In a world where members of our species rush to release the latest product into the marketplace in hopes of making a change, whether a change to their personal wealth or a change to sub/cultural practices, we sit and watch the trees slowly open new leaves, wonder about the life of a mistletoe bush growing on a tree limb high in the forest canopy, smell the little turf fire burning beside us on this cool Sunday morning.
Insects have hatched and bounce through the air in the backyard again.
Our life partner nurses a head cold brought on by seasonal allergic reactions and watches fictional love stories on the tellie.
What is meditation?
Meditation is getting out of our thoughts, out of our inner world, and existing as simply as possible in this moment, taking the phrase “at one with the universe” into unintentional practice, without agenda or purpose, letting our senses (our interface with external stimuli) exist without cultural interpretation.
Smell a new odour or fragrance whilst sitting and do not guess its source, only notice its effect on our olfactory system.
See everything taking place between us and an object in the distance, including the surface of our eyeballs, the dust floating through the air, the spider webs on the window and the insects flying through sunshine.
And when we let go of the labels, removing our interpretation of rainbow-coloured reflective lines as spider webs, we find ourselves deep in meditative trances.
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Yesterday, after we left the house on our solo motorbike journey and stopped at the petrol station a mile from our house, ready for mindless meditation upon riding the road, our life partner called to ask if we’d check to make sure she’d unplugged the curling iron after she’d left the house for an all-day workshop of handmade notecard crafting. We topped off the petrol tank and rushed home to unplug all devices in our bathroom so we could get back on the road. Life is full of moments like this, happily giving ourselves over to our social connections and responsibilities that define partnerships.
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Despite riding a motorcycle a few times in our lives — a minibike at age 10, our first adult-sized motorbike at age 22, a larger motorbike at age 36, and now an even larger motorbike at age 55 — we have much to learn to increase our confidence whilst riding.
Yesterday, we followed our Google Maps GPS-based directions to lead us to a mountaintop waterfall. The directions took us on some mountainside road we were most definitely uncomfortable riding on, scaring us in fact.
Riding on the outside of this road in winter, seeing the sheer dropoff to the right, no guardrail, no cover of tree leaves to hide the view, meeting a motorcar veering out into our lane in the curve ahead…well, let’s say that we burst into a sweat, despite the morning chill, keeping our throttle steady and our eyes focused straight ahead.
At the top of the mountain, we missed the sign for the waterfall and turned down the wrong road, due in large part to our nervousness. We pulled into a gravel driveway to reverse our direction and, for the first time on this motorbike, because of a momentary lapse of confidence, fell over in the loose gravel.
Slo-mo it was, like in a film, the motorbike and us keeling over as we felt the gravel give way, using our left leg to ease the motorbike down rather than fall over.
Quickly, two motorists stopped to render aid but we waved them off as we used our motorcycle safety course training to shut off the engine and lift the motorbike back into a standing position, straightening out the leftside mirror, brushing the gravel dust off our leg and getting back on the road, our pride a little scratched but none the worse for wear.
We encountered one of the motorists at the waterfall and exchanged knowing nods, no reason to say anything.
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Although our lives are brief in relation to the age of this planet, we see the insects outside and know a few of them have only a day or so to spend in their adult stage, seeking reproductive mates before they die, contributing much to the cycle of life of this planet if they can reproduce before being eaten, their sets of states of energy recycled no matter what.
In our morning meditation, casually recalling yesterday’s long motorbike ride from 0830 to 1530, with stops for petrol, sightseeing and hiking, we gladly know that the insects which died as they splatted against our motorbike helmet windscreen contributed to our time on this planet and we thank them for their anonymous contribution.