"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, June 2, 2018

Here Comes the Sun?

 "Things are not as they seem - and nor are they otherwise."
-- Lankavatara Sutra

“To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake 
is to be continually thrown out of the nest.”
― Pema Chödrön


I'm awake at 4:30 a.m. and the birds are beginning to stir in the pre-dawn balmy air outside the window.  Maybe I can catch my first sunrise of the season.

Sunrise? 

Calling that moment "sunrise" is, of course, a classic case of our human propensity to conceptualize things from our  limited perspective.  That isn't really a problem.  The problem is that we then tend to grasp onto the words that describe those relative positions as the absolute truth.  This leads to a whole lot of delusion and suffering.

I imagine any number of Zen students over the years have been whacked by their teachers along the way for being so sloppy in their use of language as to appear to be claiming that they really know what is going on -- while missing the point entirely.

If I choose to believe what I learned back in science class in elementary school -- and in this case I do because it seems that we have actually had some folks brave enough (or crazy enough, perhaps) to place themselves on top of a huge tin can full of explosive chemicals to be then catapulted high enough into the sky to look over their shoulders and take snapshots of our situation from a different perspective -- the sun isn't actually rising at all.  It's got a different set of motions through space.  

It seems to me that we could just as readily call that magic moment of cosmic peek a boo "earth-fall"as the horizon "drops" down to expose the sun which is maintaining pretty much it's same relative position to earth.  Of course, that certainly doesn't seem nearly as positive and promising as Sunrise.
(READ MORE)
 I Feel the Earth Move Under My Feet

So, if I can believe the pictures that those sky jockey's took, what I learned in school was right.  Even before the advent of space travel (on the material plane), some guys with gizmos like telescopes and slide rules, and minds that could create mathematical models out of thin air had figured it out -- without being shot out of a freakin' cannon. The earth is, indeed, a rather round object spinning like a top at 1000 mph as it races along at about 67,000 mph along its orbit around the sun in an incredibly vast sea of space and other stuff.  

If that isn't enough to spin your head around, the sun itself is traveling through space at half a million miles per hour -- dragging the whole solar system along with it!

That being the case, although it makes me a bit queasy to think about it, the "solid ground" under my feet is actually moving really really fast, spinning around and racing through space around the sun -- and moving in other directions and dimensions that they are still trying to figure out.  Yet,  if I head outside and hike up a hill nearby, I may be able to see one edge of that ground (called the horizon) move out of the way to expose the sun as the other edge sneaks up behind me to eventually cover it back up.  

I guess we could call that Earthrise, no?

WHACK!

Duh.  I missed it.  

I was sitting here thinking that I knew what was going on out there rather than Being  with it while it was going on! 

Yet, it's a beautiful, sunny morning out there now.  The birds are still singing.  I should just go Sit and Gaze at the Sky for awhile.*  

It's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it, right?


*Sky Gazing Meditation is a practice in the Dzogchen tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.  I actually stumbled across a form of this years ago when I committed to sit and watch the sunset and passing of the twilight into darkness most every night for a period of a month or so. At a very turbulent time in my life, it connected me to an expansive sense of peace and wonder amidst the many moments of struggle.

One formal instruction involves focusing on each outbreath while allowing the sky to fill your visual field.  While paying no particular attention to the in-breath, each thought, tension, feeling, sensation that may arise is then allowed to dissolve into the sky with the outbreath. I wish I would have had that instruction years ago.  The vast infinite space of the blue sky is a wonderful meditation object.

Nowadays, as a Practice of decades continue to deepen, I'm grateful that a palpable sense of clear expansiveness is more readily accessible no matter what fills my visual field.   I'm ever grateful for the Teachers and Teachings.

2 comments:

K Drake said...

I get quesy with that 1000 mph sensation too.
I like your playful way of sharing your pt of view...and the WHACK! seems hysterically funny from the ease & quiet safety from the chair I now sit. Sometimes a pop up picture appears in my minds eye with audio of the Dalai Lama smiling and laughing, of Echardt Tolle’s laughter surfacing through him like it does & also Pema Chodron. I too feel that delicious giggle at times and I’m grateful for this....those unannounced whacks can be so challenging. :)

Lance Smith said...

Hey Sister K, thanks for chiming in. Thanks for sharing the sentiments and images. As the world spins and races through space, I have a renewed wonder for the Earth's gravity and the vastness of our Heart/Mind Connection the Infinite Space. Embracing both bring me a great sense of gratitude and peace.

And yes, I enjoy that emergence of the Teachers and Teachings in those mind moments as well as they emerge and dissolve.

Then, at times, there are less welcome characters as well. One of the Lojong Practices addresses the "unannounced whacks" of the more challenging or disturbing emotional energies that may suddenly emerge. In the Tibetan tradition they speak of the "dons", which are the less than pleasant "spirits" (evidently remnants of the pre-Buddhist Bon religion). We are advised to "make offerings" to them as well, valuing there ability to shake our complacency and instill deeper humility and compassion.

Again, thanks for your comments here and elsewhere.
One Love,
Lance
<3