New Moon – humble beginnings

New Moon – humble beginnings

I was delighted with myself,
having offered everything that I had;
my heart, my faith, my work. 

“And who are you,” you said,
“to think you have so much to offer? 
It seems you have forgotten
where you’ve come from.”

Rumi
trans. Coleman Barks

“Moon.”  It was simple one-word exclamation.  Yet, to be sure that I understood her latest discovery, my youngest neighbor – a toddler named Natalia – reached her arm toward the sunny afternoon sky and pointed.  She repeated, “moon?,” although this time with an inflection of curiosity.  

As I mimicked her – pointing upward and whispering moon – Natalia beamed at having successfully communicated.  She was with her grandmother, who seemed equally proud. Apparently Natalia was excited about her new understanding that the moon is up there in the daytime sky, and had been testing everyone along their afternoon walk.  

It seemed like such an insignificant interaction, yet it caused me to ponder the ethics within our verbal exchanges, e.g., honesty, humility.  There is so much that happens within milliseconds.  Natalia had, in her own childhood way, deemed me as a grown-up who would responsibly respond to her in that moment.  

Part of my pondering came about because it was a day of new moon, when the moon is not only absorbed in the nighttime hues but invisible during the daytime.   Our minds in many ways are similar to the moon, with the potentiality to fully reflect the luminosity of eternal truth.  Yet, for the most part, our mind only catches glimpses of the truth.   

The famous Sufi Rumi reminds me that, within the shadowy orbits of life, I should remember that my human mind is vulnerable to misperception.   I found his words helpful as I reflected on how trustingly Natalia looked to others for affirmation with her learning to communicate and navigate the social nuances of human connections.  She offered a small lesson in the humility of remembering the deep responsibility that comes when someone asks for our advice or opinion.  In the coming weeks, I hope to continue to reflect on the gift from Natalia. 


Practice

This short practice invites awareness of inner awareness.

Prepare – 

  • Find a quiet spot where you can sit with minimal distractions or interruptions.
    • If seated on a chair or bench, evenly rest the soles of your feet on the floor.
  • Take a moment to shake out through your arms and roll out through your shoulders.
  • Then, sit quietly with your hands comfortably resting on your thighs.  Invite awareness to your breath.  Just take notice of how it feels in this moment, e.g., raspy, calm, and smooth? 

Practice – 

  • For each of the following, take six breaths.  Invite your breath to be smooth and even:
    • Close your eyes (and take six breaths)
    • Again with your eyes closed, place your middle fingers on your eyelids, index fingers on your forehead, and thumbs on your temples (again, take six breaths)
    • Repeat the previous by moving your thumbs onto your ear flaps, i.e., closing off the outer sounds (again, take six breaths)
      • Note:  you may wish to lightly rest your ring fingers on the outer edges of your nostrils and your little fingers on the corners of your mouth.
  • Relax your hands in lap.  Sit quietly, either with your eyes closed or resting in a soft gaze.  
    • Notice any areas of your body where you may be holding extra tension.  Gently shift your awareness to an area that feels tense.  Invite more calmness and relaxation into that area with each inhale, letting go of tension on the exhales.  Repeat with as many areas of your body as you wish.   

Transition back into your day – 

  • Sit quietly for a few moments.  
  • When you are ready, return to your day.    

The verse  appears in Mala of the Heart: 108 Sacred Poems, page 31, 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©2021. 


Join me in virtual offerings!  
Registration for the following online through College of Marin Community Education

  • Transcendental Love, course #4916, 5 Tuesdays, 3:10-4:30pm PT, Jan 26-Feb 23
  • Key Yogic Principles: Their Vedic and Ancient Influences and Their Relevance Today, course #4783, 6 Thursdays, 3:10-4:30pm PT, Jan 28-Mar 4
  • Support Wisdom in Your Life, course #4880, 5 Tuesdays, 3:10-4:30pm PT, Mar 30-Apr 27 

Registration for the following workshop through YogaOpenSpace (Oahu, HI)  online

  • Support Wisdom in Your Life, Friday, February 5, 11:30-1:30 pm PT
Eternal Love

Eternal Love

What

Is the

Root of all these

Words?

