Posts Tagged ‘meditation’

Yesterday was Vernal Equinox – the first day of spring here in the northern hemisphere (and autumnal equinox in the southern hemisphere).  I picked up my motorcycle from the Harley dealer where it had a winter’s nap and was outfitted with new saddlebags.  I had a nice long ride in the 80+ degree Chicago weather.  Came home and meditated for 30 minutes.  In the evening, I gathered with a small group of women to have a welcoming party for spring.

Each of these seemingly disparate events were deep well-springs of joy.  And though the events seem quite different (riding a motorcycle, meditating alone at home, meditating with a group and having a shared focus on spring) they had a common denominator:

Be Here Now!

I’ve written before about the spiritual lessons one can get from riding a motorcycle.  And now – in my second season of riding, I’m still kind of amazed at that aspect – I had anticipated the physicality of being a biker and the FUN – but spirituality had not occurred to me.  When riding a motorcycle I am 100% in the moment, fully present to my surroundings and to the flow of life.  From a practical perspective, I am fond of living and should I wish to remain alive I need to be very alert.  But also, motorcycling occurs outdoors – and any time I am out in nature I am automatically more fully present as my senses take in the sound of the birds, the smell of the spring air, the beauty of the blooming forsythia, the feel of the wind against my body.

Meditating alone looks very different.  I lie on my couch (I know you are ‘supposed to’ sit, but I don’t), close my eyes, set an alarm on my phone for 30 minutes – and just BE.  My thoughts wander and I note that.  I can feel my body relax.  I hear the sound of children in the schoolyard next door, or feel my cat leap up to be near me.  Sometimes I see things with my inner eye – as one does when dreaming.  I am fully present, fully in the moment.

At our coming-out party for spring, our spiritual teacher Anne led us on a guided meditation.  Nine women, sitting in a circle, eyes closed, listening to Anne’s voice.  I felt the chair under my body, heard the soft breath of Donna on my left (as well as Anne’s guidance), smelled the incense we burned earlier, and as Anne led us to ‘an inner temple’ and asked us to focus on what we saw I could envision a rather Hobbit-ish place.  Fully present, in the moment.

The nice thing about these well-springs of joy is that they are 100% available to all people all the time.  Yes, riding a bike or meditating are easy ways to get there, but the paths are multitude.  Here are just a scant few of the ways that I have experienced being 100% present – some quite profound (once in a lifetime, perhaps) and some very quotidian (a fancy word I love that means daily):

  • Being present when my young friend Michael (soon to be 7) was born
  • Being with my mother in her dying days
  • Riding my motorcycle
  • Looking at the stars
  • Hanging out with toddlers or small children
  • Meditating
  • Travelling – I remember a ride on a commuter train in the Netherlands, staring in awe at the Don Quixote-like windmills
  • Sitting around a campfire with friends
  • Walking with my friend Becky and her partner Annemarie through Becky’s entire dying process
  • Riding rollercoasters

How about you? What brings YOU fully to the present moment?  What gets you out of the ongoing story in your head and into RIGHT NOW?  Is it cooking?  Gardening?  Your new sweetheart?  Let us know!

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I’m wondering this morning a bit how synchronicity/grace/”good luck” works.  As I posted on Facebook this morning:

This morning I was awakened by a call from my friend Trish, rapidly followed by a call from my friend Bill – both of whom called to report that someone was hit at the train station in my town and thus the commuter train would be massively delayed today.  I have a big job interview in the city and was planning to take the  train.   

