It seems to me that the most revolutionary thing I could do (living in this body at this time) is to be here with openhearted, open-minded affection for what is.

So often, I want things to be different than they are. Beginning with that most basic: my body, and continuing through how I spend my time, when I think others should be doing in the world, how we all should act and so on. My dissatisfaction – when I let it run free – has no end.

In most cases, I have absolutely no control or influence over any of it. Wanting something different, I become unhappy and difficult to be around. So instead…

Turn my sensory awareness to what is: the sensation of my breath moving in and out of my nostrils. The clanging of the wind chimes outside on the deck. In the distance, a dog is barking. My leg spasms and it hurts, but not beyond bearable. When I look out the window at lunch there will be trees and grass and the beauty of nature.

In the same way as, when I am meditating, I bring my attention back to my breath, I need to return my attention to the beauty of life around and within me.

I listened to Rabbi Lawrence Kushner in conversation with Krista Tippett the other day. The Rabbi was talking about mysticism. He described the difference between a hierarchical idea of God and one where God surrounds us and we dissolve the line been ourselves and the holy.

That, it seems, is the trick: to simultaneously be aware of my body and mind while understanding that the difference between me and the chair and the wind chimes and the distant dog is imaginary. Living in consciousness of the holy, I am content.


[Of course, the moment I use the word “content,” I think of the world’s injustices and remind myself of my responsibility to take action. That courageous advocacy is a promise for another day.]