I have been traveling this month, and one of my friends asked me if I made time to sit when I was away from home and out of my usual schedules. A couple of weeks ago on my travels, I offered a meditation session at a friend’s office, but otherwise I did not do any formal sitting. There were plenty of times, though, when I paused for a moment to relax and engage the moment with presence.
When I am giving meditation instruction I often tell people that they can practise anywhere, and usually give the examples of walking down Market Street and being at the airport – though any street will do, and any airport. In New York last week, the stereotypes of hardened New Yorkers was belied by eye contact and smiles on a number of occasions, especially on the subway. These are small things, but to me they embody a moment being met. Visiting a museum, paying close attention to the exhibits around me, just for a second, things felt totally clear. In the long and tiring security line at JFK, I turned to focusing on the sensations in my body, which was a two-fold exercise: I had gone to the airport with ample time, so I was completely unstressed about time or being late, but I had also started getting sick, and had bundled up against the heavy rain in the city, which left me feeling very warm inside the terminal building. On the plane I was also just allowing myself to feel the sickness, and that slightly dislocated feeling of being high over the earth in a small pressurised cabin.
Flying west, we had just caught the last of the sunset in the sky, and had the half moon guiding the way across the continent. As we came into land under clear skies over the bay, I was watching the reflection of the moon in the water, and thought of Dogen.
The picture does not do justice to the beauty of the scene, as we came in to land over the bay with the moon above; my attempt to capture the reflection in the still water was even less successful.
By the way, I have updated the calendar page, and will continue to do so as events get confirmed, so please check the tab above the header photograph.