God blooms from the shoulder of the
elephant who becomes courteous
to the ant.
Translated by Daniel Ladinsky
In driving through an area where there had been devastated by wildfires two years earlier, I had expected to see an ashy and charred expanse. Instead, there was an abundance of new life showing up in a variety of stages of regeneration, ranging from wildflower meadows and grasslands to vibrant shrubbery sporting every hue of green.
Had I slowed down and tuned into the even subtler signs of renewal, likely my nose, ears, and skin would have been overwhelmed with a multiplicity of expressions of renewal. Still, there was ample potency within just what my eyes could absorb. Certainly, I felt stirrings of relief that seemingly bleak circumstances continue to carry the possibility of thriving inter-beingness.
The natural cycles and phenomena of earthly existence continually express such possibility. Small beings such as insects live among elephants and other large forms of life. The seasons yield one to the other as do the ocean waves. Microbes and worms quietly shape the ground free of concepts such as nationality or ownership.
Our longest living human cultures, as well as prophets and sages, reverently hold the wisdom of wholeness and inter-beingness. In turn, this wisdom lovingly embraces all life. Like the sun, it illumines freely and endlessly. Yet, as with the sun, e.g., in solar and lunar eclipses, during nighttime, and on cloudy days, this wisdom can appear absent in bleakness.
Fortunately, nature is an ever-present reminder that we live in the midst of abiding, sacred wisdom. This earthly home is where we learn to truly love, forgive, and humbly release our micro-habits of judgment, hate, greed, and superiority. The timeless qualities of wisdom are woven into nature, such as the resilience born out of the wildfire, wordlessly sharing teachings on ways to rediscover customs to live together with courtesy and reverence.
This practice supports awareness of sacred inter-beingness.
- Seated, place your elbows on your knees and your head in your hands.
- Note: If are wearing glasses, please consider supporting your head with your hands on your forehead, or removing your glasses.
- If this strains your back, please place your elbows on a higher surface such as a table.
- Let the weight of your head be heavy in your hands.
- Imagine all your tension is releasing and flowing out through your fingers.
- Breathe without forcing the breath, i.e., as easily and freely as comfortable.
- Slowly, allow yourself to return to an upright, seated position. Continue to imagine tension draining out of your facial muscles, your eyes, and your scalp. Imagine it flowing easefully out through your arms and fingers.
- Move fluidly through your torso, neck and arms. Imagine you are moving in the ocean of loving, sacred wisdom. Then, imagine you are an integral part of this wisdom – not separate, but an expression of loving beauty, reverence, and joy.
- Slowly, come to standing and move in any way where you feel you are innately expressing lovingness, kind gentleness, and compassion to the surface beneath you and space around you.
- Then, still standing, move as though this lovingness and other sweet, peaceful qualities are being shared and absorbed in every cell in your body. Follow your instincts. You may feel inclined to stretch, hug, or even kiss parts of your body.
- Move in a way that feels like a joyous appreciation of the vast inner ecology of your being – tissues, cells, organs, bones, emotions, memory, breath, and more.
- Then, imagine – if it doesn’t come naturally to you to feel aliveness in all life – your surroundings are as vibrantly alive as you are. Again, move with this awareness of inter-beingness held within and expressing abiding, loving wisdom.
- Come to stillness, standing. Breathe and just notice the ground beneath you offering ease and stability, your bones offering ease and stability, and your breath offering ease and stability.
Transition Back into Your Day—
- When you are ready, come to a seated position.
- Sit quietly for several minutes, in any way that is comfortable.
- Bring your palms together in front of your chest and bow your head in gratitude for the sacredness of earthly life, perhaps vowing to live with more awareness of the pulse of sacred inter-beingness and the grace of courtesy and reverence in everyday gestures and speech.
- Allow your hands to relax in your lap. With a soft, loving gaze, slowly look around where you are – up, down, side to side, and perhaps behind you.
- 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 15, edited by Ravi Nathwani and Kate Vogt and published by New World Library. HEARTH is posted each new and full moon. KateVogt©2022.