I took a tour of a pioneer site in the centre of Calgary with my brother. Yes, this scene was found in Calgary – Heritage Park. In the background are the Canadian Rocky Mountains. I am continually amazed at the sheer size of the city in terms of area and how much of that area is covered in green spaces, protected spaces. I could easily imagine myself sitting still on the grass lost in meditation with my eyes wide open. The scene invites me to wonder, to being fully present.
My recent sessions have focused on “presence.” By presence, I mean presence in the world of others, presence in the moment, and presence with my own fullness of self. My dreams have echoed this need for presence. Therefore, it comes as no surprise to me that I find a synchronous echo in my reading:
“When we take the one seat on our meditation cushion we become our own monastery. We create the compassionate space that allows for the arising of all things: sorrows, loneliness, shame, desire, regret, frustration, happiness. In a monastery, monks and nuns take robes and shave their heads as part of the process of letting go. In the monastery of our own sitting meditation, each of us experiences whatever arises again and again as we let go, saying, “Ah, this too.” This simple phrase, “This too, this too,” was the main meditation instruction of one great woman yogi and master with whom I studied. Through these few words we were encouraged to soften and open to see whatever we encountered, accepting the truth with a wise and understanding heart.” (Kornfield, A Path With Heart, p. 36)
I, like most people, put a lot of effort in preventing stuff from rising out of the depths, old emotions and feelings that got buried so that childhood was tolerable. A lot of effort was put into disguising, denying, forgetting, abandoning ourselves. The result left us, left me disconnected from myself and from most of the world. I have been blessed that photography has allowed me a portal in which I can “sit” for a moment and safely plumb some of those shadow relics. And in the process, I begin to grieve for what has been. Psychoanalysis provides me with another portal with which I can recover a fuller sense of self, drawing out what is hidden and buried. And now, taking my meditation seat, I open a bit more and allow the “rising of all things.”
“To take the one seat requires trust. We learn to trust that what needs to open within us will do so, in just the right fashion. In fact, our body, heart, and spirit know how to give birth, to open naturally, like the petals of a flower. We need not tear at the petals nor force the flower. We must simply stay planted and present.” (p. 36)