One thing: love.

But a love so deep and sweet

It needed to express itself  

With scents, sounds, colors

That never before

Existed.

Hafiz

I watched a deer as it appeared on the hillside outside our apartment’s sliding glass doors.   Grassy threads dangled from its antlers, giving it the appearance of having been adorned with jewels of the earth.  For the past ten days it has regularly come to the same spot, just to stand and watch Jay and me as we go through the morning routines of exercise, having breakfast, and clearing the dishes.  

The deer’s calm gaze often prompts me to pause and become absorbed in the stillness of its eyes.  Its ears usually convey a vigilant alertness that otherwise is imperceptible.  Its body and legs are motionless and its head still, slight tilted to offer it an unhindered view of us.  Its peacefulness seems to melt away any sense of one looking at the other – i.e., the deer toward me, or v.v. – to such a degree that even the sense of me or it disappears.  Instead, there is only that quiet gaze suspended in timelessness, free of labels and place.  

Sages and saints give the name of Love to that wordless vastness.  As the poet Hafiz says, it is a love “so deep and sweet” that it is forever present within the world.  It is the root of the bud, the cry, the laugh, the wag of a tail, the arc of a rainbow, the gong of a bell, or the light of the sun.  This is a love that it is beyond our wildest imaginations of hope and understandings of the world.  While it doesn’t crave attention or expect accolades, when we surrender into its grace, it fills us with awe and love, giving us a renewed capacity for contributing to the wellbeing of the whole.

I am grateful for the deer for pausing outside our window.  Like most part of nature, it reminds me to pause and notice the constant presence of loving wisdom woven into our earthly existence.  The trees, for example, model within their beauty the enduring qualities of generosity, adaptability, letting go, steadfastness and serenity.   I hope you will join me.  

Practice
This short practice invites awareness of love. 

Prepare – 

  • Turn your device to airplane and/or silence to minimize the disruptions for the next few minutes.  
  • Find a comfortable seated position
    • If seated on a chair or bench, rest the soles of your feet on the ground.
  • Gently squeeze your hands, fingers, wrists and forearms.  Then relax your palm in your lap or on your thighs, whichever offers the most ease.
  • Three times, with softly pursed lips, quietly breathe out through your mouth as if you are keeping a feather afloat with your breath.   
    • Note:  you may instead take a quiet, elongated exhale through your nostrils if you are in a semi-public place and do not want to spread droplets into the room.
  • Invite a sense of relaxation around your eyes, temples, back of your tongue, and center of your throat.  Smile.

Practice – 

  • Give yourself a gentle hug.   Hold your opposite arm for several seconds.  Smile.  
  • Shift the cross of your arms and repeat, still smiling with delight.  
    • Imagine you are smiling from the depth of your heart.  
      • Allow yourself to be filled with same delight that you have if you could hug your best friend or someone you love right now.  
      • Receive that delight. 
  • Rest one hand over the center of your chest.  Then, rest your other hand on top.
    • Allow delight of being hugged linger within your heart.  
    • Invite a sense of joy and buoyancy spreading through your upper chest area, and then slowly into your entire being
      • If comfortable, close your eyes.  Otherwise, rest your eyes in a soft gaze.
      • Breathe quiet, calm breaths.    
  • Place one hand over the center of your chest – your heart center – and then place your other hand on top.  
    • Allow your eyes to rest in a gentle gaze, or be softly closed.
    • Feel the touch and weight of your hands on your chest.  
      • Invite a sense of being comforted and held by the most loving, generous, compassionate, caring and selfless being.  
      • Smile as you welcome this loving presence into every pore of your mind and body.  
      • Stay here for several breaths, allowing your breath to become smooth and easeful. 
  • Release your hands wherever you had them before, i.e., to your lap or thighs.  Quietly repeat, “I am love” twelve times.  
    • Savor each word as though caressing them with your breath (remember keeping the aforementioned feather aloft with your calm, steady, and gentle breath). 
    • Imagine you are giving voice to the eternal love that you are. 

