Tuesday, 17 February 2015
Meditation in nature
Yesterday I took a day off from work. I jumped into the car with a group of international friends and family, and headed off to the Yarra Valley (a beautiful part of the world) to share some of the wonders of the Australian bush (at the Healesville Sanctuary), Australian food (Giant Steps) and Australian Wine (Oakridge).
Sun was shining, international guests were excited, food and wine was amazing .. and at the Healesville Sanctuary we wandered through the natural bush setting watching kangaroos, Koalas, emu's .. and the Platypus .. my favourite!
And I found myself recounting a personal experience I had many years ago ... when I was an enthusiastic snow skier and nearly every winter weekend would make the eight hour (one way) journey into the mountains with a group of friends to ski.
One weekend we decided to stay off the mountain at a small hotel that sat on the edge of a huge lake. On arrival, late at night, I saw the moon reflected on the lake, and in the early hours of the morning when I woke to meditate I heard the lapping of the water outside. I decided on a whim to take my meditation outside that morning .. there was no snow down this low on the mountain but the air was freezing, the sky a vivid blue and the lake almost like a mirror.
I took a blanket with me and sat wrapped up on the rocky outcrop at the edge of the lake. I closed my eyes and I felt the chill on my face and at my nostrils. I let go. I didn't have a timer with me .. I suspect that I meditated for my 'usual' 20 minutes, before giving thanks for my meditation practice and sitting with my eyes closed for a few minutes while gently broadening my awareness to feel the day, the mountains and the broad sky above me.
And I heard a sound. Just at my feet.
When I slowly opened my eyes, still embraced by that grounded stillness from my meditation, I found myself looking directly at a PLATYPUS floating at the waters edge. Just in front of me.
Like, you never see these beauties except in a Sanctuary environment. They are notoriously private and illusive .. usually living alone unless breeding (and breeding in captivity is rare). The playtpus can softly call other platypi with a soft, puppy-like growls.
I recall sitting quietly in amazement. Just sitting. Just watching. Until the Playtpus decided to flip and dive into the lake. Gone as quickly as he appeared.
Yesterday while sharing this experience, a discussion started about Animal Totems .. the Webster's Dictionary defines a totem as: "A natural object, usually an animal that serves as a distinctive, often venerated emblem or symbol. A means of personal or spiritual identity."
I decided this morning to do a little research on the Platypus as an Animal Totem and found this:
If Platypus has swam across your path;
Dare to be yourself! No matter what others think of you, you must always express who you are without hesitation in any circumstance. Real friends will always accept you for who you are and family will love you as you are. When we pretend to be something we are not we lose sight of our heart and our purpose. Part of being ourselves is the continuous self discovery of going inward and taking the time to nurture the things that make us happy.
Do you have an animal totem?