I was so surprised at how quickly last night’s meditation for stress relief, alternate nostril breathing, went by. It seemed I had only just started when the eleven minute timer rang out. My body continues to rail at the discipline of sitting still as I do this breath routine and sense into my surroundings outside. It wants to get up and pace or continue some activity, anything but sitting still, quietly breathing in the prana and letting a piece of the day go with every exhale. The restlessness is apparent and deeply palpable within me as I lean into this meditation. I have felt shifts from restlessness to peace and restfulness in a few of the last 37 nights, but less than a handful. My body tries to push forward much faster than I am asking it to go, but as I breathe, I am able to harness that energy in somewhat. I feel this tension for a full 10 minutes and 45 seconds at a nearly constant rate. Then, at that seemingly magical moment that marks the last fifteen seconds left to go, my body suddenly shifts from tense to quite relaxed and literally ‘lets go of the day’. The witness within me that observes all of this as it is happening marvels at this dynamic. And I have deep gratitude for feeling that ultimate change on my body’s energetic tempo. I then can rise from my seat and go off to bed, slipping with ease into sleep. At least for a while. My sleep continues to be fragmented and this night was no different. I have occasional and glorious nights of long periods of sleep. Tonight was a restless one after a few short hours of peaceful sleep. Finally I arose at first light, which by now is getting to be quite late indeed, compared to June. It is barely light at 6AM now, and having been used to rising at 4:30AM or 5AM, this morning I feel I have overslept. Oh well. So I overslept. What of it? Time for sadhana regardless. When I take myself onto the back porch, I see such a beautiful morning! I am immediately so grateful to be able to sit outdoors in the once again relative warm moist air of late summer. Ahhhhhhhh. What a soothing way to begin and center into the day. As I begin the 5x5x5 breathing routine, I see that the turkey vultures are already out leaving their nightly roosts. As I look to the southwest, my eyes catch three of these birds flying into the valley’s space in front of me from three different directions. Estimating their trajectories, it looks to me that they are going to have a mass collision right in front of me in midair. Yet they fly over and across one another with the ease and grace beyond even a prima ballerina. My breath catches in my throat as I witness this moment, which came and went in the span of maybe fifteen seconds at the very most from beginning to end. I am relieved that the birds are safe. I am once again in awe at their command of the air. And I am grateful that I happened to be right there in that moment to witness such a sight! As I resume the steady breathing routine, I see more turkey vultures taking off towards the marshes south of here. They have this pattern where they generally fly out of the valley one at a time and about one minute apart from each other and are heading in the same direction. I imagine one of their ‘leaders’ has called a meeting to begin the day with their version of order. I think of Tommy and the rest of the Bookenders and wonder what discoveries they are witnessing in their meditations. I would love to compare notes sometime. This practice is a gift that just keeps on giving. Sat Nam!
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