Connecting with Calmness

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It takes calmness to produce stillness in a way that makes the mist rise in a surreal way on the lake on an unusually cold, final day of September, as the leaves seem to fast forward into their journey of color change.

It takes calmness to decide whether one’s leap is going to be long enough to fjord the puddle at the bottom of the hill, so that one may not have to walk with wet socks for a large portion of the walk.

It takes calmness to notice that the mist is rising faster off of the lake with every few passing minutes as the sun rises among the trees, scattering gold among the leaves as it stretches towards the blue firmament holding flocks of migrating geese.

It takes calmness to confirm that the two objects you saw at a distance, submerged in the mist on the lake surface, and thought to be a pair of ducks, are indeed so — scattering them to the other shore as they sense you approaching them.

And as you stand there at the end of the walk, with the sun now finally fully risen above the tree line, as it shines in all its glory and warms your face, tears up your eyes with its loving intensity, it dawns on you that it is difficult to separate its streaming rays scattering the ether from the mist that is rising off of the lake. The mist that is coming out of your mouth with every breath is part of the same calmness.

You turn around in place to perambulate about the axis of peace that runs vertically through you, and notice your shadow becoming shorter with every complete circle. You are now chanting the invocations that describe the qualities of beauty, peace, protection, serenity and much more that celebrate the energy of the divine feminine – Shakti. She manifests her great power only when necessary, but when she does manifest it, the worlds are realigned towards the merger of existence with a new consciousness of calmness and bliss within.

So what is it that truly calms you, connects you with peace, brings awareness of the divine to your heart? After the storms of life perturb your energy state, how do you revert to the energy of calmness? What does the energy state of calmness help you create?

It is said that calmness is our ‘natural state of being’, and that it manifests through a sense of greater equilibrium within. If so, calmness sounds and feels like a wonderful state for the heart to reside in, doesn’t it?

May we find a home there. Peace.

Kumud

Join us for our weekly gathering and conversation on twitter with the #SpiritChat community, Sunday Oct 2 at 9amET / 1pmGMT. We will connect and share our calmness with each other. Namaste – @AjmaniK

Bridges have a special ability to connect us with calmness, don’t they?

Our Inner Conditions

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Partly cloudy days can provide beautiful lighting for outdoor walks. When the partly cloudy day happens to be the first day of autumn with a distinct chill in the morning air, one has the distinct feeling that there is a different calling for the weekly forest walk that day.

And so it was that I accepted the inner invitation to visit with the local bird reservation this Friday – a visit that I hadn’t made since the spring! All the familiar locations looked a bit different. A new water fountain in the pond, near the entrance where my favorite bridge is located, brought a welcoming freshness to the water and a delightful hum that warmed the ears. New signs in several trails educating visitors about the mission and the support needed for the good health of the reservation. And much more.

The trail itself had very few leaves on the ground yet, so the sun rising slowly through the forest created beautiful light and colors on the leaves still on the trees. Nature’s morning and evening light patterns can help create a beautiful inner condition of stillness and peace.

A visit with a favorite book or movie or podcast, an actual conversation with a good friend, a greeting card in the mail, a wave from a neighbor walking by as you sit on the porch — one or all of these ‘things’ can instantly brighten our inner condition.

Some of us may also have daily, intentional, spiritual practices which, over time, help us build resilience into our inner condition. Why build resilience? Such a condition can serve us well in moments where a random text message, a tweet, a news item, a harsh word or any such intervention by the outside world can instantly disrupt our condition. The higher the degree of resilience of our inner condition, the more quickly and easily we can find ourselves back in our state of equanimity after our mind’s surface has been insta-stormed by the world.

By asking and observing ‘what is it that disproportionately disrupts my inner condition?’, we can get heart-smart about the actions we take to decrease the frequency such disruptions of our condition. As we adjust our practices to decrease our sensitivity to the disruptors, we can improve our inner condition, and then do more of those practices which works for us. A positive feedback loop can thus be established within, and over time, the heart-mind-body system becomes less and less ‘allergic’ to our ‘irritants’.

