I am the MotherBook of Ecclesiasticus
of fair love…
and of knowledge,
and of hope.
In me is grace
of the way and of the truth…
My memory is
unto everlasting generations.
The rising full moon loomed over the boulders at one end of a nearby beach. On the opposite end, the sun was disappearing behind a cloudbank. Every grain of sand and atmospheric particle seemed aglow, as though promising to carry forward the memory of light into the nighttime.
A golden warm hue caressed the crevices of the massive rocks. Otherwise appearing inert, they seemed to happily reveal their deepest secrets of majesty, tranquility and beauty. They are in no hurry to get somewhere or be anywhere other than where they are. Slowly they erode and give way to the inevitable cycle of change. They are imbued with patience and quiet ease, undisturbed by the lichen or countless crustaceans that grow on their surface.
These mammoth stones, like all their smaller, rocky counterparts – even to the size of a pebble – are models of strength, constancy, and inclusiveness. They tirelessly comfort whomever comes near. Birds in need of a rest pause on their surface. Adults and children are drawn to touch, lean against or sit on them as though instinctively attracted to their steady calming, soothing, and non-judgmental presence.
As I walked toward the boulders, I noticed my pace began to slow. Perhaps that was the result of awe of the intimate and dynamic dialog of the light with the air and earth. More likely, however, it was the serenity of the rocks that stilled anything close by. It is no wonder that humans have long created stone structures, gardens, sculptures and markers to evoke steadfastness, longevity, peacefulness, and divine permanence.
In the turmoil of our individual and collective times, it is easy to forget that Nature is infused with timeless wisdom. Nature invites us to acknowledge that we are an integral part of the larger universe. Seeing a rock could be a reminder that we are stubbornly resistance or complacently silent. Yet, these boulders are an example of how Nature continually offers insight to decelerate, pay attention, and honor all that we take for granted. Nature generously offers the land on which we live, the air that we breath, the sunlight that sustains the plants, and constant reminders to re-align our inner rhythms with the outer rhythms. As a way to stay grounded and hopeful, my touchstone will be to cultivate lessons from the boulder – selfless generosity, fairness, and fortitude. I hope you will join me.
This short practice invites appreciation of patience.
- Find a comfortable seated position.
- Become aware of the surface beneath you. Notice the effortless support that it offers. If on a chair or bench, reflect on the layers of support down to the earth.
- Lightly touch the surface beneath you with your fingertips.
- Silently say, “thank you.”
- Even though there are times that the layers of the earth stir, imagine the steady layers of support for earthly life. Particularly, consider the seemingly everlasting nature of mountains, boulders, rocks, stones, and pebbles. Because of their apparent immovability, they are models of steadiness and patience. Say “thank you.”
- Patiently, allow your breath to steadily flow in and out.
- Invite your eyes to relax with a soft gaze as though looking inward.
- Invite a sense of deep inner stillness as your breath gently moves inward and outward.
- Imagine that your breath moves so quietly that it barely brushes that inner stillness.
- As you continue, imagine the stillness slowly infusing your inhale and exhale a bit more breath by breath. Invite the quality of patient awareness as you observe the quieting of your breath.
- Perhaps savor the slight pause as one inhalation slides into the next exhalation.
- Continue inviting awareness of the breath moving at the pace of a stone – patient, gentle, accepting, and calming.
Transition back into your day –
- Sit quietly.
- After a few moments, look around and slowly observe the space around you without labeling or judging – just observing.
- Touch your thighs with your palms downward and take a deep breath. Then, once again touch the surface beneath you and say “thank you.”
- When you are ready, return to your day.
This verse appears in Mala of Love: 108 Luminous Poems, page 84, edited by Ravi Nathwani and Kate Vogt and published by New World Library. H E A R T H is posted each new and full moon. KateVogt©2020.
Upcoming Virtual Class with the College of Marin Community Education: The Path to Inner Quietude: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali In the midst of sweeping global changes, many of us are looking for reliable insight into re-orienting our perspective and lifestyle to foster clarity and peacefulness. In this course, we will look to the 2,000 year old text, Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, for its theory and application to stilling our mind. (lecture, discussion, & guided experiences; 6 Wednesdays, 3:10-4:30pm PT, Oct 21-Dec 2) Registration class #4749