The Expanse

I thought I’d celebrate having finally read one half of this touching account of non-humans by Peter Wohlleben in his book,  ‘The Inner Life of Animals’. It is as interesting as it looks and the author has shared many personal anecdotes featuring his funny goats, oversexed fowl, timekeeping dog, intelligent pigs, friendly ravens and individualistic bees among stories of other animals.

I thought I should write something simple today on the little wildlife I have seen in the East African Savannah and parse out the idea of the expanse of the heart. It’s a plain poem and with no beginning nor end, it is simply meditative.

The cappuccino features my husband’s chocolate art
The Expanse

Is the heart as large and dusty as the Savannah?

Does it have little green oases of muddy ponds where feelings glint off the surface in mirroring the passion of the Sun? 

Do pink dollops of hippo-esque affections wallow in their murky depths? 

The thorny mistrustful acacias too sigh softy in their parsimonious giving as the giraffes synapse with them, all the while puckering and kissing their moody leaves.

The Impala meditate a quickened pulse while they inhale the day and exhale the night.

The lions survive simply stressing them out but the fleas get the lions too, like karma.

Sometimes the fiery orb burns away the brittle surfeit of rigid grass to make way for vital green and the guinea fowl congregate on the living plains like happy heartbeats.

A Quantum of Sattva

Sometimes, it’s not the number of things we do but the amount we think that exhausts us. I like long solitary walks in wooded areas together with my music. It is positively grounding. This week I may work on a daily Pranayama and some fasting, which I regret I haven’t made time for recently, or in a strict routine. I find them both helpful, especially for meditation. This poem is parsing a way out to a place of meditative silence, not to curb the creativity as much as to channel it, to take a break from oneself, so to speak.

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The Sun is risen / gratitude is measured / to limbs that stretch far like rays to rival a mountain of assumptions / or a wanton horse in a meadow / or a bow aiming for reason / or bent like a hair pin securing locks of wild ebony / invoking that which brightens the day in radiance / moves across the sky with intention / is a friend / aum mitraye namaha //

The breath of life / an inhale of the universe / still as a deep lake in the holding place of love / an exhale of self / and in this, the expansiveness of heart / like in an elasticity of silence / clocks cease to exist here / time fills the lungs and loud spaces /a mind, eerily empty / settling like silt as rivers of thought meet the ocean of acceptance //

Food of spirit / Sattva in a steep consciousness / the altitude of a reckoning / and a chaste eating / even if it were a stone soup / to be sipped in gratefulness in a spiritual famine / A sense of cumin like a quantum of humanity / the fragrance of ginger in the abundant grace of serene moonlight //

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The first verse indicates the Hatha Yoga Asanas of the Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutations and the 12 poses, each with a greeting to the Sun in gratitude. Mitraye means a friend in Sanskrit.

The second is on Pranayama. Ideally, Yoga Asanas were merely preparation for breathing, at least in the way it was meant to be, inorder to achieve a meditative state.

The third verse is about the concept of Sattva in food and through it, in spirit. I have never been able to adhere to Sattvic food for long, that would mean going vegan. Sattvic food follows a similar concept as the Japanese Shojin Ryori.

Sattva is one of the three modes of existence, the other being Rajas and Tamas. It refers in Sanskrit to the quality of goodness, positivity, truth, serenity, balance, peacefulness, and virtuousness that is drawn towards dharma (loosely the right way of living) and Gyana (knowledge).