Practicing Joy in the World
June 10 – July 19
“I sit on the black
then open my book
to a world of music.
Black notes fill the page
like a road
map to tell me
where to put my
The poet, musician, dancer Phoebe Brown eloquently describes her sense of Joyful Presence. It is an all-pervading sense of sweetness, aliveness, promise, and something, as she says, you can fall into, and live within.
In this poem she has found it in her music.
It makes me feel
Like the piano is
I feel joyful.
with a sweet sound.
I have fallen
into my music.
like the hum of birds.
Inspired by the poet’s experience, the invitation for practicing joy this month is to listen for and find the music in the elements and in our minds and bodies. In the Northern Hemisphere, during these forty days containing summer’s opening moments and then the settling-in weeks, the sun’s embrace plays over the earth and its living beings as if it were music, and we its instruments. The mystery is that when we the instruments expand into the Joyful Presence of the sun’s music, we too become music.
Again we pay attention to the elements around us and then relate them to their correspondences within.
Earth: our bodies
Water: our blood and bodily fluids
Fire: our bodies’ warmth
Air: our breath
Space: our consciousness
Practicing the Presence of Joy as music coming from the summer sun, we attune to its different notes, rhythms and songs of joy, and enrich ourselves by responding with our own music.
The dawn music coming from the sun singing its wake up melody streams into the bedroom window brightening the shades and pouring over my sleeping body. Before I’m fully awake, the sun song touches my skin and reminds me of a Presence of warm joy. I can then make my stumbling morning journeys to the bathroom, the kitchen, the garden, the birds, the cats, the lingering deer and feel it as music, clumsy music, but still music, my response to the grace of the living Presence that is the summer sun.
The music continues as my shower’s pelting water reminds of the immeasurably luxurious gift of hot running water, making me sing for joy. There is music too in the sound the water makes, and joy in the refreshment it provides to all the waters of my body. From outside to inside, the presence of joy. And from inside to outside, the presence of joy. And all of it music.
The noonday sun beats down a rhythm, offering the world a shout out, a phrase that announces how close it has become; we, the earth chorus, respond, singing back with all our voices, each unique, each growing warmer with the presence of joy in response to the hot music of the sun. Our bodies offer a call and respond chant to the sun’s music: heat up, cool off, heat up, cool off. We can appreciate these bodily miracles as music, and as a living example of Joyful Presence.
The evening sun paints the clouds in music and color; the air glows and changes in the same rhythmic pattern as our bodies: heat up, cool off. The breezes sweeten the song as they feel the colors shift, and the sun’s songs give way to nightsong. Still its presence is experienced as joy in the world, joy moving, joy making music, then sun joy surrendering to another kind for dreaming. We breathe the song, the singing, and become the music.
Joy in the World. And in me.
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