"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.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Down in the Valley

"The valley spirit never dies.
It is the unknown first mother,
whose gate is the root
from which grew heaven and earth.

It is dimly seen, yet always present.
Draw from it all you wish;
it will never run dry."
-- Tao Te Ching (tr. Waley, 1934)

"When conditions are sufficient things manifest. When conditions are no longer sufficient things withdraw. They wait until the moment is right for them to manifest again."
-- Thich Nhat Hahn, No Death, No Fear



Yesterday's drizzle turned into a more substantial rain last night here in the Pioneer Valley.  I came awake at about 4:30 AM, then rolled over to face the open window.  I listened as the rain's song wove itself in and out of dreams for a couple of hours.  It was simply luxurious. 

By the time I emerged to shower and Sit, the rain was again a whisper of a drizzle.  A few moments later,  as I took the trek across the field in pursuit of a cup of coffee at Atlas Farm Store,  that whisper faded into a few shrouds of mist wandering south along the ridge.  Then I watched as one,  then another faded from view, disappearing into the arms of the gentle breeze sweeping along the ridge.

Now you see it.  Now you don't. 

That brought to mind the time that Betsy and I sat on the shore of a pond north of here a few years back and watched in amazement as white puffs of clouds emerged from the womb of a clear blue sky.  One by one, flowing from north to south, each took form to stream across the sky for a few moments before again disappearing from view.

Mother Nature couldn't  have painted a clearer picture of the Real Deal.  

As Practice develops,  it becomes more and more apparent that we are of the nature of clouds emerging and disappearing in the vast sky of existence.  Watching closely, we see this is happening each and every moment in the stream of sensations, feelings, and thoughts that play through our awareness.  They emerge and disappear.   As we take the time and make the effort, we are able to move through the pain and fear that may surface to gain some semblance of calm, some semblance of of spaciousness, and some semblance of clarity in which to observe the reality of our own experience.  We come to sense directly the ephemeral nature of all phenomenon, of our existence itself.

That, I suppose, doesn't necessarily sound like good news.  
(READ MORE) 

Yet, with Practice, we also come to see that we are not only clouds emerging and dissolving to emerge and dissolve again.   As we are more Present to the reality that exists beyond the thoughts that attempt to describe it, we come to know that we are also the awareness that sees.  

Then, in special moments we sense directly, on and off the meditation cushion, that we are also the limitless, infinite, empty and fundamentally mysterious foundation of that awareness as well.  We come to see that we are not only the glowing multicolored clouds of dawn and sunset, we come to know for ourselves that we are the vast sky itself.

It just takes Practice.

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