ZUBIN
MATHAI
author of the oarsman
Mindfulness
October 8, 2016

I went for a hike later than usual this morning, so it was already quite warm when I got to the top of the trail. I was sweaty from the climb, and breathing heavy, and suddenly the way the sun sparkled off a boulder to my right caught my eye. The slope of the boulder, it’s whiteness, and it’s angle facing the sun, as if prostrating to a life-giving warmth, drew me to sit for a moment. The boulder was scorching when it touched the back of my legs, so I drew them up to my chest and looked around to relish the gift of solitude.

I thought I’d try meditating — a little bit of mindfulness — so I cleared my head and returned to my breath over and over again. My mind kept intruding, kept trying to noisily lay claim to the moment, so instead I shifted my attention and looked down over the city in the valley. A few birds circled on thermals in front of me, as if they were struck silent by the view below too. Trees lined streets, cars moved as if with no engines, and tiny people with places to go walked through the scene. And for the ten minutes I stared, not a single thought passed through me, and all I was was the moment.