"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, April 14, 2018

Both Sides Now

“The most fundamental aggression to ourselves, the most fundamental harm we can do to ourselves, is to remain ignorant by not having the courage and the respect 
to look at ourselves honestly and gently.”
― Pema Chödrön

“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. 
You need to accept yourself.”
― Thích Nhất Hạnh
It's nearly 50ºF outside with spring birdsong and cloud-muted, lemon yellow sunlight pouring through the window.  

I won't get too excited though. 

The crystal ball gazers at the National Weather Service see a cold front descending on us later today with another round of sleet freezing rain, and rain.  I can feel it on the wind already.  Yesterday was a day to be lollygagging and lounging outside.  Tomorrow won't be. 

Such is spring in here in Western Massachusetts.  

Blowing in the Wind

Although this morning's hour long Sit was quite focused and calm, I can sense that there is now some restlessness stirring as I sit here at the computer.  Pausing to breathe and observe this restlessness more closely as it plays across the rising and falling of my breath, it seems to mirror the wind.  Windblown mind-leaves of mild fear, confusion, anticipation, and excitement scurry past the window of my attention and disappear.  Like the wind outside there is movement, then stillness, then movement.  Like my breath, there is movement, then stillness, then movement.  

In the gaze of Mindfulness, sitting here at the screen observing what emerges each moment, it becomes clear that there is also a deep stillness within the movement -- and within that deep stillness, there is movement.  Stopping to notice that, the world expands immeasurably -- and glows.

It's nice when that happens.
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Storms and Silver Linings

It seems that the a number of folks in this week's Mindfulness Circles, myself included, reported that it was being a pretty "rough" week.  Although I was tempted to surf over to one of my favorite astrological websites to check out what in the world (or, perhaps, what out there) was going on, I don't think an extraterrestrial explanation is necessary.  As the Practice develops, we get more directly in touch with the human condition, more in attuned with the way it IS.

Although there is no doubt that there is a greater sense of spaciousness and ease and joy that emerges as we take the time and make the effort to meditate regularly, over time it's probable that we will also get in touch with a lot of subconscious emotional patterns and the narratives and subconscious beliefs that hold them in place.  (i.e., I'm a really inferior human being, all human beings are mean, etc.) Both on and off the meditation cushion, as we open our hearts and gaze more deeply at our experience, at times it may seem that all hell is breaking loose.  

It is.

This is actually a good thing.

Over the years, most of us have accumulated a subterranean reservoir of repressed emotional energy.  As we take the time to patiently and gently observe and touch the layers of fear and frustration and sadness, as we explore our subterranean residues of grasping and aversion, all Hell does tend to break loose.  Yet, as we open our hearts to our own "negative emotions", the shame and humiliation and jealousy and other ghosts and goblins haunting the basement of our mind, there is a Deep Healing.  As these energies are released into the clear, spaciousness of an Open Mind and Open Heart, things shift.  Heaven emerges. 

For some of us, one of the most Healing aspects of this unfolding is to fall more deeply in love with ourselves, with our own humanity.  We see clearly that in this peculiar but precious Heaven that we are co-creating and sharing on this planet, each angel is definitely Flawed -- and each, just as definitely, is Divine.  In fact, as our Practice unfolds we come to see that if we deny either aspect, we are missing the boat to the other shore-- and missing out on a whole lot of fun as well. There is a sense of ease and joy that emerges when we know directly, and accept deeply, that we are each Buddha and Bozo .  

At that point, the belly laugh becomes as relevant -- and reverent -- as the bow.


Back in the days of the Hippie Pentacost, it became clear to a lot of us.  We don't have to die to go to Heaven!  Like Yogi Jesus is said to have proclaimed, the Kingdom of Heaven is right here, right now.  We always exist in the embrace of the One Love, the Infinitely Mysterious that silently whispers within, among, and beyond us.  It seems incredible that simply Sitting Still and getting in touch with our actual experience in the moment can help us walk through the Pearly Gates.  But it does. 

Don't take my word for it though.  In fact, don't take anybody's word for it.  Check it out for yourself.  We all have the on-board equipment to determine the Truth of the Matter for ourselves.

It just takes Practice.

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