Imagine yourself under water, still fully able to breathe.
Now try moving.
Move just one arm and hand, slowly at first. Can you "feel" how the "water" streams around the arm, between the fingers, across the back of the hand and all around? As I do it now, I feel a fluidity in the movement itself, as if my arm and hand suddenly have a new life to them.
If you are doing it now, can you feel how graceful your moving has already become? And how effortless? Linger in this feeling as long as you like while continuing to move. And if you like, gradually let the rest of your body join in.
Now allow yourself to come to stillness and sense the air with your whole body. Rather than searching for a particular feeling, let it emerge on its own, as if you were listening with your skin for the air to speak. You do not have to reach out or try to do or feel anything. After all, the air is already all around you and inside you, touching you.
As I look out at the stand of hemlocks, they are swaying, playing at their tai chi. I feel the same air that is moving them moving now across my back and shoulders and neck. In this, we are united, touched by the very same wave, each moved and moving in our own ways, and also, amazingly, joined in an exchange that is larger than us both, in which all life, plant and animal, is participating in every moment around the entire planet, a giving and receiving between these large living kingdoms on a cosmic scale, a recycling and revitalizing of the air that also recycles and revitalizes us.
And this dynamic exchange, wonder of wonders, maintains this thin and strangely vulnerable invisible blanket of atmosphere that wraps and hugs our round home within the unthinkable vastness of the vacuum we call space, a vacuum of almost emptiness, almost nothing.
And that, from our point of view as living creatures, is everything…because without the invisible air, we are soon nothing again ourselves.
Excerpted from Coming To Our Senses by Jon Kabat-Zinn. Copyright © 2005 by Hyperion, Inc. All rights reserved.