Sit and be still
until in the time
of no rain you hear,
beneath the dry wind’s
commotion in the trees,
the sound of flowing
water among the rocks,
a stream unheard before,
and you are where
breathing is prayer
Wendell Berry, Sabbaths 2001
In the visible world of nature, a great truth is concealed in plain sight: diminishment and beauty, darkness and light, death and life are not opposites. They are held together in the paradox of the “hidden wholeness.” In a paradox, opposites do not negate each other; they cohere in mysterious unity at the heart of reality. Deeper still, they need each other for health, as my body needs to breathe in as well as breathe out. But in a culture that prefers the ease of either-or thinking to the complexities of paradox, we have a hard time holding opposites together. We want light without darkness, the glories of spring and summer without the demands of autumn and winter, and the Faustian bargains we make fail to sustain our lives.
Autumn constantly reminds me that my daily dyings are necessary precursors to new life. If I try to “make” a life that defies the diminishments of autumn, the life I end up with will be artificial, at best, and utterly colorless as well. But when I yield to the endless interplay of living and dying, dying and living, the life I am given will be real and colorful, fruitful and whole.
Parker Palmer, Autumn: To Cohere in Mysterious Unity
photo of Glendalough by bananenfalter
This is as nice a description of moment-to-moment awareness that I have read in a while, from a non “meditation” source:
There’s actually no such thing as an adult. We never grow up. We’re not supposed to. We’re born and that’s it. We get bigger. We live through great storms. We get soaked to the bone. We realize we’re waterproof. We strive for calm. We discover what makes us feel good. We do those things over and over. We learn what doesn’t feel good. We avoid those things at all cost. Sometimes we come together: huge groups in agreement. Sometimes we clap and dance. Sometimes we look like a migration of birds. We need to remind ourselves — each other — that we’re mere breaths. Like every time you see the low, full moon. We keep on eating: chewing, pretending we know what’s going on. The secret is that we don’t. We don’t, and don’t, and don’t. Each day we’re infants: plucking flower petals, full of wonder.
Micah Ling, Bon Iver: Holocene
Returning to the source is stillness,
which is the way of nature.
Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
The wind whistles in the bamboo and the bamboo dances.
When the wind stops, the bamboo grows still.
A silver bird flies over the autumn lake.
When it has passed,
the lake’s surface does not try to hold on to the image of the bird.
Life’s energy is never static. It is as shifting, fluid, changing as the weather. How we relate to this dynamic flow of energy is important. We can learn to relax with it, recognizing it as our basic ground, as a natural part of life; Or the feeling of uncertainty, of nothing to hold on to, can cause us to panic, and instantly a chain reaction begins.We panic, we get hooked, and then our habits take over and we act in a very predictable way.
Pema Chodron, Taking the Leap
photo kevin higgins