"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 9, 2016
On a Wing and a Prayer
“To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake
is to be continually thrown out of the nest.”
``Do not be afraid," the Voice called to him. ``Hang on to the wind and trust!"
-- from "Story of the Jumping Mouse",
in Seven Arrows by Hyemeyohsts Storm
Back in 1970, my kid brother David, who was in many ways my Guru long before I knew much about gurus and the Practice, sent
me a handwritten copy of the "Story of Jumping Mouse". A denizen
of Haight-Ashbury at the time, David had come across this Native American allegory before it appeared
in Hyemeyohsts Storm's Seven Arrows in 1972.
I was transfixed. It was one of those stories.
It resonated deeply with the Heart of the Matter for me. Stirred to the
core, my heart chakra opened once again through a torrent of tears. (Those
were the days, huh.)
A tale of the Spiritual Quest, "Story of Jumping Mouse"
traces the journey of a simple Mouse who heard something one day, a
faint roaring sound that the others didn't appear to hear amidst the
scramble of their day to day existence. His Essential Curiosity
stirred, this mouse summoned up the courage to leave the safety of his
normal life to discover a world of great beauty and magic. With the
help and guidance of other creatures, through repeated acts of courage
and sacrifice, and the willingness to serve others again and again, he developed his
Medicine as Jumping Mouse. In the end, (or perhaps, the beginning), the
Jumping Mouse became Eagle.
I probably personally identify more with the Jonathan Livingstone
Seagull (another spiritual allegory of the early 1970's) than with an
Eagle, I think that the symbol of flight captures something essential
about the Spiritual Path. Years ago, I read of a society in the South
Pacific where the children were taught to fly in their dreams as the
main spiritual practice. Carl Jung believed that flying dreams symbolized the basic human desire for liberation. It seems pretty deep and universal.
seems to me that the more we are grounded in the Practice, the more we
appear able to soar into our lives with a sense of freedom and ease.
Through Mindfulness Meditation, our
willingness and ability to Sit Still to face --and embrace -- every
aspect of our conditioning, the "stuff" that
keeps us landlocked increasingly melts away. As
the Practice deepens a sense of spaciousnesss increasingly emerges, and we are able to turn toward the fear that
naturally arises with greater ease and warmth. Then, at a certain point, we see for ourselves the fluid and evanescent reality that flows through our own experience. Like the paradox of a Zen Koan, our increasing capacity to
actually feel the utter groundlessness
that exists within the fabric of Life itself, enables us to gain solid
enough footing to launch ourselves into the next moment wihout fear or grasping --free as a
Although any word picture of Shunyata, the emptiness asserted in Buddhism, is essentially limited, the
clear blue sky is one image that is sometimes used. In the Tibetan Dzogchen,
one of the meditative practices actually involves gazing at the sky as
you visualize dissolving into its expanse on the outbreath. Although
I've only dabbled with this particular practice over the years --
usually sitting outside at dawn or sunset -- Sitting Still at those
times certainly seemed to be have provided some majestically beautiful
The truth of the matter, though, is that a similar experience can emerge in the very next moment -- wherever you are. Being Present, you feel the Presence.
It just takes Practice. Originally posted December 13, 2013