"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

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

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

A daybreak stroll has become a regular part of my mindfulness practice again this week as Christmas emerged then disappeared in the rear view mirror.
Taking the time to leave the comfort of a warm house in late December to experience the world outside as it awakens to the day has helped mend and energize this 75 year old body -- and sooth my soul.  Being Present for the Silence, and opening to the sights and sounds of the emerging light and activity that each day brings, continues to inspire me.
Of course, the temperatures have been pretty gentle for this time of the year.  Although I've had to brave a few mornings that cast rain, freezing rain, sleet, and snow in my path, I haven't had to encounter the frigid sub-zero temperatures or fierce northwest winds Mother Nature can deal out in the midst of a New England winter -- yet.
Yikes. With this thought, I immediately notice myself face-to face with the specter of the Global Climate Crisis.  It's seems pretty clear to me at this moment. We, as a species, lost in the throes of greed, fear and delusion, are racing toward an environmental armageddon.  Sitting here, I notice more thoughts tumble into view.  Then I let them dissolve and bring my attention to the feelings flowing through my awareness.  Moments of fear, frustration, helplessness, horror, each emerge.  Then they melt into a deep sadness as I continue to breath deeply, soften, and open my heart. 

Continuing to breath into my heart, I know that others feel this deep sadness too.  It's not merely my own isolated personal sadness.  It is the Sadness, part of the human condition.  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.  Then, 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.  At times,  in my mind's eye glows with 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.

As above, so below.
Breathing in.  Breathing out.  Taking and sending, I continue to practice this morning's form of Tonglen Practice.  (For my take on Tonglen Practice see Taking It to Heart)
At this moment, 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.  As above. So below. The world glistens and comes alive as the miracle that it is.
All is calm.  All is bright.
Now, once again, I connect with my intention to be clear enough and kind enough to help bring about the changes needed to create a sustainable, cooperative, and peaceful world.  As I've done for decades, I recite the Bodhisattva Vows.  Now, I'm ready to face the day.  
How about you?

(For more on Tonglen Practice, see "How to Practice Tonglen by Pema Chodron", Lion's Roar, December 20, 2021)

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



Unknown said...

We are in the largest evolution of humankind ever to exist on this planet. We are all a part of it. We need to stand firm and speak our Truth.

Lance Smith said...

Amen to that Unknown Friend.

joseph Goldin said...

I really enjoyed reading this post. Thank you Lance. I resonate with the horror, fear, sadness, anxiety of the climate situation and worry about what is to come. I appreciate your help in recognizing I’m not alone in this. Others to are concerned. And I appreciate how you describe how your practiced with these emotions and thoughts. Transforming them into the genuine wish for all beings to be free from suffering. Seeing with a clear mind the roots of this climate crises comes from the collective, greed, hatred and delusion is also very helpful to generate understanding and compassion. This post helps to ease my fear and connect me to the wish to be of service to helping to end suffering for beings and Mother Earth.