Follow Barney

876. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

It’s morning and I am sitting in the sun. I have coffee. There is a gentle breeze blowing off the water and rustling the leaves in the trees above me. The shadows are dancing. In the distance I hear a train, a mower, and some wind chimes. The birds are lively and playful. There is a pond to my left with a gentle fountain gurgling and adding to this morning’s symphony.

A few weeks ago I followed Barney up the hillside through the vineyard. Barney is jolly like Santa with roots, like Santa’s, that reach back to Odin. He is filled with laughter. On our way up the hill he plucked flowers, showed me roots, talked about soil and nutrients and cycles and seasons and energy and motion and force. He taught me about polarity and balance. Midway up the hill he stopped and said, “This is what people used to worship. It is life, concrete and tangible. Now we have this abstraction called spirituality.” The penny dropped for me. It’s sacred – all of it. That is no longer an ideal. It is tangible like soil and seeds.

Once in class, after leading a meditation, Alan and I talked with the class about the purpose of meditation. The purpose is not to take you away from reality but to bring you in to presence. Using meditation as an escape, to move away from the moment, is to protect yourself from presence.

Presence is word like paradigm: it is so overused, misused and abstracted that it has come to mean nothing. Be present. Be Quiet. Be. What does it mean to be present in an urban (urbane) world with clocks in every device, lists, lists, someplace else to be and something else to buy? How can presence be anything other than an abstraction when separate from the root? How can we understand presence when we do not experience it or ourselves as growing, changing, energy exchanging, vital, inhaling and exhaling, and full of life? It’s not an abstraction if you take your shoes off and stand in the dirt, feel the breezes, and listen.

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