(When it's my turn to host a meeting of my men's group, I like to offer some kind of calming, centering exercise to help everyone shed the stresses and concerns of the day and be fully present in the here and now. This time, I've been unable to find just what I was looking for...so I wrote my own brief, guided meditation.)
Your life’s wanderings have brought you to a small river. You sit on a large deadfall—oak, perhaps—whose body time has stripped of bark. The dry wood is warmed by late May sun.
Better than silence, the place murmurs with comings and goings of countless living things. You watch life’s drama play out, as if unreeled slowly, frame by frame, by the passing water.
A kingfisher laces the far bank of the river, dipping and rising from one vantage point to the next. The filament of his presence passes from riverine space into that of your soul, seamlessly, and back out again, then slowly out of sight down around the bend.
You imagine the thoughts and concerns
of your day, like these other living things,
coming into view.
Just below you, a school of redhorse works the shallows, vacuuming the sandy bottom. You marvel at the interplay between each purposeful individual and the seeming randomness of the group. It, too, swirls slowly past with the current and disappears.
You imagine the thoughts and emotions of your day, like these other living things, coming into view in and over the water. They too fly and swim and pass through, from the unimaginable expanse of the cosmos, into and through the slice of it that is your consciousness, and then back out again to join the eternal flow of life.
You sit there, as aware as one can possibly be of the simple joy of this place of calmness and connection. You glow with gratitude for the fact that your presence, your being, is solid and true, informed, but not defined, by concerns of the mind. You sit…and feel…the smooth, warm wood under your seat.