When I meditate regularly, I feel better, my blood pressure goes down, and I make better decisions. When I don’t meditate regularly, the opposite is true, and unfortunately, one of the decisions I have to make is when to meditate. When the world is coming at me as if from a fire hose, it never seems like a good time to stop and smell the roses.
Enter Autumn. If you have dogs, you know that this is the season when your back yard becomes a mine field. We carefully clean up after them each time they are out, but inevitably miss a poo or two. I think they actually work together sometimes to distract us. The result? Nestled quietly among the leaves, perfectly crafted for camouflage in the sea of browns and tans that is our autumn yard, they wait, small aromatic gifts from our dogs.
So, how does an autumn stealth poo relate to meditation? Tomorrow morning my wife and I will wander into the back yard and walk the grid, playing a game of “Where’s Waldo” that is both less pleasant and more necessary than the usual version. Who needs a labyrinth? This is a perfect opportunity for a walking meditation, where all the cares and worries of the world can fall away. With complete and absolute focus on the fallen leaves in our path, interspersed with a sense of success and accomplishment each time we discover one of our stealthy (and stinky) adversaries.
How does a fallen leaf feel? Is it sad that its life in the sky is over, or is it content in the knowledge that it lived a full life gathering energy for its tree, now returning to the soil? Does it see the hidden poo as a compatriot, also returning nutrients to the soil, or as an interloper, marring the perfection of the leaf’s eternal cycle? I ponder these questions, then try to connect with the leaves, drawing parallels between their cycle and my own, seeing my own existence in terms of a life of gathering followed by an eternity of returning. What do I gather as I live, what do I do with what I have gathered? And no matter how my mind wanders, the task at hand keeps me grounded, setting natural limits so I don’t drift too far, for the path I walk is fraught with dangers, or at least hidden poo.
When the grid is done and the yard is clear, so are our minds.
Our lives offer endless opportunities for meditation if we just accept them. Almost any task can become a meditation with little more than a bit of focus. Whether you are washing dishes, waxing a car, or vacuuming the house, these natural “found” meditations can change the way you move through life. And maybe, with the small clarity you find this way, you will make better decisions about commitments and time, finding a way out of the blast furnace of stimulus that modern life is becoming. So if you are feeling overwhelmed and see no way to fix it, the noble art of poo spotting is a good start.