Saturday, April 30, 2016

Meditations in Light, for Peace, under the Trees

Try it, just try...

Sit, or lie, or stand quietly, not moving, but not tense. Relax, close your eyes. Imagine....

Meditation on Light

Close your eyes. Take a deep breath. Relax.

Imagine a bright, golden-white light right above your head, a miniature sun. Its golden rays shine all around you, through you. You are surrounded, enveloped, protected by light. You are Light. You are Love. You are safe.

Now, breathe in this light. See how it starts to shine inside you. With each breath, the brightness descends into you, deeper and deeper. Light enters and fills you. It shines inside your head. You see it in your mind's eye. Light particles scatter and flow in waves. All your thoughts are pure light. There is no darkness. Only light, only peace.

Now, the white light expands and settles in your heart. A sun shines in the middle of your chest. It stays there. The pulsating sun-heart moves the golden-white, dazzling light into all parts of your body. Your blood and veins are full of light. A warm glow spreads all over. Darkness disappears. Light is everything.

Streams of light flow through all your organs, muscles, and skin. Light rays cleanse, purify, and heal. They flow to the fingertips, the tips of your toes, through your eyes, ears, mouth, and nose. Even your hair is full of light. From the top of your head to the soles of your feet, you are all made of light.

Breathe deeply. Breathe in breathe out
Breathe in breathe out. Nowin this momentnext

The energy flows and pulsates. You feel lighter, fuller,
calmer, brighter. You are joyous, thankful. Shining with the golden-white glow of your light, you feel vibrant, fully alive.

You say YES to the light, YES to the life this light brings.

You rest in the tranquil rhythm of your breath.  Rest
in the strong, steady rhythm of your heartbeat
a pulsating, bright, golden sun.

You are light.  You are love.
All made of light. All made of love.
Still silent serene
The brightest sun.

*   *   *

Now, open your eyes. Feel the earth beneath your feet.

See everything around you. You are here. You have arrived.

(c) 30 April 2016 by Maja Trochimczyk

This imagined enlightenment came to me during a reading of poetry in a rehab, for men that just recently left prison or jail and bore the scars of their past lives on their bodies, on their faces. I asked them to close their eyes, relax, sit comfortably and imagine. I said this is a meditation poem for peace... Those that followed the direction, and were able to stop being vigilant for these brief minutes, stop expecting to be attacked, to be had - they were happy, moved by this experience. The mood in the room changed tangibly. So I decided to write this meditation down and start doing it myself. Only in this version, I tell myself: "There is a large, bright, white golden star right above my head..."

One morning, I got stuck in my head, I just could not imagine the light entering my heart and becoming this golden, white, bright star in the center of my chest. Instead, what I had was a hollow sphere of darkness. Nothing, no feelings, no joy, no light. I was very anxious and worried that day, too much to do, too many things to deal with, too many ugly people had attacked me. I felt worn out. Empty. So I left it at that.

Light in my mind, no light in my heart?  Fine, at least there is some light, somewhere...

The next day, as I went for a walk in the Big Tujunga Wash I was passing by gardens filled with trees. Purple jacaranda starting to bloom, with its peculiar shade of blue-violet known as "periwinkle" - the funniest name of any color I know. Big clouds of Italian pine, floppy new leaves forming the canopy of the mulberry already filling with fruit that birds and passers-by like to snack on. The magnolia in one yard, the orange tree in another. Then the oak, the liquid amber, the row of Italian cypress.

Looking at their varied shapes and hues of their leaves, I thought how much I love trees, from the maples of my childhood, lining my way to school, to the towering chestnuts in my grandparents' backyard - the endless source of entertainment, making patterns in their richly-lined seven-fingered leaves. The apples with their enchanting, delicate flowers, and the miraculously soft, sweet and juicy pears, "klapsy" that were so delicate they would not last more than a day...

A Pear in a Tree

In a fruit orchard
By the sandy path
I climbed a pear tree
To watch the road
Melt into the horizon

I ate a golden pear
Juice stained my dress
My day dream of white
softness cut short
by the buzzing of wasps

They, too, longed for
The sweetness
Of warm summer pears
They, too, dreamed
Of endless sunlight.

(c) 19 July 2012 by Maja Trochimczyk

I wrote quite a few poems about the beauty of fruit trees, here's one about peaches:

A Box of  Peaches

You locked your Wisdom in a gilded box
Placed copper flowers 
Where metal bars cross, to hold them

You made a window for Compassion 
To look out onto the silent world 
Glowing with the Unseen

Would the talisman of the Smiling One
In your pocket save you? Draw luck 
To your game of cards?

Let it be. Let the ancient words fall
On a carpet of bronze petals on your path
Dappled with tree shadows 

Walk slowly through the magic
Orchard filled in an avalanche of peaches, 
Ripening in scarlet sunrays 

Stoop down to pick one, feel its warmth 
In your hand, taste the mellow richness 
Beneath the fuzzy, wrinkled skin 

Say to no one in particular 
The sun maybe, or the tree, or this late hour –  
Thank you, yes, thank you very much

(c) 1 August 2011 by Maja Trochimczyk

Pears, peaches, oranges, pomegranates, as beautiful as planets... all this lovely fruit. These trees give us a lot more than oxygen, we tend them like shepherds their herds, they are there for us, we planted them for their fruit.

But then, there are the sycamores I see daily outside my office window, from bare branches, through buds, bright green new leaves, to changing colors and those rusty "balls" of seed pods. The purpose of these trees is to give shade, but first and foremost to be beautiful. To be.

