"Mindfulness Practice isn't just about escaping to some magical inner realm devoid of life's challenges. The Practice is about getting out of your head enough to engage each moment wholeheartedly. When we are Present in an open, kind, clear, and helpful way, the vast, mysterious, magical reality of life itself becomes self-evident .

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

Sunday, December 8, 2019

A Wing and a Prayer

“To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake 
is to be continually thrown out of the nest.”
― Pema Chödrön

``Do not be afraid," the Voice called to him. ``Hang on to the wind and trust!"
-- from "Tale of the Jumping Mouse", 
in Seven Arrows by Hyemeyohsts Storm

Back in 1970, my kid brother David, who was in many ways my Guru long before I knew much about gurus and the Practice, sent me a handwritten copy of the "Tale of the Jumping Mouse".  A denizen of Haight-Ashbury for years, David had come across it before it appeared in Hyemeyohsts Storm's book, Seven Arrows

I was transfixed.  

"Tale of the Jumping Mouse" was one of those stories.  It resonated deeply with the Heart of the Matter for me.  Stirred to the core, my heart chakra opened through a torrent of tears.  (Those were the days, huh.)

An allegory, "Tale of the Jumping Mouse" traces the journey of a simple mouse who heard something one day, a faint roaring sound that the others didn't appear to hear amidst the scramble of their day to day existence.  His Essential Curiosity stirred, this mouse summoned up the courage to take the Grand Leap to discover the Source of the sound.  He left the confines of his normal life to discover a world of great beauty and wonder.  

With the help and guidance of other creatures, through repeated acts of courage and the willingness to serve others again and again, Mouse developed his Medicine as Jumping Mouse.  In the end, (or perhaps, the beginning), Jumping Mouse became Eagle.  

Years ago, I read of a society in the South Pacific where the children were taught to fly in their dreams as the main spiritual practice. Psychologist Carl Jung believed that flying dreams symbolized the basic human desire for liberation.  Although, I probably personally identify more with Jonathan Livingstone Seagull (another spiritual allegory of the early 1970's) than with an Eagle, it seems that the symbol of flight captures something essential about the Spiritual Path.  It certainly did for me.

So what does Sitting have to do with Flying?
Taking Wing

Through Mindfulness Meditation, the gravity of our own conditioning no longer dominates our life.  The "stuff" that has kept us landlocked increasingly melts away.   

As the Practice deepens and we are able to turn toward both the lighter and darker energies of our own conditioned experience, including the fear that naturally arises, we are prepared to take flight.  In taking the leap into a committed Practice, we see for ourselves the fluid and evanescent nature of our own experience.  Paradoxically, our increasing capacity to actually feel the utter groundlessness that exists within the fabric of Life itself, enables us to gain solid enough footing to launch ourselves into the next moment -- free as a bird. 

Although any word picture of Shunyata, is fundmentally limited, the clear blue sky is one image that is sometimes used.  

In the Tibetan Dzogchen, one of the meditative practices involves gazing at the sky as you visualize dissolving into its limitless expanse on the outbreath. Although I've only dabbled with this particular practice over the years -- usually sitting outside at dawn or sunset -- Sitting Still at those times certainly seemed to be have provided some majestically beautiful moments.

The truth of the matter, though, is that a similar experience can emerge in the very next moment -- wherever you are.  

It just takes Practice.

Originally posted, December, 2013.  Revised.

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