Friday, September 23, 2011
September 22, 2011
Morning sunlight floods the Lorane valley, and I am in the little white chair out front, drinking tea. And then the Sit begins, and it’s very good today. I slip immediately into an expansive state, following the sensation of the breath. As thoughts and feelings recede, the first thing I notice today is the busy-ness of this little valley, a busy-ness that mostly goes un-noticed.
A tiny spider drapes a thread of silk across the back of my ear. I reach up to brush it away, requiring that he build his trap elsewhere. A black and white chickadee sits in the Douglas Fir tree ten feet from me, squawks loudly and flys away, his wings making a buzzing sound this close up. A woodpecker sits on a thick limb high in the same tree, slamming his beak down into the bark over and over again, creating a resounding “thwock” with each impact; thwock, pull back, listen, repeat. Hawks circle above, calling to each other in shrill, far-away notes. Larry stalks across the driveway and woofs at a passing car.
All of this is meaningful to everyone involved, I have no doubt. But it’s kind of distracting. Then a hummingbird appears, off to my right. Because I am sitting so still, he doesn’t realize I’m a person, and it doesn’t occur to him to be afraid. He stops his flight even with my head, and pulls in for a look, hovering. The buzzing of his wings is palpable, the feathers on his back reflect the morning sun in iridescent green and blue. For an eternal two seconds, he is one foot away from my face, his tiny black eyes regarding me with a stark awareness un-cluttered by ego. I remain frozen, and for a time, we share a mutual gaze that is unspeakably intimate.
And then, he’s gone. He leaves me with a profound taste of what I’m striving for. A close encounter with a vast awareness that is infinitely connected, that knows no ego and no boundaries, an awareness that knows exquisite existence, un-sullied by purpose.
This is the spacious place I wait to enter, or to enter me, each time I take the One Seat. After my hummingbird encounter, the state seems sweeter and more accessible today. I pull my attention in from the intense commerce of the animal kingdom of the Lorane Valley, inward, then back out, with a spacious and unidentified awareness, recently modeled to me by the hummingbird, the spider, the woodpecker, and Larry.
It makes me smile. Down on the highway, a car goes by.
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
September 20, 2011
Each morning as Iay in bed right after waking, I turn and watch as the sky in the east lightens from the black of night to the whitish, eggshell blue of the pre-dawn. This time of year, the sun has begun its trip south, rising further to the right on my horizon every morning. This day, He sits exactly between the two big Douglas Firs that stand outside my cabin. Weeks ago, in August, He was to the left of the first big tree.
I can see yellow light drenching the hillside above me, out the other window, while I am still in pre-dawn darkness. Then it reaches me, and the inside of my house is drenched in the light of another day. I make tea and sit outside by the window box, reveling in the sunshine and the birdsong. And when the tea is finished, it seems like I am already half way to the state of mindfulness. So I put my cup down, sit quietly and allow the rest to happen.
Thoughts and feelings recede. They are back there, chattering away, but now the foreground of my attention is just the sensation of my breath. A few minutes of this, and I am able to send my attention out, to the trees, the light, the birds. Then I can bring it back, all the while residing in the subtle and profound sensation of the breath. It’s as if that sensation becomes the vehicle I travel on.
Moving within, I see there a terrible jittery feeling that wants nothing to do with this. Get up it says, move around. Of course, it doesn’t want me to continue. Doing this means the annihilation of that jittery feeling, and like all other living things, it wants to survive and continue. I negotiate, and it recedes. And in its absence is a fresh, open space.
I sit for another twenty minutes in this state. Then I pick up my tea cup and take it to the sink.