"Mindfulness Practice isn't just about escaping to some magical inner realm devoid of life's challenges. The Practice is about calming your mind and opening your heart 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, June 11, 2015

Here Comes the Sun?

 "Things are not as they seem - and nor are they otherwise."
-- Lankavatara Sutra


“To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake 
is to be continually thrown out of the nest.”
― Pema Chödrön


I'm awake at 4 a.m. and the birds are beginning to stir in the darkness outside the window -- an hour before sunrise. 

Sunrise? 

Calling that moment "sunrise" is, of course, a classic case of our human propensity to conceptualize things from a limited perspective.  That isn't really a problem.  The problem is that we then tend to grasp onto the words that describe those relative positions as the absolute truth.  

I imagine any number of Zen students over the years have been whacked by their teachers along the way for being so sloppy in their use of language as to appear to be claiming that they really know what is going on -- while missing the point entirely.

If I choose to believe what I have learned along the way -- and in this case I do because it seems that we have actually had some folks brave enough (or crazy enough, perhaps) to place themselves on top of a huge tin can full of explosive chemicals so that they could be catapulted high enough into the sky to look over their shoulders and take snapshots of the situation -- the sun isn't actually rising at all.  We could just as readily call that magic moment of cosmic peek a boo "earthdrop" -- although that doesn't seem nearly as poetic. 
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So, if I can believe those pictures, what I learned in school was right.  Even before the advent of space travel (on the material plane), some guys with gizmos like telescopes and slide rules, and minds that could create mathematical models out of thin air had figured it out without being shot out of a cannon. The earth is, indeed, a rather round object spinning like a top in an incredibly vast sea of space and other stuff.  

That being the case, although it makes me a bit queasy to think about it, the solid ground under my feet is actually moving really really fast, spinning around and racing through space around the sun -- and moving in other directions and dimensions that they are still trying to figure out.  Yet,  if I head outside and hike up a hill nearby, I may be able to see one edge of it move out of the way to expose the sun as the other edge sneaks up behind me to eventually cover it back up. 

How cool is that?

WHACK!

Duh.  I missed it.  

I was sitting here thinking that I knew what was going on out there rather than Being  with it while it was going on! 

Yet, it's a beautiful, sunny morning out there now.  The birds are still singing.  I should just go Sit and Gaze at the Sky for awhile.*  

It's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it, right?


*Sky Gazing Meditation is a practice in the Dzogchen tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.  I actually stumbled across a form of this years ago when I committed to sit and watch the sunset and passing of the twilight into darkness most every night for a period of a month or so. At a very turbulent time in my life, it connected me to an expansive sense of peace and wonder amidst the many moments of struggle.

The formal instruction involves focusing on each outbreath while allowing the sky to fill your visual field.  While paying no particular attention to the in-breath, each thought, tension, feeling, sensation that may arise is then allowed to dissolve into the sky with the outbreath. I wish I would have had that instruction years ago.  

Nowadays, I'm grateful that a sense of clear expansiveness is more readily accessible no matter what fills my visual field.  )

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Seven x seven times?! "time" a word used to calculate human expansion?
I am just now beginning to hear what my soul is saying, it takes my breath away. Could this be as you say (the out breath) and expansion of knowing my infinite oneness with no clocks, no time, no words?
As the sun shines on the faces of the birds perched in the trees outside my window, they sing a salute to the sun, joy for the moment in time, as they will bid it good night with song as the world turns away from the brightness. It's magical. It's a flash and my soul says drink it in and enjoy the experience, the expansion of me.And my heart leaps for the human explanation, more time.

Lance Smith said...

Sounds wonderful! In my experience, at a certain point the human "explanation" rings clearly -- without words! Words only emerge in the next moment, poetry whispered to remind us of the One.