Transition back into your day – 

  • Sit quietly for as long as is comfortable.  
  • When you are ready, return to your day.    

The poem is translated by Daniel Ladinsky and appears in Mala of the Love: 108 Luminous Poems, page 67, 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. 

Remember Books for the Holiday! Give someone a gift that will support their contemplative life: Our Inherited Wisdom: 54 Inspirations from Nature and Poetry, Mala of Love: 108 Luminous Poems, and/or Mala of the Heart: 108 Sacred Poems. For the latter two, my book publisher New World Library is offering a special 50% discount (and free shipping on orders of $20 or more in the US) on every book they publish, including mine!  Simply enter the code “FRIENDS” at checkout by 12/21 on the New World Library website. For the former, please visit your local independent bookstore. Thank You! 

Upcoming in January: New course “Transcendental Love” and updated course “Key Yogic Precepts: Their Vedic Roots and Practical Applications in Today’s World.” Both with College of Marin’s online classroom.

Hallowed Life

Hallowed Life

The weight of arrogance is such
that no bird can fly
carrying it.
And the man who feels superior
to others, that man
cannot dance,
the real dance when the soul takes God
into its arms and you both fall
onto your knees in gratitude,

a blessed gratitude
for life.  

St. John of the Cross

The weight of arrogance is such that no bird can fly carrying it. And the man who feels superior to others, that man cannot dance, the real dance when the soul takes God into its arms and you both fall onto your knees in gratitude, a blessed gratitude for life.  St. John of the Cross

The moon once again is fully bathed in the light of the sun, giving the appearance of a glowing disc in the night sky.  Like the solar source of its radiance, the moon illumines the surface of the earth with a glistening luster.    

As a child, I would pause outside on such nights, and be filled with a dual sense of a spooky eeriness and joyful astonishment.   The land around my parents’ farm gleamed with a surreal translucence.  The large buildings, such as a Quonset, and equipment such as tractors, had a ghostly weightlessness as though they were simply mirages floating within the moonlight.   All was aglow, regardless of shape or size.

Now, several decades later, I am still captivated by this primordial dance of the moon endlessly cycling from being completely visible to invisible – all due to its orientation to the sun.  I find the phases of the moon are a sobering reminder not only of ever-changing nature of my mind, but also of how the continual churnings of thoughts obscure clarity.   Yet, about every thirty days, the light shines evenly and free of impediments, offering hope for my heart to soar in infinite luminosity, with untainted compassion.

Universally, sages, prophets, saints, and elders model our innate human capacity to reflect – and revere – the boundless radiance.  They inspire us to recognize the sweet interconnectedness of all life, where no spirit is superior to the other and where each is a precious part of the whole.  The Indian poet Tukaram offers an image of all life belonging on God’s “jeweled dance floor.”  Navajo wisdom offers steady reverence for the earth, sky, moon, sun, and all beings.  And, the mystic St. John of the Cross honors the ever-present grace of divine light, inviting us to let it freely shine in gratitude for this hallowed life.

I continually venture to embody the wisdom that lives within natural phenomena and sacred poetry, and hope you will join me.  

Practice 
This short practice invites appreciation of the sacredness of the earth.

Prepare – 

  • Choose a place where you can be undisturbed for a few minutes.  If you are using your phone for this mini-practice, consider placing it on silent.  Also, if comfortable, remove your shoes. 
  • Standing (Note: if your balance is feeling unstable, feel free to be seated for this portion.) 
    • Slowly rotate your right ankle, a few times one direction and then the other.

Repeat with your left ankle.

