Not speaking of the way,
Not thinking of what comes after,
Not questioning name or fame,
Here, loving love,
You and I look at each other.
Translated by Kenneth Rexroth
As the postman rounded the corner in his little white van, he waved. I raised my arm and moved my hand to and fro, waving back. A simple exchange between strangers. Yet, I was taken by the warm, loving sensation that flooded my body as if I were within the currents of this particular wave. There was a sense of pure sincerity – free of filters or anything more than the wave.
My intrigue prompted my curiosity about waving. I was tempted to intentionally begin noticing the nature and feeling of passing by others along my walk. Instead, it seemed better to just keep walking. I felt enveloped by the calmness and gentleness of the morning air. To embark on that experiment would likely bring about a feeling of separateness from this quiet embrace of the day.
Some part of me knew that human to human waves would still happen. Dogs wag their tails, sniff, and bark. Humans mostly greet with their hands: whether it is a wave, palms together, or some other familiar gesture. One of my earlier childhood lessons was watching my father effortlessly lift his index finger up from the steering wheel as he passed someone on the road.
It was and still is the custom in many communities around the globe to offer and receive a heartfelt greeting in passing by another. I am grateful to my father and the community in which I grew up for the gracious and prayerful humility in a brief moment of communing. It comes and goes as quickly. Yet, with the arms and hands as natural extensions of the human heart-center, sincere waving can be a true heart-to-heart connection.
Sadly, even before the presence of COVID-19, the milli-seconds are filled with the next moment, and hands and eyes are occupied. Noticing and communing with other living beings – both human and non-human – has faded since my father’s generation. I think that is why it was so noteworthy to receive and return a timeless message from the postman as he drove by.
It was a shared transmission of love, a love that I experience as boundless divine love. A love present in the living currents – of the air, the ocean, the swaying of the trees, and the extension of the heart through the hands. May I learn to be more present within the love of the everyday. In the meantime, I send a wave of gratitude to you for your presence with these
H E A R T H reflections and my books.
This practice is more like a prayer of appreciation for the all- pervasive support of love in life.
- Sit upright on a chair or the floor.
- Notice and release any tension around your legs, hip creases, belly, chest, throat and face.
- This practice involves placing one hand on different parts of the body, and then quietly acknowledging ways love touches our worldly life. You may wish to read through this a few times and then personalize it.
- Place one hand on your lowest belly.
- Silently say, “I acknowledge the soil, its capacity to hold and nourish me, and all those who protect and care for the soil. I acknowledge the plants, insects, birds, and animals, their strength and vulnerability, and those who protect and care for them. And, I acknowledge my digestive system and its ability to process food to nourish my body. I appreciate my feet and legs and my ability to stand and to make choices to do the least harm possible.” Take a few breaths.
- Place one hand below your navel.
- Silently say, “I acknowledge water, its capacity to sustain and cleanse me, and all those who protect and care for the waters. I also acknowledge my renal system and its role in nourishing and cleansing my body. I appreciate my ability to move and to create.” Take a few breaths.
- Place one hand on your navel.
- Silently say, “I acknowledge the sun, its capacity to nourish and warm me and the world around me, and the light it provides for me to see. I also acknowledge my emotions and the ability to feel and experience the world.” Take a few breaths.
- Place one hand on your throat.
- Silently say, “I acknowledge the air and wind, their capacity to nourish me through sound and breath, and all those who protect and care for them. I also acknowledge my throat and its capacity to carry the breath, food, my voice, and the messages in the nervous system to and from the brain. I appreciate my brain and senses for the capacity they give me to interact in the world.” Take a few breaths.
- Place one hand on the center of your chest, the symbolic heart center.
- Silently say, “I acknowledge ever-present love and its sister qualities of compassion, peace, joy, kindness. I appreciate the capacity to feel, and act with true compassion for those who are suffering from war, violence, abuse, hunger, dislocation, injury, and illness. I acknowledge the teachers, poets, and writers who inspire true love and the grace of peace and freedom. I acknowledge the presence of love in other humans.” Take a few breaths.
- Place one hand on the top of your head.
- Silently say, “I acknowledge the ocean of love.”
- Take a few breaths.
Transition Back into Your Day—
- Sit quietly for a few moments, with the eyes and ears tuned inward.
- Place your hands over your heart and pause for a moment.
- When you are ready, return to your day.
This poem appears in Mala of Love: 108 Luminous Poems, page 31, edited by Ravi Nathwani and Kate Vogt and published by New World Library. Photo by Anitha Cumming. The practice is an excerpt from Our Inherited Wisdom: 54 Inspirations from Nature and Poetry by Kate Vogt, page 341-343, available through Bookshop, or order through your local independent bookstore. HEARTH is posted each new and full moon. KateVogt©2021.