Meditation, Swimming & Shakespeare

The title says it all, or at least a lot of it, for me this morning. Yesterday was a delightful day at the B&B reading, noodling around on the internet and taking naps until about 3 in the afternoon when we traveled up to the Ashland Y and I swam and Karen did a pilates class.

Imagine just to the left of frame are 3 roped off lanes and I am swimming laps in the lane closest to the action. 🙂

It is different swimming at the Y, in the indoor pool, the day after Memorial day in this family community then it is swimming during lap swim time at my outdoor pool in Sebastopol. There is a section that is roped off for kids to play and splash in and there are 3 lanes roped off that I can swim my laps in and that are also used for private swimming lessons for the kids and for a dad and a daughter to swim side by side in for a lap or two. It is a different kind of swimming experience. Instead of it being like a meditation it is more a practice in, what my teachers would call, ‘stillness’ in motion. Instead of sinking into a focus on my stroke and my breath as I make my way down the lane and pulling my world in to this small and yet brilliant focus, I am sending my focus out 360 degrees and keeping track of all the sounds and motion in a soft focus yet completely aware of something that might bounce in from the kid section or dad and daughter swimming up my lane or the lane next to me opening up or where the life guards are in their rounds around the pool or the guy in the deep end doing his water ballet moves or those kids bouncing around on the big inner tube right near the rope that marks my lane and looking like one is going to fly off at any minute right into my lane and maybe onto me …… All of this is going on around me all the time and I am swimming my laps back and forth and keeping my pace and aware of my breathing and feeling the water move around me and hearing the sounds bouncing around the space. This ‘soft’ focus ‘stillness’ training or practice is just as important as the clear it all out ‘hard’ focus of meditation. When I can move at peace and calmness through the chaos of life without reacting to it or taking it personally while at the same time including it and being able to respond to it when necessary, well now we’re talking conscious, aren’t we?

So the pool was a learning experience in addition to a good swim. I am headed out there again at noon and we’ll see what gems are in store for me today.

Karen and I went and saw an awesome production of ‘Twelfth Night’ by The Man last night at the outdoor Elizabethan theatre here in Ashland. It was the first preview in front of an audience, the sky was threatening rain and the stage manager came out to announce what would happen if it did start to rain. We all settled back to enjoy the actors first time in front of an audience, to see them find their rhythms and see that some of the bits that they thought were going to be terrific in rehearsal laid an egg in performance and things that were throwaways stopped the show with hilarity, to watch accidents happen as the actors got familiar with their costumes and their props and some of the accidents were wonderful bits that you just know they will try to repeat and it just won’t be as good as it was when we saw it happen accidentally last night. Now I have played Sir Toby Belch 3 times and seen this play 4 other times, including a production that I saw here a few years ago, and this was by far the best production I have ever seen of this play. I think the main reason was that everyone knew it was a comedy and played it that way. The noble characters were bawdy and big along with the less noble ones. The acting was, as usual here at Ashland, consistently great and most important of all the dramaturgy was brilliant, anyone could completely understand what was happening on stage and even understand references to things and language that just don’t exist anymore because the actors so completely knew what they were talking about that their actions and movements clearly underlined and emphasized the language so that even very obscure references were uproariously laughed at by the high school kids in the audience. Now that is good Shakespeare. I can’t wait to see Henry IV part 1 tonight (Lets keep the rain away for one more night please).

Imagine this guy lying down with his knees up and moving that ball of energy up and around those chakra centers, mmmm.

Because we got home at the typically late hour here of 11:30ish and had to spend some time sipping a sherry and talking about the play we didn’t get to bed till 1sh. So we slept till 8:30ish and decided to do a lying down meditation this morning. I know you might giggle a bit as you read this and go uh hum sure a lying down meditation after a late night, yah give me a break. However I wanted to try it and so instead of doing my typical sitting zazen focus meditation I did a meditation/ visualization where I bring energy into my solar plexus and then move it like a ball of energy around my body through my chakras and power centers. I don’t do this meditation as often as I do my zazen and I must say it worked wonders this morning. I feel alive and vital like I have given an energy bath to my whole system and I am ready to go out and have a great day. I think I will do this meditation more frequently then I have been. It has an entirely different effect on my consciousness and I enjoy it. I guess my teachers really do know their stuff, I just have to practice what they preach with a little more consistency and all sorts of things will continue to open up for me.

Support the Arts!!!!!! Awaken your consciousness!!!!!

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