The Beginning of Freedom
We can learn to see the shimmering quality of mind through reflection. Tasting the nuggets of insight and wisdom from our experience is the beginning of freedom.
The breeze is blowing, too soft for winter, more reminiscent of spring - wet and earthy, sweet with the fragrance of rotting leaves. The sun has that silvery tint, the clouds refracting most of winter’s daylight, so everything feels soft and blanketed.
I pause a moment, tasting this fleeting moment of sunshine, letting the wind caress my cheek, the moist earth below me sinking into the treads of my boots. Sounds carry across the valley through the empty forests. Neighbors exclaim with concern about the warm winter. We should be buried in two feet of snow right now, but instead we’re tracking mud through the house.
In this moment of pause, this small gap in my otherwise busy day, I begin to engage the practice of reflection. I start by tuning in to how I am feeling. Sinking in to what is there instead of pushing past it to get the next item on the to-do list.
I begin with my belly, letting my mind rest in sensation. I feel my breath and below that, my heart. I feel the tender ache of my heart, as well as tendrils of excitement (my husband and I are going out on our first date together since the baby came along). I can taste the feelings of sadness that this time of year always provokes in me.
The awareness of where I am gives birth to clarity about where I am going. Suddenly I am flooded with appreciation - for the struggles, the sleepless nights, and the successes.
Reflecting this way, appreciating the road behind me, allows me to begin to look forward and recognize what is coming, as well as what is needed. This allows me to relax and just be here in this moment. There is so much less effort required when trust and clarity are guiding my hand.
Breathing deeply into this very moment, I feel present. Tenderness encases my heart, but strength is how I express myself. The opportunity to feel and be with what is opens me. It occurs to me that this is the beginning of freedom.
The sun comes out again from behind the wayward cloud, and I bask.