Sitting on top of the ridge.
The gentle warmth of the setting sun mingling with my body heat.
The cloak of night, with a waning moon hung from its tip, rises up my back.
I have just had the wonderful fortune of spending two weeks in solo retreat in the Spanish hills. Being caretaker of the beautiful off grid home belonging to some friends. A place where my teacher once hosted meditation retreats. I have been in this remote valley in the company of six cats, five chickens and two cheeky goats and it is almost time to switch on my phone and see what time it is. I relish these last few moments.
Somewhere a voice wonders how it would be to spend a year like this – or maybe three years. Letting days unfold like simple poetry: unrefined, uncensored and off the analytical radar.
Do you know what I mean? Is it possible to live like this?
During my retreat time I enjoyed reading ‘Blazing Splendour’ the fascinating memoirs of Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche who happens to have been the father of Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche who founded the meditation centre in the Pyrenees where I am living these days.
The book is a simple and profound telling of life in old Tibet where the miraculous and the everyday seem inseparable. Where ordinary moments, meetings, discoveries, utterances and dreams drip with precious jewels of sacred awareness.
Much of this way of living in Tibet was swept away with the Communist invasion from the East. It is easy to feel a pull of despair when we think of the decimation of old ways of living in sacred relationship with earth.
I wonder if one way to begin the pull back out of despair is to sense our own sacred presence.
The precious jewels nestled inside our warm bodies.
These miraculous bones that grew themselves.
This fluid pulse that defies gravity.
This silky thread of breath that transforms a moment.
This animal warmth that is home.
Our innermost secret love.
We can only know our own experience of life. Of holding on and letting go and all the movements in between. We know things can change in an instant. Phenomena come and go. What we thought we knew can turn to ashes, and what we never expected greets us at every turn in the road. Our thoughts run circles around us and our ideas about people, places and situations can never keep up with what is actually here.
Cats and chickens clamber over me while I lie under the weeping willow to meditate.
The smallest kitten nestles into my armpit at night, like she would climb right inside me if she could. The softness of the hillside melts my heart and each time I come up from diving in the pond I laugh – I have no idea why. I feel the downturn of the afternoon sun tug gently at my heart and the first bright stars lift the top of my spine.
Every day without fail, Earth and Sky call to us, in boundless ways, to recognise our beautiful presence. They are waiting for us to become unoccupied by hope and fear, long enough that out of the corner of our eye, we catch sight of the precious jewels in the treasure chest of our being.
Wishing you clambering kittens of joyfuness.