If we want to establish, maintain and enhance a condition that is active but not reactive, a daily walk of self-observation of our condition is essential.

Yes, it takes ‘extra’ work, but what if it is perhaps the best work we will do on a daily basis? Start with a small daily commitment and bring a joyous attitude to the walk. Journal what happens daily. Watch the changes in your condition over ninety days.

Consider. If you start a new walk today, you may have a brand new ‘gift of inner condition’ for yourself by the end of the year.

Kumud

P.S. Join us for our weekly chat with the #SpiritChat community on twitter, Sunday Sep 25 at 9amET / 1pmGMT. We will take stock of our inner conditions as we gather over tea and quotes! How to start that new walk? Ask me if you need suggestions. Namaste – @AjmaniK

Sunflowers in various stages and conditions as autumn arrives…

On Life and Perceptions

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It was perhaps the first time ever that I did my Friday morning walk on the school trail without my phone. I forgot it at home when I went for drop off, considered going back to retrieve it, and then thought… perhaps this will be an interesting experiment!

On a typical walk in the trails, I walk, pause, observe, take photos, walk some more, pause, and so on. It often ends up that it can take me almost forty five minutes to an hour to walk a mile or so. However, today’s walk was different, not just for the pace, but for the nature of the pauses and what I felt during those pauses.

Walking phoneless felt less like I was gathering, and more like I was simply observing. The lower angle of the Sun in the same hour as compared to last week. The hearing of leaves rustling and the raised white tail of deer bounding away as they sighted me. The almost complete coverage of the pond surface with green algae and slivers of rising sun reflecting in the blue patches. The wooden sign that said that the pond is a ‘scientific observation facility’ and hence ‘no swimming, fishing, skating’ and such. And so much more different views and perceptions on a trail that I have walked at least a few dozen times over the last year.

The experience made me ask. Why does perception matter anyway? How does it change over time? How we change it when necessary? What is its origin, and what is its connection to our spiritual journey?

It is perhaps no coincidence that I have pulled my weather-worn “Upanishads” book off of the shelf this week, and have stumbled upon a chapter describing the ‘five layers of existence’ within us. Perception is one of the layers — it is the fourth layer, sitting between the third layer, which is the mind, and the highest layer, which is bliss.

One may infer that in order for us to travel from the mind towards the highest layer of bliss, one has to walk through through the layer of perception. How do we best accomplish this? Are we aware of the quality of our perception in our daily life? One way to evaluate our quality of perception can be to observe our reactions to what is fed to our mind, voluntarily and involuntarily. Another way is to examine our fears, particularly those we had in the past, and what were the outcomes of those fears in our life?

We can further ask – to what extent did the perceptions of the possible outcomes of our (worst) fears keep us from experiencing bliss? What have we learnt from those self-limiting perceptions of self? What have we learnt from past perceptions and then adjusted our awareness, in order to get closer to and remain in bliss more consistently?

Some say that ‘perception is reality’. I would tweak that and say that ‘perception is the doorway to reality’. What is reality? According to the Upanishad, reality is the awareness that we are ‘well made’, perfect beings in the eyes of the divine. Our destiny on the path is bliss, except that we tend to get ‘stuck’ in the perceptions fueled by our mind, which is fueled by our senses, and so on.

Towards the end of the walk — a walk that was uncluttered by my desire to take a bunch of photos and share the best of them with all of you — I realized that there was a unique clarity born from this new experience for me. By removing the tasks of fiddling with the phone-camera’s filters of framing, perspective, lighting, focusing and such, a different kind of perception of the trail was revealed.

The ‘full-frame’ of nature, as designed, as intended to be perceived by us by the grand designer, was unfolded. I believe I had a sighting, for perhaps the first time during a walk, the doorway to bliss. Perhaps the door has always been there and I have been busy fiddling with trinkets? Perhaps next time, I will walk through the doorway of bliss, and even stay for a while.

