Three weeks ago I went to a three days silent meditation retreat in Mississippi.
It took place in a center called Flower Lotus Meditation and Retreat Center with Ralph Steele as a teacher. Ralph has been teaching meditation retreats since 1987. He was instrumental in establishing people-of-color retreats at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre, CA, and Insight Meditation Society in Barre, MA. Ralph is a Vietnam veteran; he practiced, as an ordained monk, in the monasteries of Burma and Thailand with masters of Buddhist Psychology.
After spending three days in this center, I wanted to share with you my experience in writing by doing a poem. This moment that I described happened during my first sitting practice at the retreat. A very intimate moment.
You can read it in silence or out loud, slowly or at your own pace. You can use this poem as an invitation to practice, as a guided meditation for you or your beloved one (my kids are always the first one to hear about my experiences). Maybe you feel some resistance while you reading it or a total sense of connection. Please be free to share your comments and your experiences with me. Love to hear from you and remember that the best way to experience mindfulness is to practice.
Deepen into the forest.
Meditation is an invitation to step into the forest.
It can be scary and sometimes it requires courage.
I close my eyes.
I am conscious of my breathing.
I follow the rhythm of the air coming in and out of my nostrils.
It guides me, supports me, embraces me, and softens me.
Thoughts, ideas, emotions expand in my body.
I let them come in without resistance, without attachment.
I come back to my breathing.
This is my nature, this is Mother Nature.
I move gently through the forest. One breath at the time.
I open my senses.
My ears listen carefully.
My eyes look at the Nature through the four Noble Truths.
The smell, taste, feeling and touch of the wind nurture my body.
I sense and observe my discomfort, pain and suffering. One breath at a time.
I am present with my emotions and I cradle them.
I embrace the experience.
I continue to explore and investigate without attachment or judgments.
I am alert, concentrated, and focused.
What is there for me right now until my next breath?
I am going deeper into the forest with gentleness and love.
I see, feel, touch, smell, taste, and hear the child in me, right here, right now, until the next breath.
This is the nature of my heart. This is my true self.
When the heart truly understands, it lets go of everything.