I was enjoying everything: the rain, the path
wherever it was taking me, the earth roots
beginning to stir.
I didn’t intend to start thinking about God,
it just happened.
How God, or the gods, are invisible,
But holiness is visible, entirely.
It’s wonderful to walk along like that,
thought not the usual intention to reach an answer
but merely drifting.
Like clouds that only seem weightless
but of course are not.
Are really important.
I mean, terribly important.
Not decoration by any means.
By next week the violets will be blooming.
Anyway, this was my delicious walk in the rain.
What was it actually about?
Think about what it is that music is trying to say.
It was something like that.
Mary Oliver from Blue Horses, 2014.
This is the second of Oliver’s poems on the subject of meditation that I wanted to share, but if you missed the first, here’s it is.
Few people have a dedicated meditation practice, but many have experienced the “drift” that “Moliver” describes in this poem, a stream of thoughts that wander from where we are to somewhere else, for better, or worse. Meditation, at least the type I practice, is not so different from that. According to the teaching I have received, thoughts will come and the practice is to let them go, allowing them to pass by, like clouds in the sky. They may be stormy thoughts, full of rain and rage, or wispy ones that tempt you to linger and imagine all sorts of good things. It doesn’t matter that they come; don’t judge them (or yourself); just let them drift away, so you can return to the entirely visible holiness of the present moment. Remain there, until you find find you’ve drifted away again, “watching the clouds.” Then, just come back to the “invisible” Presence of God.
This past weekend was a whirlwind of activity for Molly and me: 48 hours of flights and field hockey games, shared hotel rooms and food-on-the-go, lots of time for laughter, but little for silence. However, in the midst of it all, there was the inevitable “drift” towards holiness and gratitude.
Clear, blue sky after a rainy night
Bright yellow mustard fields blooming roadside
Smell of sweet white alyssum, catching me by surprise on a morning walk
Wild turkey in a field
Cow in a pasture next to a parking lot
Hugs from a sweaty girl, sometimes in triumph, sometimes in defeat
Girls of every size, shape and color on the field, playing their hearts out
Yes, indeed, Mary Oliver, “God, or the gods” may be invisible, “But holiness is visible, entirely./ It’s wonderful to walk along like that.”