January blues skies reflecting
on the Gulf of Mexico’s clear water,
with the perpetual sound
of crashing waves onto white sands,
and no way to respond but
Nothing to whisper, but
and profound gratitude
that we can Sabbath here,
as the richest people in the world,
for one day
of dropping our worries
and letting our burdens fall,
with nothing to whisper but
at seeing vastness.
Seeing as a form of meditation might seem obvious, like we all do it all the time. But sometimes I wonder: How much do I really see? Being on a Florida beach yesterday, for one day, was a chance to Sabbath in a new way. We sat on a towel, I put my head in my wife’s lap, and we practiced being and seeing meditation. We drank in the beauty of sights and sounds. For most of the day I stayed awake to actually see what was before me: vastness.
People probably go to the beach for many reasons, but a good one is to let go of other cares in the presence of vastness. This shrinks many of our concerns, or at least releases them for a while. I find it much harder to believe my happiness is dependent on any preferred circumstance when I am seeing vastness. The scale of what seems to be a big deal shifts. This doesn’t make my life unimportant. It simply helps my life come into a different perspective, and helps me come alive to what I most value.
Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen quotes from one of her patients with a metastatic cancer in her book, My Grandfather’s Blessings, which speaks to this perspective: “There are only two kinds of people in this world–those who are alive and those who are afraid.”* I really want to be alive and awake. How about you?
I will be launching a new course in mindfulness and heartfulness in two weeks. I have been practicing mindfulness for eighteen years, and am still a beginner. But I will share what I am learning anyway, because coming alive seems very important on a grand scale.
The vastness of the creation seems to call forth the truth that this moment matters, and I don’t want to miss it. I will teach others what I am learning myself: seeing meditation, (along with eating meditation, sitting meditation, walking meditation, body meditation, sacred yoga, loving-kindness meditation, and centering prayer). Pray with us that we can awaken, be fully alive, and practice wonder through our class. And if you are near New Orleans, come join the class for eight weeks and let’s awaken together!