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Why A Minyan?

Varieties of religious experience: walking

Meditation was really good today, although only Jeff and I were there. First, our usual breathing/mindfulness practice: focusing on the breath, today imagining each inhalation as energy moving up into the heart and head and each exhalation as energy moving down to fingertips and toes. Then, a walking meditation, slowly slowly slowly moving from foot to foot, noticing the shifting of weight and the way that walking, like breathing, involves the whole body.

We walked outside the sanctuary, along the slate patio edged with new grass, surrounded by marsh (cattails, leafy brush) and trees (birch leaves fluttering in the wind, and the enormous willow I've been watching all winter, now luxuriant with fronds). Each step I was thinking, "I'm breathing. I'm walking. I'm -- birds!" I'm not sure I've ever heard so many birds in my life. It was like being inside an aviary.

The leaves were luminous in early sun, the birds were ridiculously loud and varied (have they just migrated back? are they louder in the morning? am I just more aware during meditation?), and when Jeff started singing our niggun I knew our time was up and we moved back into the sanctuary to take a few final centering breaths and to reawaken to the so-called real world.

It was a spectacular way to start my day. I'm still buzzing.