  • Gently lift up the toes on your right foot and spread them apart.  Then, curl them under.  Repeat a few times and then do the same on your left foot.
  • Lightly tap one foot on the floor a few times, then the other. 

Practice – 

  • Standing quietly.
    • Pause.  As best as you can, balance between your left and right side, and front and back. 
    • Notice where your feet are touching the surface beneath you. 
      • If inside, acknowledge the floor and all the resources that made the floor.  If wooden, for example, acknowledge source of the wood, e.g. the trees, as well as the humans that laid the planks of the floor, and all the earthly resources that nourished them so that they could do the work.   Acknowledge the concrete foundation, and the stones from the riverbed that made the concrete, and the waters.
      • Whether inside or outside, acknowledge the soil and its life, e.g., the insects and microbes.  Then acknowledge the layers of earth, e.g., the rocks and whatever is unique to where you are.
      • Wherever you are, acknowledge the First Peoples of the land of your area.
  • Still standing, begin to slowly walk for a few minutes, e.g., in a small circle
    • Consider all the life beneath your feet.  As invited by Thich Nhat Hanh, “walk as though your feet are kissing the earth.”  Consider also the awareness that the earth is kissing your feet. 
  • Pause again, standing quietly. 
    • Reach your hands upward to the sky. 
    • Imagine that you are receiving the luminous light of a full moon through your open hands, and that light is pouring down your arms into your torso and down through your legs to your feet. 
    • Lightly touch the top your head with your fingertips and imagine as though that light is washing away all tendencies toward judgement and self-centeredness with joyful love, compassion, and equanimity. 
    • Then, rest your hands over your heart center with remembrance that the four horizontal directions begin and end with the light of your own heart.
      • With gratitude for the gift of life, say “thank you.”

Transition back into your day – 

  • Find a place where you can sit quietly for a few moments.  
  • When you are ready, return to your day.    


The verse appears in Mala of the Heart: 108 Sacred Poems, page 11, 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. 

Boulders

Boulders

I am the Mother
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.

Book of Ecclesiasticus

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.

Practice
This short practice invites appreciation of patience.

Prepare – 

  • 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.”  

Practice – 

  • 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

THUNDER – inviting loving attentiveness

THUNDER – inviting loving attentiveness

The love of God, unutterable and perfect,
flows into a pure soul the way that light
rushes into a transparent object. 
The more love that it finds, the more it gives
itself; so that, as we grow clear and open,
the more complete the joy of heaven is.  
And the more souls who resonate together,
and, mirror-like, each soul reflects the other.

Dante

The stillness of the night melted into slow, drawn out rumbling.  In the haze of my sleepiness, my mind registered it as a sonic boom.  When the sound repeated itself a few minutes later, I remembered that it had been months since there had been any late-night planes passing overhead due to the impact of the COVID-19 virus on air travel. 

Flashes in the sky drew my attention and offered a partial answer to my confusion.  An unusual phenomenon had replaced a previously routine one.  Unlike fires and earthquakes, thunder and lightning rarely occur in coastal California.  The grumbling sky seemed be like a great being clearing its throat with “ahem.”  I felt a familiar alertness ripple through my body, with childhood memories of thunderous skies over the Great Plains that captured everyone’s attention.  Even the animals would perk up their ears and listen. 

Thunderstorms have a way of widening our perspective.  Their grandeur and splendor are both fearsome and dazzlingly enchanting.  Within a moment, separateness melts away and there is a roaring reminder of the sky’s all-encompassing embrace of our planet.  The entire globe is held by ethereal layers of space, as if to be a constant reminder that we are here to learn to emulate its compassionate and equitable lovingness toward all life. 

To further the lesson from the sky, a sweet fragrance wafted through the bedroom window, followed by the gentle thump of rain on the leaves of the trees.  A rhythmic harmony began to form as thousands of drops resonated together.  Dust washed away, the warm temperature began to drop, and the cycle of rain began anew.  The clouds continued to freely release their moisture, offering it back to the earth until the sky began to clear, revealing the sparkle of the stars.  

