Whenever I come home from sitting with Asha I usually share with my wife, Michelle, the things that Asha said that struck me as meaningful or insightful, and the many lessons that I was learning. Michelle was intrigued by her and decided that she would like to sit with us one morning. Her only reservation was that she doesn't practice seated meditation and, in her words, "An hour is a looooonnnggg time to sit still. She wanted me to check with Asha to make sure that it wouldn't be taken as rude or violating decorum if she got restless or anxious and needed to get up and leave. I emailed Asha, and this was her response:
sure. she can come and go as she likes and wiggle as much as she needs...burp, cough, laugh or cry.
The next morning Michelle and I met Asha down in her Tea House. They instantly connected with a natural organic ease. And Asha started teaching: Michelle, if you feel like you have to move or get up, please feel free. You can try standing and swaying side to side. I find that often helps. You won't be bothering us. You're a part of nature just like the trees and birds.
Michelle sat, very still, for an hour. It was amazing.
Forty-five minutes into the meditation something else amazing happened. All was quiet and still, with just the sound of soft breath and the gentle trickle of the stream outside, when all of a sudden SMACK!, a large bird crashes into the glass window just in front of our faces, leaving a large splatter of what I assumed was brownish green bird poop smeared across the window. We all were startled and gasped with surprise. Then Asha said two sentences with the same breath: First, "What a mess!" . . . and then, "How beautiful!" She was fascinated by the design the splatter had left. She said it looked like two eagles soaring. I have to be honest all I saw was a wild design of bird poop (which in reality ended up being mud from alongside the stream).
Asha is an artist and has an artist' eyes. She is always pointing out remarkable subtleties of light and shadow and color. But it's also much more than that, because I realized that those two sentences perfectly and succinctly express the quality in her that so many feel when we are around her: her ability to lovingly see, honor, and appreciate the totality of our human condition. What a mess! How beautiful!
(Art by Asha Greer, from her collection of Meditation Cards.)