My teacher, a veteran Vipassi, reminds me again and again to “Stay in the body. Stay in the body,” rightly tagging me as one with a very active mind. My technique for mindfulness practise now is to extend my awareness as deeply as possible into the senses as received by the body. For example, waiting in a supermarket queue, I’ll extend my attention out to every possible ambient sound that I can detect and notice the qualities of each. A 60 second meditation like this can enliven me for hours.
Recently, I set myself to attend an early morning Yoga session. I was wide awake at 6am and happily, willingly on my way to the center. I had a great session. I’d been pushed just to the right degree, into the Goldilocks Zone, and I was feeling very centered and very present in the body. In fact, as I came out into the street, I realised that I was feeling fantastic! It was an unusually warm morning and too early to go to work on a day like this; there was hardly anybody about, the parking meters weren’t even clocking yet and there was nothing sticky in my mind. I was a free man…and you know what that means: Coffee!
So, as if Divine Grace were looking down on me, I turned the hopeful corner to discover the perfect little coffee shop with it’s front wide open and the morning sun pouring in low and golden. “That’s me,” I said to my delighted self. I must have been beaming a giant grin as I ordered my Soy Latte with Honey, because the staff were all smiling broadly back at me. I took my seat right at the front of the cafe, noticing the few other early risers and how they were embedded in their text book or newspaper or iPad. I chose to not seek distraction and just be present with the moment.
The Latte arrived very quickly, before I’d really settled fullly into the seat, so I just let the steam wisp away and the aroma take to the air while I contemplated the glow in my body. I allowed my breath to slow down and deepen, so that I could dwell in this quiescent sensation of peace. I audited my senses: extending awareness to the street sounds and grinding beans, to the play of colour and light in my field of vision, to the coolness of the air in my nostrils. Just running through the myriad of qualities that it was possible to be aware of. I took my little miniture jug of Honey and started, ever so slowly, making a deliberate, perfectly formed spiral on the foamy top of the coffee. Something in me noted: “Flow into form.”
Right at that moment, a beam of sunlight caught the cascading nectar and the whole thing lit up brilliantly golden, magically bright. In that timeless instant, that honey swirl was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. I was suddenly overcome with a huge surge of emotion and tears welled up—tears of happiness. In that instant, the room just became a kind of fizzing space: everything was blended, humming like crickets, glowing bright. That golden light was pouring right into my chest, suffusing me with an intense pleasure, like nothing I’d ever felt before. It was like being in love, but a roaring, raging love. All I wanted to do was fall into it, go deeper into it’s flow, trust it, soak it up.
Then it was gone, just like that, “Thwap!” The moment I had the thought; the self-conscious notion that someone might be looking at this man in a coffee shop with teary eyes, I was back in the room, sitting in front of a cup of coffee, cars swishing by, people reading, oblivious.