The Search for Enchantment: Part One (Meditation)
The beginning of something bigger...What a strange 24 hours. It started yesterday afternoon when an assignment for my Mythology and Symbols class required me to do an enchantment exercise. It was meant as a way for us to break away from the left brain control and focus on the right brain instead. Leave behind our leashes to the outside world and attempt to become closer to the real world and all of the living things around us. We had to find an area where we could be close to nature. Sit next to a tree or by a creek, and just listen and observe for an hour or two.
An hour or two without checking my phone? Yikes.
Part One: The Journey BeginsI tried the backyard first. We live right next to a busy intersection and the constant vehicle noise, loud music, people talking, dogs barking - well, you get the point. It was just too much for me. So, I went and drove around looking for a park that was away from things.
I didn't have much luck with that at first either. Things seemed too noisy or not far enough away from other people. I reluctantly ended up at a large and usually busy 60-acre park across the street from my house. I didn't have much of choice because my written assignment for this project was due that night and I didn't have time to go drive out to the national forest. It would have to do.
The park was surprisingly empty when I pulled in. It was around 90 degrees outside, so I cracked the windows of my car, threw my phone under the seat, and exited the vehicle and went searching for the right place. I brought a pen and notebook with me so I could write down my thoughts and observations and a bottle of water in case I got thirsty.
There was a large field of sun scorched brown grass in front of me and a brand new and beautiful baseball field next to it. On the far side was a tree line with some green grass and a few trails, so I headed that direction. Except for the busy road adjacent to the park the area was completely void of people.
Eventually, I found a nice patch of shade that offered relief from blazing sun overhead. And to my delight, there was a nice breeze which made it even more comfortable. I kicked off my flip-flops, took off my watch and set it on top of them, and dropped the water bottle next to that and planted my butt in the grass and clover facing the opposite direction, towards the trees.
At first, I was careful to observe everything that happened; every sway of a tree branch, a plane overhead, a noisy motorcycle cruising by. I did this for about 30 minutes and it was incredibly stressful. I listened and watched for all of these macro noises and that's what it was, it was noise - white noise.
I tossed the pad of paper and pen aside and decided to let it all go. I pulled my feet up under me, cross-legged style, and stretched my hands out, palms down, and felt the grass in front of me. Instead of focusing on the big world around me I began to look closer. Slowly, each blade of grass, the flutter of a dragonflies wings, or a leaf on a tree all seemed more significant. I didn't realize it at the time but the rest of the world began to fade.
Into the Unknown
I no longer heard the cars or the people. Everything in my immediate surrounding became my bubble. Time was no longer much of a concern.
I sat there for the next hour watching the trees breathe in and out with each puff of wind. The earth seemed to rise and fall under me as I watched this.
Each little plant became more important. Each flower more beautiful. Every one of natures mistakes more mystical.
Something on the cottonwood tree in front me caught my attention. A flower bud. Not just a normal flower bud - this one was much different. Actually, it was one that had become three. They shot away from the center, in equally spaced angles. Strange. I had to get closer.
I reached out and felt the leaves. They were extraordinarily soft and covered with a light peach fuzz. Standing there, I reached out in other directions feeling the plants. They seemed so much more alive.
I began to walk along the treeline, through the grass barefoot, leaving my things behind. There was a patch of tiny but beautiful purple flowers creeping out the grass. I hadn't noticed it before.
As I continue on, I happened across a circle of white, daisy like flowers. It was a circle that happened to be in the middle of path breaking through the wood line. I didn't follow the trail, though I wish I would have.
I was euphoric and in somewhat of a daze.
Unfortunately, I knew all good things must come to an end so I got up and walked back towards the car. This time I noticed crops of small flowers living amongst the dead grass in that big open field. I even stopped for a moment and poured water from my bottle on top of the parched earth where one of those same white flowers from before was. It seemed that something, that against all odds that had made it that far, could use a little help. We hadn't had rain in over a month.
I kept going and made it to the car feeling pretty good and unsure of what I had just experienced. It was mystical for sure.
And no, I wasn't doing drugs. Seriously.
And the strange thing is, the enchantment didn't end there.
The Search for Enchantment: Part Two