I’d had an awful week, an avalanche of problems, burdens piling up and a small army of negative thoughts and despondencies gathering in my mind like rainclouds. On Saturday I turned my back on my urban life, jumped into my car and drove out to Whatipu, out through the foggy green hills of the Waitakeres, their flanks gleaming wet, under a sky filled with clouds sagging with rain, their bellies like drooping pillows. And on to the beach, the balm of emptiness and open spaces, not a soul anywhere in this wilderness of distance. Then this sudden sunlight like a benediction, and sitting in a warm hollow between dunes, hearing the cadences of sea, cry of gulls, the waning chatter of my tired mind responding to the emptiness.
And back again to the remembered skills of meditation, learned and put aside years earlier, gathering my mind into focus on my breath, breathing in the prana of the universe – purifying thought, recharging my tired body – and following the slowing breath down into a forgotten stillness. Sitting there a full hour unmoving, all my ordinary life fallen away, a lovely sense of reconnecting with some essence of being, my Buddha self, my soul, an inner space untouched by the problems of my life. And gathering strength both from nature – the wide spaces that so nourish the heart and spirit – and from the power of meditation to remind of other priorities and purposes.
Walking back slowly through wetlands and dunes, the green combers of the sea falling far out, feeling unburdened and peaceful at last, remembering my deeper purpose and the renewal of my spiritual quest. Back in my car, searching for a notebook in the glove compartment, an aphorism card falls almost into my lap – this couplet by spiritual teacher and poet Sri Chinmoy that so encapsulates my morning’s sweet experience:
‘Self-mastery and God-discovery
Are the only two things
That each human being on earth
Must take seriously.
Everything else can be taken lightly.’