"Mindfulness and Meditation allow us to open our hearts, relax our bodies, and clear our minds enough to experience the vast, mysterious, sacred reality of life directly. With Practice we come to know for ourselves that eternity is available in each moment.

Your MMM Courtesy Wake Up Call:
Musings on Life and Practice
by a Longtime Student of Meditation

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Both Sides Now

“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. 
You need to accept yourself.”
― Thích Nhất Hạnh

“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, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times

Although it is nearly 50ºF outside with spring birdsong and brilliant sunlight pouring through the open window, a 20 mph northwest wind that occasionally gusts as high as 40 mph doesn't make it a day for lollygagging and lounging outside. 

I guess I'm grateful for that.  I'm committed to a blog post today -- and one less temptation is helpful.       (I just looked down at my cup.  It's empty.  I'm tempted to run down for some more tea.  It's going to be one of those kind of days. LOL)

Although this morning's hour long Sit was quite focused, I can sense that there is a bit of restlessness as I sit here at the computer.  Pausing to breath and observe this restlessness more closely as it plays across the rising and falling of my abdomen, it seems to mirror the wind.  Windblown leaves of mild fear, confusion, anticipation, 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 stillness within the movement -- and movement within the stillness.  Stopping to notice, the world expands -- and glows.

It's nice when that happens.

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 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 tune with the way it IS.

Although there is no doubt that there is a greater sense of spaciousness and ease 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 unconscious beliefs (i.e., I'm a really inferior human being, all human beings are mean, etc.) that hold them in place.  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, the subterranean residues of grasping and aversion, all Hell does tend to break loose.  As we actually open our hearts to our own shame and humiliation and jealousy and the myriad of other ghosts and goblins haunting the basement, there is a Deep Healing.  The energies are released -- and Heaven remains.

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 particular Heaven that we are co-creating and sharing on this planet, each angel is definitely Flawed -- and each is, just as definitely, Divine.  In fact, 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 Bozo and Buddha.  At a certain point, the belly laugh becomes as relevant -- and reverent -- as the bow.

At some point 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, Heaven is right here, right now, in the One Love that exists within and among us. It seems rather amazing that Just Sitting Still can support opening 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. 

It just takes Practice.

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