The night is still and calm, a pleasant and welcome change from the winds that has blown down from the mountains, sweeping across the plains in furious gusts. I open the window fully to the sweet nightingale song that fills the air, travelling over the rooftops from the distant bit of dense forest. I am not sure if it is just one bird or more, I think there might be two or three. The liquid honey-like sweetness pours into the night, effortlessly, easily. The night is bright, although the moon is yet to rise in the eastern sky. Against the soft grey sky, the silhouette of the mountains rises majestically, framing the horizon from end to end. In spite of the harshness of the outline the mountains make against the sky, the quality of night manages to soften it, making the mountains blend with ease into the surrounding darkness.
Nights are special, not just for the rest that it brings, but for the softness that is its inherent quality. When the senses are not heightened by our surroundings, there is a possibility to relax, a chance to be at ease. And the night helps us by wrapping us in its gentle greyness. As I stand at the window, everything that seemed so important and so crucial by daylight, now seem far away. I welcome this gladly, because it lets me listen. When our world is filled with tasks and to-do lists and chores, there may not be an opportunity to be the observer rather than the observed. The night, with its cooling and healing attributes encourages us to practice just that, be the listener and observe. The nightingale who relentlessly sings to its mate, the owl that hoots in the forests of the mountains. The feline cry of a patrolling cat, the gurgling of water as it gushes through the canals down into the village. I breath the sweet air of abelia that blooms right next to the stone wall, allowing the heat of the stones that was stored during the day to now release the faint sweet perfume into the air. A cool breeze smoothens and caresses the forehead. And everything becomes easier. It becomes easier to breath, easier to observe. Easier to listen. For the mind that was so full of activity leans back into the restful arms of the night.
Listening to the senses outside is an easy way to start listening inside. And when all is said that needs to be said, and all is heard that needs to be heard, there is a glorious opportunity to simply be. It takes time, the mind wanders off, thoughts crowd the mind, the activity begins. But knowing these, acknowledging them and understanding that this is the way the mind works, that that is its nature, we allow ourselves to be filled with a deep compassion for what might have seemed initially disturbing. It is when we see the nature of our wandering mind and let that be, without trying to fight it or change it, but just accepting it for what it is, that change does happen. Unknowingly at first, then consciously. The change is not in the way the mind works, but in how we respond to it. We accept our minds and when the thoughts are no longer important, for they will lose their significance, we rest back into this ease. This sukha, as it is called in yoga. Night is particularly significant in practicing this resting in awareness, when the gentle quality permeates the air we breathe and the sky that shelters us. The ease will happen, the sukha will happen, the mind will rest, the true self will observe, the breath will guide. We begin by listening and then responding to what the universe whispers back.
Night is when I breathe
my own quietness
that beats in my heart.