It’s Day 6 of this journey, and I’m starting to notice some subtle shifts in my outlook and how I deal with what comes my way during the day.
The other night, I listened to Nina Rao’s new two-CD release, Antarayaami. I’d heard the bhajans before, but wanted to experience the music as she chose to release it—the wholeness of the tracks, together. I sat and savored the music, listening to the stories and the rhythms one after the other. But something was missing… I wasn’t cleaning out a closet or drawer while listening. I wasn’t filing away papers, or scrubbing something. I wasn’t doing for the sake of doing. I was just letting myself be present with the music, without multi-tasking. And I was enjoying it, without worry. This was huge for me! I rarely sit passively for anything.
I cut myself some slack. I was present.
I think back, too, to last night’s sitting, which was really sweet. I dozed off a couple of times, catching myself leaning forward, but I was ok with that. I didn’t berate myself. Instead, I came back to my breath smilingly. Smilingly. I felt playful and hopeful and light. I was gentle with myself, and it felt nice. The swirl of objects and feelings throughout any given day can quickly drag my attention anywhere else but the here and now, but I feel that I’m starting to develop an anchor.
This morning, standing in a subway car on my way to work, I was thinking about my practice—and today’s blog post. Aside from my personal progress report, what could I share that might speak to others in their own journeys—struggles and successes alike? Then my gaze fell on a poster from the MTA’s Poetry in Motion program. The poster featured a poem called Grand Central. Anyone who’s walked through Grand Central (I do so every day, as my office building straddles the Terminal) knows that it’s a mass of people and sounds and sights. It’s also the shared starting point for so many individual journeys. Given the poem’s resonance to our shared practice, I simply couldn’t not share it:
The city orbits around eight million
centers of the universe
and turns around the golden clock
at the still point of this place.
Lift up your eyes from the moving hive
and you will see time circling
under a vault of stars and know
just when and where you are.
— Billy Collins, b. 1941
This has been a challenging and rewarding first week in the Meditation Challenge. In the days and weeks to come, I look forward to growing in my practice—to sitting “at the still point of this place.”
— blogged by Kurt Lindsey