"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."

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The Musings of a Long-time Student of Meditation

Saturday, December 26, 2020

All Is Calm. All is Bright.

“When you begin to touch your heart or let your heart be touched, you begin to discover that it's bottomless, that it doesn't have any resolution, that this heart is huge, vast, and limitless. You begin to discover how much warmth and gentleness is there, as well as how much space.”
― Pema Chödrön
 
Hold the sadness and pain of samsara in your heart and at the same time the power and vision of the Great Eastern Sun. Then the warrior 
can make a proper cup of tea.”
― Chögyam Trungpa


Outside the window, a brilliant white sun danced in a somewhat milky blue sky as I took my seat for this morning's meditation.  With a temperature in the upper 20's, it seemed like winter again.

Yesterday, Christmas Day, it sure didn't.
 
Here in Western Massachusetts, the temperatures had risen into the 60's by dawn.  Gale force winds and torrential rains swept through New England much of the day, leaving downed trees and power outages in their wake.  It seemed more like March than December.

With this thought, I immediately notice myself face-to face with the specter of the Global Climate Crisis.  It seems clear at this moment.  As a species we are racing toward an environmental armageddon.   Sitting here, I notice more thoughts tumble into view, then let them dissolve as I bring my attention to the feelings flowing through my awareness.  Fear, frustration, helplessness, horror, and more emerge.  Then they all melt into then a deep sadness as I soften, and open my heart.

Continuing to breath into my heart, I know that others feel this deep sadness too.  Opening, softening, inhaling deeply and slowly, I breath the fullness of this feeling into my heart as I recite two of the traditional Brahmavihara phrases:  "May all beings be safe. May all beings be free from suffering and the roots of suffering."

As the in breath continues, I notice a sense of spaciousness re-emerge as first my belly, then my rib cage expand.  My tender, warm, achy-breaky heart is comforted in the embrace of a calm, clear, expansive open awareness that seems to extend throughout and beyond space and time as the in-breath continues. 

As in-breath becomes out-breath, the words "May all beings be at peace" float on that breath as it dissolves outward into the Essential Oneness.  In my mind's eye glows a translucent visualization of the clear and brilliant eyes of countless beings resting in full awareness of their Buddha nature.  The visualization radiates outward from my heart on the wings of the out breath.

I continued Practicing this for awhile.  Breathing in.  Breathing out.
 
Sitting here now, my heart glows as deep joy dances with soft melancholy.  I've come to rest in the vast expansiveness of the One Love which resides deeply within each of us -- and infinitely beyond us all.  The world continues to glisten outside the window. 
 
All is calm.  All is bright.
 
Now, once again, I renew my vow to be clear enough and kind enough to help bring about the changes needed to create a sustainable, cooperative, and peaceful world.  Now, once again, I'm ready to face the day.  
 
How about you?

(For more on Tonglen Practice, see The Practice of Tonglen by Pema Chodron)

Originally posted December 2015.  Revised today as part of my morning Practice.

 

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