Saturday, April 10, 2021
Sunday, March 28, 2021
-- Albert Camus
“Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don't even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child—our own two eyes. All is a miracle.”
-- Thich Nhat Hanh
The Best Laid Plans...
As Saint John (Lennon) once proclaimed, "life is what happens when you're busy making other plans." It was a good thing that I had used pencil. As it always does, Life happened.
With two Pfizer shots in my arm, and the strict isolation of the past year beginning to disappear in the rear view mirror, two out of my four children reached out for Papa Lance to jump into grandpa duty, including some in-person child care. So, in a couple of blinks of an eye, not only was my weekend scuttled, my ritualized flow through a weekly schedule that had evolved over the past year was up for grabs.
I guess Springtime has a way of shaking things up. What was only a hidden potential unfolds its wings and takes flight. New sprouts push their way toward the sun.
In fact, within a week, a new sprout emerged.
Saturday, March 13, 2021
When there is silence one finds the anchor of the universe within oneself”
― Lao Tzu
"Be still and know that I am God."
― Proverbs 46:10
Sometimes the magic happens when you are meditating with others. In the silence, the illusion of our fundamental separateness evaporates. The "I" becomes "we" -- and we know it.
I think it's even sweeter when it happens that way.
I remember one of those times distinctly. Sitting here now, it seems like it happened in a different world, a long, long time ago. I guess it was. The year was 6 B.C. You know -- six years Before COVID.
were fifteen of us gathered to Just Sit Still during the Wednesday Evening Mindfulness Circle at
the Recovery Learning Community's Greenfield Center that night. As is our Practice, I rang the bell three times and we sat in silent meditation for twenty minutes.
At a certain point, it happened. It got really quiet. Really, Really -- Quiet!
In the silence, I could feel our Shared Presence.
When I rang the bell to end the meditation and begin the Heart Council, the air was electric. I knew that what I had just experienced wasn't just a subjective personal event occurring within the confines of my own skull. I could see it in
As we went around the Circle to compare notes on what we had each experienced during our meditation, the first person exclaimed, wide-eyed, "you could actually hear the silence!"
"Yes. The Silence was deafening!" a second added. Others nodded.
The magic had occurred. In the silence, what my first Zen teacher called the Soundless Sound had emerged as a shared experience. Whenever that happens, even for a few moments, our Essential Oneness within the embrace of the One Love becomes less theoretical. Reality Asserts Itself. You can feel it in your bones.
I love it when that happens.
The Theory and the Practice
Immersed as we are in a patently materialistic society, a milieu that fosters individualism, greed, speed, fear and frustration, Just Sitting Still can be challenging. We have been conditioned to experience our world through mental and emotional states that manifest a lot of noise, restless motion -- and a deep sense of separation. Bombarded with stimulation and stress, our minds habitually filled with incessant chatter, most of us have spent much of our lives being constantly distracted and disconnected from our True Nature. Disconnected from ourselves, we are disconnected from one another. A direct experience of what Thich Nhat Hanh calls Interbeing, our fundamental interconnection with one another and the entire Web of Life, is rarely encountered on a conscious level. Yet it is always there -- always here, more correctly -- in the embrace of what contemporary spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle and others have called the Eternal Now.
Saturday, March 6, 2021
It is the ultimate truth that lies at the heart of creation."
-- Rabindranath Tagore
"“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek
The second book was another small tome, The Wisdom of Gandhi. Deeply touched by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement, I had read that Dr. King had been deeply touched by Gandhi. That was good enough for me. I poked my nose into the book. One of the first passages I read described an encounter between a British journalist and the Mahatma. When Gandhi was asked if he was a Hindu, he replied, “Yes I am. I am also a Muslim, a Christian, a Buddhist, and a Jew.”
It was only today, after a compelling experience yesterday, that I remembered that there was a third book that I bought that afternoon.
Connecting the Dots
If you've been reading this blog for awhile, you probably know that the Lojong teachings of Tibetan Buddhism have been part of my path for the past seven years. I've read and re-read a handful of commentaries, and spent countless hours in the study and practice of the 59 slogans that comprise this system of mind training. Each morning, I cast a slogan to focus on for the day. (See Your Courtesy Wake Up Call: Lojong:Training the Heart and Mind).
- 1. Maintain an awareness of the preciousness of human life.
- 2. Be aware of the reality that life ends; death comes for everyone.
- 3. Recall that whatever you do, whether virtuous or not, has a result; what goes around comes around.
- 4. Contemplate that as long as you are too focused on
self-importance and too caught up in thinking about how you are good or
bad, you will suffer. Obsessing about getting what you want and avoiding
what you don’t want does not result in happiness. ( -- Pema Chodron in Lion's Roar)
I had no idea where that would lead.