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Inviting in Being*

Updated: Jul 4, 2021

During my meditation practice today, my eyes were softly focused on a patch of grass in front of me, and I noticed birds somewhere in my field of vision. While I normally do not shift my eyes during practice, something within me encouraged me to look at the birds. I placed my attention on two brown birds and watched them in stillness and with awe. The birds were pecking at the lawn, finding small morsels of food, approaching each other, and opening their beaks and sharing the food with one another. These movements were taking place rapidly-quick pecking, tiny hops to the other bird, the quick exchange of food. And they continued in this process of taking and giving, giving and taking. In my state of wonder, I had no idea if the same bird was giving and the same was taking, and it didn’t matter. As soon as the birds left my field of vision, the alarm that signaled the end of my meditation sounded.

There are so many insights to distill from this experience. The first is that stillness enables an intuition, a deep intelligence to emerge that is separate from the thinking mind. The stillness of my meditation led to the realization that I was being called or invited to shift my eyes from the patch of grass to the two birds in front of me. I wasn’t thinking, or ruminating ("hmm, I usually don’t look at things during meditation, should I shift my awareness?”). It just emerged, and I followed the emergence. And the outcome, which I had no sense of or attachment to, was that I witnessed an act of wonder and beauty of the natural world, an act that reminded me that I am of the natural world. I watched generosity, giving, reciprocity, and sharing in pure form. I watched the kindness that is inherent in all sentient beings. I watched survival. I watched what giving and taking look like without the burdens of expectation, judgment, or conceptual thought of any kind. I witnessed it in its pure form and knew deep within that both birds were fortified by this exchange.

When we choose stillness, when we invite in the dimension of Being, a spaciousness comes through, and we often experience or manifest something that was not conceivable or possible through the hamster wheel of unconscious thinking and doing. If I was not still, I would not have had the spaciousness to notice the invitation to look at the birds, and follow it without questioning. I would not have witnessed this act of beauty. The fact that my meditation bell rang at the exact moment the birds left my field of awareness felt like a confirmation that the invitation was there for me if I could find it.

So, I invite you to invite in Being. It’s a dimension every one of us can access in every moment of our lives. You don’t need a long-standing meditation practice or some mystical powers. The invitation is to simply shift your attention, on purpose, to an aspect of your present experience (a sight, a sound, a sensation, a feeling, an action) and witness it-hold it in your awareness-without analyzing, thinking or judging.

Sit outside and feel the wind on your skin and your hair. Listen to the wind rustle the branches and plants. Look at the white wisps of cloud that paint the sky. Make coffee and notice yourself opening the canister where the grounds are stored. Listen to the sound of the grounds making contact with the filter. Notice your fingers as they turn the knob of the stove. Watch the flame. Listen to the kettle whistle. Watch the steam billow out of the hole. Feel the weight of the water as you lift the kettle. Attune to the sound when the water touches the coffee grounds. Smell. Notice the inky browns of the coffee in the filter. Listen to it drip into the pot.

What you will notice is that when you inhabit a different form of consciousness-when you make coffee with total awareness-you experience a different version of reality, a version that is much more alive, abundant, tender and profound.


*I learned this phrase from Eckhart Tolle.

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