"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, December 26, 2014

All Is Calm. All is Bright.

(The combination of a respiratory bug, holiday activity with family and friends, and an intriguing return of some primordial feelings to work with consumed much of my time this past week.  So, as I have done a few times in the past, I turned back the clock to review and revise the post that I wrote exactly a year ago.  I found it to be quite helpful.  I hope you do as well.  
One Love, Lance)
ORIGINALLY POSTED, DECEMBER 26, 2013
  
“Be still.  Stillness reveals the secrets of eternity.
When there is silence one finds the anchor of the universe within oneself”
― Lao Tzu

“Space and silence are two aspects of the same thing. The same no-thing. They are externalization of inner space and inner silence, which is stillness: 
the infinitely creative womb of all existence.”
― Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment 


In the midst of the scurry of the holiday season; often adrift in a sea of activity and noise (I'd forgotten that many folks leave their televisions on, running in the background), I was especially aware of how precious each morning's meditation was to me this past week.  Flowing through days and evenings chock full of visitations and meals and excited flurries of paper-ripping, my cushion seemed like an oasis.

Touching Stillness, even for a few brief moments, is like sipping clear, crisp spring water on a steamy summer day.  Paradoxically, it's also like feeling the warm glow of a fireplace, snuggling at home on a snowy evening peering through the window at the moon.  In Stillness, the Presence emerges.  In a silent whisper, it sings of the Ineffable, that space where the fundamentally mysterious and completely ordinary meet to form the fabric of Life itself.  

Although I use a variety of meditation techniques, I've found that the foundation of Practice is
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Saturday, December 20, 2014

A Christmas Missive: For Unto Us A Child Is Born

(Only five days 'til Christmas? Time continues to confound me.  Apart from the objectivity seemingly expressed by such things as clocks and calendars (which are far less accurate than we imagine them to be), Time is fundamentally fluid and mysterious.  How could it be otherwise?  Since Eternity exists in each fleeting instant of time, there's lots of elbow room for our subjective experience to bang around in, right?

A case in point:

My Grand-Daughter Keaton Izzy entered this incarnation on Monday, December 16, 2013 and has now had her first birthday.  It seems like her Incarnation into this dimension was only yesterday -- AND that she has been here forever. 

I wrote a piece last year a couple of days after her birth, deeply touched by the Sacred Miracle of her Newborn Presence. I can honestly say, a year later, that peering into her eyes still confirms for me the existence of Perfection in the midst of the apparent chaos of it all.  Coming in the midst of the Holiday Season (her "due date" had been Christmas Day itself), her birth -- like that of each and every being -- is nothing less than a Holy Miracle.  

As I wrote last year, my heart pretty open to the Big Picture, I also took a look at the painful downside of the holiday season.  I hope my attempt to Understand the One Love, in all it's aspects, was, and is, helpful.   Here it is.   One Love, Lance.)
(Originally Published, December 19, 2014. Revised.)

"Each human being is a multiplicity of miracles. Eyes that see thousands of colors, shapes, and forms; ears that hear a bee flying or a thunderclap; a brain that ponders a speck of dust as easily as the entire cosmos; a heart that beats in rhythm with the heartbeat of all beings. "
--- Thich Nhat Hahn

"Every child born is a living Buddha.  Some of them only get to be a living Buddha for a moment, because nobody believes it."
 ---Stephan Gaskin in Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin

Keaton Izzy
Originally scheduled for a Christmas Day debut, Granddaughter Keaton arrived in the wee hours of Monday morning, in plenty of  time to avoid head to head competition with Baby Jesus.  Sporting all ten fingers and toes, sparkling with Buddhanature, her birth, like all births, is another obvious Affirmation of the Miraculous.  As she peered from Betsy's face to mine following the sound of our voices later that day, I could feel her Presence as pure, unadulterated Life Force.  Touched by the Great Mystery once again,  Heart wide open, I felt a deep joy -- and a deep sadness. Sometimes Love hurts.


Even as a child, the Christmas season always brought with it a certain sadness.  Something seemed more than slightly askew.   The messages of "peace on earth" and "goodwill to all", the prevailing storyline proclaiming this to be a special time of mirth and merriment,  didn't resonate with what I was experiencing.  I imagined it was just the chaos and uncertainty of my own childhood that left me feeling somehow "out of the loop".  As the years have rolled by though,  I have thought that less and less as I look around me at the generalized stress and melancholia that seems to emerge during the holidays.  Perhaps, at no time of the year is the disparity between what is and the way it's 'spozed to be so obvious.  Many of us feel that disparity profoundly.
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Sunday, December 14, 2014

Be You Too Full


"OmThat is Full, This also is Full
From that Fullness comes this Fullness, 
Taking Fullness from Fullness,  
Fullness Remains 
Om Peace, Peace, Peace."
Purnamidah, Purnamidam
Opening Verse/Prayer of Isha Upanishad 

     "“Here is, in truth,
the whole secret of Yoga, the science of the soul.
The active turnings, the strident vibrations,
of selfishness, lust and hate 
are to be stilled by meditation,
by letting heart and mind dwell in spiritual life,
by lifting up the heart to the strong, silent life above,
which rests in the stillness of eternal love, and needs no harsh vibration to convince it of true being.”
―Patanjali, The Yoga Sutras 


Although a cold that had been lurking in the shadows for about ten days finally jumped me, stealing my voice and leaving a bad cough in its place, Life continues to be full -- and,
achy body notwithstanding -- quite wonderful. 

Interestingly, as a major Christian holiday approaches, I've found myself reconnecting with some of the Hindu teachings and practices that, along with certain medicinal herbs and compounds, were originally a part of my Spiritual Quest decades ago.  By the time Ram Dass's book Be Here Now captured my attention, I had already begun practicing Hatha Yoga -- entirely from the photographs in books by Richard Hittleman and Swami Sivananda.  (There were no yoga studios to be found in my neck of the woods back in 1969. ) 

Similarly, my introduction to meditation practice began with Richard Hittleman's Guide to Yoga Meditation back then For whatever reason (Grace, Karma, Dumb Luck?), something quite interesting happened in one of my early experiences with candle meditation.  Sitting there in my living room years ago, I experienced a qualitatively different mode of consciousness.  Meditation evoked a Presence of Mind that was palpably vaster and felt more "meaningful".  

I was hooked.
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Saturday, December 6, 2014

Sacred Space

 When we are mindful, deeply in touch with the present moment, 
our understanding of what is going on deepens, 
and we begin to be filled with acceptance, joy, peace and love.”
― Thích Nhất Hạnh

“Delight in itself is the approach of sanity. Delight is to open our eyes 
to the reality of the situation rather than siding with this or that point of view.”
― Chögyam Trungpa, The Myth of Freedom and the Way of Meditation


When I was growing up, being called a "space cadet" was not necessarily a good thing.   Unless you were in the astronaut training program at NASA or something like that, being called a space cadet generally meant that you had a hard time staying in touch with "reality".   A space cadet tended to drift off somewhere, not paying much attention to the elements of the "real world".  Things like being at the right place at the right time doing the right thing weren't exactly a space cadet's forte.

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...)
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