Rooster Crows

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Rooster crowing: Image from Canadianlstan.blogspot.com

Today, I send into your meditation the Rooster Crows. Sitting quietly before the sun, breathing in the fresh morning air I hear a rooster crow. I am surprised by the sound, having not heard it before in my urban neighborhood.

He crows again.

The earthiness of it moves something in me. Each time he crows my mind wanders off toward him, pondering what the neighbor’s think of this early morning riser. Catching myself, I return to the breath, but each call pulls me back to him. After a time, I give up the battle choosing to skip the mantra and see how far my hearing can go.

The rooster is a couple of blocks away. I focus all my hearing on the birds that sing between myself and the rooster. Each time he crows I return to the room, then travel the bird calls back to him again. Each circuit in sound calls more to me.

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Rare Black and White Rooster: Image from Pinterest

A cricket chirping outside my window. The sound of the distant highway and a dog barking, briefly. The rooster crows. The sound of someone’s garage door clicking on its rail. The morning breeze gently rocking the screen in the window ever so slightly. The tingling of the cat water bowl and the soft fur of one sitting meditating with me.

The rooster crows. I hear the hydraulics of an eighteen wheeler on a road maybe a block from my home. The high pitched whistle of a man calling his dog in, followed by an inpatient clap. Birds arriving and then squabbling at the bird feeder. The warbling calls of my other cat watching and hoping with great desire just one bird will falter and come closer. The rooster crows. A flock of Canadian geese heading toward the lake from a field close by. A dove cooing on the roof. The scrape of my neighbor’s front bumper on her driveway as she pulls out too fast. Even the sudden silence of the cricket seems pregnant, poignant and full in its sudden absence.

The rooster crows. My own breathing comes loud to my ears. I can hear my heart beat after a time. The cat turns its head and the tip of a single whisker brushes my leg. It feels as if the nerve endings under my skin are reaching for the sensation. The rooster crows. I smell spring lilacs that also carry the subtler undercurrent of musty swamp grass.

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Black and white with red rooster: Image from animalphotos.info

Everything feels bigger under this intense focus on sound and sensation. My thoughts are increasingly forced out under the enormity of sensation coming in. The rooster crows and the circuit begins again. I forget myself.

The bell rings on the timer and I am startled by the unexpected end to my sit. Time got lost, too, it would seem in the cacophony of sound. One reverberation after another leading away from me to the rooster and then back again. The simple sounds of a morning neighborhood. The rooster crows as if he is the final bell to my sit.

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Sweater Kelso Rooster: Image from Richardhughes.ca

Listening… Really listening has been a subject for me of late. Mainly, that I don’t listen nearly as well as I think. I’ve been wrestling with a strange sort of embarrassment about it. My pride has been nipped at the humble awareness of the reasons that I don’t pay closer attention in the first place. I feel the slightest sting in writing that, alerting me there are bits of work still to be done.

The cricket starts up again and I am reminded that a mindfulness practice is predicated first and foremost on truly listening. Listening intently to all that might be available in a single moment, which is far more than you realize until you stop your inner chatter. I feel a commitment growing as pre-dawn light on a distant horizon.

Not all meditations are silent. Some are so noisy, it’s a delight to realize you can’t squeeze a thought in edgewise.

The rooster crows.

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Noctiluca

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Hong Kong: image from inyminy.com


Today, I send into your meditation Noctiluca.

For a moment I want you to consider a dark sea under a midnight sky. Nothing beneath the surface can be seen as you sit upon the beach immersed in the silence. As your eyes adjust to the night you begin to see light as the waves crash upon the shore. Noctiluca, small minute plankton, are glowing in the water as the energy of the waves crashes upon the shore activating the bioluminescence. They are a vibrant, electric blue and do not glow without significant energy expended. They need a good crash to light up.

The entire earth may be engulfed in darkness, but to the human eye, the light of such a treasure would be unmistakeable. The beauty cannot be understood without the surrounding darkness or the crashing waves. It all goes hand in hand.

If we will allow ourselves to step into what feels dark to us, whether within or without (and, of course, in the end it is all within), we are taking ourselves to a shoreline. We are stepping into a journey. Taking ourselves into waters that we often do not know what lies beneath the surface, yet we instinctively know there is energy here. There is power in the waves that rise out of that darkness and then crash upon us.

Awakening has the silence of meditation, but like the noctiluca, it also has an element of dynamic movement that illuminates, too. Taking a look at aspects of ourselves that feel wounded or downright stunted feels dark and scary on the front end. We don’t know what is beneath that sea. If we can trust in the process, even a little, we will see that the crashing of our focus on who we are in this moment, with a sense of our deepest nature has the ability to bring forth a lightness of being.

