With last night’s neighborhood sitting group, our discussion focused on a Speaking of Faith interview from 2007 with poet John O’Donohue, “The Inner Landscape of Beauty.”
I have to tell you — I could listen to this interview over and over and over. His words are beauty. He speaks directly to what nurtures my own inner life, in nature and silence. He says about landscape:
“If you go towards it with an open heart, and a real watchful reverence, you will be absolutely amazed at what it will reveal to you…. What amazes me about landscape: Landscape recalls you into a mindful mode of stillness, solitude, and silence, where you can truly receive time.”
And O’Donohue speaks, too, about how we find ourselves in true communion with each other. This communion and community is what I find in the neighborhood sitting group.
Every month we get together to meditate for a bit in silence, talk about the sit, discuss a reading or talk, and eat dinner. I love the laughter around the dinner table. But one of my favorite parts of the evening is hearing about each person’s meditations. Everyone has an experience of mind that is both unique and shared.
“The poignance of being a human being is that you are the place where the invisible becomes visible and expressive in some way.”
We give voice to vivid descriptions, trying to express the invisible — the “fizzy mind” of restlessness — how fast a sit goes when you’re sleeping with sloth and torpor — the feeling of panic — hearing sounds of birds outside the window.
What I love is sinking into the space … in the center of our small circle. We find comfort and connection sitting together, along with the shared strangeness, mystery, and wonder of being here at all.
“It’s strange to be here. The mystery never leaves you.”
With gratitude to John O’Donohue (1956 – 2008) and to the Bernal Sitting Group.