I used to uphold airport meditation as a measure of accomplishment; a rite of passage so to speak in the quest to “be a good meditator” regardless of outer circumstances. I pursued this goal off and on over a decade or so, sitting with equal vigor in the relative quiet of NW Arkansas’ XNA and the multi-linguistic clamor of New York’s JFK.
It wasn’t until February, 2012, however, that I first experienced a profoundly immersive airport meditation. It happened in Terminal B (I believe) of Dallas Fort Worth’s International Airport (DFW). Arizona-bound to see my father who was in the final days of his life, I settled into the crowded gate area and closed my eyes, seeking not some pre-defined success or self-affirmation but rather Love’s solace and radiant silence. What else can one do when approaching a convergence of vulnerability and the profound need for courage, grace and strength?
I recalled that spontaneous DFW experience last weekend as I wandered through O’Hare International after an embracing weekend with family in Chicago. Surrounded by routine boarding calls and urgent gate change announcements, I was reminded that the primary obstacle to hearing the Heart’s Song rises not so much from outer noise but from the inner clatter of scattering thoughts and emotions and the agendas they agitate.
I still practice airport meditation on occasion, although thankfully no longer compelled by the noisy desire for accomplishment. The simple possibility of once again registering the sweet Note of our Togetherness is more than enough.
The week has been full of necessary words – read, spoken, heard, written, thought. Personal. Professional. And it’s only Tuesday.
More than ever silent interludes are claiming my gratitude and replenishing my equilibrium and passion for life. I linger over teeth brushing. Relish dishwashing’s contemplation. Treat myself to meditation under the stars at night and on the exercise bike in the morning.
Slipping into silence reminds me of the spring buckeye poised to unfurl; both being ripe with potential and unfolding beauty. Both of sacred design. Both so enticing and pleasing during these busy days of spring.
What do you enjoy most about inner or outer silence? Or both? And how do you cultivate silence in your life?
Summer nights in the Ozark woods vibrate with insistent insect song. On and on and over and over this tune plays. Such playful pluckiness! I liken it to banjo picking accompanied by unrelenting thumble-fingered washboard playing.
Every eco-system projects its sound. Every partnership carries its blended tone. Friendships. Families. Business groups. Lovers. Teams. Pets and caregivers. Whether fleeting or enduring, superficial or deep, groupings to some degree meld qualities direction, rhythm, individual essence and ritual into a distinctive note.
An additional perspective comes from those who say the Soul and Personality fuse and harmonize on the chord of the perfect third. Add in Spirit and the fifth is achieved; then the full chord sounds forth.
In my experience the heart-fully developed note serves as a sustaining and dynamic reservoir. It is at once a refuge to call home and also demonstrates as cooperative creative expression, As a life enjoyed and well-lived. A business evolving and well made. Challenges met together. Inspiring to behold. Magnetic. Appealing. A radiant flower of many petals so to speak.
When I left my intentional community last fall, I left the group note. I severed ties with the united sound that had risen and moved through my heart and actions for years. Even with all the discordance and dysfunction that had infiltrated into the shared song, still it was what I knew. The loss was disorienting. Hard. Perhaps you’ve experienced a similar severing, from a work group or personal relationship or creative collective of some kind.
Perhaps, as I did, you drew into the centering Silence of your true core and re-listened to the Sound of who you are Are, to the Values the Heart truly desires to express, and to the fitness needing to be gained to make it so. Perhaps you released into the embracing song of the Earth. Perhaps you cultivated new connections in the Inner Light and in outer conversation. All in hope of participating in a new deep convergence, a new fused note. Perhaps you found another way; I would love to hear about it.
I’ve sensed in prayer and meditation a new community melody awaiting; one that would be a harmonic fit for my Heart’s commitment to authenticity, kindness with strength, and love in action. I’ve been grateful for a renaissance with my two business partners, as we develop deeper resonance in heart and action. But I have known there was something more.
