Friday, July 22, 2016

"How old are you Grandma?"

My Grands ask, "How old are you Grandma?" (No doubt, I seem ancient.)
I reply, "I don't really know but I must be a hundred and fifty or maybe even two hundred." They nod in agreement.

I have a birthday coming up. I look in the mirror and down at these wrinkled hands typing:  yes, seasons have passed so I must be "old". Yet, the sense, feel and image I have of myself is essentially and shockingly timeless -- love doesn't get mil-dewy, wisdom keeps flowing, be it uphill at times and this lake and I are in relationship.

Being a day younger, would not hold today's passion and these I wouldn't miss.The ideas that filtered through my mind yesterday wouldn't have a chance ten years ago or even three days ago. Swimming this morning, I chatted with four ducks, not two feet from me, coming out of the morning mist trailing their rippled V's  past my shoulders. Would I have even been aware of our energetic connected-ness a few years ago? Just walking by the piano, I feel excitement. My fingers want to dance those 88's. Four years ago, I felt nothing but avoidance. Being younger again, even by a day, holds little appeal.

In spirit there is no age. In fact, I am in a spirit growth-spurt right now and love it. I am not my wrinkles anymore than a pregnant woman is her stretched marks. There is no physical organ called person-hood, nor one called joy, sadness, love, excitement, enthusiasm or grief.  They just can't be found. Yet they are who I am -- not the body but the spirit. Thinking of myself as a face, grey hair or a hand is not realistic. They could be ash tomorrow.

I have discovered a secret, the most wonderful secret. I am not my body. My mother was near bent to the side walk when she made her transition in her nineties. Yet, courage, integrity and a back bone of steel belied that image. I must not let my eyes fool me. They can so easily. Yet I have another far more important form -- Me, We, Us and Oneness.

Age is only one part of the weave as my aliveness waits daily to be played with a fresh heart and new eyes. However, I need to be careful and source from the natural self -- from inside out rather than outside in. The deeper level begs the question, "Has the grace and beauty of aging been lost in this consensus reality that only sees bodies?" And unfortunately, I too, have looked to the wise and only seen obsolesce. Yet, I feel like the ninety-year-old taxi driver who in his wisdom stated to the younger man in the back seat, "Listen to me, I know a lot."

Yes, I have a birthday coming up. What is this life force inside that has nothing to do with my skin, the color of my eyes or my heart rate? I am not my "aches and pains", in fact they are not even mine: they are this body's I've been given to walk around in, to love with, to experience this exquisite aliveness that moves the wind on the water or swirls the cloud in a flawless sky.

This age I am entering in a few days will be a great new house to build and live in.  A billion things have been missed, yet a billion timeless things wait to be experienced before I pass into the invisible.

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Friday, July 1, 2016

Taking one conscious breath...

One conscious breath in and one conscious breath out is a meditation.
                                                                                                       ~ E. Tolle

Imagine, only one conscious breath. Now, I can hardly say I don't have time to meditate, or "I can't fit it in, I am booked." For years I have tried to be aware of my breathing as I often mentioned in my writings. Initially, the challenge was even to remember to notice I was breathing. And my first observation of air lifting my chest was merely a physical sensation -- cooler air coming in, warmer air leaving.

It stayed merely physical for a surprisingly long time.  Yet, practice and persistence works. If love crossed my path in a particularly conscious way I would take a deep, slow breath and associate it with its feeling. It  seemed to be more fun to play with my breath, a bit of felt joy got breathed in, as did any feeling of gratitude I had at the end of the day. Sadness got breath in without judging it as bad until it penetrated its own velvet depth.

The mystic Simone Weil wrote in her classic, Waiting on God, that if we want to come alive, to become conscious of the beauty and truth that saturates our moments and discover one's presence as love and lover she states, it will all happen "According to the attention."

Like a bird sitting on her egg, my breath needed consistent attending. Then at some point, its life hatched on its own. This breath, I discover, is alive, has a resounding stillness, a resonance that renders me present to lovely Presence. Two little girls have just come in to Starbucks, I would guess maybe four or five-years-old. I over hear their mother is taking a holiday and is dropping them off with their grand parents for the day. They are excited. Watching the exchange, without 'manually' becoming aware of my breath, there it is, a warm faceless essence, a gentle expansive caring seems to be its substance.

The great Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh has written numerous book, given countless presentations world-wide about conscious breathing. Like Einstein, who changed how we look at the Universe, with his Theory of Relativity which he summed up in three letters, E=MC (square), Hanh distills several thousand year of practicing the art and science of meditation and encourages, "One conscious breath...Be with your breath."

Surely I can take one breath of awareness, then hopefully it will lead to two. And, after many suns, I do feel its aliveness, its deep stillness, its resonance; then, breath (dare I say) begins to feel like a lover, loving me back. Visiting the shore this afternoon, I breathed in the salty tang of the waves splashing against the wharf. Looking up, the sea gulls, without a movement of wing, are on their own invisible highways in the sky. I draw the feeling in slow and deep.

I am here for my breath, as if breath itself is the lover and now I am not sure if it isn't.

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