"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, January 11, 2020

One Step Forward. One Step Back.

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers
within yourself that you have built against it.”
― Rumi

"When things are shaky and nothing is working, we might realize that we are on the verge of something. We might realize that this is a very vulnerable and tender place, and that tenderness can go either way. We can shut down and feel resentful or we can touch in on that throbbing quality. ”
― Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart: Heartfelt Advice for Hard Times


The National Weather Service is predicting an all-time record high tomorrow here in Springfield, MA.  After an overnight rain, the skies will be clearing.  Under sunny skies, the temperature is expected to hit 65° F. 

Zounds!

In the past two weeks, we have seen days of clouds, days of sunshine.  We've experienced high winds, snow, ice, and rain, endured frigid nights of single digits and enjoyed balmy days with springlike temperatures.  

Mother Nature is doing her part to remind us of the nature of Life itself.   With or without the specter of global warming, everything is in constant flux.  What the Buddhists call anicca is one aspect of Reality as it is.  Everything is impermanent.

I notice that as I sit at the keyboard to muse about the Practice, there is a particular quality of consciousness that emerges again this morning.

Although there are certainly moments of befuddlement and confusion, sometimes swaths of time in which I stammer and stumble ahead haltingly, only to hit the backspace key and take a few steps, it seems that I generally return to being quite aware of a vast and clear spaciousness beyond any of the thoughts find their way into my fingers.  In this morning's meditation, and now, sitting here at the keyboard, when I pause and simply breath, I am aware of Awareness itself.  I like it when that happens.

There is a problem with it, though.

In reading over some of my past posts this past week, I found myself wondering if I was too quick to present the high side of a Life of Practice without acknowledging how very difficult and challenging it can be to truly open one's heart to the reality of the human condition as it is actually lived in our day to day lives.  It seems to me that I can spend a bit too much airtime raving about the fact that Life is Miraculous and Beautiful, not enough time acknowledging that Life Sucks.
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That Life Sucks is, after all, the first Noble Truth of Buddhism.  Suffering, according to the Buddha,  is a basic characteristic of human existence.  It is woven into the fabric of Life itself.  I believe that Jesus was also getting at this when he proclaimed "Blessed be those who mourn."

So, although I am quite grateful for the many moments of magic that grace each day, and quite clear that the Practice continuously supports me to experience that, I also am quite clear that to apprehend the Real Deal, I've had to open my heart and mind to the incontrovertible reality that each of us will die.  I've had to accept that each of us will be hurt, both emotionally and physically, along the way. I've had to see clearly that even in good health and good spirits, we all are likely to experience a myriad of disappointments and dis-satisfactions amidst the mundane realities of our day to day life. 

There will be springlike days.  There will be days with sub-zero wind chills.  Sometimes it's one step forward.  Sometimes one step back.


The Practice doesn't alter that reality.  It simply clarifies the nature of reality -- and makes it more workable.  Through the commitment to spend time in meditation, through the willingness to gently and carefully open one's hearts to the fear and the frustration and the pain and the grief encountered in our life and in the lives of those around us, we tap into a source of great energy and healing.  I call it the One Love. 

Oops.  I was about to start raving about the Miraculous and the Beautiful again.

Sorry.

6 comments:

Carol said...

Glad you woke from the deep space of peace to feel the deep sense of pain that must be in the other hand of the two folded in prayer.
Eckhart Tolle spoke, when one looks out at the planets and stars with a telescope and realizes the universe is looking at it's self,we know the knower in that moment. Lots of explosive violence going on looking outward at creation and looking within, as it's all one love. It's hard to celebrate pain, yet it's the experience we chose as part of the peace celebration of oneness for our personal experience toward surrender to nothingness and everythingness.

Enjoy the spring like weather, wishing you wellness,oneness, outward and inward

KD said...

🙏🏼Thinking: Impermanence is a large container for the known and unknown. My mind generally can expand only so much for so long before the details of each breathing moment draws me back into my body. Softening the return to now little by little. Tracking life’s patterns with its dynamic energy geography is an infinite inquiry. Surfing sometimes, deep diving in other times. Quietly observing the qualities of birth and death and everything in between some how validates our need for elements of love, truth, wisdom and equanimity.
Our consciousness I think is wildly aware of simplicity and chaos as the dancers that spin the threads of our lives into a deep matrix of creation. 💫 Beyond mind the heart knows. 🙏🏼

Monday Morning MIndfulness said...

Wow! I thank you both, Carol and KD, for such clear expressions of truth and love. It is a blessing to had have each of you, with the wisdom and insight you've drawn from your lives and Practice, as friends and cohorts on the Path.

Take away quotes:
"It's hard to celebrate pain, yet it's the experience we chose as part of the peace celebration of oneness for our personal experience toward surrender to nothingness and everythingness."
-- Carol

"Our consciousness I think is wildly aware of simplicity and chaos as the dancers that spin the threads of our lives into a deep matrix of creation. 💫 Beyond mind the heart knows. 🙏🏼"
-- KD

Thanks so much for chiming in dear Sisters. Onwards toward Spring!
One Love,
Lance

Mind if I pair them each up with a graphic and make 'em into memes? 😘

Carol said...

why?

Monday Morning MIndfulness said...

Just a passing creative thought. It passed...LOL
🙏❤️
L

Carol said...

LOL