You are my lover, my longing,
my flowing stream,
and I am your reflection.
Mechtild of Magdeburg
The stream was cold and brisk. Yet, with its shallowness I had no qualms about stepping onto the rocky bottom of the moving water. The stream was nestled in a broad, flat area offering an apt transition from shoe soled to unshod feet.
As I stood within the movement, I felt a kinship with the larger stones and boulders. The stream simultaneously caressed and moved freely around the rocks. Invisibly the fluid motion was slowly eroding the seeming boundaries and edges into pebbles that could merge into the flow. All this offered me a sense of the movability within seeming immobility, and a sense of endless change within an illusory solidity – nothing sensory ever remaining the same, yet continually posing as permanent and ungiving.
A group of clouds passed over the sun and away, melting the boundaries of distance between the sky and earth. The freed midday light transformed the stream and atmosphere into a stretch of glistening translucence. All life was belonging, momentarily bared and released from worldly insistence on separateness. The moisture in my mouth was that of the clouds, and the streams, oceans and even the ground. Similarly, the breath was fluidly that of the breeze, sway of the trees and every sound far and near – all seamlessly disappearing into and arising out of the un-nameable, sacred eternity.
Somehow, while standing there, the modern use of the term “live streaming” seemed more and more humorous. In the streaming of life there in that moment, there was no need for special gadgets or links for connectivity. It was simply awareness abiding in itself.
This moment was the birthday grace marking the end of one, and beginning of another, journey around the sun for this embodied life. Thank you for also being within the stream of life.
This short practice invites awareness of stillness within movement.
- Find a quiet spot, relatively free of distractions. If you are wearing a watch or any other electronic device, please place it in another room.
- Standing, shake each of your limbs, one by one. Imagine you are shaking off any restlessness or inner distractions. Then, move around in any way that will help you feel somewhat restful within your body.
- When you are ready, stand still within one spot. As you are here, invite a sense of balance between both of your feet and throughout your body. Relax through your palms and fingers and breathe gently for 5-6 breaths.
- Still standing, once again scan your awareness throughout your body as though you are finding balance – front to back, back to front, side to side, downward and upward.
- Slowly place one hand on top of the other over your heart-center.
- Pause and breathe here for a few breaths. Imagine deep within the core of your being there is an inner sun whose light is radiating in all directions.
- Then, imagine this sun is your anchor for steadiness and balance. So, rather than gauging a sense of seeking balance from where your body is in the space around you, you are instead seeking a sense of balance from the core of your being. Please take your time, there is no rush – and there is no right and wrong. You are just practicing observing this shift in awareness outward to inward.
- With that sense of being anchored inwardly, slowly lift one foot and once again observe a sense of seeking balance from a place of quiet steadiness deep within you. Breathe on one side for a few breaths. Then, slowly shift to your other foot.
- With both feet on the floor and standing quietly, allow your hands to rest at your sides. Breathe 5-6 breaths. Perhaps invite a sense of deep inner calmness and allow your senses to rest peacefully within the even flow of your breath.
Transition back into your day –
- Seated, relax your hands into a comfortable position, e.g., turned downward onto your knees.
- Stay here as long as you are comfortable, quietly observing the gentle ebb and flow of your breath.
- When you are ready, return to your day.
The poem appears in Mala of the Heart: 108 Sacred Poems, page 49, edited by Ravi Nathwani and Kate Vogt and published by New World Library. Photo by Robert Zunikoff. H E A R T H is posted each new and full moon. KateVogt©2023.