An Everpresent Gift

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St. Francis

Every morning I wake before the alarm goes off. I have a chime alarm, so it’s a gentle awakening. If I don’t turn it off it chimes at five minutes, four minutes, three, two, one, then repeatedly. Having this system gives me time to reflect on dreams I may have had, or time to meditate. It starts the morning off right, gently and contemplatively. Once the house is moving I need that quiet energy experienced just an hour earlier to keep me centered, not rushing or trying to cram even more into an already bustling environment.

There are many days I’d like to put the busy schedule aside to sit quietly in meditation for an hour or more but the thought of getting up at 4:00 a.m. holds no interest for me. Ugh. Truth be told, I am not a morning person at all. I’m a mid-day person. I can crank out more work between the hours of 10 and 4 than any other part of the day. It’s my rock and roll time.

Recently I’ve added fifteen minutes of outdoor practice during mid-afternoon. I walk the prairie and woods or sit on the bench near the St. Francis statue surrounded by the sounds of wind in the trees, tall grasses and lots of bird song.  Absolute heaven. I return to the office refreshed and ready to complete the work day.

Once home from the office, I start to slow the pace, run any errands, make dinner, do the dishes, fit in some readings and then it’s meditation time again. That’s where I put my hour, right before heading for the pillows. I intend to move it at some point. The ability to meditate then examine images, messages or events that may have occurred is very appealing. Currently I have this ability only on Saturday and Sunday’s and just like anyone else I have laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning and playing mom’s taxi on the two-day agenda. It takes planning on my part to have meditation as a priority and the time to reflect.

Being still, making a daily practice to be silent is a gift to self. It brings an increased awareness and sensitivity to the beauty surrounding us in relationships, the comfort of our homes and in nature’s canvases. Meditation provides opportunity to step away from the outside noise and allow answers to unfold from the Wisdom self. Over time there grows a deep inner peace with self and the world that gets carried throughout the day. How can you resist opening this ever-present gift? A gift that provides you connection to peace-filled moments in both physical and spiritual realms.

Practice. Make it a habit. Start with a few minutes a day and grow it just like you would the gardens in your life. It is a benefit to mind, body and spirit. Connect, be at peace. We are more than this…

“Above all, be at ease, be as natural and spacious as possible. Slip quietly out of the noose of your habitual anxious self, release all grasping, and relax into your true nature. Think of your ordinary emotional, thought-ridden self as a block of ice or a slab of butter left out in the sun. If you are feeling hard and cold, let this aggression melt away in the sunlight of your meditation. Let peace work on you and enable you to gather your scattered mind into the mindfulness of Calm Abiding, and awaken in you the awareness and insight of Clear Seeing. And you will find all your negativity disarmed, your aggression dissolved, and your confusion evaporating slowly like mist into the vast and stainless sky of your absolute nature.”  ~ Sogyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying

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