Written by SYJ Teacher Vicky Cook
As I sat this morning in meditation, I chose to sit in the nook of our dining room that overlooks the English garden. I wanted to watch the snow and be present with the fullness of nature. My breath began to create the rhythm I have come to know as my practice. I observed the thoughts that come and go. They are never the same, but they beckon me in the same way every morning. I acknowledge, recognize, and even welcome their place in this process.
I’ve come to deeply love my practice. I connect to myself and am led as I place myself in the rhythm of the world around me. There has been much push and pull in the practice of sitting regularly, but I ache when it is missed and those around me also suffer in its absence.
The gentle movement of my chest connects to my heartbeat. My thoughts begin to slow and shape themselves in a subtle nature—not moving too quickly or demanding my attention, but remaining on the fringe and less imposing. I embrace the play of my mind. Only my resistance creates challenge. I surrender to the movement—of mind, body and the vibrations of the living world— and offer to simply be in its presence.
The practice has not once pulled me away from the world, but is, in fact, always ready with an invitation to place myself completely in this moment. The fear, disappointment, joy, struggle, triumph, or tragedy must all be present. This teaches me to move from my heart and soul as well as my mind. For me, this practice is about living a whole and truthful experience.
In the years prior to my daily practice I was trying to be something I thought I should be, not even considering what I might want or connected to who I actually was behind the veil of daily living. Placing myself in the quiet space of my morning time, I began to see, not just with my eyes, but also with the warmth of my heart. I could feel the world respond to me. There began a dance of give and take, of offering and receiving.
It has taken many years of meditation, sitting quietly (or not so quietly most of the time,) to find this awareness. To place my heart in the palm of the universe, to trust that my purpose is valid—that I am not a mistake. In the beginning my practice, like a timid stranger, felt awkward and hard to get to know, but I was patient and kind so each day I opened to myself a bit more. I started to see that my presence, my opening, is what opened the depth of my practice and has created a truly strong relationship—the strongest relationship in my life.
It seems odd to me now, that I didn’t know vulnerability required truth. I thought I had to become something else to reveal the true nature of who I am. I still laugh at the folly of this, yet it was something embedded in the marrow of my bones.
The sun will rise each day. It is there doing what it does, not questioning rising, just creating the beginning of the day. The regularity of the sun teaches me that each day, each moment, requires presence. Nature continues to move and my movement with it, my effort to be in sync, brings me closer to myself. My hope, my desire, is to offer this rhythm to the world and begin to create the harmony of truth and bear witness to all those who would like to place themselves deeply in the presence of this world.