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.
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.
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.
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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