I recently heard that prayer is talking to God while #meditation is listening. Being intentionally mindful is about coming back to the here and now. It requires that we hit pause, slow down, try to let go of the endless stream of thoughts, and just focus on what is in front of us. Meditation is a discipline though that requires practice.
Meditation can help us discover the world afresh, as we did when we were children. It helps us find gratitude and marvel in the miracles of the everyday.
Sit Until You Become Part of the Silence
The final pose of every yoga sequence is savasana, where one lies still, in a completely relaxed state and attempts to silence their mind. As thoughts inevitably bubble to the surface one attempts to push them away, coming back to the silence. I've realized there are likely many activities that are a sort of moving meditation, such as fishing, hiking, and potentially golfing. Hunters and fisherman find a spot in the woods or along the lake and hold still, blending in so that they go unnoticed. They become part of the silence. Have you ever sat still until you disappeared? Have you just sat and watched the river flow, and let the world slowly reveal itself?
"In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous." -Aristotle
This past week, in fact every week of the quarantine, I have taken a hike. The opportunity to watch all the new growth spring from the ground and among the tree branches is encouraging to me. Yesterday, while walking around the bird sanctuary at Eagle Creek State Park, it was fascinating observing all the variety water cranes nesting in the trees and bathing in the pond. Their songs were soothing and helped silence my mind. I was grateful as I stood in the silence that while so many have faced tragedy during this pandemic, there has been some healing of our earth.
Notice What You Notice
As you hike, bike, fish, or sit in stillness, live in the moment. What do you hear? What do you feel in your environment? What do you feel on your skin? What do you smell? Sometimes we fail to notice because we have the perception that everything is the same, but a light breeze may offer a refreshing energy. A new slant of light may offer new perspective or warmth.
Yesterday as I hiked, I heard a woodpecker and it occurred to me for the first time how hard they must peck at these trees to make that type of sound, and how that must require a completely different skull structure to protect their brains. I have yet to research this new phenomenon, but it is these moments of realization that fascinate me about our differences and how we are each uniquely crafted for our own purpose.
Heraclitus, a Green philosopher shared that one can never step in the same river twice. Notice what you notice in the here and now. What has changed from yesterday? What has changed over time? I also noticed yesterday how many common houseplants are found growing wild in our state parks. As I learn more and more varieties of plants, I can more readily identify them. Yesterday as more peeked their leaves from the earth, I caught myself bending down to say hello. The changes that happen in the dirt, at our feet, is an indescribably magnificent world in itself. Tomorrow I shall try to not to think, but rather just look.