The new moon goes direct in the sign of Taurus in about 30 minutes, renewing the lunar cycle for what I believe is the fourth of 13 of this year.
Somehow it’s a bit more romantic to contemplate the placement of the physical bodies of the earth and moon and stars in relation to one another as a measurement of time, in contrast to checking off the months named for old Roman gods (once planets themselves if I understand correctly…)
I enjoyed the explicit privilege today, this evening really, not long ago, of getting to meditate in real time with a bidirectional connection to the meditation instructor from whom I’ve been taking guidance for some time now.
While we have spoken on the phone a few times to support my practice, and I’ve been tuning in most Wednesday evenings for a few years to view the WebCam audio and video of the live classes, and I’ve been using numerous recorded audios of his instruction, this marked the first time I had the good fortune to sit together while he guided meditation in the same room.
Of course the clumsy wording must have given it away by now, and of course our current context under “stay-at-home” belies the digital nature of the room we shared.
I think there must’ve been 60 or so folks gathered together in the Zoom video space. This was the usual class, commonly held at the Boston Center for Contemplative Practice, only this time due to circumstances moving online.
The light streaming into the room now warm and even, coming from almost 90° angle into the window as the sun drops close to the horizon. The golden glisten on the grass has subsided from where I sit, leaving only silhouette shadows edged with sunlight.
It’s been a warm summer day with the house open wide. I slept well again last evening, mostly well anyway.
I did find this morning the subjective nature of the commentaries I receive regarding wound conditions. This is not new, just something to adapt to. Each person tending to my body looks through a certain set of eyes, notices different things, and perceives size and color ever so slightly uniquely to them.
The condition of any given instance of skin breakdown will fluctuate through time as medicine is applied, as I am hydrated and consuming nutrients, as pressure is relieved and returned in various measure. It is rare that a wound will heal in a linear fashion given the vicissitudes and serendipities of life, rather the process of returning to a homeostatic wellness will ebb and flow like the tide coming in.
On top of these natural measures, the perceptions of the observers very given their predilections of attention, experience, context, and history.
To make a long story short, the gains I had perceived in the recovery from my current skin breakdown yesterday, were largely given up in this morning’s assessment.
It’s a practical matter. I can only treat in real time that state of wellness before us. Today that meant an extra hour in bed, lying on my side and relieving pressure to the area.
The meditation class today, “meditation improv” as Dr. Dan likes to call it, opened the space to share what was up for people in the room. One woman, a care partner in a nursing facility somewhere in America it seems, offered in tears the emotional impact she was feeling having lost 20 patients to death by the virus. Another seven coworkers had also fallen ill. The grief was obvious and shared. But the real struggle she wanted to bring forward had to do with how could she possibly relate to those family members and others in her community they flatly refused, asserting the whole pandemic was simply a hoax.
“Compassion for their ignorance, an obvious coping mechanism to deal with the enormous suffering of the situation.”
Another woman asked if it would be bad karma to just encourage deniers to gather in crowds in protest and so likely increasing the chances that they would fall ill and be wiped away themselves.
“Compassion.” Again the answer. “Think what you want, but do not openly encourage harm.”
The first part of the class is usually this open forum Q&A, followed by a meditation to suit whatever was coming up. The subject of the medication today was obvious.
We took a bio break and reconvened, moving into stillness together. Dan guided the group through layers of transcendent realization, leading us to a vast and spacious awareness. We rested there for a while and then began to close the meditation. I smiled, chuckling to myself as the meditation bell chortled haltingly through the digital connection. Those sweet moments of irregularity… Little did I know.
We stopped and started to speak a little about the various experiences the people had had so that Dam might advise their practice. Next we would be moving to the meditation specifically focused on compassion.
Suddenly, strange voices began to echo through the conversation. The screen shifted from the usual Hollywood squares or Brady Bunch style familiar grid of faces as one of the users enter the screen sharing mode to display lewd and strange images. Disparaging comments began to echo out as the kind but somewhat non-technical fellow aiding the call struggled to acquire some control over the quickly deteriorating situation.
It was remarkable. Here the concern of how to meet those in the world whose minds are twisted and demented with fear and anxiety, suffering from neglect and abuse across scales deeply personal and grandly systemic, had come to life in our midst.
After just a few moments time, it became clear that the only strategy was exit. Just as we had approached a formal discipline of compassion, the call for compassion had presented itself as loudly and as plainly as could be.
“Practice compassion for these people.” Dan said, just as the call was ending.
I mentioned recently having received a paper on the researched efficacy of having a central guiding purpose clearly identified and elucidated in one’s life. I have been working with that paper and process over the last few weeks and was pleased today to find the whole thing come together rather nicely.
The morning was a jumble of tasks and mixed starts. I made my way through some artistic efforts with my website and some technical aspects as well, but wasn’t able to bring any of those to completion today, pending response from skilled professionals more proficient than I in those areas.
After a late start, it took some time to cut through distractions and focus. Eventually I had slain enough of the gremlins to take a deep breath, and roll outside into the garden to enjoy lunch with the feathered and fluttery neighbors.
Returning to the desk I found the remaining work on purpose flowed rather sweetly. The artifact, which I will disclose in a moment, I will now undertake to internalize more deeply. The words do arise entirely from my own process and reflecting on my life, but what came out on the page really struck me as perhaps quite the widest possible view I have yet to take on the precious opportunity of this life.
I’m grateful to have it, and happy to share it, and look forward to using it not only as a touchstone, but also the grindstone against which to sharpen and hone all of my other efforts.
It feels like a rock to stand on as the storms of suffering both within and without continue to insist on their rage…
A Guiding Purpose:
Realizing the world and all of manifest reality as myself, the evolutionary impulse awakens and lives through me as love and compassion. The biosphere of earth stirs with its nurturing embrace, enfolding upon itself a gentle parentage and care. As sunflowers to the radiant light, each life opens, expanding into a fullness of creative expression in service to that harmony of generosity.
The garden of life and being blooms again, the carcass of its past incarnation returning as fodder to the soil and shape of the timeless eternity dancing to the beauty of its own cosmic wonder.
There was an episode of South Park, the television program, sharing this Statement of Purpose with Courtney today, I laughingly recalled…
“Stage one, collect underpants!”
Now onto the silence of stage II…
God gets to know things, we just get to ask questions…