"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.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

One Step Forward. One Step Back.

(The causes and conditions that create what Uchiyama Roshi called "the scenery of our life" have kept me from sitting with the Blog again this week, so I turned back the clock exactly one year to the post of January 3, 2013.  Now, with snow transforming the world to white for a few hours before a front moves in overnight to reverse the process with rain and a 50 F daytime temperature tomorrow, it seems like last year's weather, like Life itself,  was about the same -- and quite different. 

Of course, as I relax into the Present Moment, both same and different are themselves obviously the same -- and different! 

I love it when that happens.

As the New Year unfolds, I hope it brings you Deep Tranquility, Sufficient Challenge and Boundless Love.   -- One Love, Lance)
Originally Published, January 3, 2013. Revised.

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers
within yourself that you have built against it.”
― Rumi

"When things are shaky and nothing is working, we might realize that we are on the verge of something. We might realize that this is a very vulnerable and tender place, and that tenderness can go either way. We can shut down and feel resentful or we can touch in on that throbbing quality. ”
― Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart: Heartfelt Advice for Hard Times


It has been snowing steadily all morning and, once again, the world outside the window is being transformed.  In another cycle of what seems to be constant oscillation this winter, a predominantly brown world again fades to white, springlike temperatures plunge into the nether realms.  Perhaps, Mother Nature is doing her part to remind us of the nature of Life itself.

I've noticed that as I sit at the keyboard to muse about the Practice each Thursday morning, there is a particular quality of consciousness that emerges.  Although there are certainly moments of befuddlement and confusion, sometimes swaths of time in which I stammer and stumble ahead haltingly, only to hit the backspace key and take a few steps back, it seems that I generally return to being quite aware of a space beyond any of the thoughts find their way into my fingers.  I generally spend many moments being aware of Awareness itself. I like it when that happens.

There is a problem with it, though.

In reading over some of my past posts this week, I found myself wondering if I was too quick to present the high side of a Life of Practice without acknowledging how very difficult and challenging it can be to truly open one's heart to the reality of the human condition as it is actually lived in our day to day lives.  It seems to me that I can spend a bit too much airtime raving about the fact that Life is Miraculous and Beautiful, not enough time acknowledging that Life Sucks.
 (CONTINUED)
That Life Sucks is, after all, the first Noble Truth of Buddhism.  Suffering, according to the Buddha,  is a basic characteristic of human existence.  It is woven into the fabric of Life itself.  I believe that Jesus was also getting at this when he proclaimed "Blessed be those who mourn."

So, although I am quite grateful for the many moments of magic that grace each day, and quite clear that the Practice continuously supports me to experience that, I also am quite clear that to apprehend the Real Deal, I've had to open my heart and mind to the incontrovertible reality that each of us will die.  I've had to accept that each of us will be hurt, both emotionally and physically, along the way. I've had to see clearly that even in good health and good spirits, we all are likely to experience a myriad of disappointments and dis-satisfactions amidst the mundane realities of our day to day life. 

There will be springlike days.  There will be days with sub-zero wind chills.  Sometimes it's one step forward.  Sometimes one step back.


The Practice doesn't alter that reality.  It simply makes it infinitely more workable.  

Through our commitment to spend time in meditation, through the willingness to gently and carefully open one's hearts to the fear and the frustration and the pain and the grief encountered in our life and in the lives of those around us, we tap into a boundless source of limitless energy and healing.   I call it the One Love.  It is there that our mindful presence meets Presence itself.  It's there that......

Oops. 

I was about to start raving about the Miraculous and the Beautiful again.

Sorry.

1 comment:

Elizabeth J. Neal said...

Toronto-based Mindfulness Everyday, a registered charitable organization, has assembled a dedicated team of professionals, mindfulness