sometimes I sits and thinks; and then again I just sits*


17th August 17

Meditating is no longer the self indulgent province of those with time and inclination, it has become something of a necessity for many and is viewed as an increasingly valuable means of gaining and maintaining equilibrium both by professionals and lay people alike.  Perhaps not surprisingly then, I recently became aware of a different take on this, a new trend: beditating**. 

Beditating, it would seem, is the art of luxuriating in bed for an extra 10 minutes (or so) and simply allowing the mind to be, knowing that whatever one thinks one must do, one does not need to do it yet, so that thoughts are merely observed and allowed to pass.  It is awareness with permission to ignore the compulsion to act, to do; and many people swear by it.

To me, it seems nothing more than an experience in just being, an experience which is, nonetheless, made all the more enjoyable for remaining in the cocoon like safety of a sleeping nest.  To think without distraction, without pressure, without structure or the need for structure.   I for one like nothing more than to rise early, (since I am blessed (or cursed) with an inability to sleep late) and to silently be, or to contemplate, or to let my thoughts drift in anarchistic fashion.  And on this precious morning I am doing that in Tuscany.  And I am wondering why.  Why do I find it infinitely more satisfying in the Tuscan hills than in my homeland, or at least the land that is home for most of the year?

Is it the vibrant outline of the in focus foliage, gently dappled by the early morning light, in stark contrast to the backdrop of chestnut trees, the obligatory olive groves and the ubiquitous vegetable plots and kitchen gardens.  And all of that framed, held, in the silent, reassuring embrace of the distant yet ever present Apuan Alps?  No, I realise it is not, because that is predominantly visual and this is a multi dimensional experience.  I am acutely aware of the sounds of the world waking, the birds calling to each other, the occasional and unmistakeable Harley D throb of the fat, black, shiny beetle bees, as improbably airborne as the bumbler and equally impressive.  I hear the rustle of leaves, villagers stirring as they prepare to water pomodori, zucchini, radicchio and more, because in a land of siestas people work with the natural rhythms of nature and are up early too.  And then, in twelve years never quite on the hour; the sound of the bell at the campanile.   And I experience  the touch,  the gentle caress of the not yet stilled air inquisitively moving through open windows, it's cool fingers carefully exploring everything it finds.  I breathe, full and deep,  the fresh smell of a new day, the early morning dew, the land itself; all topped off by the sensual aroma and taste of the vestigial Italian coffee.  How long could I be like this?  I will never know because this particular style of beditating is perennially time boxed.  The world will always wake and the spell will be broken and the cycle will begin again. Perhaps this elusive quality, coupled with the relative novelty of the experience in a location removed from my everyday world is what makes it so satisfying.  I do not know and it does not matter.  I will come to this day different because of the experience, and there is always the promise of returning to it, sooner or later...

*Despite being inimitably Pooh, this quote should properly be attributed to William Gunning King and not A. A. Milne.
**The term was coined by business coach Laurence Shorter.

Indulgent dream worlds from