This present moment
Good morning from a very quiet Devon.
I was up especially early — and well before the dawn chorus, which started up at 5.07 am.
My wife says it's my choice.
Not to be too pedantic but is it a choice? Or am I compelled? I mean, I could talk myself out of getting up, but I'd only lie in bed thinking about what I should be doing — because, strange as it may seem, I enjoy the process of writing and sharing online, even at this ungodly hour.
I'm well past my first cup of coffee — I'm not sure I tasted it this morning — and I'll hold off the temptation to make a second until I've returned from taking the dog out at around 7.45 am.
Yesterday, I took the above picture. I took it in black and white because, even though the sun was streaming through the clouds and making everything very picturesque, it was more apposite to my sojourn — a slow, meditative walk around the village — and my mood (reflective).
If you look at the tilt of the tree, you can see how it has grown more to the right, to counter the prevailing winds which can be pretty gnarly during the depths of winter. I did, after taking this shot, go stand by it if only because, for that brief moment, I wanted to be shrouded in its connection to the earth, the sky and me.
Before going out (and please don't laugh), I lay down on my office floor, closed my eyes and meditated. It's not something I do very much of — ye old body scan — but I quickly found myself drifting off and within a few minutes my wife opened the office door and the dog lurched in and, you guessed it, laid down by my side. I could have risen and acted all upright and proper but I didn't. Again, something was inviting me in — love perhaps or simply being comfortable in my own skin, no matter how ridiculous it might have looked. And within a few minutes, there I was drifting off again, with, this time, a warm, snuggled-in dog by my side. I must have been in that position for 10 minutes and all I could I think was (apart from generally being at peace):
I'm here in body and spirit;
I'm warm and have a contented dog by my side;
I've a full stomach from lunch; and
I'm completely relaxed and at peace with the moment.
But, and I don't say this to be too melodramatic, if this is it how it all ends, what could be better?
Isn't that strange?
Isn't it strange that I felt the need to lie down?
Isn't it strange that I had no other thoughts other than (as I perceive it) my aliveness?
And, isn't it strange that I thought about my death — in a nice way I'd like to think?
Is this something I'll now take up as a practice? I don't know. I doubt it. I've already enough of those (haha), and, of late, inspired by the amount of time I now spend walking the dog and being in and with nature, I'd like to think I'll keep up my daily sitting by the river; I've already shared the picture of the old tree that I sit on where, in front of me, the mellifluous sound of the River Avon gentle holds me in its trance.
I would say though, and this I think is important, that we're all familiar with a quiet mind. How we arrive at that shouldn't be contrived (you really shouldn't need anything more than the willpower — if there's such a thing — to sit still and just breathe) and, even in these discombobulated times, it seems an important thing to focus on if only because we can. I know that's not really the answer you were expecting, but to be honest, there's already enough advice floating in the ether as to how you beat this Coronavirus thing to sink several battleships. In fact, I'm not telling you to do anything more than be comfortable with who you are all body, mind and spirit. And if that seems a bit vague, or even pompous, then I'm fine with that.
Actually, I could cut through all this verbosity, and invite silence into all our lives. Yes, that's what we all need. To reflect on the fact that this pandemic has (I very much hope) resulted in a quieter world — or at least abated the hurry-scurry, let's keep ourselves busy at all cost in order that we don't have to be with our damn thoughts about 'me'.
In case it's not already clear, everything comes out of and returns to silence. You could use the word spirit but that's a bit off the woo-woo chart for most people, but ask them to look at and consider silence, and, well, it's a bit more real.
But of course, it doesn't sell or not very much. Neither does it come neatly packaged; namely, it's replete with 'results' that are off the charts.
Yuk, yuk, yuk...!
Silence doesn't need a business plan, too many gurus or even a slew of books.
It just needs to be recognised, appreciated and lived in.
And, hopefully, at some point today, if I'm lucky, I might return there to connect with my deeper, truer self.
Does silence give you the heebie-jeebies or is it your natural home?
Blessings and much love,