November 29, 2023

My Inner Sanctuary.

The road work started today while I was meditating.

Soon after, our cat found my lap.

Rather than be annoyed and feel interrupted, I focused on my breathing. I thought calm on the in-breath and ease on the out-breath, even as I felt the shaking of the earth and heard the scrape of the backhoe’s bucket.

I have become a refuge, a safe harbor to myself first and to others, as a result of my daily meditation practice.

I could be anywhere right now, but I am here: this moment, this breath, inhale and exhale. No judgment, no wanting to change it…just accepting what is. Right here, current circumstances. How things change when I go inward—not externally, but internally.

My entire inner landscape is smoothed over, nourished by an eternal well-spring, tranquil and green, carpeted by soft, spongy moss, the most beautiful hanging trees and vines. Delicious fruit hangs heavy on branches that reach out to me, an overwhelming abundance of sweetness and nourishment, an offering from an open hand. I see roots, deep roots, ancient and woven into the earth. They remind me of children’s hands, interconnected like best friends. Water flows down the rocky outcropping, and blue butterflies flutter and float in the sun. Everything is gentle here. Everything feels soft, warm, and caring—love is in the air, untangling my hair, as would a mother’s gentle caress.

I am of her, one with her. She provides all, and she supports all. She even tolerates the banging and hammering of the pile driver, rattling the windows of our house.

I could be anywhere, I think, admiring the cat now, my eyes open, but I am right here with this cat, stretched out on the cream and rose-colored Persian rug my mom passed down, the one covering the wooden floor, its oak slats once a great tree. I am safe. I am held, more held than I ever knew, supported and sustained by this oxygen, by sunlight, rising now over the East Bay Hills. Birds are beginning their song again, now that the road workers have moved on. I can hear the soft swish of car tires on Liberty Road, wet from last night’s rain, and pray for peace on this planet.

People are making their way to work now. The sky is clear, and last night’s fog and cloud cover are lifting.

Isn’t it amazing? All this change and dynamic movement? This flow? An endless stream of beginnings and endings? Birth and death? Inhale and exhale? Why did I ever think I was supposed to stop it? Fix it? Control and manage it? That it was my task to dominate it? Rule and preside over it? My only act in this life is continuous surrender. It’s akin to devotion. Love my life and allow my life and all life, to just be. Just be. Even the wars and age-old battles will, in time, work themselves out.

What if we all could wake up and remember this, right now? Today? The only thing we need to do is meditate, every day, first thing. There is no rushing or running, no seeking cover because there’s no one trying to hurt anyone. Nothing and no one from which to run. But that isn’t the way of man right now. Humanity is still trapped in cycles of violence and war, engaged in systems of oppression, fueled by fear and the illusion of separateness.

I, too, have that darkness in me. But as I learn to love myself, even the shadows, the light of day begins to warm those places and the nourishing waters begin, little by little, to carve out a channel where life can flow again.


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