Several moons have come and gone since Swamp Cat has been this way. Into her lair, in the bottomland woods, she has brought the aged one. He is still strong in many ways yet he is weak. Life as he knows it has changed and life as Swamp Cat knows it has changed as well. Change …the only constant in life.
Great wisdom tells us that all things are in constant motion and therefore impermanent. We are encouraged to meet all of life’s events with equanimity. We can learn to accept rather than fear change by realizing things are just what they are, they come and they go. If we don’t judge them as good or bad but are grateful for everything we learn about impermanence. As we become aware of our perceptions about things and how they make us feel we can begin to accept and adjust. This is yoga, being aware of what you are thinking and feeling in any particular moment and making adjustments. We gain power in accepting. Without rejecting the bitter we can let it go and we can savor the sweetness without clinging. For all things are in constant motion, all things are impermanent.
Caring for the aged one has been all consuming. Pondering life’s choices, the bitter and the sweet, Swamp Cat must make decisions. She searches for wisdom and unity. She pauses. She breathes. She knows where the answers can be found. She approaches the seven gates. Withdrawing from the outside world she moves inward. She steps forward and finds darkness. Sounds diminish and the air flows unhurriedly. Swamp Cat remembers this place. She sits in stillness without fear or dread. In this present moment place she welcomes what comes.
Meditation is a simple practice where one can cultivate present moment awareness. In the present moment place of mindful awareness we don’t brood about the past or worry about the future. Here we can mindfully think about past events and the infinite possibilities of the future.
Feeling better, Swamp Cat returns to the old silver fox. It is twilight now and they walk side by side. The beauty of the late spring garden blooms before them. Both the sun and the showers have nourished the bottom land woods where Swamp Cat lives and loves and she is grateful for the adventure.
The Seven Gates Mudra
Sit in a meditation posture that is comfortable for you; easy pose, half lotus or full lotus or even upright on the edge of a chair. Focus your attention inward. With your elbows out to the side, close your ears with your thumbs, your eyes with your index fingers, your nostrils with your middle fingers and your mouth by placing your ring fingers above your mouth and your pinkie fingers below. These are the seven gates of the senses. The breath should be slow and deep. Inhale and close the nostrils gently with your middle fingers, retain the breath momentarily then release the pressure and slowly exhale. Notice any subtle sounds that may arise while retaining the breath. Notice any light, color or pattern you may see. Practice for 5-10 minutes. The senses are drawn inward to a state of withdrawal/ pratyahara, leading you into meditation.
Then gently release the hands and blink before opening your eyes. Benefits; this practice calms the mind and nervous system and can be helpful in reducing anxiety.