I am blessed to spend many of my waking hours in a space that is designed to foster and support mindfulness. Here, at Spirit Fire Retreat Center, we host a wide variety of retreats, most of which are centered on meditation. Recently, I had a meaningful experience which I’d like to share with you. We had a full house for a 5-day silent MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) training. There was a bit of downtime offered after a meal and the entire dining room cleared except for a woman. She lingered on, enjoying a glass of water for quite some time, which I observed from the kitchen. Now, Spirit Fire’s mountain spring water is really good, but it wasn’t just the taste that had her so engaged; it was the whole experience. I stood and watched discreetly as this woman took a sip of water very mindfully and set the glass down. Then she slowly enjoyed each sip thereafter… and the space between each sip. She had no agenda whatsoever other than to sit peacefully and drink a tall glass of cool water.
How often do we find ourselves in that situation? Not often in these modern times.
I was captivated by her presence. It literally emanated from her. I was moved by her contentment and intentionality… she would take small and gentle sip with a soft focus, perhaps tapping her mouth with her cloth napkin or looking out of the window for a moment – but always coming back to the glass of water. And all the while she smiled. And smiled. And smiled. Not the smile of ‘Ah-ha, I get it, mindfulness works.’ Not the smile of ‘I’m so happy to be here right now.’ But the simple smile of a person at peace with the present moment, at peace with herself, and at peace with receiving. And through her peace, her truth and beauty were palpable and completely unmistakable. This is the truth and beauty that are revealed through presence.
In those 10 minutes or so, I fell in love with this woman and I had never even spoken two words to her directly. Actually, I didn’t fall in love with this woman; I fell in love with this human being. I felt as if I had known her my whole life. Her humanity was so clearly on display and it was lovely. Her care, her interest, her simplicity, her reverence… she was living awareness in action in the most pristine of ways. My heart was full of gratitude for that experience and I can call upon the memory as if it happened just a moment ago.
Meditation and the meditative experience reveal light and light reveals our humanity. Meditation reveals light of mind which displays as creativity, hopefulness, optimism, curiosity, inspiration, and ultimately… awareness. Meditation reveals light in our emotions. This shows itself in the form of happiness, light-heartedness, serenity, equanimity, cheerfulness, and ultimately… joy. Meditation reveals light in the body. This shows itself in the form of vibrancy, vitality, comfort, ease, and ultimately… wellbeing. Meditation reveals that you are light, breathing with and in the world!
Today, for our final meditation of this current round, we take the mantra that we’ve used all along this meditative journey and expand it into… you guessed it, a living awareness.
It’s been a joy to be with you. Happy meditating!
Downloadable Podcast: Living Awareness – Day 3