“I’m so grateful for all I have in my life today. 2 friends called this morning early to tell me someone had been hit by a train in my town and thus the commuter train to the city is delayed, so this means I’ll have… to drive. But my immediate thought was of the person hit and the poor train engineer. And my immediate emotion was gratitude for the blessing of my life. So now to put my gratitude more into action – so my email has this quote from JFK. I agree with Jung – synchronicity is God desiring to be anonymous.”
I think there are a few enabling factors:
  • Receptivity.  I am receptive to, in my world view, having God be the Boss of Me.  So I look for Her direction.  There’s a Bob Dylan line that relates to a love affair, but fits here:  “I’ll see you in the stars above, in the tall grass, in the ones I love” – like that.  Being open to miracles increases our chance of encountering them
  • Preparing the field.  I meditate – not as often as I want to or would benefit from, but I still take time to open up to All That Is.  I think that helps.
  • Belief.  A woman I dated several years ago said to me “Does everything HAVE to mean something?”  I thought to myself “well, everything DOES – we can choose to see it or not….”  I believe that if I’m still and listen I will be guided.  And so I am.
  • Trust that God has my highest good in mind.  I had NO plans to drive to the city.  I LOVE taking the train – I truly do. It’s quiet time, I can get things done, or just lollygag – but it’s zero stress.  Now in addition to the stress of interviewing I have Chicago traffic.  Not what I had planned for today.  At all. But it’s a way better day for me than the person who got hit or that poor train engineer. And for me, I trust God has some higher good in mind for me, even it is only to learn patience.  She CLEARLY thinks I’m a remedial student in that class – Patience – as She keeps sending me back to school for another lesson there.

I’ll be praying today for those people – the one who got hit, his/her family, the train engineer, the people who are stuck at train stations all up and down the tracks and will be hours late for wherever they are going.

And I’ll trust that my day – including my Big Deal Job Interview will go exactly as it should.  Even if it doesn’t go exactly as The Great Me has planned.  Thank goodness I’m not driving this bus alone!


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Yesterday I went to see this holistic chiropractor guy I started seeing because I want to be healthier.  I got back some blood work results that basically said “you skidded in the door just in time…”.  No, I don’t want to discuss specifics in a public forum (but thanks for asking).

What I AM interested in is how our soul/consciousness/body wisdom knows things in advance of our head (whom we THINK is the boss) does. 

My friend Julia, a brilliant scientist if ever there were one (PhD from Northwestern and all) studies precognition – it’s exciting to hear of her studies and what science can prove in a controlled laboratory.

I think this goes back to yesterday’s post about consciousness – when we’re more in tune, we can not only notice more about the NOW, but also tune in to what’s coming.  Or at least that’s how it seems to me.  That the knowingness comes from a place that’s not our brain (though it may be from mind) and we have to get the chatter out of the way. 

So that got me to thinking beyond my own small world.  What if collectively we turned off our TVs, got away from the fluorescent/noise pollution/too much visual stimulation malls and offices – got quiet or into nature regularly and made inner peace a priority?

Like when the hippies meditated to try to levitate the Pentagon.  I mean, that was sort of a silly goal, but what if we really all did change our brain waves through things like meditation, walks in nature, sitting quietly and petting your cat?  How would the world change?

Would we know what was next? Would we change it?

I wonder what else my Soul/Body Wisdom/Higher Self already knows but has been holding out, waiting for me to quit dervishing around long enough to hear.  Hello?  I’m here. 

And you?  Do you get postcards from the future?  Do you want to?  What do they say?

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What is time?

As mentioned in an earlier post, my beloved Aunt Dory, in Oslo, seems to be dying.  Her daughter wrote me today to say it could be today – and certainly in the next week.  It makes me wonder about our life spans. Are we born just to die?  Why do we get old?

I’ve been thinking about my post “Why Can’t We Be Good?” and how I ‘waste’ so much time.  Is it quantifiable (seems like)?  What is ‘wasting time’?

What IS time?  Is it linear, as it appears to be?  My favorite quote about time comes from the ineffable Albert Einstein who wrote: “When a man sits with a pretty girl for an hour, it seems like a minute. But let him sit on a hot stove for a minute — then it’s longer than any hour. That’s relativity!”  That’s so true, ya?  Haven’t you had conversations in which 10 minutes seemed like ETERNITY?  And conversely, anyone who has fallen crazy in love can remember nights that flew by in, oh, two seconds (what! it’s 6 am already?!).

I read a fascinating book by my favorite contemporary philosopher/writer on philosophy, Jacob Needleman (author of “Why Can’t We Be Good?”).  His book on time is called “Time and the Soul:  Where has all the Meaningful Time Gone and Can we Get it Back?

I think the subtitle sort of contains a bit of the answer.

