All the Tiny Pieces - Meditation
Today on this stormy October day, instead of taking the subway home after work, I walked. It took a little over an hour. It was raining sideways when I left it, and most of my energy went to keeping my umbrella from ripping inside out, fortunately it calmed down and I was able to focus more closely on what was around me, although the rain had it’s own type of attention that I also enjoyed.
I walked under the expressway, noisy with the watery hiss of traffic, and through a section of the greenwood cemetery, lined with life after unknown life laid next to one another in the ground. I aimed up 5th avenue, past faded laundromat signs, lichen covered trees glowing green from the rain, a single lost key, and an oil spot like an exploding planet in the crosswalk. I passed a million tiny scenes, sounds and strangers, all so subtle that I no doubt missed nearly all of them. Not to be dramatic, but I will eventually forget nearly everything of what my eyes saw on that walk. Sad but true, because my mind have evolved to filter out the extra noise in a world pouring over with everything you could every think of, no matter how hard I to try to notice and take it all in.
We overlook things, we forget, we pass them by, we misplace them; physical things and thoughts. We are small creatures, living small lives in a very large and expansive world, and this makes my heart hurt because I want to notice more and remember it.
Despite the fact that the world pours in one ear and out the other, we are all universes unto ourselves. Each of us is unfathomably complex and dynamic; continents of life chapters, oceans of ideas, solar systems of relationships, shooting stars of aspirations, black holes of fears. We lose the vast majority of everything that enters out minds, yet somehow it still shapes who we are. It is the accumulation of details, that makes the whole.
On the walk I found a note with a poem written in Spanish in front of a high school. It was drenched, and will turn back into pulp with another couple hours of rain. Written by a stranger I will never meet, it felt like reading someone’s journal and I got unusually nervous hunched over on the sidewalk and reading it, thinking I might get caught. I made a quick post on my Instagram asking for some help translating the note, and within a couple minutes a few friends got back to me with their translations. (Thanks everyone who helped)
I understand that what is loved,
is not forgotten
I will live pronouncing your name
and what is loved should not be forgotten,
for anything in the world
I walked with the words of the found poem in my mouth, its syllables with every footstep on my walk… Why do we forget? Where do the things go when we forget them? Why do we lose memories of moments that are the best experiences we’ve ever had, in the moment we’re having them? If we loved them enough, would we not forget them like this poem suggests? What / where / who do you love? Maybe the things that are loved are never forgotten, or maybe everything is eventually disappears. For some reason, both answers gave me comfort on the walk. Why is that?
All the Tiny Pieces - A Meditation
Gather yourself, along with all the tiny pieces. Close your eyes. Picture them swirling around you as you walk through the busy world in your mind. Now, stand still with everything spinning around you like a galaxy and quiet your mind. Imagine picking one item out of the thousands and hold it in your hands. Let the rest fade away. As the other objects disappear, your one object becomes crystal clear. What item are you holding? What does it mean to you?
You are an accumulation of everything you have ever experienced, seen, heard and thought. This is painful, exhilarating, daunting, joyful, confusing and centering - all at the same time.
We are the fragments of our day to day, details stacked on details, subtlety sewn to subtlety
This delicate patch work of life is lived one fraction of a section of a time,
and maybe it’s a gift that we can’t remember it all, because to remember everything would be too overwhelming and confusing. Maybe a sparse memory is a freedom. Maybe memories mean more because we remember them amongst everything we have forgotten.
Gather yourself, along with all the tiny pieces. Picture them like rings on your fingers. Countless rings stacked on top of each other. Your hands feel heavy with so much weight. Now, picture one ring on one finger, representing your one single life, being lived along side all the other single lives. Your hands are now light with the freedom of a weight lifted, more capable of reaching and connecting with those around you.
Today, in a world full of a thousand million countless things,
you are alive and breathing, you are the evidence of subtly sewn together
May your awareness grow of what your are connected to
May your awareness grow of whom you are connected to
May you offer gratitude for what needs to be thanked,
forgiveness for what needs to be forgiven,
and forgetfulness for what deserves to be forgotten
You are a Universe, may you journey far in the many galaxies of yourself
May you be at peace with the things that will disappear and fade
from your memory - your mind like an empty vase, yet
may you find power in how your form shaped to hold them -
your emptiness a sign of wholeness and potential
May choice be yours amongst all the tiny pieces
May your senses be opened wide as your life is lived on day at a time
May you ask questions about the nuances of the lives of others
May what you see transform you in ways that expand your selfhood
and the selfhood of others,
and in the words of the unknown rain-soaked poet:
May what you love never be forgotten.
Go out today,
Live a life that exudes fullness -
with all the finding,
and all the forgetting,
amongst all the tiny pieces.
What did you visualize during this meditation? What strong memories do you keep close? Feel free to send me a message with your reactions or thoughts. firstname.lastname@example.org