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Rounding in the Age of Awakening. Lessons from My Garden

Rose Rosetree in her perfectly beautiful garden

Rose Rosetree in her perfectly beautiful garden

Finally my garden looks perfect, no weeding required.

Every inch of the garden twinkles, aglow with a pristine white perfection. Because a fresh snowfall brings many blessings, and that is one.

Yet a certain garden-area chore still needs to be done. Blog-Buddies, unless you’re living on Mars, I’ll bet that you know what it is.

Shoveling snow? We’re ready.

Armed with sturdy shovels, my husband Mitch and I take turns. We’re scooping out a path from the house to the street. One small strip to begin, with more clearing to come in the hours and days to follow.

According to the weather forecast, however much show has already landed and stuck — at least that much more will come. Shoveling is to become a way of life for us, lasting a couple of days, at least.

“Words cannot describe the joy of this shoveling experience.”

What? I’m a writer. 😉

I may say many things in this life but never (God willing), “Words can’t describe.” For me there can always be words. And so here goes.

The Unique Joy of Today’s Snow Shoveling

The joy begins with playing dress-up. Last time I got to shovel snow was two years ago.

Down from the top shelf of my closet, hello! Down tumble my trusty waterproof boots. On they go, after the wooly face helmet and my warmest coat. Boots seal up the lavishly long, tomato-red tube socks, knitted for me by my “Mother-in-Love,” Mitch’s mom.

Really, how is this specialness different from dressing up for Cinderella’s ball, or some other grandly special occasion?

Well, it’s for real. Also there is duct tape.

Yes, fairy-tale perfect or not, duct tape must be part of my story. Because these boots are more than 20 years old,. Certain cracks have appeared. Just as you wouldn’t want a beloved teddy bear to lose his stuffing, a snow shoveller really doesn’t want the guts of her boots to plop onto the driveway.

For me, there’s a certain excitement about duct taping my clothing. Never got to do that before!

Shoveling, an Exercise that You Make up as You Go Along

For so many things one might do in life, there are teachers. Those funny teachers, telling a person “the right way” to do this or that. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for those funny teachers doing their thing when it matters. (Haha)

But shoveling snow need not be perfect. At least mine doesn’t have to be.

So I relish the free-form exercise of it. The dance of it. The improvisation.

Results show, too. What fascinating movement to the puzzle of driveway-clearing!

Thinking about it now, I’d rather see results from my dance in this way than if the entire audience at the Kennedy Center Opera House were to spring to their feet, applauding me madly.

That pristine, shimmering snow’s “reaction” is good enough for me.

Hunters, I’m told, love their sport because it helps them to feel one with nature. Personally, I haven’t hunted in this lifetime. Personally, when it comes to physical courage, in this lifetime I’ve been so wimpy that I wouldn’t dare hunt anything larger than a cockroach. Chances are, that animal would devour me before the opposite happened.

Shoveling as my snow sport of choice? It sure brings none of the danger of downhill skiing (more wimpy, on my part).

Yes, it’s official. For now, shoveling show has become my favorite form of one-with-nature, just-big-enough snow adventure.

Only Afterwards Do I Think about “Rounding”

So all-engrossing was that delightful sport, I didn’t think about what I’d been doing until back indoors. And that’s when I made the connection that inspired today’s blog post.

Long ago, way before the Age of Awakening, I was involved in the Transcendental Meditation program. It didn’t take long after my initiation — 47 years ago, plus 2 days — before I was taking advanced courses. Well more than a year of my life was spent doing courses personally at the feet of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and I also attended plenty more TM “Residence Courses” without him.

Every TM retreat highlighted something called “rounding.” Maharishi had us do this sequence:

  1. 20 minutes of meditation
  2. A set of yoga asanas
  3. 5 minutes of a breathing exercise

That full sequence counted as “One round.” After you finished, hooray! You got to do it all over again, as in the Beatles song “Dear Prudence,” where the witty chorus goes “Look around,  round, round.” (You can hear the Beatles sing it at the previous link.)  (As it happened, Prudy is the one who taught me how to do those TM-style yoga asanas.)

What was the point of rounding? It was meant to work like an extra-evolutionary version of regular TM for 20 minutes twice a day, to be followed by regular human activity.

This was one of Maharishi’s genius ideas. (And when I use the word “genius,” I really mean it. Genius is not a word I fling around casually, like the judges on “Chopped.”)

Maharishi understood that experience at the Divine level needed to be stabilized, or integrated, through human activity. He was so right.

And recommending rounding, or that much TM, was right, too… for the time in which Maharishi taught folks like me. Long before the Shift into this Age of Awakening.

By Contrast, What is “Rounding” Today?

In this Age of Awakening, any Technique Time is far more potent. Long-term members of this online RES community are familiar with the concept of 20 Daily Minutes of Technique Time, Tops.

Limiting spiritual and psychological practices for self-growth, to this extent, doesn’t just help us to evolve most rapidly on the path to Enlightenment. There’s a protective value. Keeping Technique Time down to a maximum of 20 minutes is the single most important way to avoid spiritual addiction.

Ironically, if you’re aiming for Empath Empowerment®, that “Less is more” approach will help you.

And even after moving into Enlightenment, it’s important to limit Technique Time in this way.

In this Age of Awakening, what do we gain from alternating 20 minutes of Technique Time, total, with human-type activity? Exactly the benefit of rounding.

