I leave the mountain, cross the border,
stop where the river rushes into the jaws of the Pacific.
The pretty park receptionist, painted like a porcelain pot
shows me to my spot at the water’s edge.
My tiny tent goes up.
Huge pelicans effortlessly ride the tide.
Ibis stalk around like three-legged cartoons.
A thousand bats silently flap their way –
whence, and wither?
Dusk draws the peak of Wollumbin
in charcoal on hazy apricot.
First the wind carries the drone of motorway traffic,
then it shifts; now there’s rolling surf-speak.
On a stone zafu
at the river’s edge I find
a mind that doesn’t seem to mind.
a raucous rooster calls up the light –
first, softest indigo melts the blackness
into an orb of welcoming then
the morning star rises
it climbs eagerly,
sometimes obscured by indistinct forms
silent shadowy cut-outs set
against the backdrop blanket of dawning
as it pulls free of the forest canopy
and sails into vastness overhead
the trees trace out their silent shapes
against the lightening horizon
kookaburra cackles in approval,
but it will be a while yet before
the rest of the beaky choir peek out
from cozy wing-tuck to welcome the new day
I’m at point zero on the zafu
eyes and ears on full alert,
senses unfurled, unfolded
the unknowable knowingness
of Life’s ceaseless
that over two thousand years ago
a man called Gautama
saw this star rising
in exactly the same
emptiness is ceaselessly singing itself into existence
shhhhhh – if you’re very still and silent
you’ll hear its unstruck sound
in the so and hum of breathtide
and the murmuring pulse of bodybeat
in the spaciousness too vast to be contained
within a bony cranium
you’ll hear the choirs celestial –
the harps, the tinkling bells,
the roaring, flaming om
and you’ll hear it all
without turning an ear
for if you’re curious enough to check it out
you’ll be amazed to find …
the ‘listener’ and that sacred sound
cannot be torn apart
sitting all night in the sanctity of silence,
watching small wondrous points of light
– luminous openings in the black blanket of night –
move from there-to-there,
sailing over their reflections on the vast wetness
that is another life-teeming universe
stars – planets – sky – east – west – ocean
have you noticed
once safely labeled,
lose their sense of wonder
image source: Sydney Observatory
The storm heat built up all afternoon and by early evening could contain itself no more. It exploded in a fury of whip-cracking rolling crashing thunder, massive sheets of lightning, torrents of rain. The parched earth was waiting with open arms.
Sleep was impossible; the action was too intense, loud, immediate.
Folded up on my zafu, thunderbolts flying clear through my body, lightning exploding from my head, I am a character in a Tibetan drama.
Until the door chimes bring me back to the theater of suburbia, Australian-style.
With every lightning strike they burst into a merry tinsel-town tune – a different one each time. Very odd really, since they were disconnected from mains power months ago. There must be a little battery inside with a trace of energy that recognizes the energy of the lightning bolt . . .
Natural, deep, dreamless sleep is a miraculous healer. Any approximation of that ‘state’ during waking hours is a crucial activity of the body-mind. This is where meditation is such a vital (non)activity.
Life – Knowingness, Awareness, Primordial Essence, God, Tao; as you wish – is unhampered by the web of confused and conflicting concepts called thought and experienced as self.
IT simply lives ITs vast vitality; runs repairs on the body-mind as necessary, blessedly unimpeded by a ‘doer’ doing anything.
Awake on the dot of midnight with a wideawakeness in the brain that defies description. The brain was empty of thought yet singing with energy. Then I noticed the whole body was alive and singing with this energy and was completely at ease, although the night was hot, humid and airless.
Sitting through the night hours was an ecstasy of ease; I remember thinking at one point “I could do this forever, forever.”
Hours later, when the morning star was soaring in the eastern sky there was a perception of the world that was shocking in its luminosity and freshness and clarity. “Oh my God!” I cried out loud, and that shocked me too somehow – the sharp clarity of my own voice. I felt as though my hair was standing on end.
And then I noticed that for the first time in months the old aching exhaustion had left my body.