"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, March 3, 2018

One Love, One Heart

“In Chinese, the word for heart and mind is the same -- Hsin.
 For when the heart is open and the mind is clear 
they are of one substance, of one essence.” 
-- Stephen Levine

"Love is not what we become but who we already are."
-- Stephen Levine

This has been one of those times.  The computer screen sat here and stared blankly at me for quite awhile. Neither of us seemed to have a clue as to what today's "MMM Courtesy Wake Up Call" might be.

I slept in this morning for the first time in quite awhile.  Although I did awaken at around 5:30 as usual, I read for a bit, then turned over and did  "dozing meditation" in and out of dreams and sleep until 9:45!  I guess being sick for a while, then hustling through days of catching up with everything except sleep finally caught up with me. 

Having dragged myself out of bed so late, I noticed feelings and thoughts emerge that tended towards making a decision to skip this morning's Sit.  It was late. The sunlight and the hiss of traffic on High Street outside the window beckoned me to pack up the laptop and right head down to Greenfield Coffee.   In this scenario, I'd quaff some coffee and sit right down with the laptop to begin this week's blog post.  I was late, after all.  There were many things on the to do list.  There were lots of reasons to keep moving.

I Sat instead.

These days settling into that one hour morning meditation comes quite naturally most the time.  Sometimes, like today, a real "decision" has to be made.  I need to whomp up a bit of discipline.  I didn't feel like Sitting.  I had to stand in the way of my own momentum.  I actually had my hand on the door handle before pausing and taking a deep  breath.  I then turned around, and headed back to the altar. 

Usually, though,  the momentum of a Life of Practice usually just carries me along like an autumn leaf floating on the surface of a dancing brook under a clear blue sky.  Life flows on.  It's nightime, then it's morning.  I awake. I get up, go pee, I Sit.  The real "decision" was made a long time ago.   
Gently Down the Stream

Sitting here, I feel a glowing warmth and appreciation; a sense of wonder and exhilaration.  I feel a deep gratitude for having somehow stumbled and bumbled my way into my 72nd year on this planet, to have realized that this tender, achy-breaky, wounded little heart glowing in my chest is my direct connection to the One Heart of True Compassion.  In fact, I've seen clearly they are not separated by anything substantial.  

Life flows on.  I flow on.  These are "not two".

And yet, lest you think that this means I'm "blissed out" all the time:

In the last 24 hours -- both on and off the zafu -- there have been moments that I've felt frightened, restless, sad to the point of tears, perplexed.  If I widen that window to 48 hours I can add shame, annoyance, humiliation and hopelessness to the mix as well.   

Yet, for the most part, these "negative" emotions and the thoughts that accompany them seem to float their way along the surface of that same dancing brook.  Life flows on.  I flow on.  As this dancing brook moves along toward the sea, there is always breathing and seeing and hearing and the sensations of  Heart/Mind floating along with it.  

These days, even if those types of thoughts and feelings swirl me up with them into the vortex of a momentary whirlpool, I generally just meet them and greet them as old friends, the consequences of our shared human condition.  I breath them into my heart and wish them well as they come -- and go.  Underneath, the water is always pretty calm and pretty clear -- and is essentially no different than the open expanse of the blue sky reaching overhead.

So, I guess its obvious.  For me, it's a done deal.  The commitment was made long ago.

At this stage of the journey, the Practice is doing me as much as I'm doing it.  


snakespeak said...

Thank you. Because of my circumstances, I had to shorten my daily sitting meditation to about 10 minutes and walking to work. Your post reminded me of the depth of access that only prolonged sitting can access. If we do make one commitment in this life, devotion to daily practice should be it. Then, any other engagement will be made with awareness. Your narrative rings true.

Lance Smith said...

I agree that the reach of a Daily Practice is vast. Your ten minutes and the walk to work sound wonderful to me. One of my teachers once said that even getting down and "assuming the position" each day, no matter how briefly had great value. That seems right to me. , IMHO,, the bottom line commitment to touch base each day is the Connection to the Timeless, not the clock time spent each day. Thanks so much for chiming in here!
One Love,

Carol said...

"Love is not what we become but who we already are." Stephen Levine.
Yes, that's what we all need to meditate on at sometime in our lives. Really focus on who we already are. Un conditional love is not as easy as saying it out loud, or writing it down on paper. It takes commitment, discipline, acceptance, vision, sensitivity, and patience. Big patience to see the world through the eyes of others, with compassion and understanding, sacrifice and willingness to BE the one love practitioner of the words, and continually try to live up to them.' It is in the giving that we receive,(St. Francis),' and if we let that happen, put ego aside, trust in our own ability to carry our piece of the cross, we can really grow toward becoming that 'instrument of peace' we seek to find.

Lance Smith said...

Amen, Sister C 🙏❤️