I've been watching the AMC series, Hell on Wheels while walking on the treadmill these days. The other day the the show opened with a scene involving a Native American ritual. The Chief and a holy man lead one of the warriors out into a field. They placed a tall pole with two long threads of leather hanging from the top. Then they threaded the leather through the skin on the warrior's chest. The warrior leaned back on his heels and just sort of hung suspended from the leather tongs. The Chief told the warrior to follow the sun and stay strong. He said that if he remained true and strong, he would be rewarded with a vision. History is full of rituals that involve fasting and hours and hours of physical discomfort to bring about visions from the Gods. Yogis sit for hours a day meditating in search of enlightenment. I used to attend a Buddhist temple and after the lesson and meditation, we'd all gather in a circle and discuss the things we saw during our meditations. While I tended to find peace and comfort during meditation, I did not have visions. Others in the group told tales of sitting under enormous trees and even becoming part of that tree and light and warmth and hoodie voodie mumbo jumbo. The occasional word, a moment of understanding maybe, but there were no trees or becoming trees behind my closed eyelids. I tell you these stories of vision quests because I have nothing else. I started this entry realizing that this week I have no words of wisdom or insight to share. Not even a scroll through recent pictures did any good to trigger inspiration. It may be time for a vision quest of my own. A good juice fast and a day of laying out on hot pavement could do the trick, or maybe just a good old fashioned road trip across the Dakotas (more on that later). While my time on my mat has grown more consistent, my meditation practice has never recovered from when we first moved here. There were stretches of time where I had a fairly good on again off again meditation practice, but it has not picked up into a daily habit. Like brushing my teeth every day or taking my birth control pill every morning. It is not so much about quieting the mind as it is poor time management. There just doesn't seem to be enough time to settle myself in one spot for twenty minutes of mantra and breathing. Especially when there's new episodes of Orange is the New Black and I have two library books to read.
There's something I have noticed though. There are moments throughout my day where I'm unintentionally meditating. My mantra is cleaning objective lenses or chopping potatoes for the next day's breakfast. Yesterday, I blew up 400 balloons to put in Jeff's cubicle while he was out for his birthday. There was a calm rhythm to placing the balloon on the air nozzle, filling it with air and then tying it off. Occasionally a balloon would pop and the loud smack and shock of it would bring me back to where ever I had let myself drift off too. I may not be sitting down at a designated time and setting a timer for twenty minutes, but I am making a point to be mindful. I know that one day I will get my meditation practice back. I don't know if I will ever see visions or find "enlightenment". There have been times when specific words have floated through my brain while meditating, but never visions of any kind of God speaking to me. My science brain probably won't tolerate such nonsense. But I do love those moments when I find myself smack dab in the middle of a moving meditation without purposefully going there.
Maybe I'll have more thoughts on this after I juice all that kale I harvested from the garden. Happy Love Thursday!