You’re in my eyes.
How else could I see light?

You’re in my brain.
This wild joy.

If love did not live in matter,
how would any place have
any hold on anyone?

Rumi
Translated by Coleman Barks

 There was a shift in a neighborhood hillside, resulting from an immense amount of rain over the past few weeks.  With that amount of moisture, I had anticipated the possibility of an alteration.  My mind had imagined a slippage of the soil down the hill, or the unseating of a boulder or tree; however, the shift caused the reverse.  Instead of the hill bringing damage to our neighborhood, it brought the opposite.

One morning after a particularly heavy rain, the hill literally mushroomed into life.  Birds were singing, squirrels chattered and the deer quietly meandered and grazed among the new grasses.  The hill itself had become a collage of brilliant greens and browns, featuring speckled creamy tan and golden yellow mushrooms.

The appearance of the mushrooms made me smile, in part because they bloomed overnight, seemingly out of nowhere; but also, because they are some of the most fascinating beings on earth.  When the only possibilities seem dire, mushrooms appear in abundance.  They take decay and usher in hope and renewal – e.g., wildflowers can grow out of the transformative work of mushrooms on decaying leaves or branches.

Not surprisingly, the mushroom ancestry is considered to be more than a billion years old.   The part that appears suddenly after rains – or, after devastations, such as wildfires – are the fruits of their invisible origins from a vibrant, underground web of life.  Their presence offers reminders of the delicate inter-weaving of all life as well as the constancy of transformation.

Personally, I have come to consider mushrooms a bit like loving tricksters: they blossom out of darkness, reveal life in the midst of seeming death, and flower out of the invisible.   In addition to being symbols of balance, or the simultaneous holding of all opposites, mushrooms magically show up to nourish, purify and transform whole environments.   I’m glad that they show up as potent reminders that loving wisdom lives.  The mushrooms remind me that love is still present here and now, even in the smallest particles of existence.

Practice
This practice supports awareness of possibility.  Allow for a minimum of ten minutes.  Invite a soft and receptive gaze throughout.

Prepare— 

  • Find a place where you can sit quietly. Please remove any potential digital distractions, e.g., watches and electronic devices (other than the one you are using).
  • Once you come to seated, take a few moments to notice how you feel, being as non-judgmental as possible.
    • Perhaps ask your body, “How are you doing today?” and then notice anything that arises in your awareness.  And/or, check in with your mood or breath.
  • Without trying to “fix” whatever your noticed, instead invite an awareness of whether you instinctually feel like moving, breathing, etc. in a particular way.  Then, allow yourself to follow that instinct.
    • If nothing arises, please no worries.  This is only an invitation.

Practice— 

  • Once you feel ready to focus on a simple practice, find a comfortable seated position.  If you would feel more comfortable reclining or standing, please feel free to again follow your instinct.
  • Bring one hand – or, both hands if that feels more natural – into your line of vision.
    • Observe your hand(s) – the front, back, the shape and the types of movements.  Notice how your hands feel, e.g., slightly tense, somewhat stiff or achy, or perhaps relaxed.
    • Open and close your hand(s), perhaps noticing any mood shift between a closed and open palm.
    • Ask your hand(s), “How are you feeling in this moment?”  “Is there anything you need, or I can do for you?”
    • Please invite this exploration to be with as little judgement and analysis, just noticing your hand(s).
  • Without trying to “fix” whatever your noticed, invite yourself to lovingly support your hands in any way toward which you instinctually feel draw.
    • Examples might be: nothing; holding one hand in the other; kissing your fingers or hands; saying “thank you” to them; or, anything else.
  • Invite both your hands to rest wherever they are comfortable, and in any position that is comfortable.
    • Note:  for some, this might mean resting them on a cushion or some surface other than your lap or thighs.  Invite yourself to notice and care for whatever your hands find most supportive.
    • Invite a sense of ease and support into your hands – your palms, backs of your hands, fingers, thumbs and wrists.
  • For several minutes, continue sitting with your hands supported, quietly breathing – easefully inhaling and exhaling.
    • If comfortable, with each inhalation, imagine as though infinite loving and peaceful possibility is flowing into your hands; and with each exhalation, infinite loving and peaceful possibility begins to flow throughout your cells.
      • If you find this accessible, perhaps slowing invite this possibility to spread beyond your body into all directions – above, below, and horizontally (east, west, south, north) – as an offering to all life.

Transition back into your day –

  • Perhaps once again notice the hand you began with (or, both if you started with observing both).  Invite an awareness of the space around your hands and fingers, and with that the awareness, that loving possibility is nearby.
  • Bring your hands to your shoulders – each hand the opposite shoulder – and give yourself a hug.  Reverse the direction.  You are filled with infinite loving and peaceful possibility.
  • When you are ready, return to your day.

 

This poem appears in Mala of the Heart: 108 Sacred Poems, page 48, 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©2023.

 

Please join me for my 2024 Winter/Spring classes:
Feb 22 – Mar 7, 2024, Pathways to Peace: Truthfulness, Non-stealing, Compassion and Other Universal Principles – Register here.
Mar 28 – Apr 11, 2024 Ecological Awareness in Spirituality: Ancient Roots and Modern Relevance – Register here.
Both classes meet on Zoom, 3 Thursdays, 3:10-4:30 p.m. Pacific Time.

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