I was recently on top a hill, sitting within a ring of low trees and gorse bushes. The sky over head a classic spring fracture of white clouds, bright blue and sweeping skeins of rain. I’d chosen to invoke an ally, a particular spirit to help in a little practice that I call ‘changing perspectives’.
The process is simple, something I learnt spontaneously as a child. One begins by laying down, focusing on the breath and getting comfortable. On a warm day one might sink into a little sleep and that’s fine. The trick is, on waking to keep the gaze low. Open the eyes, roll onto your belly and look at the earth.
There they are, all the little creeping things, the growers, the flourishers, tiny lives which, looked at the right way, take place around huge citadels. In this case the ‘huge citadels’ are bracken fronds. They are around twelve inches long, tipped with unfurling, fractal heads, spirals curled up against spirals, curled up against spirals… They are huge, at least for the tiny lives that pass below. What is the smallest one I can see with the naked eye? I watch a translucent aphid pace the great length of a grass stem.
Letting my gaze rise a little I can see the bracken stems, marching out across the grey-brown matting of last years growth that carpets the ground. Between these proud green towers creatures hum, and buzz and flutter. The bright sun catches their wings and they shine. Fat rain drops, left by one of the recent showers, glint like futurist windows on stalks and leaves.
Now looking higher, towards the gigantic towering trees and birds, great flapping dinosaurs intent on devastating the insect nation. And higher still until my eyes are following the patterns at the leading edge of clouds, and a tiny black mote which is a hawk soaring. I watch it circling upwards until it is lost into the phosphenes of my vision as the bright sun erupts from behind a cloud.
The sun dazzles with its brightness. I bring to mind the fact that I’m on a planet, resting on the side of the earth currently pointing towards a star. And that star is one of countless billons in our galaxy.
Then I open my attention as wide as a can, try to take in everything, to know and feel that I live in a universe whose centre is everywhere and circumference nowhere found. And that the ‘I’ which I am can travel through these perspectival changes, and is ceaslessly arising as the awareness of all things, from the subatomic to the galactic.
Letting go of these imaginings and settling back to baseline. Allowing the cognative flexibility created by the practice to gently fade into the on-going flow of awareness. Breath, smile.
To conclude this practice I normally recommend some light food and tea eg