As we undergo our stormy times, nature and poets such as Dante inspire me to listen more closely to the timeless, wise undercurrents woven into our collective earth school.   I would like to believe that great “ahem” has gotten humanity’s collective attention, opening us to see that the sky shows us that everything is shared and everyone equally belongs; so, it is up to us to lovingly care for, and resonate, with one another and the rest of earthly species.   
 

Practice
This short practice invites awareness of the sky. 

Prepare – 

  • Find a comfortable seated position, ideally outside.   
  • Reach up and gently squeeze the skin around your eyebrows, starting with the outermost edge of your brow and slowly moving inward toward the bridge of your nose.  
    • (You will be holding your brows between your thumb and index fingers.)
  • Then, repeat from inward to outward.  When you reach the outermost tip of your brows, gently massage your temples, your forehead, and then the bridge of your nose with the tips of your fingers.
  • If comfortable, close your lids and let your fingertips rest lightly over your closed lids.  Soften through your jaw and invite your breath to slowly lengthen.  If you wish, replace your exhales with a quiet sigh of “aaaah.”
    • (If uncomfortable closing and touching your lids for any reason, feel free to simple sit and breathe.
    • Gently open your eyes.

Practice – 

  • Allow your gaze to look downward toward your heart center.  
    • Still with your eyes looking toward your heart with a soft gaze, imagine there is a radiance emanating from your heart center and it is tenderly bathing the entire surface of your eye and your optic nerves with the light of loving awareness.  
    • Invite your entire eye area to relax with a sense of receptivity to seeing anew.  
  • Slowly look upward toward the sky.  Invite a continued sense of receptivity where you are seeing through your eyes, not “with” them.  
    • Through your eyes, receive an awareness of the ever-present embrace of the sky of our planet.  Invite your view to arise from the depth of your heart.  
    • Imagine your upper body is encompassed in a radiance infused with compassion, equitable lovingness, kind generosity, and deep joyfulness.  Then imagine you are seeing through the lens of this radiance.
  • Allow your eyes to come to a neutral view (a middle view between lowering your eyes and looking upward).  Either close your eyes or allow them to relax into a soft gaze.  Say to yourself, “thank you.”  Perhaps invite in an awareness of ways we can move forward toward a just world where everything and everyone belongs and resonates with their own brilliance for the well-being of all.
  • Pause and sit quietly for several minutes.

Transition back into your day – 

  • Stay as long as you are comfortable.  
  • When you are ready, return to your day.    

 
This poem appears in Mala of the Heart: 108 Sacred Poems, page 97, edited by Ravi Nathwani and Kate Vogt and published by New World Library.  Photo by NOAA. H E A R T H is posted each new and full moon.  KateVogt©2020. 


Fall virtual class “Support Wisdom in Your Life.” (6 Thursdays, 3:10-4:30 p.m. PT, Aug 27-Oct 1).  For more information, please visit the College of Marin Community Education

LOVE – seeing beyond preconceptions

LOVE – seeing beyond preconceptions

But love of God
hath so absorbed me
that neither love
nor hate
of any other thing
remains in my heart. 

Rābiʻa

Yesterday was a foggy summer morning.  The air had taken on form and texture.  Like a freshly painted canvas, it was heavy and wet with soft, silvery hues.  A subtle radiance seeped through the thinner layers of the fog, revealing the presence of light.

While in many ways this was a typical coastal California foggy day, it felt instead almost hallowed   A tranquil, loving gentleness enveloped the hillsides and canyon of the neighborhood.   There was a near stillness with an occasional cooing of a dove or rustle in the tree branches.  As if to seal in the divine sweetness, a large deer rested on the grasses of a nearby slope.  

