It’s July…the hottest month of our year in Ranchita. My well is stressed. And I keep allowing the water to run because I don’t check for irrigation leaks often enough. My irrigation system has timers and they fail. And when they do, the water just keep running until the safety shut-off on the big water tank kicks in and shuts all the water off.
At least I still have water…even if it is in the ground and in the bottom half of the tank. And when I can access it, it is safe, and clean and delicious! I can’t even imagine what it must be like to not have access to safe water. This thought drew me to look up the statistic. This is what I just found: “1 billion people lack access to safe drinking water. 2.6 billion people lack adequate sanitation. 1.8 million people die every year from diarrhoeal diseases, including 90 % of children under 5. This situation is no longer bearable.”
This situation is no longer bearable. What does that mean? If I can’t bear something, I must change it… or what? How does this change happen in a world where the people with the power to make change have other priorities? How can safe water not be the first priority for our global community?
We are not a global community. We don’t have the connections which create community between our countries. Instead, we are separated by borders and fear and hate.
This morning, as I sit here waiting for my water tank to recover from my laziness so I can take a shower and get a cold drink, I pray for forgiveness to all those human beings whose cup is empty.
My yoga class began with meditation. As we sat, I spoke words to facilitate awareness of body sensations. Leading the class with an invitation to simply notice what they felt, I had the sensory experience of my sitting bones resting on the meditation cushion, by feet and legs against the floor. I felt my spine lifting out of my pelvis and felt the relaxation of my shoulders down my back. I dropped my awareness into my chest and noticed my breath. Feeling the rise and fall of my chest and the expansion and contraction of my belly and back, my breath deepened. I felt my throat soften and widen.
As I stayed present to my breath, I began to notice my exhalation getting longer and as I reached the end of the exhale, I saw the portal. There, at the end of my breath, was a small sphere of light. I “stepped” into it and my breathing stopped. For an endless moment, I was in absolute stillness, a void that I have no other words to describe. The feeling was weightlessness, my body suspended in the experience. I heard my inhale as breath flowed effortlessly into my lungs for what seemed like many moments. I followed the breath in and at the end was the portal, and again I “stepped” into it, and as my breathing stopped I was back in the stillness.
It came to my mind that the stillness and the void are one and the same. The stillness contains the breath and I can remain in the stillness even though my breathing resumes. The point between the end of an exhale and the beginning of the next inhale is the portal into the void. Being in stillness is the experience of noticing the container instead of the contents.
The thought that appeared next was like an instruction to “practice staying in the stillness even though you continue to breathe.” So I did.
What followed was a series of instructions: “Once you are able to stay in the stillness even though you are breathing, practice staying in the stillness when you move.” I moved from the cushion, sliding to my back and drawing my knees into my chest all the while remaining in the experience of the void.
“Practice staying in the stillness when you open your eyes and allow the sensory experience of seeing the external world.” So I did… and the room was before me and I was still in the void. For two hours time disappeared and I taught the class effortlessly remaining conscious of being in the stillness.
“Practice being in the stillness, regardless of external circumstances and conditions.” I am here, writing these words, and the stillness is here.
The stillness is always here. It holds all the sensory experiences of my body within it…all that I see, hear, smell, taste and touch is within It. All of my thoughts are within It.
Although I am functioning in a normal way, my experience feels very soft and gentle. My body is relaxed and comfortable. My thoughts are succinct. In between each thought, my mind notices nothing but the stillness. I am experiencing the container, which is holding the contents.
In this moment, my life is a walking meditation. I feel a tremendous sense of gratitude for this life I have been given.