Reeds

All day and night, music,

a quiet, bright

reedsong. If it

fades, we fade.

Rumi

 

As I walked on the path toward the sea, I felt more and more peaceful. The roadway sounds had dropped away and the surface beneath my feet was softening. The trail meandered along a hillside covered with grasses of different colors and varieties. Birds were making their way to the lower side of the slope, which was filled with reed beds.

A local ecologist had recently written that reeds are important to the life of the landscape. Their rhizomes stabilize the sediment in marshy areas and their stalks help protect the shore. In addition to structural support they are a food plant for some species. They also improve the conditions for healthy microbial functions, regulate pollution control, and help support healthy water and climate. Large reeds, such as those along the Nile, can grow two or more meters high.

The reed connects us to our human story. Throughout the world, reeds have provided for our earthly necessities, e.g., food, bedding, containers, medicine, and instruments.   Our human heart and spine are like the reed in their flexibility and centrality to overall vitality. When healthy, they all quietly cleanse, nourish, support, and protect overall harmony and balance, and become conduits to knowing our immortal nature.

When transformed into a flute, the reed forms one of the most ancient and mystical musical instruments.   The pains and sorrows of our life experiences are said to be the holes in the flute. And, when the flute speaks, it wails of being severed from the reed bed and its deepest longing to return to its origin.   The voice of the flute arises from the breath of the divine playing the reedsong through the musician’s breath.   Sincere listeners can hear the reed’s secret song, melt any residual sense of separateness, and merge into the embrace of eternal divine love.

It is no wonder that I felt more peaceful as I neared the open ocean. The reeds were calling me home. In the coming weeks, in awareness of the reeds’ message, I will be more attentive to caring for this precious embodiment as being integral to the well-being of all. I will particularly be attentive to the use of my voice, since like the reed flute, sound is an expression of the breath and breath is a divine gift. I hope you will join me.

Practice

This seated practice helps bring awareness of ever-present love.

  • Prepare –
    • Turn off nearby electronic devices and remove your watch.
    • Find a comfortable seated position. If you are in a chair, please have both of your feet on the floor.
    • Notice the surface(s) beneath you and effortlessly balance your weight between the left and right sides.
    • As you settle down toward the earth, allow your spine and crown of the head to gently lengthen upward.
  • Practice –
    • Breathe a few comfortable and easy breaths.
    • With the eyes in a soft gaze or closed, imagine you are seated on a circle of rhizomes in the earth beneath you.
      • Imagine those rhizomes represent eternal love.
      • Allow those rhizomes of love to grow outward, forming a larger circle of love around you. Let each of those rhizomes sprout love, so that you are simultaneously the center of love, and encircled in love.
      • Breathe, imagine love flowing from one circle to the other. Allow your self to be surrounded, nourished, supported, and enfolded in love.
        • If you wish, continue to grow the rhizomes of love outward. With each outward growth, pause and receive the flow back to the inner circle.
  • Transition back into your day –
    • Sit quietly for several moments. Soak up the wisdom from the reeds.
    • Return to your day.

 

This poem is from Mala of the Heart: 108 Sacred Poems, page 96, edited by Ravi Nathwani and Kate Vogt, and published by New World Library. HEARTH is posted every full and new moon.

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