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Morning Meditation with a Mindful Tortoise

Morning Meditation with a Mindful Tortoise

4 Aug 2019

Most mornings I awake to the chirpy voice of a radio presenter announcing the 6am news, quickly followed by the squawking of the garish tin parrot perched precariously on top of an indoor water feature, which bursts into life though his rigid tail feathers...


I sit to meditate.


-Throughout late spring and early autumn, I am joined by Sherman our house Horsefield tortoise, who emerges from the jungle of houseplants that adorn the living room.


Deep within this tangle of Triffid like plants is Sherman’s summer residence from where at daily intervals he leaves to patrol his world. That is, to ensure that no other marauding tortoises have invaded (which includes any human shoeless feet.)


Offenders are subject to a stealth like charge, a painful nip on the heel - sending the recipient into peels of screeching only matched by those of the serenading tin parrot.


My feet appear to be the exception to Sherman’s territorial behaviour. Sitting to meditate he snuggles backwards between them and settles for 30 minutes of stillness and silence his head resting on my big toe. While I would like to believe this was love, I suspect he thinks my two bare feet are lady tortoises!


The world is never silent but opening up to my thoughts, feelings and sensations, accepting the beautiful noise of life, I settle into the rhythm of my breath, then float my mantra on each 'in' breath and each 'out' breath, surrendering all of self to, I Am.


It is said that Meditation is simple, not easy. I struggle with caged creatures of all kinds, and so I struggle with the never-ending stream of imprisoned thoughts that pace up and down within the prison of my mind. However, acknowledging the thoughts, I allow them to fly free through the clouds of my mind into open space, enabling me to return to the breath, to the mantra:


"This is a time of being rather than doing."


Thirty minutes passes and as I rise to meet the next moments of the day having gained nothing but losing a lot, Sherman rises too and with matching speed of my thoughts goes to where the fresh leaves of Rosa Verde salad, crisp cucumber and broccoli have been left for his breakfast.


He stops and stares as to see, as if for the first time, in amazement, the feast before him. Yet this threesome appears each morning, never changing, never different. A few moments pass in his apparent wonderment, then his jaws open and in sheer delight he takes a bite...


Today take a Sherman moment, stop, look, listen, smell, taste the broccoli of life, to be in the day, this day, for the first time.


Psalm 118:24, "...this is the day that the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it!"


By Suzette Jones, Mindfulness Course Speaker