How do you know this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience
you are having at the moment."
― Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose
“…feelings like disappointment, embarrassment, irritation, resentment, anger, jealousy, and fear, instead of being bad news, are actually very clear moments that teach us where it is that we’re holding back. They teach us to perk up and lean in when we feel we’d rather collapse and back away. They’re like messengers that show us, with terrifying clarity, exactly where we’re stuck. This very moment is the perfect teacher, and, lucky for us, it’s with us wherever we are.”
― Pema Chödrön
Although the thoughts and emotions that emerge from the causes and conditions of our personal and collective histories can make it appear otherwise, what is right there in front of us is a constant Invitation to the Dance. We can either explore the possibility of opening our hearts and minds (and our eyes and ears and arms, etc.) to appreciate the Absolute Miracle of the Mystery that we are part of -- or not. It's just that simple.
It takes Practice.
Although we have to do some shape-shifting (we've often taken a lot of pride in what our hyper-materialistic society characterizes as "growing up"), we realize along the way that it is best to approach things with the basic openness and curiosity we experienced as children. In fact, Yogi Jesus is reported to have said this is a requirement for entering the Kingdom of Heaven. As Suzuki Roshi presented it, Zen mind is the mind of a beginner.
Although a commitment to a meditation practice is an excellent foundation for honing our ability to settle down to perceive the reality of our own experience in deeper and fuller ways,
the Practice actually develops and matures as we commit to bringing that same curiosity and openness to the myriad interactions our entire lives.
As we open to meet each moment as a teacher and a teaching, as we develop the willingness and ability to let go of our own preconceived notions and the many knots that our graspings and aversions produce, things get easier -- even in the midst of what we might call the "bad times." Approaching each moment with childlike curiosity rather than an agenda, everything shifts.
Through the gracious spaciousness of not knowing, you don't have to work so hard at it. What the Tibetan Buddhists call "Primordial Wisdom" emerges. As you perceive the fleeting and mysterious effervescence of each moment, compassion and understanding naturally arise. And with grace and kindness, sometimes you can even get it right and lend someone a helping hand.
It just takes Practice.