Now where’s that phone? I need to write down my perceptions of today’s walk before I forget. I guess it will have to wait till at least my return home. Maybe I’ll just take the blog-post photo in the backyard and share that with all of you.

Kumud

P.S. Join us for our weekly gathering and twitter chat with the #SpiritChat community, Sunday Sep 18 at 9amET / 1pmGMT. We will discuss the perceptions of our weekly walks, and I welcome you all to join in. Namaste. – AjmaniK

Ref. ‘Five layers of being,’ Taittiriya Upanishad, Chapter 2

The last(?) of summer’s roses blooms in the backyard…

Choosing to Remember

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In Indian culture, the two week period following the full moon in September is a period of ‘remembering our ancestors’. This year, the two week period begins on September 11. In the USA, that date has a remembrance connection of its own since 2001 (‘Never Forget’). For many of us, we may choose not to remember, or remember selectively, particularly when remembering is connected to pain, trauma, and the lowering of our inner vibration at large.

This raises the question – what is worth remembering? How do we best remember, in what way, so that it elevates us and the energy of those around us? Is it enough to simply remember, or can we do more with the wisdom bridge constructed for us by our ancestors? Some reflections came to me on these choices during my Friday walk. Do allow me to share.

Give ‘remembrance of the divine’ a chance to shine in you, on you, to light up your being from within and without, to let you become happier, to arrive at the awareness that the meeting can happen. Yes, You, your I, may have to disappear in the process, and then only the memory of the perfection of That shall remain — and the meeting may not happen anyway. And yet, you would have remembered, and that imprint shall remain for eternity.

Why would we rather forget? Sometimes it feels like we are walking the same paths, the same trails, over and over again… and we may tend to wonder why we keep doing so? What is the purpose? Remember that these doubts on the path are of the logical mind, the domain of reasoning overtaking our heart. What is worth remembering is the choice to walk, to practice, and not the the result itself.

If we more often than not, if not always, feel better about our state, feel lighter, feel less connected to the ego and more connected to the divine after our walk, is that not enough to keep walking? Of course, if said path makes us feel heavier, more connected to anger and despair, then we may want to consider a different walk or habit, is it not? Better to forget that path of heaviness, yes?

At the end of the walk came the message of urgency. The opportunities and invitations to remember the purity of your soul, the purity of the souls of our ancestors, will be few and far between. We think that we will have time to walk towards the divine ‘later’. We tell ourselves we are not ‘ready’ yet. Is that really our truth? What is going to happen ‘later’? If we don’t change our awareness and make a conscious choice, how will we remember to create time from our ‘honey gathering’ in life, create space from all our entanglements with the world, to walk our destiny?

The message from the walk was that remembering takes work. The amount of work of course depends on our current state and where we want to be. That’s where free will and choice come in. Like grandma used to say, ‘We have no one else to point a finger at, for when we do so, let us remember that four fingers point back at us’. Is today going to be the day we stop pointing fingers, even at ourselves, and choose to wake up to our potential for peace, harmony and an attitude of cooperation with others who are on their own path?

I invite you to accept the invitation. Arise, Awake, and Remember the intrinsic purity of the soul. It’s an empowering choice, isn’t it?

These chrysanthemums came full bloom in the front yard in early September… they chose to remember that it was their time…

Kumud

P.S. Thank you for reading. I invite you to share your responses in the comments and/or join us for our weekly gathering on twitter with the #SpiritChat community, Sunday Sep 11 at 9amET / 1pmGMT/ 630pm India. Namaste. ~ AjmaniK

Paths of Openness

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Rarely, if ever have I not felt better after walking in Nature’s embrace. I have often wondered during my walks – how does this happen every single time? Is it the stillness and the silence and the vastness and the constantly changing variety of the path? Or is it something more, something that logic and intellect are unable to adequately explain?

