Then there
crept
A little noiseless noise
among the leaves,
Born of the very sigh
that silence heaves.

John Keats

 

As spring matures, the days grow longer, inviting more late afternoon excursions.  Yesterday it was a short drive to a large public beach.  Instead of taking the usual stroll along the tide-line, I took a cue from my loving life partner Jay, who said he was feeling like nap and was in search of a perfect spot on the sand to spread out a blanket.  It seemed wise to be still and absorb the immense presence of the ocean, sand, and sky, so I tagged along behind him, sitting next to him as he napped.

We were nestled next to some shore vegetation with its diverse species of grasses and other plants, all conditioned to thrive and support one another in the harsh winds and salty waters.  A few were in bloom with soft purples, yellows, and pinks, but all offered a rich and nuanced palette of greens.  Not surprisingly, wild mammal and bird species are nourished by this verdant plant membrane separating the parking lot from the shifting beach sands.

While pondering an earlier encounter with a coyote emerging out of this dense greenery, I sensed a subtle movement nearby.  My mind spun into high alert, with a readiness to awaken Jay and respond to whatever being was nearby.  My peripheral vision registered sand cascading into an opening in the ground.  A sand-covered face briefly arose out of the hole and then vanished.

Dragonflies and butterflies danced in the air, small sand bugs scurried across the rippled surface of the sand, and now I also had glimpsed one of the gophers who lived in a hidden network of tunnels underground.  It seemed ironic that I was the nuisance who had interrupted this particular herbivore’s “top-side” visit to feed on a plant.  In a city backyard or garden, the gopher would be labelled as a pest.

It also seemed somewhat serendipitous to encounter a gopher after a COVID-year of staying closer to our human burrow with minimalized socialization.  This expanded gopher-like time has spurred “digging,” in a metaphorical sense, for a better capacity for understanding and nurturing the deeper, quieter truth tethering all life.  A gift of this year has been a renewed awareness of the hidden, fragile, and rich inter-relationship with one another and the rest of the earthly beings, all woven of a fabric of energies.  The mounds of damage caused by human attitudes, fears, and greed are more visible, calling for re-learning the timeless lessons of silence and love.

As Jay stirred from his slumber, the gopher re-appeared, perhaps as a greeting to this other intruder.  Or, perhaps as a reminder to tread lightly and more gracefully with a heart anchored in the silent love holding the tears, as we grieve in remembrance of that which we’ve lost, and cherish the joy in rediscovered awareness of every moment.

Practice
This short practice invites awareness of interconnectivity.

Prepare – 

  • Standing:
    • Gently shake out one limb at a time.  Imagine as though you are releasing unneeded tension as you do this.
      • If comfortable, do this without shoes.
    • With stillness in the body, gently move your head around, e.g., from side to side, up and down.  Then, pausing the movement of your head, make faces with your mouth and facial muscles.

Practice – 

  • Standing or sitting, quietly remind yourself that:
    • Your feet are connected to the ankles, the ankles to your lower leg, your lower leg to your knees, your knees to your upper legs, etc. – all the way through each part of your body until you reach your head.
    • Your back is connected to your sides, and your sides are connected to your front.
    • All your inner systems are connected – your respiratory, circulatory, nervous, digestive, reproductive, etc.
    • Your emotions, thoughts, and actions are connected.
    • Your body and mind are a living network of connections.
  • Still, standing or sitting, bring your awareness to:
    • Your feet being connected to the earth.
    • Your mouth being connected to the plants, water, and nutrients of the earth, rivers, lakes, and aquifers.
    • Your nose being connected to the air.
    • Your body and mind being part of a broader living network of connections.
    • Your life constituting a web of living relationships.
  • Walk around wherever you are with reverence for this interconnectivity of all earthly life, holding and being held by inner love and silence.

Transition back into your day – 

  • Sit quietly for as long as comfortable.  Invite a soft awareness of your breath.
  • When you are ready, return to your day.

 

This poem appears in Mala of Love: 108 Luminous Poems, page 116, 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 on katevogt.com.    KateVogt©2021.

 If you would like to know about the philosophical underpinnings of these H E A R T H reflections, this Spring I am offering an online study group, 5 Thursdays, 3:15-4:45 p.m. PT, May 6-June 10, 2021.  It is not too late to join.

 

 

 

 

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