Good Morning World
Here’s a video so you can walk along the driveway with me this morning - featuring trees, the turtle shell, cloudy skies and the great ancient mossy stone beings.
But I haven’t been this still. When this rainy May has had some sunshine openings I’ve been gardening and getting things done outside, and enjoying life in this brief season. With more bike rides along the Island ways, I’m getting the hang of it. The other night I sat in the still evening by the fire outside as the stars emerged to decorate the treetops.
Wherever we live and in whatever circumstance, day after day we are in the harmony of the elements that sing together, play together, drum together, dance together, not just around us but in us with the interplay through us when they see us engaged with them. The pure fire, full water, the deep earth, the brilliant air.
When our little dog B was sleeping outside on the chair by the fire, I saw how she is more of a natural animal when she sleeps outdoors in the circuit of the earth’s field of energies. I’m such an animal, too, and I also need these circuits to be in play. With my feet upon the earth, not only walking, gardening, doing, but also resting, being, just being. The telluric circuit revives and restores.
As gravity pulls all matter down into the earth’s great being, the other elements play to bring life’s dance into activity. Then the wonder of the moving life forms, nurturing the earth, awakening it, calling through movement, through a drum of the heartbeat, through touch and the release of touch. Through dance upon the earth, creating a pattern in form like the pattern on the back of a turtle, a light and dark to bring in this part of the sun’s rays, to reveal that part of the water’s flow. The rhythm of the feet on the earth brings a response of love from the activity in all the forms of the soil, the stones, the water beneath, the fire within.
Imagine if we all were in this sort of harmony, wherever we may be, giving to the earth as we step, as we sit, as we move, meditate or sleep! Surely our world would be in a better state of harmony and would be able to moderate, to calm down more, to balance. This is our role as human beings - not to dominate the earth but to learn to dance with her, and to nurture her by receiving her fully. She expresses through her waves, and these waves activate the other elements in harmony.
But now pulses from the deepest fiery magma hear cries from her heart - the destruction and vampirism from our digging out her body, draining oil from her, cutting her, harming her. She turns within, she shudders without. And the fire and wind and water come to her aid with compassion and move to rid her of this terrible poison.
All because we humans have forgotten to stand on her each day, greet the creation in gratitude and then act according to those inner principles of life. It is hard to remember, when so much of the other side of life is in play, the confusion and activity that brings challenge, war, suffering.
Sufis have a morning practice that is a perfect balance to this great cry of the earth. We can do it anywhere - in the city, in the country. It doesn’t need ideal “nature” to work. Standing outdoors or at an open window, the sufi does a simple-seeming breathing practice, a breath of purification and communication with each of the elements in turn. Some say a prayer of love to all, to the Creator and to the creation - calling on the rays of the sun, the waves of the air and the all-pervading life in space to purify and revivify us, to heal our bodies, hearts and souls.
This can lead to an infeeling - something to do with the meaning of our being, extending our relationship with all that is and all that lives throughout creation. It covers everything, and deepens as it evolves day by day, as the earth responds, and as the water hears it. The sun and fires come to know it, and the air spreads it far and wide. Then comes a resolution in the beauty of the passive stillness that enfolds and from which all emerges. A pause from creation, into integration in emptiness of the generative void.
These are words, but the activity is both simpler than that, and deeper. This breathing series is a full-breath workout dance with each element, a call and response exercise in directing and receiving energies in elemental harmony, inside and out. With each element breath there is more subtlety, more refinement of the vibration until they resolve in the finest breath form, ether. In that moment, in the balance of all the elements, the sufi standing on the earth is a human temple.
Why haven’t I been writing more? Well, this past month I’ve been involved in releasing Shamcher’s memoir, A Sufi Went to War. I did an interview and reading for Writer’s Radio (thanks so much to Carole Harmon and J. Gary Sill for the airplay).
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