Observe your life, between two breaths.

Breath is a wind, both coming and going.

On this wind you have built your life–
but how will a castle rest on a cloud?

Avicenna
Trans. by David Fideler and Sabrineh Fideler

The skies have been intermittently cloudy over the past few days.  The clouds arrive on the wind, swirl around, morph into different shapes, and then fade into the expanse of the sky.  An hour or so later, another set of clouds appear.

This ever-changing pattern of the clouds amplify my awareness of my mindscape in which thoughts come and go.  Some linger a little longer than others, and some seem to disappear as soon as they arise.  Although very few of them offer any useful insight, I am grateful for this assorted parade.  The pauses between offer glimpses of an underlying peaceful quietude.

My thoughts, like the clouds, reveal the presence of the winds of life dancing on the infinite spaciousness known as the heavens and the human heart.  The breezes, the gales, the breath, and our thoughts herald aliveness and its constantly changing nature.  Within these currents of air there is opportunity to come to know and trust abundance, reverence, love, and compassion.

Prophets, sages, and wise beings around the world, such as the poet Avicenna, inspire us to remember that true wealth belongs to no one, yet benefits all.  It is not within accumulation or the ephemeral moments of fame or power or accomplishment, nor is it lauded with awards or breaking news.

I feel that the gems of knowingness are tucked within the spaces between Avicenna’s words and phrases.   In that openness, the clouds of avarice, conceit, and superiority have faded and dissolved, leaving only divine spaciousness where there is room for you, me, and all life.   May we meet one another there.

Practice
This practice supports awareness of peacefulness beneath the changing clouds of the mind.

 Prepare— 

  • Sit quietly for a few moments.

Practice (early morning) –  (Standing.)

  • Place your palms over the center of your chest.
    • With an easy, smooth breath, pause here for a few breaths.
      • Imagine that infinite peace and joy reside deep within you.
  • Allow your arms to lower alongside your body.
    • Pause for one breath.
    • Then on an inhalation, reach your palms forward and upward.  On your exhalation, allow your arms to return to the sides of your body.
      • If comfortable, pause for one to two seconds at the end of your exhale.  Soften and relax, releasing any un-needed tension in your face and shoulders.
      • Continue for five breaths.
  • Slowly bring your hands together in front of the center of your chest.
    • Invite further softness and ease into your face, shoulders, arms, hands, and mind.
    • On your inhalation, imagine loving peace radiating outward from your heart to every cell within your body.
    • On your exhalation, invite a sense of settling into the depths of your heart.

Transition Back into Your Day— (Seated.)

  • Sit quietly.
  • When you are ready, return to your day.

 

This poem is from Mala of the Heart: 108 Sacred Poems, page 55, edited by Ravi Nathwani and Kate Vogt and published by New World Library.  The photo is by Hester Qiang on Unsplash.  The practice is from “Clouds” in Our Inherited Wisdom:  54 Inspirations from Nature and Poetry by Kate Vogt.  HEARTH is posted each new and full moon. KateVogt©2021.

If you are interested in exploring more about an perspective on the interweaving of our mind, senses, and our inner orientation to life, please join me in my virtual community education class PATH TO QUIETUDE starting June 27 for 5 Thursdays.  Register before June 18, 2021.

 

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