Facing East for my standing meditation practice this morning, my eyes rest on this guy’s motto who lived to his eighties: “Life is Good”. I’m standing through what feels like a torture practice, facing the pains shooting through my muscles and joints, listening to the pain with the greatest love I can find in my heart, thinking that each area of discomfort is the expression of an unintegrated part of me, curious and looking forward to uncover the energy which will be released and available once I’ve fully owned and integrated these parts.
Then a crane (heron?) flies in and show me how real standing meditation is done: he stands still, but fully alert, and when a fish swims his way, he moves swiftly and catches it.
An elderly couple arrives to the park, angrily arguing in a foreign language. They carry picnic gear in many plastic bags; I hear plates clinkering as they waddle away from the car. I guess that they wanted my bench, for it is close to the parking lot, and well positioned up on the hill - and I am occupying it. I raise to walk away and cede the bench to the couple, and then I change my mind, and decide to remain and continue my meditation, as an exercise to practicing claiming my place in the world, symbolically. It’s easy to cede what is mine and avoid confrontation - I’ve done it many times, at high costs. My paternal grandmother did the same long before I was born, when the communists came to power in Romania, after the war, and nationalized all personal property. My grandmother’s family home was the only property she and her two sons, my father and my uncle, had after my grandfather passed away. Her husband, my granddad, had been an obstetrician, and she worked with him as his assistant in their home clinic. When he died, they had no source of income left. My grandmother didn’t wait for the communists to take away the family home: she went and donated it voluntarily. If she hadn’t, the house would have left some inheritance to my cousin and me - because after the 1989 revolution property owners who’d been stripped of their property were able to claim refunds for their losses from the Romanian state.
The park is full of other benches, and I’ve been there early. I sit back and I extend my arms to the sides and rest them on the back rest in a gesture of territorial claim. I have compassion for the couple, who went to sit on a different bench, still arguing out loud, and I know that giving my seat to them won’t cure their suffering. Eventually they walk away, plates clinkering and foreign tongue arguments fading away with them.
There’s pain, and there’s peace, both inside and outside the skin. The day is warm, and the park breathes out beauty, spaciousness, and the glistening flow of the river.
Indeed, Life is Good.