Perhaps what fills the heart and soul when we get out of our own heads and walk the open path, beyond the limitations of our knowledge and even our knowing, is beyond mere reason and words to explain?

And yet, having experienced the heart-affirming outcome of every single past walk in vast openness, there are days when I hesitate to walk… why is this? The world and its seeming urgencies and pressures of time and space create mental barriers.

How do I overcome the barriers to openness? I remember the light, the flow, the radiance, the glow, the energy transfer that creates temporal transformation that lightens the heart and points me upwards. The gravitational pull of the final destination, the path to it, winds through openness, does it not?

The open path often finds us walking alone. This doesn’t mean that we need to stop living in the world, isolate ourselves from feelings and emotions. Being open can help increase our awareness of the feelings and emotions that are creating excess and imbalance within us. Our ‘practices’ are ‘working’ when they open us, orient us towards equilibrium, and harmony with the world. Over time, openness can teach us how to conserve energy, so that we can do our best work while moving in the direction of our heart’s destiny.

The alternative to openness is closedness, driven by fear. What does the path to closedness create? Perhaps more fear? The first law of thermodynamics states that ‘an isolated system cannot change its internal energy, and hence do no work’. The corollary is that the work done by us depends on how we un-isolate ourselves, connect with energy sources around us, and allow for change in the level of our internal energy.

Maybe that’s the answer to the original question. Why does Nature, and by extension, some people, raise our internal energy and vibration when we associate with them? Is it because we allow for them to do so, by being open to them? If yes, then the choice becomes – what kind of path and what kind of energy association will we open ourselves to, to get closer to our destination?

Sunflowers on the open path by the river… some thrive, and some…

Kumud

P.S. Join us for our weekly twitter gathering and open conversation, Sunday Sep 4 at 9amET / 1pmGMT / 630pm India in #SpiritChat. Namaste ~ AjmaniK

On Living Transitions

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It begins with a silent, almost imperceptible drizzle… maybe a leaf or two from every other tree 🌲 or so, as their soundlessness matched the sun filtering through the leaves on its ascent upwards in the morning hours, creating infinite patterns of yellow and gold with the multitudes of shapes and sizes still very much present on the branches…

The overcast nature of the morning creates even more variations as the transitioning clouds modulate the light intensity that comes through the forest… you look up from your pause near the vintage house and notice the tallness that you have been waking amidst…

The mosquitoes trailing you have finally left you alone… have you ever noticed how a single mosquito will bite you multiple times even before you realize the bumps on your neck, your jaw and your ear? Someone had once asked me – what purpose do mosquitoes even serve? I said then that I’d get back to them. Today, I realized that they perhaps exist to teach us persistence? And yet I digress…

Let me get back to transitions. They are everywhere, they appear in all forms, and we would be dead in no time without them. And yet we often resist them, because we either aren’t ready for the unexpected ones or we take the routine ones for granted…

We may resist transitions because we may associate them with turbulent experiences in our lives. While that may be our past, it doesn’t have to be our present. For one, we can choose a different past, in the sense that we can ask – what did we learn from that previous transition, inspire of the turbulence that it brought our way?

In Vedic practice, the times of nature’s daily transitions, turbulence and all, are considered to be optimal times to pause, rest, reflect and prepare for the next phase of the day. You may recognize them as sunrise and sunset, dawn and dusk, and such. The rate of energy transfer between the layers of existence is said to be highest during these times…

And just as I finish my walk, jotting down my thoughts for this post, a gust of breeze brings down a multitude or so leaves. I look up and the Sun is still at play with its backlighting of the trees. Now that I am fully awake, I am aware that I better not stand still too long or else the mosquitoes will find me, the lone human in a quarter mile radius around the lake which is partly covered with thick algae. It’s a living lake – the algae will be taken care of by the next big rainstorm…

Living Transitions. How do we best do that? Perhaps we can be more aware of them, accept them, find joy in them and live our best life amid them. Need some hints?

