I am a dreamer. I have been ever since I can remember. I was told once as a child that I had an over active imagination. I think this was meant to explain why I wasn’t doing well in school or why I didn’t clean my bedroom or why my parents felt I wasn’t listening or paying attention to things I ought to. Even though this statement was intended to be negative it did explain a lot. My imagination took me places I couldn’t go, and in many ways removed me from the turmoil that living in a little apartment with two recovering alcoholic parents presented. It allowed me to see a world that was imaginary but later would become possible. As soon as I could read I would devour books, there I could mold my perception of the world outside of my own existence.
My imagination has allowed me to see obstacles as merely stumbling blocks. It has allowed me to experience boundless opportunity throughout my life. I’ve taken risks and I’ve suffered the negative and positive consequences of them. I’ve questions my abilities and questioned my imagination and thought many times to myself that I need to settle down. Not dream so much. But that is something I can’t control. My imagination has helped me to survive. I can always see my way out of a dark place.
Sometimes sitting (Zen meditation practice) is difficult for me. Like most people my mind travels through time and space. I caught myself this morning in a situation three weeks from now. I laugh when this happens, but I’ll take several deep breaths and begin again, begin counting my breath. This morning was particularly difficult to stay present. Max, my little terrier decided to sit right next to me and attempt to find that pesky flea LOUDLY, he didn’t stop when I gave him a little shush, so a light whack did the trick. Then the sounds of traffic and wind rustling the trees and a sound I couldn’t identify invaded my breath and concentration. So I tried to pay close attention to all the sounds, then I traveled, imagined.
The farm is not a quiet place. It’s quieter a few times a day and those are the times I sit. 5:30am, 2pm , there are fewer sounds. Quiet is not a word you can use to describe a busy farm like this one. There is the rooster that sings out whenever he dam well pleases, the goats, the cows, the dogs and the cats. They are all busy living their life, in spite of my desire for quite. If I didn’t have any animals it would be much quieter but then the times that aren’t 5:30 and 2pm would be quiet too, and I think I would be quite lonely. The animals on this farm bring me great amounts of joy.
So this morning while my mind was traveling I stopped and I remembered what Thich Nhat Hanh would randomly ask one of his student “where are you?” The student would smile. So with that, teacher to student my meditation would continue, exhalation; “where am I” Inhalation: “here” and I would allow myself to experience the present time and space. I am sitting on a soft cushion on a mat in the yurt, I am here. It’s almost 6am my right leg is falling asleep. I smell the coffee in the pot, I feel the air and temperature of the morning. I am here. This is where I am”.
One of the many reasons I started Zen meditation is because I realize what a blessed and enchanted life I have. The present is the best place there is. I don’t want to miss any of this. Right in this moment I am alive. I’m typing away with Miya at my feet. The sun is coming up behind me. There is a warm cup of coffee on the desk. There is a hen with a healing sprained leg in the bathroom. There is no need to go anywhere.