Walking on the beach today with my son Alexander and his friends Guthry and Renata Hahm. It was a challenge. The ten year old boys were bickering and debating the theories of particle and astro physics: "I understand the smaller the mass of a star the less gravitational pull it has" retort: "Well, you don't know that for certain, and there are some things smaller than a star that have a great pull like a black hole"....and so forth.
It went on and on. It was time for SuperMonk-mom. I had the boys synchronize their digital watches for exactly five minutes, and told them the goal was to be silent and walk and notice things within that time. At the end of my words they pushed their time keepers in unison. It was a very very pleasant five minutes.
When the five minutes were up we stopped and had a pow-wow. What did you notice in your five minutes of silence? Everybody had something to offer. Guthry noticed how quiet it was. Renata noticed how many seashells their were to find. Alexander noticed that "everyone was watching their watches"...well, he and Guthry were anyways....
Now I suggested we set the alarms for 10 minutes and they were up for it. We did a lot of very delicious walking and looking and breathing in silence.
I noticed how clear the water was when we went round the curve of Moonlight Beach and approached Swami's. You could see small schools of fish in the water. Their was a snowy white Egret perched in the shallow surf and Renata chased after it...
I noticed how much I love the feeling of the water washing over my bare feet and the feel of my breath moving in and out, like the water moving forward and back on the shore. I noticed how my frustrations were falling away, my thinking was slowing down, and how much I love being with children when we are both here in the present moment.
After ten minutes we sat around and shared what we had noticed and now everyone was a lot quieter and ready to notice more so we approached the tide pools with the quiet noticing. They, looking at all the life living in the sand and the water and on the rocks. And I, sitting on the sand, noticed all of life moving by.