Look within the moment. What’s transitioning? What’s remaining still? What’s lightening you? What’s enlivening you?

Until next time. Be well.

Kumud

Join us for our weekly gathering and twitter chat, Sunday Aug 28 at 9amET / 1pmGMT in #SpiritChat ~ we welcome all of you to share with us. Namaste – AjmaniK

One hydrangea cluster continues living its best life… amid the transition to autumn

The Influence of Routine

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It is perhaps no secret that most humans are ‘creatures of habit’, and a series of habits strung together can be said to form the framework of our daily routines of living. More often than not, our habit-strings are influenced by the roles and responsibilities that we have assumed, or are often thrust upon us, in the particular stage of our life. If we reflect on our routines from the past few years, what would we discover? How many of our routines from a decade ago still exist today? 

 

In asking that question, I realize that very few routines from ten years ago still exist for me. Many old routines have been replaced with new routines to align with the current state of my life. One key routine that doesn’t exist any more is the ‘going to work’ ritual. I don’t know if that daily ritual will ever return, particularly to the state that it existed in before the pandemic. Like all things that are brought about by planetary scale change, the old ‘work’ routines have been replaced by new ones for me. The ‘future of work’ is fluid, evolving and uncertain. What new routines will emerge to replace the old ones? What element of the old ‘work rituals’ would I like to bring forward into the new routines? What opportunities do changes or disruptions in routine present to me? 

 

As is often the case, we don’t fully appreciate the inner stability and harmony that some routines create for us, until they are removed from our life. It wasn’t until I re-established the ‘return to work’ routine that I realized how much good my often daily routine of ‘walking before working’ was doing for my creativity at work. It isn’t until an occasional disruption happens, say due to travel or hosting visitors in the home, that  the power of the silence and stillness of the morning meditation routine is re-realized by me. What are some routines or rituals that are essential for your inner harmony? What makes them so powerful?

 

Some may argue, and rightfully so, that habits and rituals can put us in a state where we become increasingly resistant to growth and change. That may be true, so it is perhaps worthwhile to examine the influence of our routines on our quality of life, external and internal. Which of our routines serve to increase our ‘fear of missing out’, feeding our sense of ‘falling behind the joneses’, and such? Which of our habits invite us to higher existence, increasing our awareness, raising our level of inner bliss? 

 

In asking some questions of our routines, we can choose the extent of their influence on us. We can then, with guidance, re-design our rituals and habits to enhance the quality of our journey. With new design, we can eventually realize that we influence our routines as much, if not more, than they influence us. 

 

We are now one step closer to freedom.

 

Kumud

 

P.S. Join us for our weekly community gathering and twitter chat, Sunday Aug 21 at 9amET / 1pm GMT / 630pm India. Yes, it’s a weekly ritual of sorts for some of us; a routine that brings us together in sharing and caring. Namaste – @AjmaniK

 

The first week of school… and I return to the routine of walking one of my favorite trails on the school premises…

IMG 2971 LRA Trail

Focusing on Abundance

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Abundance is often only a few feet away… we may have to get off the carefully laid out trails, follow the ones running narrow and winding that trace the rivers’ curves and bends, teeming with greenery of all shapes and sizes…

And then you come at the resting spots where the silence and stillness invites you to be part of it all of its resplendence on a late summer afternoon. It is beginning to feel like autumn beneath cloudless blue skies where the only filter for the streaming sun are the leaves still in fullness of green and the cicadas let off some accumulated heat by tuning up their orchestra…

The ‘lack’ that was following you intermittently all week long seems to vaporize with the gentle breeze that takes it all away. The energy of anger at the lack of civility and decency, the weight of heavy memories that you thought were long gone, the struggle between being and doing – are all replaced with a calm, confident and clear sense of simplicity and abundance, an assurance that all becomes well when we focus on the fields of wellness within us.

