"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! The Musings of a Long-time Student of Meditation

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Nothing Special. No Big Deal. (Part Two)

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
and rightdoing there is a field.
I'll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass
the world is too full to talk about.”  
-- Rumi

There's a first time for everything.  

I suppose there is a last time for everything as well.  Each unique moment arises and passes away within the flow of eternity, so quickly that we can't actually grasp it.

With any luck at all, though, we can notice it, And, it seems to me, being Present, wihout judgment or commentary, is where the Real Magic exists.

Of course, this is easier said than done -- especially when I'm sitting at the computer intent on scribing a blog post.   

Usually I complete a piece and let it go.  Last week, I came to a point where I realized there was much more to say about the notion that there is really Nothing Special, that each moment of experience is No Big Deal.  I judged the commentary as incomplete.  Sigh.

Which brings me to the Present.  Sort of...

Looking back to that post, I saw that I wasn't satisfied with having proclaimed that in my Heart of Hearts I believed that everyone and everything should be loved and appreciated --and then immediately went on to say that this was No Big Deal.  Seemingly, I'd proclaimed that Unconditional Love was Nothing Special.  Another way of saying that is "God is No Big Deal!" That sounded a bit blasphemous, no?

And yet, as I Sit here this morning with the sun playing hide and seek with the clouds in a crisp blue sky,
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listening to the sound of the neighborhood birds twittering outside the window, I again sense the Presence of the Sacred.  There is a brilliance, a vividness, a tangible energy to the present moment, a feeling of calm exhilaration.  And yet there is certainly nothing really "out of the ordinary" happening at the moment.   

Sun, clouds and sky are our common companions.  Birds twittering are, after all, nothing special.  They are simply birds twittering, right?  No big deal...

In the Zone

I've made a point of conversing about Spirituality with as many people as I could buttonhole for quite some time now.  Over the years, I've learned that most folks have experienced moments of being Present, seemingly more awake, connected to Life in a qualitatively different way than usual.   In fact, as children it seems we all may have been in "the Zone" quite a bit.  

To a child at play, Life simply is --  free of any sort of discriminating thoughts about it.  Although we can all remember the darker moments of our childhood, most everyone I know can remember those moments that everything was quite fine just as it was.  Some of it may have even seemed quite magical.  (Lest ye be like little children, you will never enter the Kingdom...--J.C.)

Then, all too quickly in our lives, there came the Fall. 

Immersed in a highly materialistic and competitive culture that places a high value on the so-called "rational thought,"we are then conditioned to believe that the world is divided between good and bad, right and wrong.  Following the lead of our parents and society, we learn to judge everything!  Tossed back and forth between the emotional energies of praise and blame, we are then taught that there is success and failure, gain and loss, fame and disrepute.  

As this develops, we learn to make a Big Deal of such things.  In fact, we create our "identities" out of a set of strong likes and dislikes, attaching great importance to some things and dismissing or ignoring other things.   Stumbling ahead in this mode, our lives often become an emotional roller coaster ride, mirroring that of our society.  How we feel can swing wildly on the victories and losses incurred by our favorite sports team.  (Hell, our emotions can swing wildy on an umpire's call of a single pitch!)

It Doesn't Get Any Better than This?

Even though most folks spend most their time distracted by the swirling events of their lives, it seems that most everyone I meet has also experienced "perfect" moments, those times in which life was experienced differently.  In those moments, we felt connected, awake, alive in a qualitatively different way.  We were Present -- and we felt this Presence.

Although the Gateway of these perfect moments may have emerged as some sort of Big Bang experience with high voltage bliss and fireworks, it may not have.  This Presence may have been as simple as a "moment's peace," a clear direct perception of the Simple Beauty of the world around us.   Ordinary events like sunrises and sunsets, or a full moon rising into a twilight sky, or a child's smile, are often imbued with a special sense of transcendence.  

For some of us, these moments at the Gateless Gate to Reality have been adorned at times with a feeling of soft melancholy.   In those moments, we touched the vast mystery of Life and Death spiraling throughout and beyond time. With this direct perception of the grand and fragile majesty of the human condition, compassion emerges.   Everyone and everything becomes worthy of our love.

And So?


I'm certain that a formal meditation practice isn't essential to cultivating a more consistent access to the experience of Presence, a quality of consciousness that isn't dominated and limited by what some teachers call "judgment mind."

I'm just as certain that it can really, really help.

As we become more mindful of our breathing and the sensations of our body, as we gently gain greater control over exactly how and where we place our attention, a whole realm of previously subconscious feelings and energies emerge and are healed. 

Over time, with Practice, our heart continues to open, our mind continues to clear, and we come to our senses.  Increasingly, we come to rest in the Present Moment.  There, the Sacred and the Ordinary dance, arm in arm, in the embrace of the One Love.

It's really no big deal.  It's nothing special.  

It's our natural state.

 

5 comments:

Unknown said...

I remember a lot of those moments as a child when I sought the solace and peace of the woods to soothe my hurts and anger. I always became more aware of what surrounded me than the cause that took me there.

Anonymous said...

For me the big deal (reactivity) experiences were when the equilibrium of equanimity ricocheted into areas of distress or bliss. The storms revealed so much about what I valued, yearned to experience more of or less of. Notably through the eyes of a child moments of peace and harmony amidst the storms was at the very least accessible. Through the offerings randomly presented to awe and wonder from dust in sunlight, the mighty strength of an ant, the whisper of trees, a cats meow, a bird call, creaking wood, raindrops on the roof to rainbows and imaginary pots of gold held attention to a unexplained wonder that seemed part of everything around me and everyone. I did not understand how the bliss and wonder would or could possibly disappear from heart and mind !?
That my dear friend is still a mind & heart mystery to me.������

Sam said...

When I was a child I was impressed by the iridescent colors that marked the neck of the pigeons I used to catch. They were beautiful. Later in life I was influenced to consider that bird, just a bird. Yet an eagle was special. Judgement is mostly taught.
When asked "what are you?" Buddha replied, "I am awake." Practicing being awake for me, is breaking away from looking down on pigeons.

Lance Smith said...

Thanks for chiming in here!

Yes, the Connections made with the natural world in childhood seem to resonate with many of us. I think that Jesus (the Taoist) was all over that with "consider the lilies," "not a single sparrow falls", "the father makes the sun shine on both the good and the wicked," etc.

Although I've had my "eagle" moments in adulthood, spending my childhood bouncing between the streets of Chicago and the small town/country clime on Chicagoland's southern fringe, the Pigeon (and the Sparrow) became my "Totems". I still can be awestruck by a Pigeon's iridescent feathers and be comforted and brought to the present moment by the chirp of a Sparrow outside the window.

It is, indeed, a mysterious and sad reality that there is the Fall. We each have been, and still are, conditioned by an unhealthy materialistic society full of judgment mind, fear, enmity, and blind passions. It takes commitment and effort to get out of the conditioned ruts that create our perception and reaction to the world within and without us.

Yet, there is Ceaseless Practice -- and Grace. I'm grateful that the One Love exists with or without us. I'm grateful that there are some of us who seem to have stumbled ahead with some sense of our True Nature.

Again, thanks for chiming in here.
One Love,
Lance

Sam said...

Namaste