"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, March 31, 2018

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.  

Looking closely, I suppose there is a last time for everything as well.  Each unique moment arises and passes away within the flow of eternity quite distinctly, so quickly that we can't actually grasp it at all no matter how hard we try.  

With any luck at all, we can notice it, though.  And, it seems to me, this is where the Real Magic exists.

This is the first time since I took on the task of scribing a weekly blog piece that I actually set myself up to continue writing about a "theme"the next week.  Usually I finish a piece and let it go.  Then when the next Blog Practice morning rolls around, I pull out the laptop and start fresh.  Sometimes I might have a theme in mind, or I've latched onto a title or a quote as a starting point before I begin.  Often, I just sit facing a blank screen -- and wait.

This week it's different.  

I came to a point last week 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.  There was no way that I could keep the post at a reasonable length.  (Some of my friends have already complained that they are too darn long)  At that point, I scrolled up to the title window and typed a colon and P-a-r-t  O-n-e.  When I hit publish, I knew my goose was cooked. 

What the hell I was thinking?

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. It seemed that had come awfully close to proclaiming that the manifestation of Unconditional Love was Nothing Special.  Another way of saying that could be that God is No Big Deal.  That sounds a bit blasphemous, huh. 

And yet, as I Sit here this morning with the sun playing hide and seek with the clouds in a crisp blue sky,
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 common companions.  Birds twittering are, after all, simply birds twittering, right?

Having made a point of conversing about what might be called Spirituality with as many people as I could buttonhole for quite some time now, I actually think that "special" moments like this aren't all that special.  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 sorts 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 things, creating our "identities" out of a set of strong likes and dislikes, even attaching great importance to some pretty ridiculous things.  Stumbling ahead in this mode, our lives can even become an emotional roller coaster ride depending on how our favorite sports team does that day.

Yet, it seems that most of the people I meet can still relate to the experience of "perfect moments", those times in which we experience our lives at a more fundamental level.  At a certain point, standing (or sitting or walking or laying down) in the midst of those moments there was a deep sense that we were alive, awake, aware that we were aware in a qualitatively different way.

Although the Gateway of these perfect moments sometimes emerges with high voltage bliss and fireworks as some sort of Big Bang with an outpouring of tears or ecstasy, this sense of Presence may have been just as simple as a deeply calm "moment's peace" in the midst of our personal fray or a direct perception of the Simple Beauty of the world around us.   

Once we understand the nature of the Compassionate Heart, we realize that this Gateless Gate may even come adorned with a feeling of soft melancholy as we open to the vast groundless ground of Eternal Life/Death to experience a direct perception of the fragile majesty of the human condition. Although I didn't know what to make of it at the time, (terms like relative and absolute bodhichitta were still years ahead of me), I spent an especially Surreal passage through time one crisp autumn afternoon my senior year in high school awash in that type of awareness.  Even now a sense of Presence resonates through that memory. That experience held within it a clear perception of the Truth of the Matter, a truth that has continued to ripen over the years through Practice.

I'm certain that a formal meditation practice isn't essential to cultivate a more consistent access to the experience of Presence, a quality of consciousness that isn't dominated 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.  Our heart opens and we come to our senses in a deeper way.  It's really no big deal.  It's our natural state,

We get out of our heads and into our Heart. 

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