Last week I found the start of it . Not in the old way of living in an intentional community resounding with ideals. But in the way of life’s shared hardships and joys. I found it synthesized in three encounters spanning just one day. A friend taking refuge in what she described as profound inner peace following a difficult medical report. Another friend hitting her stride in her wellness counseling business/vocation; so much to celebrate! A third friend anticipating the arrival of his life partner, moving from out of state. In their stories, I heard my emerging heart note echoing all the richer back to me, no longer my note but the Note of Embraced Friendships. Authentic. Strong. Real. Committed. As welcome and stirring to me as the insect’s summer night song.
A hearty union of orchestra and voice surged through the summer hills. It enveloped the evening frog chorus, integrated the fluttering of leaves and the day-ending bird songs. Walking up Blue Spring Road, the sun painting the sky behind me, the White River cast in shadows below, I too was drawn into the fusing Sound. My heart beat, my breath, my footsteps were absorbed into the interplay.
I expected the music to spiral to a peak. I waited for the applause to come. But the reverberating synthesis of human, plant, animal and earth carried on. Unstoppable. Sustaining. Elevating. Filling every moment. Every breath. Every inch with Life-enthusing Sound. I wish you could have been there to be part of it!
The students at Opera in the Ozarks set this Heart-stirring experience in motion with their opening performance of Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffman. The Opera of the Ozarks is located at Inspiration Point just ¼ mile from my house where Blue Spring Road and Hwy 6 come together. It commenced its 65th season this June.
I don’t know much about opera. But that evening’s spontaneous enveloping vibration struck a chord with me. The very feeling it evoked in my body exposed the possibility of upping my own Heart Song. Of being more energized in and expressive of Clarity, Devotion, Joy, Caring, Humor, and Strength in my relationships and life’s practical moments.
Drawing on the Operatic embrace, I have begun applying the power of spoken prayer and affirmation in addition to my usual meditation. Here’s a some partial phrasing I created and have been speaking: “May Evolution Proceed Afresh. Light Expands. Love Prevails. Power Emerges. For the Good. For the Good. For the Good.”
For me practicing prayer through out the day builds inner and outer momentum for change. It evokes the Heart’s vibration. It infuses the mind and body with the Desired Note and creates a resonant surrounding field. And over time releases the Heart’s Song across the hills of everyday actions and interactions.
What is your experience with the gift of Heart-full spoken prayer?
Sunday I rested in the predawn stillness, waiting for the first bird songs. Sweet anticipation infused the Ozark woodlands. It played quietly on the whispering breeze and in my heart. What a magical time, this transitional interlude between night and day!
Steady snores grumbled over from the collection of tents erected by river-floating Texans a few sites away, but it didn’t matter. After two days of hiking in Arkansas’s treasured Buffalo National River area, my ears and heart were attuned to Nature’s finer rhythms and melodies and were harmonizing with the Heart’s deeper Sound. What a change from just days before!
Certainly being in Nature refreshes, recalibrates and renews. I was very happy to be walking with my brother who had traveled down from Chicago. Yet hiking in silence and laying in a tent alone at night temporarily amplifies the inner stories. It gives unresolved hurts and struggles space to speak their pain. And their hopes.
As I move closer to legally resolving final ties with the spiritual community I helped create and chose to leave last November, I’ve encountered sadness, self-doubt, and inklings of new freedom . . . feelings that had been insisting on some attention but whose mouths I had temporarily sealed with the duct tape of work and other responsibilities. That is until the testing, healing days and nights on the Buffalo.
I listened to my pain, as my brother and I crested lush hills and walked along streams swollen by the remnants of Hurricane Bill. I listened to my Heart strengths and the parts of me wanting to change. I spoke admirations to the trail-crossing box turtle, the copperhead warming in sun-touched leaves, and the surprising neon mushrooms poking up along the way. Through the climbs and descents, I accepted that sometimes in transitional human moments the voice of grief mixes with the voice of anticipation, anticipation for the unexpected good yet to come. Would you agree? The resonant Sound that contains both voices is the courageous beat of the honest Heart, present in the moment, perfectly willing to release from the passing night and stretch into the arriving dawn.
With the Texans still snoring, I gave thanks for the Heart’s evolutionary wisdom and welcomed the whippoorwill’s morning song.