Appreciating Our Existence

Jude: We exist.  But how often do we really appreciate it?  Take the time to really look around and take stock of the vast improbability of it all?  Sure, there’s a lot to be critical of.  If I crafted existence, I’d definitely change a few things.  But I didn’t craft it, I’m just living in it, and while it’s not always my cup of tea, appreciating it makes it a little bit smoother.
In the practice we will start with body awareness, just being present to the inner feelings, what’s existing in the moment, notice how we often avoid these internal discomforts and bring a little appreciation to what’s arising.  And then expand out, cultivating gratitude and awe for the rich tapestry of existence.


Erin: Today is Canadian Thanksgiving, which has long been my favourite holiday, seemingly rooted in gratitude and celebration of the harvest. Sadly, the day is not without colonial baggage, but the thanksgiving spirit and traditions that I cherish actually find their roots in the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, predating colonization by quite some time. This meditation will honour the indigenous origins of the day, using the Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving Address to guide us in offering our gratitude to the natural world and the original inhabitants of this land.

The Well of Appreciation

Jeff: In my experience, there are two kinds of time: horizontal and vertical. Horizontal time is the conventional time we all know. It is mind time – it has a past, and a future, with our worries stretched across it. Vertical time is time out of time – time hidden in plain sight. “There is another world, and it’s inside this one,” said the French surrealist Paul Eluard, probably stoned on absinthe. Vertical time is body time – no past or future here, only the upwelling of the present moment. The closer you pay attention, the less and less seems to be happening. In this way, we use meditative attention to thin-slice our way back to the cutting edge of Now, of Now, of Now. It is insanely cool that this is even possible! Why isn’t everyone obsessed with it? Because, in a world of serious tragedy and consequence, it seems like navel-gazing.

It is not. It is sustenance, nourishment. Vertical time is a well of appreciation we can learn to drink from. We slip down, between our worries, and we reset. We return to our work refreshed. What begins as an exercise we do in stillness, becomes, over time (there’s that word again) something we learn to taste in all our moments. At least, that’s the direction, the practice, the training. This Monday, we go vertical.

The End. Thank you for reading this long-winded contribution from horizontal time.

Beyond right-doing and wrong-doing, there is a meadow. I’ll meet you there.

James: I’ve always been excited about our perceived position. It seems so front row!  No matter where I wander, it seems like I’m in the middle of something.  The emergency room. Dancefloor. Arctic tundra.  Directions race away from all sides, but there’s no doubt, I’m the spindle of the compass’ jittery needle. East starts just east of me, West just west. Waiwaiwait. You too? How can we both be the centre of it all?  For this meditation, we are going to find out, search for the territory beyond us, the axis mundi, where all directions meet.