The funny thing is, after crossing the threshold into Enlightenment, ordinary human activity (even without any Technique Time) is enough to heap glory on glory. While a simple activity, like shoveling snow, makes it easier to notice this with no distractions.

  • Not because you’re shoveling the snow as a form of mindfulness meditation.
  • Not because you’re trying to shovel snow “from the heart” or “in a spiritually authentic manner.”
  • Not because you’re repeating like mad, “My Beloved Father-Mother God is twinkling in every perfect snowflake.”
  • Nope, regular human activity: Bend and scoop and  fling and blow your nose and, maybe, sometimes, smile.

What a novel way to evolve when living in Northern Virginia, where slow-motion blizzards seldom entertain us.

P.S.

Can there be spiritual evolution once you have moved into Enlightenment? Certainly.

My friend David Buckland is just masterful at delineating this growth within Enlightenment from the perspective of consciousness.

Me, I’ll content my self with the human perspective, as an Enlightenment Coach who specializes in Householder Enlightenment. From that perspective, I have to say that shoveling snow makes for the most colossally sweet rounding.

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  1. 1
    Gia says:

    Really sweet and beautiful Rose

  2. 2
    Isabella C. says:

    I shoveled snow yesterday too… but I did it after midnight. 🙂 It’s great exercise!

    Maybe I don’t do techniques in the midst of activities like shoveling snow, but I might as well have been for all the joy, beauty, and peace I experienced while out there!! Today I am going to go out before the sun sets. Better get a move on.

  3. 3
    Isabella C. says:

    My outfit did not involve any duct tape, but it did involve plastic grocery bags. 🙂

  4. 4

    Thanks so much, GIA and ISABELLA C.

    ISABELLA C, thank you so much for the version of my experience that was your experience.

    Both of us, living in Householder Enlightenment and not doing Technique Time but simply shoveling snow as human beings, enjoying the magnificence.

    Of course, long before Enlightenment we can enjoy ordinary activities of human life.

  5. 5

    Shoveling snow at midnight, there can be such romance.

    One of my Facebook friends posted a video of taking her children out for “Night Sledding.”

    Doesn’t that sound gorgeous. And tonight is the full moon, fellow romantics who are in love with life!

  6. 6
    Kira says:

    No shoveling for me this year.

    In previous years, I have had instances of both loving and hating shoveling. I agree that there’s something magical about new-fallen snow, but those times when we’ve gotten a snowfall, then a hard freeze, then more snow—I have been afraid I might fall and break something several times. So I confess I’m a bit relieved that I can’t do it this year.

  7. 7
    Kira says:

    At the same time, though, I won’t be putting my sled to use this year.

    I’ve never sledded because I grew up in New Orleans, where there’s no snow. I bought myself a purple plastic sled, but I haven’t gotten up the courage to try it yet, since I have no idea what I’m doing and I think stopping will involve either hitting a tree or coasting out into the street. (I live on a hill.)

  8. 8

    I love your enthusiasm, Rose! I really enjoyed reading this post. Your garden in this photo certainly is lovely. ;D

  9. 9
    Isabella C. says:

    Oooh yes. I’m sure there were differences but I have enjoyed snow in the same way in years past, before Enlightenment.

    And last night, I did pause outside for about 30 seconds for some fresh, nature-full technique time. 🙂

  10. 10
  11. 11
    David B says:

    Well, Rose, I’m not living on Mars. And no snow here. In fact, a friend was showing me her garden today. The early bulbs are up a couple of inches, here in western Canada.

    But I have heard you’re having quite the weekend weather. And I’ve had the experience of digging out. But usually somewhere else. 🙂

  12. 12
    David B says:

    re: Comment 5
    Yes, the Full moon is in Cancer, in Pushya nakshatra. About the best place for one.

    The Queen is in the place of nurturing. 🙂

  13. 13
    David B says:

    On rounding, you are rusty Rose. A round was asanas, pranayama, meditation. But yes, it has changed even in TM. Before my time, it was basically unlimited. By the mid-70’s 4&4 was the max. (8 rounds a day) Now it’s 2 & 1. And of course, this is only in a retreat environment.

  14. 14
    David B says:

    But yes. Even with that, there is lots of examples of spiritual addiction on those courses. You don’t become enlightened by avoiding life or anything else.

  15. 15
    David B says:

    Prudence went on to become a Sanskrit scholar, academic, and film producer. She disappeared from the TM scene for years until 2013 when she spoke a few times about those early days and the Beatles in India.

    If interested, I posted a couple of articles with interviews on my site. Just search Prudence.

  16. 16
  17. 17

    DAVID, you are totally right about the order for rounding. Shows you how far away those times are from now.

    Good to hear about Prudence’s career. I liked her a lot. She and her husband Al were on a long course with me (rounding away) and they brought their toddler, Logan. I wrote a poem for him.

    It was the first time anyone I knew someone my age who had a baby.

  18. 18
  19. 19
    David B says:

    I heard today your area got almost 3′ of snow.
    Those gloves look like they’ll need duct tape now too. 🙂

  20. 20
    Amanda says:

    Rose, I do like to think of you out there in your duct-tape boots in the joy of snow shovelling!

    We don’t get much snow in East Anglia but I get great joy and satisfaction from dressing scruffy and shifting logs. Simple, help-yourself, human endeavour!

    Love,

    Amanda

  21. 21
    Cathy says:

    Love your picture 🙂 The whole article made me smile. Love the duct-taped boots.

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