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Jelly Fish: image from extrememarine.org.uk

Our wounds do not hold us back from the good roads in life, but rather are the path itself. Our higher selves are not separate from the journey into darkness, but deeply imbedded in this very same path.

This comes from Perspectives on Seth, episode 16 with Story Waters regarding our wounds: “This kind of process exists. If you wish to go and bring light to somewhere you have buried inside of yourself, you must go on a journey. And that journey can look like going into a depression, an anxiety, can feel like becoming unstable – losing your bearings. The power in recognizing this kind of process is you can better allow its unfolding. For so often, you go off on one of these journeys and then you start worrying about the scenery. You don’t understand where you are going. So you put on the brakes, not trusting the unfolding of your own life. This is what I spoke of in the “Human Dilemma”. Not to be afraid of your own path, your own script. To not be afraid to discover what you have lined up for yourself. So, if after pausing, debating, if somewhere feels like its pulling you, let yourself go. You simply cannot go through life avoiding the dark places. That is because you have things in those places. You put treasures there for yourselves.”

We set ourselves bits of light along the way to awaken, illuminate and direct us. It is not a path intended to be endless pain and suffering, all set in some terminal darkness. As we work to let go of old patterns and the pain of deeper wounds, the energy produced shows us our true brilliance. How luminescent we are.

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Maldives: image from feel-planet.com

Do not be frightened by present feelings of being stuck, or circumstances that feel less than desirable about your practice. Don’t let fear of your deeper wounds concern you. Look within yourself and don’t flinch. You have a vision within you that can penetrate the darkest places on this Earth. Trust in the most sacred intention any of us have, no matter how sunken it may seem within us to awaken. It was there before the first breath and will illuminate our way long after this life slips back out to sea.

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Lion Heart

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Image from wallpaperput.com

Today, I send into your meditation a Lion Heart.

“My dear,
Is it true that your mind is sometimes like a battering Ram
Running all through the city,
Shouting so madly inside and out
About the ten thousand things
That do not matter?”

Hafez, The Subject Tonight Is Love

I am imperfect.

The pursuit of perfection is possibly the greatest waste of the greatest gift given — a human life.

I am…

Mad…
Mad as the Mad Hatter himself
Full of discord, at times, and delusions at others
Blissful and brimming with laughter, certainly
Annoyingly irritated by small things in the next breath
Boastful and in dark moments jealous and envious
Tender, gentle, full with never sated curiosity
All of it passing veils I draw across my eyes, moment to moment
I do not see
I do not see me
I do not see me clearly a good deal of the time.

I lie feverishly to myself about all of my flaws. My mind is a dance to escape itself. Inwardly, I speak gibberish with a silver tongue.

Enough!

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Image from hdqwalls.com

The fastest path out is to embrace the imperfection. To accept every last note of my tainted heart, as pitch perfect. A song so sweet, in its off notes, as to draw birds from aloft to sit beside me. I must internalize the asymmetry and in so doing find balance. The grand paradox.

Acceptance stops resistance, which quiets the madness of speaking endlessly to myself about what does not matter. I am good, I am bad, I have value, I have no value, I am a gift, I am a lump of coal in someone’s Christmas stocking. Gobbledygook.

I want to speak more deeply about what matters
Speak of things that hold meaning for me, even if they hold no meaning for others
Get out of my own way, that what divinely flows through – manifests
To touch that divinity that is me, I am it, in my own way
To trust my journey, even if it defies a thousand master’s paths
To part my lips and speak, even as the words get jumbled, the imagery fails, my darker parts slip in anyway, no matter my effort
To open myself, knowing full well, the shadow that lingers within me, will come forth and be seen, too
To know, most profoundly, she is but a paper tiger, and thus…
I step with courage into my Lion Heart

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Image from finartamerica.com

“Yes, Hafez, that was me running madly in the streets speaking so much of what does not matter. Teach me, great poet. Teach me to see into the imperfection and know it’s perfection. Teach me to accept I am this — a whole, perfect as it is in this eternal now. Teach me to roar as if the Great Pride of All That Is roared forth across my tongue without assail.”

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Night Bird Singing

Taken from: poemsandprose.blog.co.uk

I awoke in the middle of the night to hear a bird singing somewhere in the marsh near my house. I stood at the window, feeling the moist air of a fog that had rolled in, as if the night found a way to reach into my bedroom. I stood listening for a time. What prompted him to sing, alone with no answering calls? What had awoken him from his midnight slumber? What tale did he have to sing of in all this darkness?

