It’s been a little over three years now since I returned to a daily yoga practice. And I’ve only recently realized how radically my practice has changed. 26 minutes on the mat, 6 minutes on the cushion. 32 minutes a day, imperfectly in the moments. While the (almost) daily effort has been intentional, this change…
or… Why I am still uncomfortable calling myself a Buddhist. The past two mornings I’ve been hearing a nearby dog whine. Another bark. I haven’t been able to figure out where exactly it’s coming from. I’m wondering if the neighbor got a new dog who’s frightened to be alone during the day. I went outside,…
Parkinson’s Law. Tuesday mornings I have a late start at work, and when the alarm goes off at the usual time, and when E. isn’t here with his own obligations, I find myself negotiating with myself. My morning routine takes 2 and a half hours, and I start counting backwards to see if I can…
Or what I find in the forest; I’ve been trying to speak for myself only. The pine smelled so sweet and sharp this morning. Somewhere near my solar plexus I felt a heaviness like guilt. I know it must smell this pronounced because the trees have been freshly cut. It’s not the smell of death…
I have an ambivalent relationship to aphorisms. Whether a quote is merely a platitude, or a significant expression of a deeply contemplated experience, all depends on the reader and their current frame of mind. I have noticed that when I’m scrolling through Instagram or Facebook, and register “platitude after platitude” it’s time for me to…
And every time I exhale, I watch a cloud form in front of me. There are glimmers of blue and red in the light of the headlamp. It becomes very meditative: watching the cloud form again and again. Only, instead of thinking about peace and the effortlessness of a Buddhist life, I think about the Little Engine that Could and how it seems every moment is a struggle against stillness. Life itself a disruption, the workhorse of a universe that would much rather remain at rest.
The problem is, I’m thinking I need to purge again -to get control over all the “stuff” and clutter that is a disturbing white noise.
I imagine selling the house and moving into to a simple cottage, with a garden and a stream that flows just a stone’s throw from a sunny porch. I’ll get rid of all my costume jewelry and buy leather bracelets. Ditch the tailored clothes for paisley caftans.
I imagine a whole list of things I could acquire to successfully simplify my life. I could get up and leave.
Pay attention to the breath, he says.
And I do. The breath, and the slowness that comes. The balance of wills: my will and that of the clay. Give and take. Inhale and exhale. My mind through my body, connected to the earth.
Mostly, I was thinking about cicadas. Along the trails outside of Boulder, Colorado in the States. In the trees lining the narrow roads of Perugia, Italy. Electric. There is something other-worldly about these creatures who leave their bodies whole behind ever seven years or so, clinging to the branches; and whose buzzing is so loud it pushes into your sleep. Home a week, and I hear them still.
When I exhale pain radiates down the length of my arms.
And it’s comforting in a way, to feel it like this.
I almost believe I could grab hold of it, and pull it out my fingertips.
Strands of sharp tinsel.
I was listening to a Radiolab podcast, and a scientist was explaining that there is no such thing as the present.
He compares time to the shoreline. The past is the sand, the future is the sea water. There is no line that is the present.This is all sort of screwing up my daily meditation.