On Thursday mornings, I’ve been participating in a writing group hosted by Cynthia Morris. We come together to write for an hour. She gives us prompts for 10-, 15- and 20-minute writing sessions. We can write about the prompt or work on a writing project of our own.
The point is to write. Simply write. I’m really enjoying this process and now it’s time to move some of my writing to our weekly emails!
I am currently in Tucson, AZ. For those of you who have been around awhile, you’ll remember I spent last year’s Lenten season here on a personal retreat. I emerged from that experience knowing Tucson was my place and curious about what that meant for our life. You can read about that adventure here and here.
This year, I found that I wanted to spend some time on my own again and it just so happened (wink, wink) that it’s during the Lenten season again.
Adventures With Friends
The first ten days I spent vacationing here with a good friend from my Ayurvedic Institute days in Albuquerque. We had so much fun doing all the iconic Tucson things to do – Saguaro National Park East, The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Sabino Canyon, wandering on 4th Ave and downtown, and eating at some lovely restaurants.
On the day she left, the writing group met shortly after I dropped her at the airport. The topic that emerged for me? Meditation. And Ghee. I’ve cleaned it up a bit and hope you’ll enjoy it!
My early morning meditation practice starts and ends with a lovely gong on the Insight Timer app. It’s so soothing to start and end with the sound of a deep gong or singing bowl. And it’s so cool to track my progress towards consistent, daily meditation.
I’ve been enjoying the steadiness I feel after meditating. I haven’t had a regular meditation practice in years, but my body remembers. Sit still in a cross-legged position – long spine, chin tipped in so that the crown of my head lifts to the sky. Focus on my breath and watch the thoughts, anxieties, and channeled information swirl around.
This phase lasts for about 15 minutes. Then suddenly, as I am witnessing a thought come and go or perseverating on anxiety, a switch is flipped. It feels like my brain literally switches channels. My body shudders just a touch and I feel the energy drop into my heart, where it begins to bloom.
Sometimes the opening is wide and deep, sometimes soft and shallow. But the energy of the heart always flows through me. My brain may go back to thoughts, but the body has shifted into meditation, and it will, in time, quiet the mind.
When the mind eventually quiets, there is a steady rhythm or movement of my body. A slight sway originating, it seems, from the heart. It’s peaceful and familiar. It reminds me of the end of the ghee-making process.
The process of making ghee is simple, but not easy. It takes patience, persistence, and practice to get it right. When I start, I put four pounds of unsalted, cultured butter in a pan. They melt down to a golden liquid with foam on top. Over time, the foam dissolves and the bits of whey settle to the bottom.
Then for quite a while, the golden liquid is spitting, fussing, and gurgling its way to a reduction. Over time, the spits and pops begin to settle down. There is more time between the fussing and spitting. Eventually, there is a bit of silence between each pop. Then suddenly, it all goes silent. The ghee is done.
If I leave it on longer (intentionally or not) and allow the bright golden color to darken, the ghee develops a rich, deeper flavor. Again, like meditation. If I stick with it for a while after the mind settles, my heart thrums and the experience of oneness deepens and fills all the crevices of the body.
It’s a rich experience meditating deeper, longer. There is more peacefulness, silence, stability, freedom, and steadiness. It becomes sweet as well as rich. And then, it’s simply time to be done.
The gong rings, or maybe I’ve meditated past the gong and the body/mind/spirit complex (or maybe the dog or cat) indicates that it’s time to move back into my life. To take the meditation into the world, into my day. To live the golden richness of the ghee.
This, too, takes patience, practice and persistence.