April 7th 2020

Keeping connected – A strong centre

As our changed world intensifies and we find ourselves more and more restricted in our outer lives, we may be reminded of how this can be a time for drawing on and connecting to ourselves in the inner realms. There is a spaciousness within us that we can access and develop through practice and through which we can begin to consider that there is a much bigger picture. All around us there is a crumbling and falling apart of old and familiar structures, whilst at the same time we are potentially at the beginning of a shifting of consciousness and of the human energy system into a new, higher and more refined vibration. This in accordance to the more refined ‘beings’ that we truly are, and that is beyond the often insensitive and cumbersome established structures of society as it has evolved. For many who have cultivated and are growing connection to these inner realms, our true nature is and will be finding ways of breaking out of limits and narrow ways that have held and restricted.

Now deeper meaning and higher sensitivity lost eons ago is finding it’s way back. And outer circumstance, though in so many ways terrible, and for which we feel deep compassion, is providing necessary space, where the current established order and way of things is shaken up and held in abeyance. Suddenly there is an expanse within which the new and the fresh can unfold.

At the same time there is much that is dark and pressing; another potential. Always in times of shift and change polarities present strongly; the dark and the light, and through this we see the whole spectrum of human possibility.

The times are, in one way or another deeply unsettling, but still we are called to rise, to hold our centre and to use this time and space as best we can. That there is a bigger picture can bring a flash of hope and possibility within the myriad of concerns and strong emotions that are stirred up.

As Nightingale hospitals rise up in different areas of the country; providing thousands of beds for those seriously unwell with the virus, we are all brought closer to the reality of our own death and the deaths of those whom we love. Many lives have been, are being and will be taken, and with a big unknown as to who else will be drawn into the net. There it is right before us, and within societal structures that have tended, to a large extent, to avoid and repress this fact of life.

Our keeping a connection to and cultivating our inner space and being, through practices and meditation can keep us strong and more in charge, and provide in this, some protection whether we contract the virus or not. Ultimately this deep connection with ourselves serves as at all stages of life and including when we are called to leave it. At this point and in this process too, we can do our best to stay connected along the way to the deep essential essence of who we are beyond the physical.

Within all that appears we can rise, open to engage abundantly with ourselves, live our lives fully, do our work, make some contribution, do what we can.

We are called, and especially those of us who have some variety of established practice, to step up, to find our way to open, and to relax as best we can into what is presenting and unfolding. Some of us will be ready and flexible enough to yield in accordance to our ‘feeling’ that has been and is being primed for this shift. We get to work, clearing a path and shining a light, as less and less we are restricted by the confines of unhelpful and outdated ego concerns.

Sometimes letting be and being still is just what is required to enable a falling away of the old and for a new flowering to unfurl. From this in time we can find our action; our moving out contribution.

The times continue to offer an extraordinary opportunity to deepen our practice and to deepen our lives. We can do this through a continuum of practising presence. Presence in sitting meditation, mindfulness through our days, prayer; whatever it is that draws you. Presence that is of the senses and of the present moment, and not of the thinking mind. Those of us who already have a practice are fortunate indeed and where we are most likely better disposed than many to hold our centre. When we are ‘taken’ by some dark imagining or worry we have the capacity and the ‘know how’ to come back. In these times this is truly a gift. And those who do not currently have a practice can begin to grow one and to work and build from here.

As you do your best to work with and develop your practice, do not allow yourself to be defeated by the ‘being taken’ time and again by your thoughts and concerns. Simply come back and keep coming back, back to your focus, back to your intention; your intention to develop and grow your connection with yourself. Do not give up, keep coming back to your close to, here now, body breath connection!

This is then a practice you take beyond your sitting and into your daily living; a mindfulness, where wide awake, senses as fully functioning as possible and in accordance to the moment, you weave your way. Wide awake too, to when you feel yourself shutting down, when unproductive thinking takes you.

In a recent sitting practice and in response to some unhelpful mental wandering I saw myself in my minds eye stretching my arms ahead, palms up and facing forward, putting up a road block, with a strong No, sending thinking mind interference away, then drawing back to the focus of my intention; back to my close to, here now, body breath, safe harbour.

I continue in putting up the road blocks; suddenly there I am, popping out from behind a tree or crowched in the hedge row, knowing smile, arms and palms thrust froward, No! Bright and alert, sending unwanted, roaming, wandering thought right back to be absorbed into close to, here now, body breath, territory of now, presence. Whenever unproductive thinking has skipped down a path I catch it, rise up, arms stretched, palms forward, No!

Alongside and in the process of this coming back we can see clearly and face briefly things as they arise, not turning away in an ignoring or suppressing but catching whatever it is; we look and see directly, feel briefly, but without thinking about it or dwelling. Then straight back to your focus and the practice.

When something disturbs or upsets you, catch it, feel it, keep opening to whatever presents. Make nothing wrong, particularly yourself. You are a vibrating force field and wrong and bad creates disharmony in this field. Your deep working with yourself is restoring more and more the harmonious naturalness; the clear field.

Beyond ideas of right and wrong doing
There is a field….
I’ll meet you there

Rumi

In January 2018, I wrote a poem, that feels particularly pertinent right now:

Gatherings – Morning practice

Each one of us who sits in stillness
makes an offering to the new Earth bank;
small pools that gather
contributing to a growing lake.
The value of this cannot be overestimated
it is our great gift.

With dignity; alone;
our troubles and joys,
moods and states, we sit,
our bodies, breath; our intent, provide
focus to still busy minds.
Points of light worldwide

silently we gather our stillness,
invisible creations that find their way.
Then, we, quenched and refreshed;
assembled unique individuality,
arise, fragrant in our empty fullness
step out, to join the great flock.