I was grateful for my diligence in observing my habit of starting each day outside.  Sometimes this is just a brief greeting of the day while feeding the birds.  The peaceful atmosphere yesterday felt like an invitation to settle in for my morning contemplation outside.   

 When I had looked through the glass of the bedroom window, the fog appeared to be a flat lifeless mass of grey.  Although I am normally a very curious person, it took the force of my morning habit – rather than curiosity – to experience fog as the opposite of my mind’s predisposition toward viewing it as gloomy and foreboding. 

 Nature always seems to continually offer these lessons for us to see, hear, and touch anew, with reverent appreciation.   Just one moment of slowing down and getting a little closer to her pace and language can change our inner view.   I have now met fog in an entirely fresh way.  Along with that, I have a heightened awareness of showing up again and again for the possibility of softening preconceptions and being absorbed in a love beyond bias.

 These everyday moments can be anywhere and with anyone.  Accompanying our interactions with nature, there are our COVID-masked greetings in the store and along the street.  Also, there are the choices of what and how much to consume in food or ideas, and possessions.   And, our thoughts, speech, and actions.   Living and ancient sages and saints like Rābiʻa remind us to boldly walk the path of love and trust that little by little, light will permeate the haze and enfold us in love. 

Practice 
This short practice invites awareness of the path of  love. 

Prepare – 

  • Find a comfortable seated position.   
  • Slowly lean your right ear toward your right shoulder.  Smile gently and take few easy breaths.  Then, gently bring your head to center and pause.  When you are ready repeat on your left side. 
    • Note:  If you have a condition that is irritated by taking your head to the side, e.g., positional vertigo, please make adjustments that are suitable for you.
  • Pause with your head to center.  Invite a few easy breaths.

Practice – 

  • Hold your hands in front of you with your palms upward, slightly cupped.  Imagine your hands are holding a boundless amount of love.  No matter how much you receive or give away there is still an overflowing abundance of love.
  • As though washing your hair and showering, bathe yourself in this love from the crown of your head to the soles of your feet as well as the back, front, and sides of your body and head.  
  • Pause with your palms cupped in front of you.  An abundance of love still pours you’re your hands.
    • Lightly touch your sensory organs – nose, mouth, eyes, skin (choose one place, e.g., skin on your face), and ears. 
      • If you are uncomfortable touching your face during COVID-19, please feel free to hover your hands over these sensory organs. 
  • Pause with your palms cupped in front of you, again holding endless, pure love.
    • As though the love were rose petals, gently toss them upward and out into the space around you – in front, to the right, behind, and to the left of you. 
    • Repeat this one more time.  Imagine as you release love in all directions that it is traveling the distances of the world from nearby to the farthest lands and people. 
  • Pause with your palms cupped in front of you still holding boundless love.
    • Bring one hand over your heart and the other on top as though you are sealing in the awareness of eternal love within your heart.  Invite all its expression of equity, kindness, and compassion to inform your thoughts, actions, and speech. 
    • Bow your head slightly.  Invite all your sensory engagements to arise from your heart through your nose, mouth, eyes, skin and ear.  Invite them to be free of grasping and clinging and free of the conditioned filters that bring harm and injustice to others.    

Transition back into your day – 

  • Relax your hands into a comfortable position, e.g., turned downward onto your knees. 
    • Allow your eyes to rest in a soft gaze.  
    • Invite an easeful, calm breath.
  • Stay as long as you are comfortable, perhaps following the rhythm of receiving and releasing the breath with each inhalation and exhalations.
  • When you are ready, return to your day.    

This poem appears in Mala of Love: 108 Luminous Poems, page 105, edited by Ravi Nathwani and Kate Vogt and published by New World Library.  Photo by Alexander Kaunas.  H E A R T H is posted each new and full moon.  KateVogt©2020. 

Fall virtual class Support Wisdom in Your Life. (6 Thursdays, 3:10-4:30 p.m. PT, Aug 27-Oct 1).  For more information, please visit the College of Marin Community Education.  

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