"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.
Thursday, May 15, 2014
When It Rains.......
“Life is glorious, but life is also wretched. It is both. Gloriousness and wretchedness
need each other. One inspires us, the other softens us. ”
Transforming Suffering into Peace, Joy, and Liberation
If all goes according to the current plan, twenty-four hours from now I'll have my nose pressed against the window of an airliner watching the sprawling landscape of Chicago, Illinois receding into miniature behind me. By then, I will have gotten up early, finished packing the bags I'll schlepp with me, traveled an hour by car, spent a few hours in two different airports and traveled about 800 miles through the air. A few days ago, none of this was in the plan. Life is like that.
In the past couple of weeks I've been in the ER, cancelled planned activities to stay with a sick partner -- and then cancelled even more plans to fly out to spend time with an ailing brother.
I actually don't mind rain. In fact I often love it. Whether it's a soft foggy drizzle or a thunder-booming rip-snorting whizzbanger -- or anything in-between -- there is something alive and vibrant about the rain. It is always a reminder of the incredible majesty of Life that dances beyond our ability to control it. Mother Nature just is. She will just do what she will do -- no matter how we think or feel about it.
I feel a lot of gratitude to Mindfulness Practice at this moment. As I sit here with fingers dancing across the keyboard, I see the sun playing hide and seek with storm clouds through the skylight. Through the open window I hear the wind singing in the trees, a collection of birds twittering . I also hear the sounds of Betsy's three year old twin grandkids chattering towards a nap downstairs.
Pausing, letting go for a moment of "thinking mind", I'm aware of my breath and the sensations of my body sitting here, the wind singing across my skin through that same open window. The sounds ebb and flow. The sensations ebb and flow.
Life is like that, too. Constantly changing, it's energies constantly ebb and flow. The Practice brings us into contact with that directly. Life simply is what it is. Then, with Practice, we come to sense the Unlimited Space within all of that -- and beyond all of that. We come to be aware of the existence of Awareness itself. It goes by lots of names. I like the term sometimes used by the Tibetan Buddhists: Primordial Wisdom. Eventually we come to know that we are standing the threshold into our True Nature in every moment.
As best as I can tell, the key to that Gateless Gate is our ability to let go of our desire to control Life to meet our own self-serving agenda in any one moment. If we are willing to dance ahead, holding both the "glorious" and the "wretched" in our hearts, true to our commitment to be kind and compassionate human beings, Life itself holds us close to its heart. A deep sense of peace emerges.
With Practice, we come to see directly that our self-created hell can dissolve at the moment we notice we are thinking and open to feel the Boundless Love that always exists in our heart of hearts. It's sometimes just that simple.
But simple doesn't necessarily mean it's easy. It takes time and effort -- on and off the meditation cushion. It takes a serious commitment to risk heart break, to live from the bottom of your heart, to Love in earnest.