Not Black and White

the end of all our exploring
will be to arrive where we started
and know the place for the first time
T.S. Eliot

There will come a time when we will speak about a post-Covid world-view. Philosophers will theorize about the nature of post-Covid being; theologians will suggest that God is a kind of virus that is passed from person to person; and poets will play about with words like monochrome and chiarascuro and the shadows that lie behind the technicolour world we imagine to be reality.

This afternoon, I will post a second guided meditation. For now, I invite you to imagine the contours of a post-Covid world. It may yet be called a new enlightenment.


Look at the photograph of Rome. It is impossible to imagine Rome without the sound of bells. A thousand bells at noon, they say, when many people pause and allow themselves to glimpse the extraordinary amidst the ordinary. Bells have been used in many cultures to signify a call to prayer or to mark the beginning and the end of a period of meditation.

Photo by Magicbowls on

In meditation, I use a Tibetan singing bowl to mark the begining and the end of a session. These instruments are designed so that the vibrations resonate for a long time. Next week, I will explain the way that singing bowls are used to connect with the chakras in our body. I will say something about chakra theory, and direct you to some of the many books which explain chakras.

But now, we begin the day’s meditation.

Take a moment to come fully into your chosen space. Settle yourself as you did yesterday, scanning your body and noting where tension resides. Relax your neck so that gently supports your head.

Close your eyes or focus now on your chosen object. The best way to make sure that your jaw is not tight is to smile. It is utterly impossible to smile while you are clenching your jaw. (Try it in front of a mirror and laugh at yourself).

Now attend to your breathing. Choose one of the two types we have learned and begin…

breathing in…breathing out

like the waves of the sea

coming in…going out

Observe your thoughts as they also settle. Your thoughts will follow your body and respond to the rhythm of your breathing.

There will, inevitably, be external distractions: the sound of traffic; a telephone ringing in an adjoining room; the bark of a dog, or the squawk of seagulls. Accept all of these sounds as signals of life. These sounds are not external to you; they are, in fact, the sounds of your own life. They are the sounds of the people and the animals that share time/space with you. They are the sounds of your own history unfolding. Let them go, let them be.

…breathing in…breathing out

…like the waves of the sea

…going out…coming in

Bring your meditation to a close when you are ready. Open your eyes or draw your attention back from your object to the details of the room you are in. Gently stretch your limbs. Drink a glass of water.


Many people ask if there is an optimum length of time for meditation sessions. The ideal is to build up your capacity for stillness and silence. But please remember that the most important thing is to see meditation as a way of life. It is the regularity that is most important. I am not trying to train athletes !

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