in order for the truth to have a chance to penetrate, to reveal itself.”
― Thích Nhất Hạnh, Buddha Mind, Buddha Body: Walking Toward Enlightenment
“Mere philosophy will not satisfy us. We cannot reach the goal by mere words alone.
Without practice, nothing can be achieved. ”
― Swami Satchidananda, The Yoga Sutras
|On the Way to the Bus|
In the past week, I have experienced many moments of bliss and wonder amidst the ever-changeable changing of the season here in Western Massachusetts. The external weather wasn't the primary cause of the shift. It's been all over the place. We cruised through getting drenched and cold, then an 80 degree day, then more rain and an overnight in the lower 40's.
It happened a couple of days ago as I walked to the bus. I was awestruck. The clouds and sky and hay fields and ridges made the words "white" and "blue" and "golden"and "green" woefully inadequate. As Jesus and Lao Tsu and Walt Whitman and a host of other seers and saints recognized: Mother Nature rocks!
Getting Out of Your Head
When we come to our senses beyond the constraint of the thoughts running through our minds, and really pay attention the lilies of the field, or the valley spirit, or the leaves of grass, the Ineffable Presence emerges. Although I can sometimes wax poetic about clouds and sky and hay fields and ridges (e.g. "multicolored dancing", "vividly deep crystalline", "shimmering", "muted softly into grey green by the heavy breath of summer", etc.), it is quite clear to me as I sit here at the keyboard: words can only hint at, not capture, the majestic and mysterious Essence of Life as it flows through the eternity of such moments.
Life, as it is, is nothing short of a Holy Miracle.
It happened moments later that very same morning. I felt the Presence as I bounced along on the bus to Greenfield, engaged wholeheartedly in an insightful but lighthearted conversation with some folks from the Recovery Community.
A couple of hours later, I felt the Presence as I meditated with folks at the #OMG! Noon Vigil on the Town Commons in the midst of the hustle bustle of Greenfield's downtown intersection with truck engines roaring and ambulance sirens wailing. At that point, I engaged in Tonglen Practice, opening my heart to the tumult and pain and fear on the in-breath, radiating aspirations for peace and healing outwards on the out-breath from the Heart of Hearts that we share throughout space and time.
As you can see, I can certainly ramble on about the Presence. Yet, in all honesty, it's beyond words.
Yet, with Practice we come to see how deeply the thinking mind can distract us and distort the world we are experiencing in any one moment.
With Practice, with our commitment and effort to cultivate the clarity, kindness and compassion that resides in our Heart of Hearts, we awaken to a realm of experience beyond the thinking mind, a quality of consciousness that we generally have been programmed to ignore. With Practice, with our growing ability to accept and embrace all of our experience, the world expands to include the miraculous that exits in the midst of the ordinary moments of our lives.
How cool is that?
It just takes Practice.
Originally posted, September 5, 2014. Revised.