God is a pure no-thing,
concealed in now and here:
the less you reach for him,
the more he will appear.
A recent visit to a nearby beach brought a welcome pause from the war that humanity seems to be having with itself in so many realms. This wasn’t the usual beach hiatus, with a feeling of getting away from reality. Instead, it was a mini-immersion in the true fullness of life.
Being a public beach, it had a sense of wildness, with logs and seaweed strewn across the sand. Seals glided in and out of the waves while geese flew above in their supportive formation of a “v,” allowing them to more easefully migrate in synchronicity. Ladybugs crept near the shore. Gophers peeked their heads out from their underground burrows near the shrubbery along the edges of the beach. And, in the midst of all this, there were hundreds of humans of all shapes, ages, skin colors, mobilities, and sizes.
It was a tiny glimpse of the wild where all life belongs, and has always belonged. There were no lines of demarcation. Every being – human and non-human – was part of this microcosm of earth. This included not just the moveable beings, but also the seemingly inanimate, such as the grains of sand, droplets of water, and air particles. Within the communing, sharing, and inter-dynamic influencing, there was a sense of vital wholeness.
This experiential wholeness is awkward to express in the English language, which relies on nouns dividing the world into independent entities and things, i.e., subjects and objects. Yet, beautiful poetry and prose, even in translation, often finds a way to artfully convey the essence of integrated wholeness. Ancient living languages, at least as I’ve understood them, vibrantly pulse within the unfolding of aliveness in their relational expression.
Still, even with the challenge of sharing through words, there is a vibrant richness in the memory of being in the midst of, and part of, the universal commons of the public beach. Within that, striving, categorizing, and conquering, are void currencies. I found renewed hope in this mini-glimpse of “God is a pure no-thing, concealed in now and here” as offered by the Polish poet Angelus Silesius.
This practice supports awareness of letting go and allowing spaciousness.
- Either standing or seated, gently and fluidly move your torso, as though you are plankton in the water. Invite a sense of loosening up in your spine. Feel free to softly hum – a song, the sound of bees, or whatever feels comfortable. Do this as long as you wish, yet try for at least 30 seconds.
- Slowly, come to stillness in your torso.
- Imagine as though unneeded tension is releasing out through your skin and being quietly received and absorbed in the spaciousness around you. Invite your breath to be easeful and supportive.
- Allow the tension to continue to release around the front and back of your spine, your face and head, your throat and shoulders.
- If you find an area in your body which feels particularly tense, invite gentle, easeful movement around the surrounding area. Perhaps hum softly as you do this, imagining the sound is caressing that area and inviting release.
- Hold your hands in front of you with your palms facing you. Nod your head slightly as you lift your hands up toward your face. Then place your hands over your eyes after removing glasses, if you are wearing them.
- If comfortable, allow the heels of your palms to gently rest on your closed eyelids and your fingers to gently cradle your forehead with your fingertips resting over the top of your head. Allow the surface and backs of your eyes to relax backward toward the center of your skull. Breathe here for a few breaths.
- Invite your hands to release away from your face into your lap. Relax across the back of your tongue and the entire inner space of your mouth, including the roots of your teeth. Allow tension to continue to release as you inhale freely and invite a little longer, smoother exhalation. As the breath moves outward, notice the subtle sound of hum it passes through your throat and out through your nostrils. Take six or more breaths here.
- With your eyes closed or open in a soft gaze, invite in a feeling of spaciousness within you. Perhaps invite an awareness of your inner space as a vast, boundless, clear sky. Slowly imagine that every cell of your body is spacious, free of tension, free of clinging. Invite an easeful breath as you gradually allow this feeling of inner spaciousness.
- When you feel ready to transition back into your day, invite a few smooth, long inhalations while allowing the exhale to flow freely outward. Stretch your arms out into a v-position, and smile.
Transition Back into Your Day—
- Sit quietly for several minutes, in any way that is comfortable.
- Then, when you are ready, return to your day with renewed awareness of wholeness.
This poem appears in Mala of the Heart: 108 Sacred Poems, page 19, edited by Ravi Nathwani and Kate Vogt and published by New World Library. HEARTH is posted each new and full moon. KateVogt©2022.