as i sat in my den this morning, there seemed to be absolute quiet. the sky was dark, and the rest of the world slept. then i heard the gas hissing in the fireplace as the gas logs warmed the room. the metal of the firebox popped and creaked as it warmed up. the floor clock across the room ticked steadily. my little dog made shuffling, scuffing sounds as he rolled and moved about on the floor. the gray cat made his endearing sounds as he explored. on the distant interstate, traffic hummed, and. from time to time, a car drove past on the street behind our house. outside, a bird chirped, and a stray tomcat howled. so many noises in the "sleeping" world!
i felt the slight ache in my neck and shoulder as they limbered up. my arms rubbed against my chair's arms, and the fabric of my shirt collar rubbed against my neck. my fingers lightly touched in my lap. i could feel the coarseness of my jeans on the sides of my hands. my right foot rested lightly across the ankle of my left foot, and i felt the knitted texture of my socks against my feet and ankles. my leather chair embraced me as i rested comfortably against it. so many tactile sensations!
my stomach rose and fell as i breathed in and out. as i inhaled through my nostrils, the tip of my tongue rose and touched the roof of my mouth. on each exhale, my tongue relaxed and the slow breath passed my lips. in-out: the steady rhythm persisted through those moments when all was still, yet much was taking place. in the stillness of the morning, i sensed the vibrancy of life, all those sounds and sensations that are going on around us as we live our lives oblivious to them. outside the mind, life goes on, and, as we focus on the thoughts bubbling up--the endless plans and stories--we miss the energy that persists despite our mind's efforts to shut it out.
may we be part of the environment that surrounds and inhabits us, not a self that is detached from it. may mindfulness awaken us to all that is, not just the pretense of a separation that our mind creates. shalom.