This morning at dawn I bring cushions outside to sit on the little cement stoop in front of the cottage I’ve rented for over ten years now. It’s peaceful here, but I’m kind of numb after the long drive home from San Rafael yesterday. I know how to be mindful but I feel disconnected, forgetting the simple joy and wonder of timeless being. The infinite creativity, love, and mystery of being alive are why I fell in love with meditation to begin with; yet, when I’m tired, hungry, lonely, or caught in the grip of strong emotions, the magic is lost. Mindfulness devolves into narrow, insular attention. Then it feels like being outside in the cold pressing my nose against a closed window instead of being warm inside, looking out a wide open window where I’m part of the vastness of consciousness embracing the whole world.
It’s peaceful here, too early for passersby. I arrange cushions to support my back and listen to the birds singing to each other while the light grows. Little by little, sitting here, I allow everything seen and felt to come closer. My body relaxes and senses open into unified, alert presence. This presence is always here, waiting for me to refresh in the timeless NOW, the presence of open, intelligent, loving awareness. How wondrous to realize this, over and over again.
Everyone loses inspiration at times and discouragement or restlessness sets in. Restlessness is a mindfulness bell waking me up again. There is a rhythm to this in meditation practice, as in life. See for yourself: as the breath flows in and out, lungs expand and contract. The heart pumps steadily while valves open and close. In meditation, too, awareness opens and closes, expands and contracts. The beautiful truth is that each time you notice feeling contracted, dull or disconnected, this very noticing is mindfulness, a gate swinging open into clear awareness.
Try waking up with the morning light. Whether you meditate on your stoop, your favorite chair, or relaxing in your bed, you can open the window of your heart. Feel the early morning air caress your skin as a breeze ruffles your hair. Listen to the stillness of dawn and the sounds of the waking up world all around you – life tenderly inviting you to refresh!