― Thích Nhất Hạnh
― Chögyam Trungpa, The Myth of Freedom and the Way of Meditation
Yet, it could very well be that many space cadets had a leg up on the rest of us.
Being conditioned in the modern world, our legs were usually fully engaged spinning the wheel of the invisible, but very real, mind cage of the contemporary rat race that most people call "the real world." The space cadet seemed not to take all that so seriously. He or she would frequently step off the mainstream merry go round to see what else was happening, peering into an "inner realm" that seemed much more interesting.
Nowadays, I choose do something like that for about 13 hours a week. I call it a formal meditation practice.
I would gladly accept the title of space cadet at this stage of the journey, because in a very real way that is exactly the Practice is. In examining the nature of my own experience, I've seen directly that there is a whole lot more to reality than meets the eye -- or at least the two eyes we generally have been trained to use in the conventional way. ( I won't get into a discussion of third eyes and supernatural vision and Visions here, but...)
With the commitment to Practice over the years, what has become quite clear is that there is a whole lot more space than there is solidity in the nature of things. In fact, even what appears to be quite solid, when looked into deeply, isn't. Infinite space exists there as well. As that is perceived directly, what we conventionally call "things" appear with radical clarity as momentary events flowing within the embrace of limitless space. I've found that to be quite delightful and refreshing.
In practical terms, it is not only delightful and refreshing, it is transformational.
With Practice, the quality of consciousness cultivated on the zafu begins more and more to maintain itself throughout the activities of daily life. When this sense of spaciousness is readily available, all sorts of things shift. Thoughts and feelings that used to dominate my awareness and send me spinning into countless hours of stressful angst at best, or an aresenal of painful and counterproductive actions at worst, rarely do these days. Most of the time, I can pretty much relax, keep my heart relatively open, and do what needs to be done from moment to moment with as much skill and joy and grace as I can muster.
Nowadays, when it becomes obvious that even my best efforts haven't dispelled the storm at hand (inner or outer), there is generally enough ambient spaciousness to see and accept that easily. I can then trim my sails a bit and explore a different tack -- or just turn around and sail away with the wind at my back. It's often just that simple.
Within the arms of this Gracious Spaciousness, mind states that used to attach themselves to the solidity of "me being right" or "me being wrong" are seen for what they are, and the blame and self-blame that had always arisen usually don't seem to form. And even if they do, with Practice they are seen clearly for what they are: ephemeral and fleeting clouds floating in the expanse of an endless sky.
|Returning Home to 108 House This Morning|
Feeling the cool wet air against my skin and my steps flowing one by one along the earth that was sometimes frozen and sometimes yielding, what my first Zen teacher, Gyomay Kubose called the Soundless Sound rang through the valley. In the stillness, it proclaimed quite clearly: the Entire Universe is Sacred Space.
How Cool is that?