We aren’t often aware of or give expression to abundance because, like breathing, it is one of our natural states. We instead tend to feel and give words and voice to pain and lack and hunger and thirst. Why? Perhaps because we have been deluded into believing that we are ‘more alive’ when we feel those things which remind us of what we lack? How do we refocus on abundance?

It takes a certain effort, a certain attitude, a certain commitment to going beyond happiness towards joy and bliss, and the willingness to even surrender those when the time is ripe for realization. Then, we can be aware of the ocean of abundances that we live and breathe and see and taste and smell and hear in every single moment of living.

The question isn’t whether abundance is present. The question is how much of our energy and awareness is attuned to it, focused on it, from moment to moment. Yes, we have access to infinite energy, but we surely aren’t in any position to harness more than our heart and mind can handle in any given moment. We surely aren’t going to be given freedom for the asking when we aren’t ready for the abundance that comes with it, are we?

It is said that in order to know the abundance of the ocean, we have to be willing to get wet, to be able to be at peace with the rising and the falling of the waves, to be accepting of the times of happiness and misery alike. And yet there is more. In order to truly know the ocean, we perhaps have to be willing to be one with the ocean – “to be like the salt which dissolves our i into the I – and then, abundance will be us.” – Osho

No reminders will then be necessary. We will be beyond all opposites of arrivals and departures, life and death, truth and untruth, higher and lower, light and darkness, and all that separates us in name and form from permanent abundance.

Are we willing to focus on what we truly want, nay, what we already are and have?

Kumud

P.S. Join us for our weekly gathering and twitter conversation in #SpiritChat on Sunday, Aug 14 2022 at 9amET / 1pmGMT / 630pm India. Yes, we have abundant space to welcome you all… Namaste.

Focusing on Abundance… on the trail…

The Energy of Presence

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The late after thunderstorm that brought monsoon-level rain and added humidity to the heat was finally tapering off as I got ready to wind up the work day. I figured I would at perhaps only drive through the parkway on my home, as the trails would be really wet, and the clouds were still lingering.

At the bottom of the hill where the East and west branches of the river merge, sitting at the stop sign, deciding to turn left or right, I hear the invitation of the roar of the river. My resistance to walking melts away as quickly as fresh rain tends to cleanse the landscape. I reason that I am already present, in the middle of it all, so why would a threat of rain or some wet trails stop me from a journey that I know is going to hold some wonderful gifts?

A few minutes later, with the car parked in an almost empty lot which would typically be filled at this hour, I am crossing one of the bridges across the merged branches whose flow has been fueled by the hour of heavy rain. On the other side, in its widening and bending and slowing down as it heads towards Lake Erie, I am suddenly in the presence of bunches of sunflowers on its shores.

Presence can create a beautiful energy about it, if our attitude towards being present is open and joyful. The trails that run around the merging of the river’s branches have been my playground for years, and their presence has lifted me and my heart on every single occasion that I visit with them. I can’t ever remember walking away from the river’s spaces with a lighter heart than that which I entered them with. Today was no different.

Yes, I stayed on the main, wide trails and walked even more slowly than usual. The evening sun was starting to now peak out, and the backlighting show among the trees was getting started. There was not a single other person on the trail, and it felt like all the energy of the day’s transitioning was being bestowed upon me. On my way back, I slowed down even more to let the leaves from the forest canopy sprinkle me with the water that they were holding from the rain. I felt even more present. During one long pause, the sun filtered through the trees and lit up the forest floor and the entire expanse of leaves in a bright yellow. It was like getting a sneak preview of autumn. I am now in a different space altogether. And yet, how does this all come together.

Let me retrace the steps. In accepting the invitation to be present to the journey and the spaces, one opens the doorway to the energy of presence. The energy works by first cleansing our thoughts, which helps to relax us and be receptive. We then slow down enough so we can absorb new energy, and finally walk away with a heart-state that sustains until we accept the next invitation to be present. Sounds a bit like your meditation practice, does it?

