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(Sleep) Walking Meditation

 

My little baby continues to be the best teacher I’ve ever had.

At a little over two months old, he is wiser, more thoughtful and more attuned to his natural rhythms than I could ever hope to be. And like most teachers I’ve studied with, I stubbornly refute his lessons until the truth of them becomes impossible to ignore. Here’s the latest:
 
The other night, as I transferred his sleeping body from one room to another I gingerly walked down a hallway, careful not to creak the wooden floorboards. I found myself thinking of Thich Nhat Hahn’s “Peace is Every Step,” fully aware that any misstep on my part could mean the end of a hard won peace. And then it hit me: suddenly, here, now, every step mattered. Every gesture deserved my attention and awareness, and the more focused I became, the more alive I felt.

As I lay him down, again, every micro-movement was treated with care, down to my breath. And once he was settled, I did not pivot and vanish like I had just shut a cabinet door, but rather I stayed there a few moments longer to complete the act with a moment of silence and serenity. Every moment mattered, and every moment deserved its own meditation.

To him, this was obvious. Had it not been so, he might have roused and fussed. It was as if he were saying, “Daddy, of course every step matters. Everybody knows that.” But to me, it was another reminder of how numbly I can often go through my days...

I continue to be amazed at how rooted in the basic, the natural and the fundamental, Buddhist teachings are. And how twisted and complicated we make things as the years pass. Every step matters. There is always a delicate balance within. Even a baby knows that.
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