Only Myself, from Moment to Moment
Old Man Leaves Party - Poem by Mark Strand
It was clear when I left the party
That though I was over eighty I still had
A beautiful body. The moon shone down as it will
On moments of deep introspection. The wind held its breath.
And look, somebody left a mirror leaning against a tree.
Making sure that I was alone, I took off my shirt.
The flowers of bear grass nodded their moonwashed heads.
I took off my pants and the magpies circled the redwoods.
Down in the valley the creaking river was flowing once more.
How strange that I should stand in the wilds alone with my body.
I know what you are thinking. I was like you once. But now
With so much before me, so many emerald trees, and
Weed-whitened fields, mountains and lakes, how could I not
Be only myself, this dream of flesh, from moment to moment?
Body scan meditation takes practice. It may not be our habit to lay our bare attention on what our experience is in the body in the moment. Often, we treat the body as "the chauffeur of the mind” to quote Jon Kabat-Zinn. Or we mistake what we think should be going on in the body for what really is going on. By way of example, try placing your attention just on the sensations of the left foot right now. Did an image of your left foot come to mind before any awareness of what you were actually feeling? That image is the mind inserting itself between your actual experience and your awareness of your experience. Not such a big deal if it’s just an image of our foot that comes to mind, but what about when it is a story about a part of our body? Like when shame arises because we don’t like how a part of our body looks? Or when we assume pain is present because it has been in the past. Or when we simply don’t pay any attention at all to vast areas of our body that are functioning flawlessly, miraculously even, and instead place all of our atttention on an area that is challenging us. As we practice placing our bare attention on our moment to moment experience in the body, we can be aware of the stories we tell ourselves and the emotions which arise that may normally lie just beneath our horizon of awareness. And then we have access to a more accurate balance sheet of our body’s functioning, celebrating all that is well, and offering ourselves compassion when there is physical or emotional discomfort.
We hope you can join us as we are "only ourselves, from moment to moment", to paraphrase poet Mark Strand.
PLEASE NOTE THE NEW TIME AT FERGUSON: 1PM TUESDAY. And we’re back at Trumbull Library at 12PM and 1PM on Monday!!
Community Sits This Week:
Monday 12:00 PM and 1:00 PM Trumbull Library 33 Quality Street Trumbull
Monday 7:30 PM Sama Yoga 45 Grove Street, New Canaan
Tuesday 1:00 PM Ferguson Library, 1 Public Library Plaza, Stamford (made possible by a grant from Bankwell)
Wednesday 12:00 PM New Canaan Library 151 Main Street, New Canaan
May all beings everywhere, without exception, feel at home in their bodies,