I need to laugh, and when the sun is out
I have something I can laugh about
I feel good, in a special way
I'm in love and it's a sunny day
~lyrics from The Beatles' Good Day Sunshine
My last post reflected on a supposed promise of howling winds, a turn toward winter and a most unforgiving Mother Nature to come. And yet the weather continues to be stunning. This past week has been nothing but mild temperatures and sunshine. Wait, this is Minnesota in November, right? It occurs to me that while we may intend to live in the moment, often it is our minds that take us forward into the anticipated future or back into memories of the past that keep us from enjoying the here and now. Even when it's as glorious as this.
Meditations this week have been easy, relatively short but sweet. In my fifteen minutes or so once or twice per day, I've been feeling connected and content. It doesn't seem like all that much is going on. No wild dreams while I sleep, no anxieties as I sit. All is well, just mellow and peaceful.
Surely there must be something wrong? I hear the voice in my head say. Maybe I should enlist the timer and the rule book and start making myself sit longer? Why isn't anything happening? Shouldn't something be happening??!?
I can't help but laugh now when I hear these cries for attention from the mind, the ego, whatever you want to call it. The part of us that just won't let go. Who, when everything is going swimmingly, starts looking around for signs of disaster. The one who waits anxiously for the other shoe to drop.
What good is peacefulness if we feel we have to brace ourselves for its passing? Don't we at least get to enjoy it while it's here?
Now, it's true. As the adages say, "All good things come to an end," and, in speaking of the more challenging aspects of our lives, "This too shall pass". Nothing lasts forever -- we know this. For better or worse, we are all changing all of the time and as part of this cycle of Nature and life, we are born and we die. We want so much to hold on to what is impermanent, to grasp tightly to what we love, to keep it while knowing full well that just as autumn turns to winter, what we love will fade and expire. This is human nature. The trouble is, we let the anticipation of pain and loss keep us from fully savoring the joy of presence -- being with what is. We get so distracted by impending doom that we unwittingly keep ourselves from enjoying the pleasure while it's here.
Why buffer ourselves for the fall before we even get a chance to bask in the beauty of this moment...whatever "this moment" might be?
I woke up earlier this past week with the song, "Good Day Sunshine" by the Beatles bouncing around in my head. There was no reason for it -- I hadn't heard the song recently, as often happens when I end up with a song in my head, nor could I say it was a song I had ever been particularly attached to. I couldn't figure out where it had come from. As I listened to it play on, I began singing aloud, complete with crescendos and key changes. I was swept up in the song's spirit of joy and whimsy...and I hadn't even gotten out of bed yet! From the moment my feet touched the floor, I was invigorated with the magic of simply being alive. It reminds me of the 90's television show Ally McBeal and how the characters always had "theme songs" -- depending on where they were and what they were doing, a song that echoed the mood they wanted to bring to the situation would begin playing. I couldn't imagine a better theme song for myself. What a way to start the day!
"Good Day Sunshine" has stayed with me much of the week, greeting me as I wake. Like these mild temperatures and sunshine outside, some morning I will wake up and the song won't be there. This is the way. I can think it back into being, but it won't be the same. I owe it to myself -- and the song -- to relish the magic of this moment so that I can leave space for new magic in the next moment when "Good Day Sunshine" decides it's time to move on. I would rather savor the joy while it's here than waste this time living in the idea of what it will be like to have to conjure it up once it's gone. Memory can be sweet, but being present to the moment is sweeter.
In the spirit of "Good Day Sunshine," I will appreciate the peacefulness of these gentler meditations, knowing full well that the tides will turn and that the ebb and flow that informs the ocean and the moon also informs my heart, my soul and my practice.//