I could see
and I could feel
this incredible connection
with the souls
who were there with me in the room
I thank God for the honor
of being present
to my fellow human beings in this way
the gift it is
to bear witness
to their tender unfolding
their delicate transformation
the trusting leaps they make
as they dance on the fine line of oneness
stretched across the abyss of duality.
As you step into this moment
can you observe it with all of your faculties?
Can you notice tiny details,
can you see the big picture?
The senses are powerful gateways
that help transport you back to this moment
if your mind has wandered into the illusion of the past
or the fantasy of the future.
Notice the temperature of the air around your skin.
Is there a particular taste in your mouth?
Does your nose detect a certain scent in the air?
What sound vibrations are reaching your ears?
What do you see right now?
Once you’ve called yourself back to this moment
through the gateways of the senses,
can you go a little deeper into your self?
Sit in stillness,
close your eyes,
What is the mind saying now?
As you watch your thoughts,
can you notice a space between each one,
however tiny it might be?
Our practice teaches us
how to detect the most subtle
changes in our bodyminds.
Are you ready for such clarity?
Summon your courage
and awaken in this moment.
Remember who you really are.
You are not just this body
or this mind.
You are infinite awareness,
a gift beyond measure,
a gift to the whole world.