From the sunlit meadow, diamond crispness, space and stillness, grass wet with the morning, she slips into the woodland. A different world, ancient community of beings, darker, richer, more immersive than the open landscape of a moment before. Without intention her body slows, quietens and her footsteps soften. With intention, she softens her eyes, opening out into a wide, soft vision that shifts her perception of everything that surrounds her. Easing her body more deeply to the wood, she softens her footfall, shifting to land silently on her toes first. She mouths out of habit, “Inner, outer, heel, commit”, as she had been taught long ago. She shifts her hearing too, letting go of the reflex of listening to discrete sounds, a bird call, a distant chain saw, a plane unseen above the canopy, to hear everything as equal, as a piece of unstructured music. Soles of feet, eyes, ears attend outwards, with width, with softness, receiving not penetrating. Her breath slows, deepens, undulates, a slow ripple through her slow body.
After some minutes, the world begins to change. Everything begins to stands out towards her with a palpable presence and she can feel the tangible substance of the space between her and each tree that she draws near to and then passes by. Vivid, tangible, vibrant presence of each thing but more than that. The space between everything now has a presence itself. As she moves, she senses that her gently moving body is pushing slow undulations in the fluid fabric of the space between everything.
As she moves on, the edges of her awareness spread out. Her awareness, her consciousness slips away from its former focal point somewhere behind her eyes. It has displaced downwards, spreading out into her body, her chest, the palms of her hands, her belly, her pelvis, the soles of her feet all resonate with the fibre of the wood. And more than this. Her gentle awareness is no longer bounded by her skin and somehow seems to linger all around her, in trees, bushes, glimpses of sky, the rutted ground with its leafy litter. Somehow the sense of her is there too. Her awareness has floated free of her own boundaries. A nearby beech presences itself towards her and she feels it, herself and the space between them as a single presence. The one seeing, the seeing and the seen are the whole.
She walks for a while in this silent, spacious moment, breath slow, every sense alive but without effort or intention. She gently attends to her newly distributed awareness. Moves around in the field of awareness that has opened out. She is within her body, she is over there by the dense holly tree and she is in neither of those places, and everywhere too. But in any moment when she tries to think about or find words for the experience, it collapses back into her head and she is left with only an impression of it. The spacious presence slips away into memory.
After continuing for some while, dancing between this unbounded state and the contracted feeling of thinking, she relaxes into being comfortable with the flip flop and the qualities of the two experiences. Moving so slowly, with such stillness, such openness, she feels that she has stepped into a moment which is outside time. This palpable now is independent of the procession of future moment, present moment, past moment. And it is wide and still. Likewise, the wood has changed too. Somehow the sense of where she is, is the same as the sense of the now, in a way that is outside of place. She mouths again, “Here now in this”. And feels that here and now and this are felt the same, in this moment of awareness. And this unbounded moment of presence can be moved in with exquisite sensitivity of feeling.