By Karen Beetle
I am awake. And clinging to my small life.
Occupied with tidying the house and matters of finance
Steadfastly ignoring the flower of love that blooms in my heart.
Because her beauty is almost more than I can bear.
Occassionally, I summon the courage to look longing at her
before returning to straightening the pictures of my life
on the walls of my mind.
- Amy Saltzman
I love how poems and writings find me. Like songs, they show up when I need their lessons. It is the clarity and simplicity they offer that assists me in stepping out of confusion – and seeing what is.
Straightening the pictures of my life on the walls of my mind is an everyday human activity. And it continually lures us. Hour after hour we spend thinking about our lives rather then living them. We use our mental capacity to shore ourselves up and to bring order to the churning of the mental world. And yet, just outside that churning – in the quiet eddy around the corner is a deep stillness that is often just beyond our reach. Countless spiritual practices offer us an invitation to become still enough or in our bodies enough or clear enough so that we can paddle over there and rest in the deep replenishment and clear seeing that is available to the human mind and heart.
Amy’s words point us to what we are missing – the flower of love that is blooming in our heart. My current group of mindfulness students is ending their intensive study of mindfulness practice. They are doing sitting and walking meditation, mindful yoga and stretching, body scan practice, and today they will be learning about the practice of loving kindness. All of their time and effort is beautiful to watch. I admire their willingness to engage in these practices and to reflect on what they are discovering about their minds and hearts.
As I reflect on loving kindness, I am grateful for this practice that turns our attention toward the deep flowering and beauty that is available to us. By connecting with our human goodness and intention to be safe and happy and well in this world we nourish the path home. Even a moment of resting in the vast and spacious human heart is life altering. Recent studies of long-term meditators affirm that are hearts gain capacity to direct self-care and well wishing and to become more attune to all the emotions in the human heart through ongoing loving kindness and compassion practice.
Pause for just a moment……….
Stop straightening the pictures on the walls of your mind and just feel your body sinking into the chair………..
Close your eyes………..
Bring to mind a moment of happiness or joy. The sun shining on the water. The call of the loon in the night. The delight of splashing in a summer lake……….
Look back to your childhood for an image of simple delight if that is easier………..
Just rest here and gather in the ease and lightness that these images evoke…………
Bring gentleness to whatever arises………….
Feel the life in you………….
Open to it………….
Gently open your eyes and turn toward your day.
May you be well.
Writer Karen Beetle is a therapist and mindfulness instructor based in Albany, New York. She blogs for the Holistic Health blog on the Times Union, where this piece first appeared. Karen can be reached by email at email@example.com.