your every thought, word, and movement
is always, always
Translated by Daniel Ladinsky
I stared at the leafless geranium plant. Yesterday this plant being had been filled with red buds and sprouts for new leaves. Just as my heart was torn between sadness for the plant and happiness for the sated deer, a blue dragonfly landed on the bare stock.
Change is rarely easy, but everything is born, lives and dies of change. That is the message I imagined hearing from this beautiful and elegant insect. Dragonfly ancestry stretches back millions of years – by some accounts over 300 million years. Similar to the butterfly, the dragonfly has humble beginnings in a lengthy larval stage before developing the wings to gracefully and briefly caress the sky.
I felt like I was eavesdropping on a conversation between the dragonfly and the geranium. The dragonfly seemed to be encouraging the geranium to sprout new leaves, and to remember that life will continue onward. The sunlight, winds, clouds and rains will come and go. There might be other visitors – slugs, worms, and different forms of insects. But, as in the past, the leaves will grow and flourish until they eventually turn to nourishment for the earth or again for the deer.
The dragonfly embodies the capacity to see and move in all directions. It is no wonder that they are symbols of transcendence and the capacity to live with full awareness in every moment. Their all-seeing and all-pervasive capacity – along with their magically exquisite presence – has inspired renderings of them in stories, myths, legends and art in cultures around the world.
For me, this dragonfly offered me a few symbolic reminders. One, to step back and allow for a wider, more compassionate perspective, i.e., one beyond the duality of sadness and happiness. And, that such a transcendental sight arises out of seemingly unremarkable shifts. Our luminescent inner being is always present, ready to emerge and express itself in beautiful words and movements.
This practice supports awareness of sight.
- Seated, rub the palms of your hands together until you feel some warmth.
- Gently bow your head and place the heels of your palms over your eyelids. If you are near a table, please feel free to rest your elbows on the table and cradle your fingertips upward over your forehead and upper scalp.
- Invite a release of any tension in the muscles in your jaw and behind your eyes.
- Stay here for a few moments, gently breathing and allowing your eyes to have a mini-break.
- Release your hands and allow them to rest in a comfortable position. Allow your head to come back to an upright, neutral position.
- Slowly blink your eyes a few times. Perhaps smile, appreciating the rest you have offered your eyes from their constant use during the daytime.
- Take your time and look around at your surroundings. No hurry. Take time to look upwards, from side to side and across the surface of the floor or earth.
- After a few moments of looking around while seated, consider standing and looking around at your surroundings behind you.
- If you are near a window or are outside, softly gaze into the distance for a few moments.
- Return to seated and lightly brush your fingertips over your face and eyes.
- (Optional) If you like, sit quietly for a few moments with your eyes closed. Imagine there is a gentle radiance deep within your heart-center and that its glow lights up the entire inner surface of your body (front, back, sides, and through your limbs and neck to the soles of your feet to the crown of your head). Invite yourself to be absorbed in the feeling of radiance. As you are ready, shift that feeling to a sense you are one glowing and loving eye aware of all life. After a few moments with this feel, slowly look around again.
Transition back into your day –
- Sit quietly for a few moments. Allow your hands to rest in any position that is comfortable, e.g., palms upward on your thighs.
- When you feel ready, transition back into your day.
This poem is an excerpt from Mala of the Heart: 108 Luminous Poems, page 58, by Ravi Nathwani and Kate Vogt (editors), published by New World Library. Photo by Clint Patterson. HEARTH is posted each new and full moon. KateVogt©2023.