Early this rainy, Sunday morning in May, I put on some shorts and a sweatshirt, got on my hands and knees and planted Impatiens in a shady section of the garden. When I'm out in Nature, I prefer listening to its wondrous sounds. But living in town, one can never truly get away from the noise of cars and people going by. So as I went outside I put my headphones on, plugged them into my iPod, and started playing Bach organ music.
About fifteen minutes into the planting, I had already lost track of time. I had ditched my work gloves ten minutes earlier, for I wanted the feel of the moist, healthy dirt on my fingers. The rain was very gentle... almost more of a fine misting. And the reverberating sounds of Bach--in my humble opinion, the closest thing to perfection a human being ever produced--filled my head.
At one point in the music, when the Bach prelude I was listening to was wrapping up after a long, carefully built-up pedal point (the classic sign that the piece was about to end), he played a deceptive cadence that came out of nowhere. The six-minute piece spun on for another two glorious minutes!
When that deceptive cadence hit, I was on my knees with my upper body and head reaching through a blooming Spirea bush, and I had a huge smile on my face. And I suddenly realized that at that moment, I was truly content. Gone were the day-to-day cares of living, of planning for the future, worrying about all my responsibilities and reflecting upon the past. I was in a continual "now," with no cares in the world for anything other than the present moment. If this is the state Buddhists call "nirvana," then I was in the zone.
What made it possible? I suppose removing myself from my work desk, being outside, connecting with nature (rain, dirt and living plants), and listening to music of the highest quality, played loudly enough that it didn't allow any other aural distractions.
Whatever allowed it to happen, I am grateful that it did, for it was a bliss that bordered on ecstasy. And it felt like "home."