The Sycamores

I will take my confidence
from the tranquility of trees

the sycamores stand tall
in winter’s light – silver

leafless branches bear
brown prickly balls of seed pods

like rusty ornaments
after long-forgotten Christmas

the sycamores have strength,
nobility even, a well-earned 

pride I could only imagine
looking out my window in the rain

(c) 24 February 2009 by Maja Trochimczyk

I am connected to these tranquil, ancient giants. Our lungs. They give us oxygen to breathe, we give them carbon dioxide to feed on. I love my trees. I love all trees. I've never hugged a tree yet, I just look at them and love them. I sit in their shadows, admire bark patterns and the endless variety of colors. A strange thing happened when I thought "I love these trees" - my heart filled with light.

The moment I looked at my trees and loved them, the meditation on light I had tried to force myself into, and ended up with an empty heart, returned. Suddenly, this extremely bright star appeared in the middle of my chest, my heart started pumping particles of light through my veins and I was peaceful and happy, full of love.
They go together, I forgot. Love and Light. That's why spiritual healers, like Kimberly Meredith, ask you to repeat these simple words in meditation: "I am light, I am love, I am safe." Try it. Or, rather, don't try. Just do it. Think of something else, someone else you love, if you do not love trees. Of course, everyone should love trees, they are our brethen, our lifeline, our roots.  But if you cannot, you cannot. Surely, there is something or someone you love? But it cannot be food, something you destroy. A dog, a cat, a person, a parrot - a living being.

What's the point? one could ask. What's the point of all that in our horrible, divided, tormented world? We made it so, we can undo it. If enough people meditate to fill themselves with light, there will be light. If enough people meditate for peace, there will be peace.  And, on the other end of the spectrum, if we teach our children to kill and hate, and spend endless hours killing light-made specters on their screens, filling their minds with images of virtual violence - there will be more and more darkness, hate and violence.

Artwork by Toti O'Brien

A Romance, Pure and Simple

                                                - inspired by the art of Toti O’Brien
the world was on fire
the trees charred already
the sky burning crimson
in my dream last night

Apocalypse did happen
you left, I was in ruins
in an empty landscape
of ashes, burnt feelings

memories that could not grow
into the greenness of new love
its fresh, dewy innocence
denying the char of hatred

I buttoned it up, you see
I enclosed the nightmare
in a magic, handmade frame
with khorovod lines of circles

eighteen and twenty-two
twenty-two and eighteen
minus one – I kept the last
in my pocket to remember

how I poured my words
over flames to conquer
the terror, invincible
to all, but your love

(c) August 20, 2010 by Maja Trochimczyk

We made the world we live in. We can unmake it. How do we start? Where do we start? In the heart. Through a conscious effort to not be torn, tortured, tormented. To leave it all behind. I found this beautiful animation art on Facebook (courtesy of Mary Frances Spencer) - it is good for something, not just bragging about publications and honors - that shows it so sucintly:

Peace Starts With Me from Magali Charrier on Vimeo.

Magali Charrier created this animation, called "Peace Starts with Me" on commission from PUMAPeace, alongside 7 other artists, for  Peace for the World Peace Festival 2011. Fascinating, to see the mess of blobs the person becomes when she's not peaceful within, composed into a stellar song.

I have not invented anything I wrote about here. I just rediscovered it for my own. There is an ancient Native American tale, a wisdom teaching for the young, that I particularly like.

Two Wolves. A Cherokee Tale

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandchild about life. " A fight is going on inside me," he says. 
"It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil - he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego." 

He continued. "The other one is good - he is joy, peace, hope, love, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion. The same fight is going on inside you- and inside every other person, too." 

The grandchild thought about this for a minute and then asked his grandfather: "Which wolf will win?"  The old Cherokee replied: "The one you feed."

Notice the list of traits that the first animal carries within - regret, guilt, empty pride. Some oriented to the past, some to the future. None focused on the beauty of the present. What matters is expanding the present. Being truly immersed in the here and now. Being here, full of light. Being light.

A Universal Lesson

                                      ~ for Madeleine

Your eyes touch the sky. Look higher.
Over millions of light years, to a constellation of galaxies 
twirling, dancing across the universe.

Your mind stretches – 
Magnificent, magnified, cosmic.
You are the light of the world. You are cosmos.
You are…
at least to the bacteria on your skin
fingertips, tongue.  No matter. You cannot see 
the ones living within you. The billions inside.

Look higher, then. 
Your eyes touch the stars on the midnight sky.
Your consciousness flows towards them,  
dances with them.
Seated in your favorite chair
you fly through space – 
a minuscule dot  on the spiral arm of the galaxy.

Compose yourself 
into the mirror image of cosmos.
A constellation of your own.

(c) 17 April 2016 by Maja Trochimczyk

We will not have to chose then. Life begins beyond "either/or" - that's where we find the Divine, too, as Kierkegaard discovered. It is beyond making choices. It is how we are found. And find ourselves where we have always been.

... from Little Gidding by T. S. Eliot

The moment of the rose and the moment of the yew-tree
Are of equal duration.
 A people without history
Is not redeemed from time, for history is a pattern
Of timeless moments.
 So, while the light fails
On a winter's afternoon, in a secluded chapel
History is now and England.

With the drawing of this Love and the voice of this

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

Through the unknown, unremembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree
Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.

Quick now, here, now, always—
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flame are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.

NOTE: Photos from lilies and camellias in Descanso Gardens, roses and trees in Sunland. Poems previously published in various journals, except for the Universal Lesson and Meditation on Light which are new...