"Mindfulness Practice isn't just about escaping to some magical inner realm devoid of life's challenges. The Practice is about progressively opening your heart and calming your mind enough to engage Life directly, to be more fully Present in a kind, clear, and helpful way."
Your MMM Courtesy Wake Up Call! Musings on Life and Practice by a Long-time Student of Meditation.
“The most fundamental aggression to ourselves, the most fundamental harm
we can do to ourselves, is to remain ignorant by not having the courage
and the respect
to look at ourselves honestly and gently.”
When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times
“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others.
You need to accept yourself.”
Thích Nhất Hạnh
it is nearly 50ºF outside with spring birdsong and brilliant sunlight
pouring through the open window, a 20 mph northwest wind that
occasionally gusts as high as 40 mph doesn't make it a day for
lollygagging and lounging outside.
guess I'm grateful for that. I'm committed to a blog post today -- and
one less temptation is helpful. (I just looked down at my cup.
It's empty. I'm tempted to run down for some more tea. It's going to
be one of those kind of days. LOL)
this morning's hour long Sit was quite focused, I can sense that there
is a bit of restlessness as I sit here at the computer. Pausing to
breath and observe this restlessness more closely as it plays across the
rising and falling of my abdomen, it seems to mirror the wind.
Windblown leaves of mild fear, confusion, anticipation, excitement
scurry past the window of my attention and disappear. Like the wind
outside there is movement, then stillness, then movement. Like my
breath, there is movement, then stillness, then movement.
the gaze of Mindfulness, sitting here at the screen observing what
emerges each moment, it becomes clear that there is also stillness
within the movement -- and movement within the stillness. Stopping to notice, the world expands -- and glows.
It's nice when that happens.
seems that the a number of folks in this week's Mindfulness Circles,
myself included, reported that it was being a pretty "rough" week.
Although I was tempted to surf over to one of my favorite astrological
websites to check out what in the world (or what out there) was
going on, I don't think an extraterrestrial explanation is necessary.
As the Practice develops, we get more directly in touch with the human
condition, more in tune with the way it IS.
there is no doubt that there is a greater sense of spaciousness and
ease that emerges as we take the time and make the effort to meditate
regularly, over time it's probable that we will also get in touch with a
lot of subconscious emotional patterns and the narratives and
unconscious beliefs (i.e., I'm a really inferior human being, all human
beings are mean, etc.) that hold them in place. Both on and off the
meditation cushion, as we open our hearts and gaze more deeply at our
experience, at times it may seem that all hell is breaking loose.
This world- absolutely pure As is. Behind the fear,
Vulnerability. Behind that, Sadness, then compassion And behind that the vast sky.
“Real fearlessness is the product of tenderness. It comes from
letting the world tickle your heart, your raw and beautiful heart. You
are willing to open up, without resistance or shyness, and face the
world. You are willing to share your heart with others.”
― Chögyam Trungpa
insight and healing emerge slowly during the course of Practice.
spring unfolding across the palette of April and May, our world slowly
greens and blooms. What was dark, harsh and frigid, slowly brightens,
softens and warms. At a point we notice: It's different now than before. At other times, insight and healing emerge like a bolt of lightning! Zap! Sometimes bursting forth with a torrential downpour of tears,
sometimes not, a Grand Gestalt cyrstallizes in a heartbeat. In a
flash, in an instant, we really get It! Or perhaps, more accurately--
It gets us. It's different now than before.
The Genuine Heart of Sadness Awhile ago, I was fortunate enough to be at Himalayan Views, a nearby spiritual gift
shop/bookstore, to hear a woman describe one of those moments. Suffering
from what had beeen diagnosed as "clinical depression" since adolescence, she
had come across one of Pema Chodron's teachings years later that focused
on what Pema's teacher, Chogyam Trungpa called "the genuine heart of
sadness. " Zap! As the woman read that passage that day, an awakening had come in a flash. Reality asserted itself. She knew. (READ MORE)
It's been another busy week. With hours of Doctor's appointments and long, complicated telephone calls, one hour commutes, and chores and errands for two, I didn't find much time to work on this week's post. So, in anticipation of our first REAL sun sparkler spring day, I'm sharing this early April post from three years ago again. It brought a smile to my face -- and, I hope Mother Nature takes the hint! One Love, Lance
Always Maintain a Joyful Mind?
Originally Posted, April 3, 2014
“When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a deep joy.”
"Notice everything. Appreciate everything, including the ordinary.
That's how to click in with joyfulness or cheerfulness."
-- Pema Chodron
actually didn't mind the long, intense winter at all this year here in
Western Massachusetts. The abundant snow and ice were just fine with
me. Even a frigid February that extended its way through the month of
March didn't seem to phase me. It was what it was. In fact, it was
often quite grand. That being said, Tuesday here in the Pioneer Valley was different.
Although Spring had occasionally whispered in our ear for weeks, on
Tuesday she stepped up to the microphone and proclaimed in no uncertain
terms, "I'M HERE!" And everybody knew it. On
the sun washed sidewalks of Greenfield, good cheer was ubiquitous.
Steps were lively. Joyful Mind was in the air, palpable -- and
greeted one another with nods and smiles. Although I was acutely aware
that here in Western Massachusetts the strains of George Harrison's "Here Comes the Sun" could
quickly morph into "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" in the grand soundtrack
of Mother Nature's movie, it didn't matter. It was a done deal. Mother Nature
could turn on a dime to blow yet another Nor'easter in our face (it was
April Fool's Day after all), and I'd just blow her a kiss. We were
home free. Spring had arrived! In the Lojong Training
of Tibetan Buddhism, a series of aphorisms is memorized, studied, and
used in training the mind to expand beyond it's usual conditioned
patterns. Operating as mental reminders to frame our experience in
particular ways -- both on the meditation cushion and off -- these 59
slogans, arranged as 7 main points, can be quite helpful in cultivating
an open heart and a clear head. Prompted by one of the regulars at
Monday Morning Mindfulness, I've jumped into an exploration of Lojong
for eight or nine months now. Being at heart a Spiritual Practice Geek,
I've read and re-read the presentations of Chogyam Trungpa, Pema
Chodron, and Zen Teacher Norman Fischer, surfed through the on-line
course of commentaries by Acharya Judy Lief, poked around for other
commentaries. (In the past year, I've also poured through the commentaries by B. Alan Wallace and Traleg Kyabgon) Some of these slogans seem pretty
obvious: Don't be jealous, don't malign others, etc. We probably have
heard them from our parents, Sunday school teachers, from some of our
kind and upstanding friends. Others call for an understanding of the
basic principals and teachings of Mahayana Buddhism or some of the
unique notions of Tibetan Buddhism. Reading the commentaries by
contemporary teachers usually brings them into focus pretty quickly and
makes them accessible and applicable. Then there are some like slogan 21: Always Maintain A Joyful Mind! I think a common first reaction to that is "WTF? Are you kidding me?" (READ MORE)