"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.
Sunday, March 6, 2016
Just This Breath
“Let go of the battle. Breathe quietly and let it be. Let your body
relax and your heart soften. Open to whatever you experience without
A Path with Heart:
A Guide Through the Perils and Promises of Spiritual Life
“Mindfulness isn't difficult, we just need to remember to do it.”
Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation
Sir Lancelot in Armor
In a heartbeat, I was there. Surprised and confused by the strength of the pain and anger that appeared to fuel the words directed at me, I did what I've been conditioned to do. I "fought back", debating him point by point, for a few moments. Then, I mustered up whatever goodwill and good sense I could muster and said something like "Well, it's obvious that we aren't going to convince one another here. Why don't we just let it go?"And we did.
Although I was able to reclaim a sense of ease fairly quickly, and open my heart up to my "antagonist" during the rest of the gathering, it wasn't over. Compounded by a couple of more difficult encounters with others, the repercussions reverberated through a series of interactions (and my head and heart) -- for days. Finally, it led to an even deeper recognition of the Real Deal. Although ultimately quite mysterious (past lives? collective karma?), I have no doubt about it: Karma exists. It is an inexorable force.
"What's coming down in our lives is a result of what we're up to -- and what we're up for!"
-- Yours Truly
Once we decide that we're up for it, the Universe will provide numerous opportunities to put up or shut up in the Mission Impossible quest to honor a commitment to the Bodhisattva Vows. Although I have no clue as to the ultimate reverberations of the all of this, it's obvious that sometimes just shutting up and putting up with a passing comment is wisest. I didn't do that at the time, and then my botched effort to process the event with my best friend later caused an even deeper personal morass. Yet, sitting here now I can look at the whole sequence of events as being quite worthwhile.
What I discovered, once again, is how deeply I can engage life as a "battle". As I explored the fabric of thoughts and feelings that emerged over the course of several days, on and off the zafu, I saw myself toppled from my own comfortable notions of being a "righteous warrior" to be thrown into the abyss of experiencing myself as "abused and abandoned". It was a wild ride.
Thankfully, a lifestyle that includes periods of daily Meditation and Study gave me ample space and time to breath some ease into the cluster of intense, darker energies that occasionally returned to draw my attention. Although it took some time and effort over the course of a few days to transmute the energy into a bit of insight and compassion, this morning I again realized that beneath the clouds of self-absorbed thoughts and feelings, there is always an essential choice to be made. (Spacing out to a delightful comedy last night on Netflix probably helped, too. LOL)
Jesus and Buddha Agreed: Love is the Answer
You don't have to be a great scriptural scholar to realize that both Jesus and Buddha taught that undue attention to our own personal self-centered concerns just doesn't cut it. Jesus's famous guidance in the Sermon on the Mount to "turn the other cheek" and "love your enemies" is echoed in the teachings of the Buddha -- and not just in the Mahayana tradition where the teachings tend to idolize the Bodhisattva (one who is willing to forestall enlightenment in order to serve others). In fact, just three verses into the Dhammapada, one of the earliest codifications of the words of Buddha found in the Pali Canon of the Theravada, we read that just the thoughts "He abused me, he struck me, he overpowered me, he robbed me" will always serve to foster hatred and make matters worse!
Yet, this morning I realized clearly that this is exactly where I had gone -- again. At a certain point I caught myself mid-thought, once again revving up on what had been "done to me", what I wasn't getting from my friend. I just let that thought go and took a deep, conscious breath. What then emerged from my heart of hearts was the intention to focus instead on what I could do to ease her burden at this point. The choice made, my heart glowed and the world brightened instantaneously.
My energy and spirits have cycled upwards ever since.