The song was sweet, singular and piercingly clear in the silence. A note that seemed to carry great distances and linger well past its owner’s tongue. It was not plaintive in the least, but rather joyful sounding to my ear.

Something about his singing affected me deeply. I remained at the sill, the mystery of many things floating about me on each call. I could not sing back to him in song, but I felt my spirit reach out, as if I were a fellow bird awake and delighted to hear the voice of my brother amongst the cattails.

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Taken from: awallpapersgallery.blogspot.com

We sleep and for us the world disappears, as if it too, has fallen off to sleep. Yet, we are immersed in a mystery of life that continues to swirl all around us even as our minds drift in a dreamy state. There are two worlds, one night and one day. Each a vessel for some part of us. One conscious and possibly more concrete, the other subconscious with edges that are more than a little vague.

His call comes, feeling slightly closer now and I wonder again what had awaken him? Was it his birdsong that had awaken me, or had some other mystery drawn me out of my slumber and to the windowsill? Or are he and I tethered together in a midnight mystery we are sharing in, rather than I merely witnessing in these dark hours?

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imgarcade.com

Many poets speak to this mystical hour. Rumi compelled us to rise and embrace what such calls before the dawn have to give us. There is mystery afoot in this gentle breeze that moves the fog past my window. Love and light, it seems, in each call of my night bird. Maybe this is what touches us so deeply about McCarthy’s lyrics to Blackbird:

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise

I awoke in the middle of the night to hear a bird singing somewhere in the marsh near my house. Joyfully, I arose and have not slept again since.

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Eye of the Hurricane

image Image taken from: http://wp.patheos.com.s3.amazonaws.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/files/2014/06/The_Eye_of_the_Storm_by_sparklehorse.png

Today, I send into your meditation the Eye of the Hurricane. Sitting quietly, breathing slowly, muscles relaxed, we are the Eye of the Hurricane. Quiet, peaceful, while all around us realities we live in every day spin wildly, madly, and with great velocity. In this space we observe, witness and become a presence to our mind’s creations. We may see the storm raging around us, a flurry of thoughts and emotion, while we rest in the center of the mind’s movement.

The Eye of the Hurricane has no resistance. No pushing or pulling. No stories, no demands. Silence. The perfect description of nothingness and yet is it? It is not as ephemeral as we think. It’s got a kind of solidity to it. We feel it, not just with our hearts, but in our bellies, spine, muscles, breath. We know it as we know the metronome’s point when it stops ticking to and fro and comes to rest at center.

We may see this space as inactive, passive, the pause after raging winds or the calm before the next onslaught, as though the mind is where action lives and the Eye the absence of action. Yet feel the physicality of this space within your body, does it truly feel inert to you or a place of absence?

Might you feel a pulsation? An energy burning steadily as midnight oil to a flame. This is no escape from a storm, but rather the powerful hub from which all our lives extend outwards. A center that remains grounded to this Earth and our life, always present and unaffected by the storms raging around it, yet always there in the middle of things. It is neither passive nor active. It is something that transcends these human patterns. The Eye simply IS. It’s IS’ness is substantive, even as it has no substance at all.

Here in the Eye, we can see our machinations without prejudice or judgment. Our manipulations, self-deceits, control games, our fears, our hiding techniques, our resistances and refusals, our longings and hungers, our circus performing to gain love. In the Eye of the Hurricane we sit in an atmospheric silence that is as full as it is empty and bear witness to our habits in relating. Here we are free to really look into ourselves. To know ourselves without being consumed by shame or guilt for what we see. To detach enough to allow choices to rise and change to manifest within us.

This silent energy is for our growth. Into this space we step and see how to detach from the mayhem that we might see more of what we are doing, how we are feeling, the ways we are reacting to life. The Eye can show us how deaf, dumb and blind we are that we might learn to hear, speak and see greater truth. We want this awareness. It’s how we grow in love, by coming to see where we are forgetting that we are love.

Come to feel how it is a space where fear can be seen, but not heard. Pain can be witnessed but not born. Shame can be understood and laid down. In the Eye of the Hurricane we return to the essence of us, unscathed by lightning and flash flooding. We are rejuvenated and revitalized.

We are in many ways rechargeable batteries. Going out into the world, using up our power cells, to return to meditation and sleep to be recharged and renewed to go out into the world again. We aren’t meant to live all of our life in the Eye of the Hurricane, of course, but the Eye of the Hurricane is meant to live all our lives within us.

 

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Delicate Balance

Rain Clouds by Philip Neelamegam

Clouds hang low and dark, spun sugar and licorice cotton candy. The sun ghosts on the horizon, little more than a light gray swath sweeping across the horizon. Rain can be seen falling at various points across the city and plains. It seems an ominous mood at dawn.

