Monday, March 25, 2013

This Winter in Minnesota-Part Two

As I mentioned in “This Winter in Minnesota”, the solitary retreat of this winter has kept me well and been a wonderful experiment and experience.  It's been cold, it's snowed a lot, and the cold and snow is still here, despite the fact that we're five days into spring; and yet, I've enjoyed winter this year, if winter for me means going within to explore the solace of myself.  As my friend Henry wrote, “Winter was not given to us for no purpose.  We must thaw its cold with our genialness.  We are tasked to find out and appropriate all the nutrients it yields.  If it is a cold and hard season, its fruit, no doubt, is the more concentrated and nutty.”

I may have implied that the only time I was outside this winter was when I walked from the car to a building or a building to my car. In fact, I took several short walks, including three full moon mindfulness walks.  I know that getting outside in the beauty of winter is good for me, and I know that winter in Minnesota is beautiful.  It's just so cold to me that I don't enjoy staying in the coldness for long.  As a result, I limit my time outside and spend most of it inside my house.

Being inside physically affords me the opportunity to go inside psychically.  I stay at home and in my home I find the home inside myself.  As Keizan Jokin stated, “Meditation is returning home and sitting in peace.”  My home this winter has provided the refuge and retreat from an incredibly extroverted environment—the middle school where I teach—and this winter in Minnesota in particular has provided the impetus to stay at home.  As such, I've found the time to meditate and contemplate.   And what is meditation and contemplation if not the awareness of my true nature, my original self, and the present moment?  And what is the present moment if not the home of our existence?  

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