Here’s a quote from the prologue:  “It is our famine, the famine of a culture that has chosen things over time, the external world over the inner world.”  I could probably pick one quote a day from this book and write for a year (same thing with Sarah Susanka’s “The Not so Big Life).

Einstein was right about the relativity of time.  I know that when I am fully embodied and emotionally engaged in the moment i have stepped into eternity.  Oh, in the really big moments of life one expects that transcendental, liminal sense:  birth, death, that crazy space of falling in love. 

But it’s also present whenever we are truly engaged.  Creativity, for one.  Sunday I had friends coming for my women’s group. Usually I go to their turf but this time they were coming to mine and i wanted to make it nice.  I spent all day Saturday cleaning (and I clean every week so this was quite extraordinary special cleaning!) but the real joy of it all came on Sunday.  I wanted to make them food that reflected my renewed interest in localvorism – eating locally grown foods. I had gone to the Farmer’s market on Saturday and so on Sunday I made an amazing crustless Quiche with locally grown swiss chard, leeks, asparagus, Farmer Nick’s eggs and some cream and cheese that alas, were not local.  But the point is, while I was making this Quiche I was just enthralled with life.  Totally “in the zone”.  I was creating. And it was good. (and so was the Quiche, by the way!)

When I interact with small children (which I do whenever possible) i am totally present.

When I meditate I OFTEN am totally present (but sometimes am antsy, distracted, mentally making lists, etc. – i.e., human).

And speaking of meditation I think that is another clue.  Listen to this from page 39:  “Freedom from time – the approximate term for which is ‘immortality’ – awaits you; you are made for that, but you must search and search to receive in your life the winds of this immortality, this endless presence, that are constantly being sent to man from the center of the universe.”

And that leads us, really, to mysticism, to God, to the essence of  Who we are and Why we are here.

When I was about 7 years old I had my first (and one of my only) truly mystical experiences.  It was spring.  Warm.  There was a horseshoe-shaped clump of lilac bushes in the side yard of the old farm-house my parents rented in Ft. Wayne, Indiana (around which a subdivision had sprung up in the postwar building boom).  I was outside playing and I laid down in the middle of the lilacs.  I felt the sun on my body and suddenly I totally and completely got it that the lilacs and the sun and the green grass upon which I was lying were all the same thing and that it was all vibrantly, excitedly joyous and made of love.  I’m much older than 7 now, but I remember it vividly still. 

So what is THAT time?  What is it that makes the 61-year-old remember that 7 year old’s joy and be able to recall it as though it were now?

I guess that leads us to consciousness and memory, now doesn’t it.  and oh what a tangled web we weave.

How is the me that was 7 and the me that is 61 and the me who will be 83 (but isn’t yet) – how are those the same?

Is time linear?  My friend Julia studies precognition (she’s got a PhD from Northwestern) and she would tell you it’s not.  AT least not in the way we conventionally think of it.

On page 142 Jacob Needleman has “The Great Answer”, to wit:

“What became clear, and what can become clear for all of us who are starved for time, is that the answer to the problem of time is not more time, not more efficiency, not even in itself longer biological life, not children, not artistic creations that we pretend will bring us immortality, not some sentimental relationship to imaginary gods, or non-gods.  The answer to the problem and the sorrow of time is one thing and one thing only:  the experience of meaning.  And this experience occurs only when the Self touches the self, when the soul touches the ego. When the two worlds meet.”

As “It’s a Beautiful Day” sang on “Time Is”

“Time is Too Slow for Those Who Wait
and Time is too Swift  for Those Who fear
Time is too Long  for Those who Grieve
And time is Too short for Those that Laugh
And Love is too slow  for those who Wait
And Love is too Swift for Those who Fear
And Love is too Long  for those who Grieve
And Love is too short for Those that Laugh
But for Those who Love
But for Those who Really Love
But for Those Who Love
Time, Sweet Time, Precious Time, Lovely Time
All the Time
Time Time Time TIme TIme TIme TIme Time Time 
is Eternity”

I’ll meet you in the lilac bushes by the side of the house and we can go explore Eternity.

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