(I found this poem by Czeslaw Milosz
in Roger Housden‘s Ten Poems to Open Your Heart.
I believe it’s also in Milosz’s New and Collected Poems: 1931 to 2001.)
Sometimes in the deep night, I recite this poem to myself. But sometimes I practice it instead. It’s easier to try there — in that cocoon — and it’s welcome relief when the dark worries show up. You’re welcome to try it too:
- Let gravity cradle you. Let yourself be heavy into the bed. Notice how it is capable of supporting you — fully. You don’t have to exert any effort. Test this by pushing yourself back into the mattress, especially your head, and then relaxing even further.
- Allow the air to nourish you. Enjoy the sensation of breathing. Feel the cool air flowing into your nose and down your throat and the warmed, moistened air exhaling whatever you no longer need. One thing I love to remember about Earth is that even though we exhale our cast-offs (like carbon dioxide), we aren’t polluting the atmosphere with our breath; rather we’re nourishing plants — whose exhalation of oxygen is in turn perfect for us.
- Sense your bodily container. Travel from your toes to the top of your head really experiencing the presence of every part. Then notice your whole body at once — the outside of the skin as well as everything inside — as one integral unit. Feel yourself right there in that place and that position.
- Imagine you are looking at yourself from just six or ten inches higher than your body. See your body there on the bed — in that place and that position.
- Now move your imaginary vantage point up into the corner of your room. Look at yourself there on the bed. And at the same time notice all the other beings and inanimate objects in the room. Take in the scene as a whole.
- Let your mind’s eye travel outside to just above your building. Imagine you can see though walls, floors, and ceilings. Notice not only yourself and the other contents of your room but also the other people, animals, plants, and things inside the building.
- Expand your field of vision — look around. Look at (and into) the neighboring buildings. Neighbors — like babies, dogs, and your own self — look so angelic when they’re sleeping!
- Fly high so you can see your whole neighborhood, your town… even journey into space and see yourself down there among the many other things thriving on our blue planet.
At some fortunate point in your travels, you may feel a physical shift in your awareness, almost in your very being. You may not even be surprised when a bird, a tree, or a shooting star glances over and greets you, Friend.
Love this! Thanks for sharing, Betsy. I’m going to try it tonight!
ahhhhh… i feel my body relaxing and drifting into a dreamlike state even as i read this… so beautiful… so true. thanks you, betsy. sweet dreams!! xoxo