HELLO MAY! If you are in the Northeast like me this is especially wonderful news, as it almost (I say that tongue-in-cheek in case God forbid it snows again!) guarantees warmer weather, sun in the sky, happy singing birds outside your home waking you up in the mornings.
I have been amazed at one particular robin that continually throws himself at our bay window at all times of day. And it has been going on for days…..At first I assumed he was seeing his reflection and fighting with it. But despite raising the blinds, putting objects in front of the window to show him there is movement behind, and even going up to the window, he continues to visit me and my family every day with his thumps on the pane. Sometimes it is a different window. But he is always there.
My spiritual knowledge kicks in and I wonder if there is further meaning behind it. I don’t assign one thought to it, just simply wonder and become aware of his presence. We lost our 19 month old dog late last year when he was hit by a car. If you have ever lost a pet you know it is akin to losing a family member and my family and I continue to grieve. Could he be a sign from our beloved dog Brody? Is he Brody? These are some thoughts which although seemingly ludicrous, bring me some comfort.
Comfort is what I seem to need in bucket loads lately. LIFE continues to rush by and I am running to catch it. Which is exactly what happened a week ago when I was desperately running around my house looking for tax records. Until I ran down the steps outside in the dark, fell and sprained my ankle. Not good when you are a yoga teacher. Or at the beginning of a vacation week. Or anytime really. I decided this was a perfect time to revisit my meditation practice. (For those super curious, See my ankle here)
Meditation and how to go about it have been on the forefront of my mind for some time now. What is it exactly? Am I doing it right or wrong? I have been reading articles, books, etc. and even experimenting with new guided meditation when I teach my yoga classes. But why is it important? Can it really improve my daily life? If so, how? I am reading Mark Epstein’s “Going to Pieces without Falling Apart: A Buddhist Perspective on Wholeness.” There’s are lots of quote-able quotes but I realize that I can read about it all I want- eventually I need to stop searching outside and take time to sit and go inside.
I have finally chosen to let the answers to my questions come later, and go with the flow. As Austrian poet and novelist Rainer Maria Rilke says, “"Be patient towards all that is unsolved in your heart and dreams, try to love the questions themselves."
I believe all you need is an intention to sit still for a period of time (Whether 5 minutes or 30) and listen. Become a witness to your thoughts and emotions, but remain detached. The meditation comes from doing this simple action, and then coming back to your breath, or a focus on mantra (word or phrase of meaning to you). It is not about emptying the mind, quieting the thoughts, and staying there, which is impossible. It is impermanent. The actual meditation is the rhythm of coming back home, to the breath, time and time again, when the mind wanders. Eventually this leads to a more relaxed state in the brain, in the body. So when you go about your day, you are more likely to respond to what comes your way with awareness and choice, rather than reacting to it hastily, perhaps carelessly.
So short and sweet, here is my take: Smile, breathe in, sigh it out, and go on with your day. It’s springtime, the sun is shining and the birds, if you are lucky, are visiting you at the window.
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