"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 27, 2019

When It Rains...

"The way to dissolve our resistance to life is to meet it face to face...
When we want to complain about the rain, we could feel it's wetness instead."
-- Pema Chodron

“The best thing one can do when it is raining is to let it rain. ” 
-- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

It's been one of those weeks.  

Although I'm relatively busy for a retired old coot, it's not like I have to punch in for forty hours a week and then hustle to take care of everything else in the midst of this hyped-up version of human  society 

These days I often have the time and space to wander aimlessly a bit, maybe even take a nap in the afternoon a few days a week.  

Not so this week.  

Time and time again, when I thought I could finally get some down time, something else came up.  I even found myself crawling under a car to take a look for the first time in years.  (I have lived without a personal vehicle for the past six years or so.)

When it rains, it pours.

Rainy Days and Mondays... 

Not content with metaphor, Mother Nature again got serious with her April Showers this week.  Although we were graced with the splendor of one sunny day, it showered on and off the rest of the week.  Mother Nature poured her heart out to ensure that next week will bring abundant May flowers. 

There was a time that "rainy days and Mondays would always get me down."  As a child, I had felt trapped inside.  As an adult, my mood would descend into melancholy and depression in the grasp of a rainy spell.  A brief tour of Washington State during the rainy season years ago made it clear to me that I would never chose to live in a place that would seasonally deliver fog, gloom, and rain for long stretches of time.

That was then.  It's different now. 

These days I actually don't mind rain.  In fact, if the truth be told, I usually love it.  Connecting with Mother Nature as she does what she does is always a chance to get real.

Whether it's a soft foggy drizzle or a thunder-booming rip-snorting whizz banger -- or anything in-between -- once I'm just present for the actual experience, there is something immensely alive and vibrant about the rain.  Dancing beyond our ability to control it, Mother Nature just is.  She will just do what she will do -- no matter how we think or feel about it.  Why not relax and dig it!? 

At This Very Moment

I feel a lot of gratitude for Mindfulness Practice at this very moment.  

As I sit here with fingers dancing across the keyboard, I see the sun playing hide and seek with storm clouds through the window. Through the open window I hear the wind singing in the trees, a collection of birds twittering.   Occasionally, a car hisses and splashes along the wet pavement of High Street.

Pausing, letting go for a moment of "thinking mind," I'm aware of my breath and the sensations of my body as I sit here at the computer.  I feel the wind dancing across my skin through that same open window.  A chorus of sounds ebb and flow.  Placing my awareness on my bodily sensations,  these sensations also ebb and flow.  Relaxing and opening to this dance of energy, my breathing slows and deepens of its own accord.

Life is simply being Life.  
The Gateless Gate

Letting go of our own agenda, loosening our attachment to strong likes and dislikes, getting out of our heads and into our hearts, the Practice brings us into contact with the ever-changing flow of Life directly.  With Practice, we come to sense the Unlimited Space within all of that -- and beyond all of that.  Life simply becomes what it is: vast, unfathomable, profound.

As best as I can tell, the key to the Gateless Gate is our ability to let go of our desire to control Life to meet our own self-serving agenda in any one moment.  If we are willing to dance ahead, opening our hearts and minds to Life on its own terms, Life itself holds us close to its heart.  

Increasingly, a deeper sense of ease and joy emerges.

With Practice, we come to see directly that even a self-created hell can dissolve instantaneously.  Sometimes it happens simply at the moment we notice we are lost in our inner narrative.  Choosing to Open to the present moment, we open to the Boundless Love that always exists in our Heart of Hearts.  

It's sometimes just that simple.

But simple doesn't necessarily mean it's easy.  It takes time and effort -- on and off the meditation cushion.  It takes a serious commitment to open to, experience, and accept what is.   

We must be willing and able to let go and let it be.  We must be willing to Love in earnest, to risk heartbreak, to forgive ourselves and others, again and again -- and embrace the next moment with kindness, compassion, and equanimity.  This is no mean feat.

It just takes Practice.

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