Saturday afternoon drive: Then the car becomes a meditation chamber

The basic instructions for beginning meditation are to sit quietly and concentrate on nothing but your breathing for five minutes. Simple enough, right? I can’t do it for ten seconds. I can turn down the lights, burn all the incense and play all the soothing music I want but, after the briefest pause, my brain will recommence to whirr, instantly, uncontrollably.

Until I get on that blissfully empty stretch of open road, that is. Then the car becomes a meditation chamber. It all happens by itself. Breathing slows, the benevolent sky swells out, almost always a blue so pure, clean and enamelled that even worries of climatic catastrophe recede for a moment. Maybe there are some clouds, artfully arranged. Choose your moment to leave town — I like to leave at around 5am, just before rush hour — and there won’t even be any traffic to speak of. Just the white noise of the purring engine to amplify the calm, blissful silence, which will at last find its way into even the most stubbornly busy mind.

Dropping into the Central Valley from the mountains surrounding the Tejon Pass is like breaking open a petit four, getting past the glossy, pretty exterior: inside is the cake. The urban surfaces of California are what we see in movies and on TV: slick, manufactured, shouting, cajoling, bamboozling, seducing, ready to sell you something. And then the confected beauty of the city gives way; now the land reaches far out to the sky. Your ears pop from the pressure change, and a sign advises you that the next gas station is 19 miles off.

~ Maria Bustillos, from “On the Road” (Aeon, May 2, 2013)


Sources: Quote – Andrew Sullivan, Ode to Highway. Photo: Guy Le Querrec (via newthom)

TGIF: Things to Do Today

Things to do today:

1) Breathe in.
2) Breathe out.

Ned Vizzini, It’s Kind of a Funny Story.


Photo: Huffinton Post.  Quote: The Vale of Soul Making

It may take God

Alejandro García Restrepo

Today, God, help me focus on a peaceful pace rather than a harried one.

I will keep moving forward gently, not frantically.

Help me let go of my need to be anxious, upset, and harried.

Help me replace it with a need to be at peace and in harmony.

~ Melody Beattie, from “Going Easy” in The Language of Letting Go


Photo: Alejandro García Restrepo via I Hear It in the Deep Heart’s Core

Saturday Morning

nest-sleep-silence

Silence
will carry your voice
like the nest that holds the sleeping birds.

~Rabindranath Tagore, from Stray Birds


Notes:

Quotes: Your Eyes Blaze Out. Photo: Sarah Treanor with “still life” (via Your Eyes Blaze Out).  Find all of Stray Birds @ eldrichpress.org.

It’s been a long day

breathe-gratitude-long-day


Notes:

Absolute Patience

quiet-still-patience

An absolute
patience.

[…]

So absolute, it is
no other than
happiness itself, a breathing
too quiet to hear.

Denise Levertov, from “The Breathing” in Poems: 1960 – 1967; “O’ Taste and See

 


Notes:

Morning Meditation: Be ignited, or be gone

meditation-mist

Meditation is old and honorable, so why should I
not sit, every morning of my life, on the hillside,
looking into the shining world? Because, properly
attended to, delight, as well as havoc, is suggestion.
Can one be passionate about the just, the
ideal, the sublime, and the holy, and yet commit
to no labor in its cause? I don’t think so.

All summations have a beginning, all effect has a
story, all kindness begins with the sown seed.
Thought buds toward radiance. The gospel of
light is the crossroads of — indolence, or action.

Be ignited, or be gone.

~ Mary Oliver, “What I Have Learned So Far” from New and Selected Poems Vol. 2


Sources:

Deep

sperm-whale-photography

The way is not really a way.
It is a depth.
It is not a distance.

~ Mooji, “Inspirational – Into the Deep” from White Fire


Notes:

  • Thank you Val Boyko for her inspirational post: Inspiration – Into the Deep and for Mooji quote.
  • Photo: National Geographic – Whale of a Tail by Shane Gross: “A sperm whale “waves goodbye” to Shane Gross, who had traveled to Sri Lanka’s east coast hoping to photograph blue whales. “While we did have some success with the blues, it was the sperm whales that stole the show,” he writes. He captured this picture toward the end of the six-day expedition. “It was late in the day and the sun was low as this small pod swam toward me, and I did my best to keep quiet so as to not frighten them. This one started to dive and I free dove right after her, trying to get as close to that massive tail as possible. I knew she might be the last whale I’d encounter on the trip, and indeed, she was.”

Saturday Morning: How gracious, how benign, is Solitude.

light-woman-blonde-neck-back

When from our better selves we have too long
Been parted by the hurrying world, and droop,
Sick of its business, of its pleasures tired,
How gracious, how benign, is Solitude.
How potent a mere image of her sway;
Most potent when impressed upon the mind
With an appropriate human centre – hermit,
Deep in the bosom of the wilderness; […]
Kneeling at prayers; or watchman on top
Of lighthouse, beaten by Atlantic waves; […]
When, for the night deserted, it assumes
A character of quiet more profound
Than pathless wastes.

— William Wordsworth, The Prelude


Credits: Photo: Nini Poppins. Quote: Google Books via whyallcaps.us

Saturday Morning

cross-black-and-white-dress-portrait

I come into this small room and take a seat on the floor.
I don’t expect miracles.
But I have given myself a sacred space,
and now I simply offer myself the even greater gift of time to use it.
Someday, perhaps, something will happen here.
For now, I love this room,
this emptiness, the fading light, my own quiet company.
I am learning, by sitting, to become,
in the words of Terry Tempest Williams,
“a caretaker of silence, a connoisseur of stillness, a listener of wind.”

~ Katrina Kenison, Magical Journey: An Apprenticeship in Contentment 


Notes:

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