During my first few years of elementary school, I certainly enjoyed the playful company of the other children, and found them all fascinating, unique, and dear, but the time I really cherished the most was after school.
After school I could retreat to my back yard lawn and there, lying with my face pressed against the sky, I could drift along leisurely with cloud companions, lost in the endlessness of blue.
Melting effortlessly into the verdant earthiness of the grassy garden fragrances, permeated by an omnidirectional light of blissful shine, I could swoon with attention as it swiftly dissolved into the perfect peace of no mind, no body, no limitation on consciousness, no dividing line between what I felt myself to be, this matrix of vivid perception, and the panorama of vast airiness that lifted me into the heart of itself, beyond all words and meanings, or any sense of separation.
In retrospect, my reveries were not unlike the meditative practices I was drawn to much later in the life story, particularly the Zen practice of Shikantaza, or “just sitting”. Rather than an effort to attain “enlightenment”, this practice is simply one of whole-bodily expressing That which we already are, prior even to our birth – aware space itself — manifesting in the natural posture of lucid harmony and serene joy.
After completing my career in the “world”, I eventually retired with my True Love to a charming forested community situated in the Northern California Sierra Nevada foothills. Thankfully, in this relaxed stage of life, I have been graced with the same spaciousness and contemplative circumstance as I once enjoyed during those “after school” moments of my early life.
For example, I was sitting in our garden near midnight, and the moon had not yet reached our yard, so it was pitch black. I was entering into my usual meditation, and my thoughts were drifting back and forth between projections about the future and remembrances of the past, mixed with the various bodily sensations and so forth.
Rather than attempting to impose some artificial state, however, I just adopted the non-dwelling practice I am so fond of, and allowed all to be just as it was, without grasping or turning any of it away.
Momentarily, it was as if the stage was swept clear for the featured performer of the evening. The cricket melodies, initially just a soft and barely noticed background, grew louder and louder, obliterating any other sound, thought, or sensation.
As I fell into their harmonies, any sense of self-consciousness just dropped away, leaving only the blissful choir to have its way, for the pure enjoyment of Source.
This body/mind organism is simply a vehicle for that enjoyment, and when not clouded by the mush of fixations, becomes a clear prism through which the unspeakable beauty of creation can shine through unobstructed. We need not strive to go to some “higher” elsewhere — this is the heaven world right here!