Earlier this week I was out in the garden late in the afternoon. The sun was dipping low, flashing between the pines. I was working in one of the tomato beds. Removing volunteer grasses brought in by the straw, and pulling various weeds and things. Gently tugging and dropping. With the lift of heavier items the soil broke open, revealing the ecosystem of business it supports. Worms of all sizes whipping back into their dark home, tiny spiders scurrying to and fro, roly poly bugs crossing over the openings. Lost in observation, in the feeling of cold soil in my warm hands, of being. Running my hands across the tomatoes I started from seed, now rooting into the garden bed. The sweet smell of summer sticking to my skin, teasing my nose into telling my mouth to start planning for sun-soaked tomatoes. I did not hear the far-off noises, I didn't hear my mind thinking about anything I needed to do. I just was. I just am.
I am enough. My life is enough. Everything I have is enough. This is contentment.
I think in our modern society it's somewhat frowned upon to be content. Everybody hustlin' as the daft saying goes.
Contentment is symptom of gratitude. Sometimes it takes once not having to be thankful for what you now have. Sometimes it's simply a matter of taking stock of all that's around you. Of the people you adore in your life, of lessons you're learning, of being warm, fed, and with opportunity at your doorstep. Of things that bring you joy. Like this guy, for example...
Before we eat any meal we give gratitude for the food before us. We know the many facets of effort involved from seed to plate. Gardening instills a sense of gratitude for life that is hard to explain in any other way.
Find a comfortable seat, with hips raised slightly higher than the knees. Perhaps on a cushion or rolled blanket.
Let your sit bones anchor you to the softness. Cross your legs, if able.
Rest your hands in your lap, left hand resting gently in the right. Thumbs gently connect.
Inhale through the nostrils, exhale open mouth -- really focusing on emptying the lungs completely. Repeat a few more times.
As you inhale, begin to feel the expansion in the chest. As you exhale, now through the nostrils, begin to notice the space contract. Continue and just watch your breath. No judgment or worry or note taking. Just feeling.
Let the breath return to normal. Let your attention turn inward.
As thoughts enter, as they will, continue the practice of observation. Perhaps imagining with every thought that your brain is simply shouting in the library and needs a bit of training. Hush synapsis, quiet down. The brain will flicker, and flicker, and flicker. Stick with the practice. Wait it out. Just observe.
And when it comes, the stillness, when your mind quiets and it's only you in this moment, let it be enough. Stay awhile, it's nice here.
Gently open your eyes. Inhale gratitude.
Repeat often, for nourishment.