Ann Whittaker, CosmoMuse Editor
Any time you can go out and keep all of your visual and auditory senses alive—looking above eye level, hearing behind you as well as in front of you—you’re performing meditation in the natural world. You’re poised for any stimulus coming from anywhere. It’s as down-to-earth as you can get and still be up in the sky. – James H. Austin,
This Taurus Season I’m aware for the first time why I tend to want to slow down this time of year and soak up every blooming flower, every rain shower, and every conversation with a dear friend. It’s such a rich time of year with so much to look forward to. I now know why I get so overwhelmed as soon as summer comes–I wear myself out in spring trying to say yes to everything. This year, with deliberate rituals, I intend to go slowly, to enjoy just a few things and enjoy them deeply rather than trying to do it all. I want to be rooted in the ground so I can experience the sky without dropping from exhaustion.
Image: Iga Drobisz
Silence : “Silence is not a luxury; it’s essential.” -Gordon Hempton, Acoustic Ecologist
When was the last time you listened into the silence of the morning, before everything and everyone wakes? When was the last time you noticed the world quiet down just before you turn into bed?
What does it mean to hear the presence of everything? Especially the silence? Silence is not an absence, but a presence. Notice when it’s there, and soak up every second. Gordon Hempton asks if you can hear the difference between grass wind and pine wind? Are you listening?
Take time every morning and each night to listen into the silence to tap into what is present when you pay attention. Luxuriate in even 60 seconds of quiet, of silence. Find out what depth comes into your imagination.
“Look at your feet. You are standing in the sky. When we think of the sky, we tend to look up, but the sky actually begins at the earth. We walk through it, yell into it, rake leaves, wash the dog, and drive cars in it. We breathe it deep within us. With every breath, we inhale millions of molecules of sky, heat them briefly, and then exhale them back into the world.” – Diane Ackerman
I’ve been noticing the walls and boundaries I have created over a lifetime–the false separation I create between “me” and “you.” What happens if I look at you and I think, that’s me? Perspective, right? What if when I looked at an aging oak tree I thought, that’s me? We are on the same carbon dioxide-oxygen spectrum. Where does one end and one begin? Can we separate ourselves from any of it?
What do I see when I look out the window? On days when I’m not feeling up to the expectations I think others have of me, I look outside at the mountains and think, that’s me–I am a mountain and the mountain is me.
The more we see, the deeper we understand our connection to all of it. All of a sudden, we know. We know and see that we are molecules weaving together in a tapestry of heaven and earth. Image: James Turrell
WATCH THIS: Art 21, James Turrell “Second Meeting”
“We eat light, drink it in through our skins. With a little more exposure to light, you feel part of things physically. I like feeling the power of light and space physically because then you can order it materially. Seeing is a very sensuous act-there’s a sweet deliciousness to feeling yourself see something.” -James Turrell
Lately I’ve been thinking of the word “good.” It’s all I want in life: good people, good food, good work, good experiences. Just good. I think it feels remarkably ordinary, and I want to realize that ordinary is what makes a beautiful and precious life–which is incredible. I don’t want to miss what is so damn good because I’m looking for something great, for something “better.” What if good is good enough? Because it is–at least that’s what I’m learning. What if I made a conscious decision to fully luxuriate in the mundane, to live deeply?
Make a list every morning or every evening or night of three “good” things that you want to pay more attention to. Where is your awareness? As you live your life where do you focus your attention? How can you live more deeply by paying attention?