I use Nature to describe a medium through which the energy of presence creates gifts for us. I am sure you can think of many moments or spaces or people or activities that create similar gifts for you. May we often accept their invitation to be present, for they are perhaps as much seeking the energy of your gifts as you are seeking theirs?

Kumud

P.S. Join us for our weekly gathering and twitter chat with the #SpiritChat community, Sunday Aug 7 at 9amET / 630pm India. I will be present with questions and gifts of tea and cookies. What gifts will you bring?! – AjmaniK

Sunflowers share their energy after a thunderstorm…

The Art of Slowing Down

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The river is a bit higher than I would have expected it to be today… but there was still just enough space by the shore for me to walk down to the water, find a fallen tree trunk, and simply sit in the silence embellished by the lightly gurgling flow…

As I look around, I notice that the far side of the tree trunk I am sitting on has grown an entire ecosystem of its own… vegetation that looks like ground cover, with the tiniest of white flowers sprinkled amid the green… hundreds of them like stars on a clear night sky… except some of them are overflowing the trunk and making their way to the shale stones that are being lapped by the gentlest of ripples coming ashore from the center of the river…

The sound of falling pebbles from the other shore interrupts the mind’s wanderings, as part of the rock face sends its evening offering to the water below…

I look up to the top of the small cliff face and notice tall trees, young and old, hanging on the edge, many of them with their roots clearly exposed, entangled with the trees next to them as if in an eternal bonding until they are called to immerse themselves into the river below…

In the distance, the road bridge and the walking bridge downstream have not much activity except for the wind bringing them messages from the upstream side as it plays with the leaves of the overhanging trees on its way to them…

I notice that not a single insect bothers me as I sit today, in a location where usually the mosquitoes will find me in less than thirty seconds…

The meeting of the elements without invites the calm created by the meeting of the elements within…

My ‘walk’ today has been a trickle, and that is perhaps by design or maybe a mirror of the flow of the water. I am grateful for what is given today, for if not for my slowing down and sitting at length, I would have missed seeing the play of the water with the shale, the fallen tree trunk’s ecosystems, the trees hanging in suspended animation across the other shore, and so much more.

If I hadn’t slowed down to sit and spend as much time as it took me to write this post ‘in the moment’, I would have surely recorded more ‘steps’, but what of that? Distance traveled is often a poor indicator of what has been accomplished within. My heart rate is down by 10 points in the 10 or more minutes of sitting. I spend the next few minutes breathing at a few breaths a minute. I open my eyes and it is as if the river has stilled to take another look at me and joined me in the slowing down.

I look around and it’s perhaps time to go explore a bit, check out some backlighting on the trees in the forest, and then head home. Thanks for visiting, the river, the tree trunk, the shale stones, the chickweeds and sunflowers seem to say. Do slow down more often. We enjoy sitting with you.

I had figured I would spend twenty minutes or so slowing down today after the work day. The ‘walk’ took exactly sixty minutes – 534 to 634pm. I didn’t time or plan it that way, but that’s how long it sometimes takes to truly slow down. And who am I to argue with that? You can’t rush Art and its creation within, can you?

All the pieces of art that are still cherished after centuries — were they not created in intervals of time and space where the artist was working at their own pace? If so, then why would one imagine that our heart’s work can be accomplished without learning the art of slowing down?

Let the world go on on its own pace. If you know what you want, then the beat of that ‘unstruck music of eternity’ will set your heart’s pace. May we make friends with our own beat, and may we find bliss in all the moments of slowing down and listening to the heart.

Kumud

P.S. Join us for our weekly gathering and twitter chat, Sunday July 31 2022 at 9amET / 1pmGMT / 630pm India with the #SpiritChat community. We will enjoy a bit of slowing down in each other’s company, and mark another year of walking together. Namaste. – @AjmaniK

Taking a moment to enjoy the art of slowing down… in the middle of Rocky River, Ohio