Last night’s meditation went by so swiftly, I felt I had sat down only a moment ago before I heard the eleven minute timer ring. While I was careful to attend to my inhales, envisioning the prana filling every cell within me with its life force elixir, and consciously ‘letting a piece of the day go’ with each exhale, my body once more took its own sweet time to release the tension wrapped up in it from the day’s activities. Only in the last few seconds of this meditation period did I find my body allow itself to fully unwind and relax, spent after the hustle and bustle of another day. Ahhhhhhhhhhhh, yes….now I am ready for sleep. I feel now that I do not know how I ever ended any of my days before I began this practice. How did I ever get to sleep before I learned this practice? Whereas the length of my sleep segments does not seem much changed, the quality of sleep that I have had since I incorporated this meditation for stress relief into my life has become sweeter, deeper, and more powerful than I could ever have imagined. In addition, I have noticed in the last week that in my periods of meditation I visit a deeper level of clarity and a difficult to describe but profound place of peace in this solitude. Again, I had never imagined such a place ever existed, yet I visit it with delight and fervent gratitude. I heard the crickets, cicadas, and the Great-Horned Owls all speaking out into the night as I slipped into an easy sleep. I awoke during the night a number of times, once to the rumblings of thunder as another front moved in and brought more lovely gentle rains to us in the valley here. I feel such relief when I hear these rains, giving the earth and its creatures a good long drink. Where there is water, there is life. Indeed, we have had such a bounty of rain over the spring and summer months. The streams, river, and reservoirs are filled almost to overflowing after so many years of scarcity.
I rose before dawn and when I walked out onto the back porch for my morning 5x5x5 breath meditation, I was surprised at the quiet in the valley. Yes, my first impression was the absence of the sounds I had become so used to over the summer. It was a cool 63 degrees and overcast and it seemed to me like many of the birds were sleeping in this morning, perhaps after having their night interrupted by the storm. I turned directly into my breathing routine and felt my body actually relax into this rhythm this morning. It seemed ready, willing, and appreciative of being used in this way – yet another of the many gifts of this practice. I saw very few birds passing in or out of the valley as I continued. I could see today that the leaves of the oak and the hickory directly in front of me were quite obviously turning a deeper dark greenish brown – a distinct change in only two days. One by one, the different species of creatures living here are making their adjustments to the waning summer and readying themselves for the coming winter. I send a blessing out to them in their preparations and thank them for yet again gifting me a lesson in letting go of what was. They are always here, in the present, and remind me to attend to what is right here for me, not to what was or what will be. The breath is my bridge back to the present moment every time. I need only remember to remember to bring my attention to it to find my way. I send a blessing to Tommy for his guidance and blessings to the rest of the Bookenders for their companionship during this part of my journey and am feeling confident that they have found a number of gifts for themselves in this practice. And just as the eleven minute timer goes off signaling the end of today’s meditation, I see the turkey vultures rise from their roosts as a group to the skies in the northwest woods and take off to the west. I will never tire of watching these majestic creatures light into the air and venture into their day. I am filled to the brim with prana, joie de vivre, and gratitude. Sat Nam!
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