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?
Translated by Coleman Barks
It is nearing springtime here in the Northern Hemisphere. Rainbows and migratory robins seem to magically re-appear. They arc their way across the sky to the earth. And, from the earth back across the sky.
They are an odd couple – the rainbows and robins. Yet, sightings of them become more common as this side of the planet begins to tilt toward the sun. The light seems to shed the wintery cloak of greyness and reveal the brilliant diversity of color, shapes and forms. With their red crests, rainbows and robins boldly boast the beauty and fertile vibrancy that had been enshrouded in the darker season.
In a way, this springtime pair is a harbinger of the potency of light. There is not only the power of the sun to nourish or destroy earthly existence, but that of the indescribable, boundless resplendence of everlasting light. In springtime, the pair comes together as poetic messengers of light, both formed and formless.
Within their momentary presence, rainbows and robins are offerings of timeless wisdom. Life is neither past nor future. It is simultaneously both. Through song and hue, they are joyous expressions of the ephemeral and eternal nature of existence. Thus, it is no wonder that humans of different traditions, religions and cultures have viewed rainbows and robins as the grace of eternal peace, truth and love.
They are considered reminders that timeless wisdom is always nearby. I view this as a prompt to remember that the planet and other living beings have long been loving and generous inspirational companions to prophets, sages, saints and other enlightened beings. This sparks within me a sense of humble gratitude and praise toward rainbows and robins. I hope you will discover uplifting insights from nature wherever you are on the planet.
(Please note: This reflection refers to migratory songbirds of North America with the common name of robins. They are of the thrush family. Their song, appearance and flight patterns are different from the European robin of the Old World flycatcher family.)
This practice supports awareness.
- Set aside any potential distractions. For example, remove digital watches, and set your phone to airplane mode.
- Find a comfortable seated position. If you are on a bench or a chair, rest the soles of your feet on the floor. Rest your hands in any position that is comfortable for you.
- Regardless of where you are seated, notice, relax into the support beneath you. Imagine you are lovingly supported by the earth. Pause for a moment, truly feeling this support.
- Invite your spine to softly rise upward. Imagine you are being gently and lovingly embraced by the space around and above you. Pause again, appreciating the space and air supporting you.
- Soften across your neck, shoulders, jaw and your facial muscles.
- With a soft gaze, slowly look around wherever you are. Try to do this without labeling or naming, and just allowing the various shapes and colors to register through your eyes. Take your time. Whenever you feel ready, return your gaze forward. You may wish to close your eyes for a moment.
- As your sit quietly, notice any sounds – near or far. Again, take your time. When you are ready, please continue.
- Gently rub your palms together until you feel some warmth in your fingers. As you do this, continue your awareness of being supported by the earth beneath you and the air and space around you.
- (Read through the next step before practicing it.)
- Raise your palms upward in front of your face. Close your eyelids. Then, lightly rest one or two of your fingers of each hand on your eyelids, i.e., fingers of your left hands on your left eyelid, and fingers of your right on your left eyelid. With your fingers in place and closing off visual inputs, close off sounds. Do this, by stretching your thumbs and gently pressing your thumb tips over your ear flaps (tragus). Breathe here for six, easy slow breaths through your nostrils.
- After your sixth breath, slowly look around once again, taking your time. When you are ready, pause and then again notice sounds near and far.
- If you feel so inclined, smile.
Transition Back into Your Day—
- With soft, gentle inhalation and exhalation, sit quietly for as long as is comfortable. Invite continued awareness of the seamless support within the ever-changing visual and auditory diversity.
- 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. HEARTH is posted each new and full moon. KateVogt©2023.
SPRINGTIME 2023 CLASS WITH KATE
Pathways to Peace: Truthfulness, Non-Stealing, Compassion and Other Universal Principles
5 Thursdays, March 30 to May 4 (with no class on April 6), 3:10-4:30 p.m. PT via Zoom.
Offered through with the College of Marin Community Education.
Click here for more information and to register,