"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.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Sacred Space (Reprise)

(After an intense run of heightened activity, with family matters and the Save the RLC's Greenfield Center campaign bringing up a burst of emotional clouds at one point, the skies have cleared once again.  Taking a bit of space to delight in the Gracious Spaciousness of it all, I'm offering forth, once again, a previous post.  I hope you find the space to appreciate it.  One Love, Lance)


 "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 rat race of the modern world, our legs were usually fully engaged spinning the hamster wheel of an invisible, but very captivating, mind cage 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 what the Practice is.  Our "inner space" is the final frontier.  In examining the nature of my own experience, in exploring what had previously been subconscious, 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...)
(READ MORE) 
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 fact, is not only delightful and refreshing, it changes everything!

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 arsenal 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 more easily.  I can usually relax, and  trim my sails a bit and explore a different tack if necessary --  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 usually 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. 

In the warm light of Mindfulness, it becomes obvious as well that the sun is always shining in the Gracious Spaciousness of that sky.  As the clouds form, float and disappear, the sun's always got their back.  The One Love is omnipresent.

Returning Home to 108 House This Morning
More and more this is apparent.  Even gloomy, drizzly days shrouded in fog and mist like this morning can become clearly luminous.  As I tromped through the mist, rain, snow, and mud to grab some yogurt and coffee at Atlas Farm Store, there was a warm glow.  It felt obvious that the One Love had my back.

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?


Passing the Hat for the RLC's Greenfield Center

The Wednesday (and Tuesday) Mindfulness Circles take place at the Recovery Learning Community's Greenfield Center, the hub of a vibrant and very special peer support community here in Western Massachusetts.   It's existence has been threatened by a recent shift in the town's priorities for CDBG funding.  With a bit more compassion for my friends in the clergy who have to do this all the time, I'd like to "pass along the donation basket" and ask you to consider to join in the effort to Save the RLC's Greenfield Center. 


If you'd like know more about this: Here's a guest column I wrote for our local daily:

Here's a 5 minute video on the effort:
https://www.youcaring.com/western-mass-recovery-learning-community-rlc-419925
(You can also make a donation at that link or the button to the left) 

and, if you still want more:
In his own inimitable -- and a bit more blatantly political -- style,
my identical twin Brother Lefty blogged about it yesterday as well!
Rambling On with Brother Lefty Smith, S.O.B.*


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