I recall walking in the gardens of a local convent in Autumn last year. After meandering around for a while I found my self standing by a tree. I looked up to see a dark angular leaf-less branch silhouetted against a luminous evening blue sky. There was complete stillness and a sense of vastness. The universe was functioning, but “I” was not there. Everything was happening by itself, seemingly magical and uncaused. The silence was deafening, as they say. The universe was, as ever, mysterious, strange and peaceful. It was both familiar and unfamiliar at the same time.
Much more recently I (re-)read this piece by Jiddu Krishnamurti. One of the things he points out is how simple and natural meditation is, and that when one is in nature, meditation often happens by itself. It makes me wonder how our often concrete environment devoid of life can damage our natural sensitivity and innate meditative disposition.
The following is from Meditations 1969 Part 9 by Jiddu Krishnamurti:
The words ‘you’ and ‘I’ separate things. This division in this strange silence and stillness doesn’t exist. And as you watched out of the window, space and time seemed to have come to an end, and the space that divides had no reality. That leaf and that eucalyptus and the blue shining water were not different from you.
Meditation is really very simple. We complicate it. We weave a web of ideas round it what it is and what it is not. But it is none of these things. Because it is so very simple it escapes us, because our minds are so complicated, so time-worn and time-based. And this mind dictates the activity of the heart, and then the trouble begins. But meditation comes naturally, with extraordinary ease, when you walk on the sand or look out of your window or see those marvellous hills burnt by last summer’s sun. Why are we such tortured human beings, with tears in our eyes and false laughter on our lips? If you could walk alone among those hills or in the woods or along the long, white, bleached sands, in that solitude you would know what meditation is.
The ecstasy of solitude comes when you are not frightened to be alone no longer belonging to the world or attached to anything. Then, like that dawn that came up this morning, it comes silently, and makes a golden path in the very stillness, which was at the beginning, which is now, and which will be always there.