Becoming the River

Alright, in case you didn’t see the “placeholder” post I put up last night, I am actually posting this in the morning, the day after I wrote it. I’m using the neighbors internet. They live a few hundred yards away and they have a nice porch where I am sitting and typing. But I wrote the post below last night. So enjoy! 

Just a little while ago, I was sitting on the lowest landing of a set of wooden stairs perched precariously on the edge of a tall embankment amid the pines, firs, beech, and oaks. Below where I sat was the rocky, mossy edge of the west fork of the Washougal River. I was seated on my yoga mat on the flat landing just above the rushing water. I was meditating. When I closed my eyes the sound of the river seemed to flow over me. For a time, I felt simultaneously engulfed and filled up by the water. It was as if the river and I had momentarily attempted to share the same space. With my eyes closed, sitting just a yard or two away, there was no separation: I was the river, the river was me.

Just another example of how intimately we are connected with the things around us. Not just other human beings, but the air, the rocks, the trees, and the water.

My hope is that the more I practice my mindful meditations the easier it will become for me to enter the somewhat trance-like state in which I truly feel the connection between myself and my surroundings. And with time, I believe I will be able to interact with things that are not in my immediate vicinity but perhaps miles away.

But….I’ve already posted a ton of stuff about meditation. I had to tell you about my experience this evening, but the rest of this post is going to be brief and to the point. You see, at the River House (where I currently sit) there is no internet. So after writing this offline, I must walk down a hundred yards or so and sit outside in order to borrow the internet connection from one of the neighbors. And that isn’t easy. And it must be done before it starts getting dark. In other words, soon.

But I do have one thing to tell you about. Last night in my post Travel Anxiety, I explained to you the reasoning behind the nervousness and worry I was feeling. Well, some of my fears were confirmed today when I found out that I had misunderstood how long we would be staying here, and only prepared and packed for the weekend when we might indeed be staying as late as Wednesday. I found that out this afternoon just before we were going to leave, and I had not really packed properly, moreover, some of my respiratory meds will need refilling before Wednesday. In other words, it suddenly seemed like the anxiety I had been feeling was justified.

But, here’s where my current practices step in: because of my anxiety I had spent this morning’s meditation focusing on slowing down. I focused on slowing my thoughts, my actions, and, especially, the time between a stimulus and my reaction. Somehow, I knew that would be important. So when I found out that I had no idea how long we would be out of town, instead of freaking out and running around unpacking and repacking and getting angry because I, “should have been told….blah blah blah”, instead of all that, I just took a few deep breaths, and said, “Oh well. We’ll figure it out”.

I would not have been able to do that if I had not been for my meditation today and last night. Of course, the other new routines I have been practicing probably didn’t hurt either (e.g. Tai Chi, healthy eating, other exercise, drinking enough water, and taking all my medications) because they all affect my base level of stress and help keep me in a calmer state so that when change occurs I can flow with the change but not lose myself in it.

That is what I was able to do today, thanks to all the support from my family, friends, and of course, you!

Thank you all, and expect the next few posts to be somewhat brief. If, for some reason, the internet does not work and I cannot post, I will have a backlog of posts which I will publish on my return.



One response to “Becoming the River

  1. Hi Nathan,

    I find your writing so interesting, I am just continuing to read blog entry after blog entry. I didn’t know you were at the river. Not sure if you are still there or not … probably so. Sounds like you are having the 4th of July there. Isn’t it a relaxing place? I remember it being so beautiful … especially the river. The sounds of the river seemed almost hypnotic as I recall.

    Your improved calmness is so great! There is a new way you are learning to breath …more slowly … less anxiously. Bravo!


    Auntie Laura

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