Lonely Birch On Concrete

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Picture: Misty Morning by Melissa McKinnon

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Lonely birch, through concrete, wades,

Remembering the Way.

Lonely birch of the glades,

Gaining perspective, away

From the flock,

Forget about the clock.

Lonely birch, at the foot of the mountain,

The wind murmurs at dusk

A couple o’ steps away from the fountain,

Through all sorts of rocks and musk.

Lonely birch you live and amaze me,

Amidst honks and toxic gases,

The city sometimes confuses me,

You teach me every season passes.

You teach me, no matter the passage,

Light shines through,

In everything that you do,

So allow the encrypted message

To be as it is

By accepting what is.

 

Herons

The River Of Sounds

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Picture: Sublime Park by Leonid Afremov

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Warning: the following article might irreversibly change your perception of reality.

 

I’m listening: voices, the heating system, automatic doors, coins in pockets, steps, snaps, giggles, various accents, coughing… The list could be infinite. Have you ever wondered how many labels we, consciously or unconsciously, attach to the sounds we hear? This is the standard approach to our soundscape at any given moment. All these labels contribute to our conditioning, igniting conscious or unconscious reactions in us. What’s wrong about it? Absolutely nothing. The human experience is also based on this very common process. But, what if I told you that we have a choice regarding this “natural” behavior? What if I told you that you don’t have to label every single sound? What if we were free to listen beyond analyzing everything? Your soundscape can be your meditation. Your soundscape can be a portal to the Unmanifested, as Eckhart Tolle likes to call it in his books, to the essence beyond forms.

In this society, we’re frequently reminded about the reasons why we do something, about the goals we want to achieve, constantly projecting us somewhere in the future based on what we’ve learned in the past. Once again, nothing wrong with the traditional approach. However, I want to encourage you to try something else forgetting any expectations of the outcome. I want to encourage you to be comfortable with what’s going on right now. Let’s start with how to listen without labels at this precise moment.

First and foremost, I humbly suggest you ground yourself in the body, though it’s not strictly necessary. Feel your body from the inside. If you’ve never practiced a “body scan” you might be surprised by pains and resisting thoughts. No worries, it’s natural. Observe it as neutrally as possible, as if it was not your body, and get back to the practice. You can start by feeling the field of energy in your hands and feet and gradually feel the whole inner body. Try my guided meditation called Exploring The Vehicle if you want to get more familiar with this practice.

Once you’ve grounded yourself in your body without judging it, positively or negatively, you can start noticing the sounds around you. At first, of course, you will need to label them – at least as “sounds” – in order to give your logical mind a sense of direction. Once you’re “there” you’ll automatically let go of logic. And by the way, the sole awareness of the fact that you are labeling sounds is already a sign that you’re becoming more conscious.

This practice is a great fit for any given (present) moment. Once your focus is mainly on your hearing – it won’t be necessarily stable, but it doesn’t matter – start to let go of labels and judgments towards any surging sound. If you get carried away by a train of thought, jump down the wagon as soon as possible and gently go back to listening. It’s totally okay. Moreover, you will discover a completely different soundscape than before, since every moment is fundamentally unique. For some, it might be helpful to focus on one sound at a time, and once it’s extinguished jump forward to the next.

At some point, you’ll manage to let sounds smoothly flow through your awareness. Imagine them like a homogenous river of information. Of course, there’ll be fish, eels, rocks, weeds, and water. Yet, you can focus your attention on the river itself, on the whole. Therefore, you will, gradually and naturally, let go of the label “sounds”. Hold this sensation, go back to it, cherish it. In this way, the observer and the observed become one. A sense of peace appears; a sort of silence becomes accessible. Even in the middle of the noisiest environments, you have access to a new dimension. I will not spend too many words to describe it. Try it yourself, experience it.

The same perspective can be adopted when listening to music as well. All kinds of music, as long as you devote your complete attention to it. You risk feeling like you’re listening to one of your favorite songs for the first time. No wonder: your sharpened awareness, devoid of the habitual mental commentary or digressions, connects with the essence of whatever you are listening to. You become The River of Sounds. And swimming a little bit further you connect to who you truly are. Pure awareness. One with everything.

 

Herons

Moment Of Grace

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Picture: Albert Square by Steven Scholes

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Fresh is a deep breath,

Encompassing it all.

Here’s the sky, above high towers:

Concrete, metal, and glass;

Old marbles of white,

Red bricks piled-up tight,

Above which, persistent is the grass.

The clouds

And the blue behind them sing to me,

As the solitary maple tree,

Somehow still green.

Afternoon, winter:

Meek python-trams moving softly;

Victorian windows, echoes of Venice;

Medieval memories overshadowing the streets.

Only now, I really see your grace,

Manchester,

The beauty of form beyond form,

Of the dream beyond the dream.

Only now…

 

Is there any other moment anyway?

 

Herons

 

Scotland

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Picture: As The Edinburgh Rain Fell by Jeff Rowland

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Tears of gratitude,

Flow like waves through your cliffs,

Like your fresh torrent streams.

From afar, your songs come to me

In codes and radio waves.

I observe and allow

And let go of my grief.

Homesick of Lothian,

I accept this present moment,

Not the form, labeled by the mind,

But the immortal essence

Where everything mortal takes place.

Wherever the Universe

Leads this vehicle-body,

And its software-mind,

Nothing is ever really lost.

For I am the awareness that lies behind.

This you taught me,

Scotland.

 

Herons

Like A Drop Of Rain

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Picture: Reflections In The Rain by Urbis Manchester

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Like a drop of rain on my lips,

Cold fingertips

Touch the wind, as solid as sand,

Pouring through my hand.

Knowing the unknown

Through unspoken words,

Through unthought ideas,

Impossible to translate.

Give a smile today,

Just because you can.

You’re rich,

You own immeasurable wealth.

Your energy, your love:

The Life flowing through you.

Follow your passion,

Free from the chains of expectation.

You’re rich in freedom,

In the eternal present moment.

 

Herons

Dragons And Flowers

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Picture: Galaxy Dragon by Katherine Nutt

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In the city of toiling bees,

Dragons and flowers:

Enriqueta’s deputies

Of all beauty and powers.

Ryland’s widow erected a temple for knowledge.

Beyond the words of all books,

Through the windows’ bright ledge,

Up and down the columns, in all of its nooks,

A frequency is aligned

To what’s on the other side.

In the city of joining bees,

Dragons and flowers,

Like a pair of keys,

Unlock a secret that empowers

All those who understand,

And therefore transcend.

 

Herons

The Sun Is Out

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Picture: The Last Sun Beam by Leonid Afremov

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The sun is out,

Water in my mouth.

Everything moves and slides,

As do women in furs and hides.

Soundwaves approach,

Dangling and hissing;

Voices poach

The dead and missing.

Where am I?

Is it true or just experienced?

Who am I?

Is it this body or just the experience?

Container versus content.

I am the awareness, not the content

Of what we call life.

Look how we delude ourselves in strife,

Swept away by the cosmic game.

Let they call you insane,

If that means realization.

Cause You are Them, beyond separation.

The sun is out,

We’re just playing about.

 

Herons