It’s counterpoint are a handful of purple finches chatting away at the bird feeder and a robin singing for worms. Even in the gloom Spring’s blooms can be seen shining like starlight in the darkness.

There is a wonderful balance between these two states. Rain soaked clouds suppressing all indoors and Springs push upward with life calling all back to their doors.

I feel my breath rise and fall between these two states. Heart beat slow, muscles languid. I neither feel nor hear the clock.  I rest my mind between the delicate balance feeling this curious morning scale as if it rests upon my heart.

How can any of us sleep when such mysteries as storms and new life battle for dominance in these quiet hours?  I surely cannot.

The Egg

image https://xetobyte.deviantart.com/art/The-World-is-a-Playground-163990503

Today, I send into your meditation The Egg.

Meditation is a fabulous tool for developing deep intimacy with oneself. It connects us to the movement of feeling within us and our thought patterns that are generating these great rivers of emotion. Meditation practiced routinely can show us the subtle ways we hold tension in our bodies and minds. It can bring us into a keen awareness of our rhythms and energy patterns and how those are playing out in this specific moment — now. It is a beautiful window to how we expend ourselves in life and how we nourish ourselves.

It can also be a tool we use, usually unconsciously, to isolate ourselves.

Relationships with others can be messy affairs. They are perfect mirrors for what we hold onto, believe in, are actively pursuing, and/or hiding in our subconscious. As soon as we begin to interact with others, we are scanning for what is similar and what is different, even if not aware that we’re doing it. In this comparing, areas of low confidence may suddenly arise making us seek to control others or situations. Relationships bring up feelings of vulnerability, exposure and insecurity. They can be places of love and nurturing or competition and struggle.

Certainly, our hearts are never more exposed than when we love. For many on the spiritual path, bumpy relationships are what brought us to the cushion in the first place.

Meditation can be a cozy blanket we wrap ourselves in to hide from that exposure. We get to feeling we know ourselves well, because we are so snug and comfortable in our silence. Alone, everything is peaceful and clear to us. We may struggle with the silence, but we see it as our struggle in a modality that promises an end to that struggle up ahead. There can be a clean edge to meditation for us, whereas human relationships often have undefined territories. To some degree, meditation feels like something that remains under our control. We determine how our meditation practice will play out.

When we enter into relationships with others their perspectives, beliefs, daily noise and beingness begin to affect us. Often, instead of engaging the mirror, which is what relationships offer us, we retreat back into the silence where everything is peaceful and warm. Where no one challenges our inner worlds. We might even tell ourselves the quiet is somehow better or higher in consciousness than the mayhem we may experience all around us. But is it?

It does take bravery to leave our aloneness and step into the seas of human discourse, because as soon as we do we’ll struggle. We’ll see things in ourselves we don’t want to see, nor did we see when we were alone. We’ll feel our views, perspectives, and beliefs being challenged in ways we never saw coming. We will, at times, have to change our way of seeing things, admit wrongs, see limitations and feel the tension of adapting to something new. Yet, there is so much adventure, discovery and growth when we find courage to open our hearts, expose our underbelly, and allow others to step inside our weird, little, mental worlds. To allow that tension of change to unfold within us.

Meditation used wisely can shore up our courage to allow ourselves to be exposed, not in silence, but in the noise of human life. To allow another’s ideas, presence or choices to show us how we love or don’t, how we engage or don’t, how fear holds us back or emboldens us. In relationships we see how we hold things we need to let go of like jealousy, anger, low esteem, fear, or whatever we’ve been dragging around in our personal kitbags of instability.

To connect with any other, we are risking discovering we aren’t who we think we are and that terrifies us. Alone in our quiet, we get to determine who we are. With others, well it’s a bit more like a Picasso painting. Clear and not clear at the same time, but that jockeying around of view points has immense potential for strengthening us and pushing our well of love ever deeper.

It seems counterintuitive, but the crazy, rocket-ride of living a human life is meant to be just that. A ride to show us vistas both outside and within our very souls. Sitting in our homes, alone, quietly, is only one piece of the equation. And should you believe because you are married, work in teams, live with five roommates and so on, that you’ve got this “connection” thing down, be wary. Some of the most alone places on this Earth are in the company of many. Taking a risk with ourselves in relationship with others isn’t merely about physical locale, but about the depth of our heart-risk.

Every living thing benefits from a quiet, supportive, nurturing egg from which to gestate and grow inwardly, but we aren’t meant to live there indefinitely. Every life eventually must crack out of that egg and enter the world or diminish.

image. Art egg carving by https://vnarts.deviantart.com

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