Circle Game

Mandala: मण्डल

ann e michael

Sanskrit for circle. Symbolic of completeness, unifying principles. The container that holds the center. The cosmic center and the spiritual center, including the void (being able to recognize that the “self” is also a void, a construct).

This deep practice–the emptying of self and the entering into completeness and unity with everything (becoming One)–intrigues me but seems very far beyond my grasp. If consciousness can be envisioned as a set of experiential layerings that the mind braids into a narrating self, illusory but convincing, I can imagine feeling One with them. But that’s theory, not genuine practice.

“You and I are all as much continuous with the physical universe as a wave is continuous with the ocean.” ~Alan Watts

I am a physical being in the universe; this, too, I understand. Somehow, that doesn’t make meditation easier for me–even though I have always been a highly reflective person.

Trying too hard to empty the mind defeats the purpose, of course. The practice of compassion as meditation (see Thich Nhat Hanh and Pema Chödrön)  seems a more effective way for me to enter into a sense of oneness and completeness. I am definitely experiencing beginner’s mind, perhaps complicated by my interests in philosophy, psychology, neurology, and art.

So I turn, constantly, to nature for an immersion in something other than the human self: completion of the cycle evident in every plant and creature. See the mandala of the sunflower above. Contemplate the circle–what it contains, in this case, pollen, seeds, a tiny bee; what encircles the circle: the petals that fade so rapidly, the sun, the air.

And then I turn to my reading again. Hungry mind (appetite). But I found this wonderful column by Kate Murphy in the recent New York Times:No Time to Think.” Quite fitting, given these recent ruminations!

~

And thank you, Joni Mitchell, for the title and this song:

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2 comments on “Circle Game

  1. KM Huber says:

    I can only offer that these days it seems those thoughts that do attach do not seem to stay as long. Of course, there are days when my morning meditation seems a flurry of thought. Still, sitting meditation seems preferable to not so I do. And yes, it often seems a “Circle Game.”
    Karen

    Like

  2. SingingBones says:

    I appreciate your photo of the sunflower and accompanying thoughts, Ann. My garden too is full of sunflowers, bees and greenery. Every morning I look at them in wonder. A perfect meditation and mandala! Hope you are enjoying your last weeks of summer there. Leigh

    Liked by 1 person

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