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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Meditation with Lizard

I'm late to meditate today. Luckily I am well-trained, not to empty my mind but to step back and be the observer of it — and to stay in meditation mode despite extraneous noises. It's a loud, busy afternoon in this usually quiet corner of the suburb. The man over the side fence is coughing, someone nearby is slamming a door, a bird is shrieking repeatedly. 

I meditate anyway, observing all this dispassionately, and observing my thoughts when they wander away from focusing on my breath. (Yes, I have a mantra, but after decades of use it has become stale. Instead of taking me deeper, it allows the monkey mind to become very active. So I am using a different focus now.) I observe how calm and happy I feel, and have been feeling all day.

That's so good, I think. I am able to have the sense that Andrew is nearby and not be upset by it but just think of him as being 'in the next room', as they say. Then, as soon as I contemplate his closeness in spirit, I start to cry about his physical absence. This always happens. Better not to become too conscious of him, even in happy ways. Better to let such awareness be a background to my life. I observe these thoughts and reactions and bring my attention back to my breath. I feel calm and happy once more.

When I come out of meditation, the bird shrieks and there's a sudden flurry. I see what I think is a coocal bird flying onto a branch. But then it stays so still for so long, I realise it must be one of the big lizards that live around here. It's light brown and banded, and must be at least as long as my arm — perhaps a Monitor, or a very big Water Dragon. It lies along the branch, and I take a number of photos with my iPad, hoping it will show up in them — it's so well camouflaged. [Later: No, it doesn't, even after editing the photos to try for greater clarity.] After a while I begin to wonder if it's really a branch and I'm deceiving myself. Maybe it was a bird, that flew through the branches and away. I stay in my meditation chair to write. If I shift to my writing table I won't see, if it is indeed a lizard and it moves.

I look up, and it's gone! I didn't see or hear it disappear. Clearly it was a lizard; the branch looks very different now. While I stare, it takes a sudden hop along a lower branch. I see it in that moment, big tail swaying slightly as it jumps, then it is hidden behind a thick clump of leaves. OK, I move to my writing table. 

Then I realise it's time to stop writing; to take in the washing; to go for my late afternoon walk. I lead a quiet, ordinary life. I relish it.

Perfectly camouflaged lizard on branch, approx. centre. 
You might just be able to make it out.

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