This morning the lightest frozen dew was sparkling in the grass when I went out to open the barn doors for the chickens. On hearing my approach they started to cluck, their voices reaching out into the morning sun from behind the south-facing wall of the old clapboard building.
When I opened the door two house sparrows swiftly flew out, threading a line through the chicken wire I stapled up to protect my girls from hawks. And today the sun is shining. There’s no wind. It’s a beautiful morning.
Buddhist tradition has it that the way to contentment is to achieve full attention in the moment. To observe, to rest, to attend to breath, to sound, to sensation.
I may not have been sitting in a traditional meditation pose but those moments in the yard this morning were filled with contentment and peace. Just noticing the sun, the soft air, the sparkling frost in the grass poised to melt away for the day, the greeting of chickens waiting for their morning scratch.
I’ve experienced the same thing during my morning commute. The sun rising on tree tops, the fog on the Charles River here west of Boston, snow resting on every limb, making everything all around silent and brilliantly white.
The key is to turn off the radio and look around, look up. Listen and breath. Let the thoughts that are flowing in your mind go for a moment and rest your attention on what is around you, next to you, in front of you.