"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."

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

Sunday, December 25, 2022

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


Mother Nature must have had one eye on the calendar.  The Solstice appeared this week on Wednesday.
 
Then, with a blast of frigid arctic air that produced gale force winds and a great deal of each and every form of precipitation along its front edge, She cast Winter -- in no uncertain terms -- across the nation.  Overnight temperatures last night plunged into the single digits as far south as Birmingham, Alabama.
 
Here in Western Massachusetts the temperature dropped from a springlike 58° yesterday to 5° this morning.  
 
Being the weather geek, I just took a quick look at the extended forecast, and noticed that the National Weather Service has temperatures returning into the 50's by the end of the week here!  Immediately, thoughts arise, unbidden but compelling.  
 
Glaciers are receding, permafrost is melting, seas are rising, severe weather is increasing.  It's clear to many that we are in the midst of a Global Climate Crisis.  Yet, astonishingly,  the power elites that control the political and economic institutions of the world, fixated on their own personal profit and power, haven't responded to turn things around.  In fact, still engaged in fossil fueled wars, they only seem to have doubled down on the destruction of our grandchildren's future. 
 
My heart aches as a deep sadness emerges.  I've been here before.  
 
It's time for Tonglen Practice. 

These days, I don't try to avoid this feeling.  I've come to know that these feelings are not mine alone.  They are part of the lived experience of human beings throughout time.  In fact, they are transpersonal.  They are being felt by others at this very moment.  I commit to open my heart to the emotional energy playing through my awareness, to serve as a conduit for all these feelings, and to embrace them in loving acceptance.  I've seen that they are inseparable from the human condition. 
 
As I have learned to do, I focus my attention on these emotional energies as they dance through my body and allow the thoughts to drop into the background of my experience.  Moments of sadness, horror, anger, and yearning emerge as I take a few long, slow, deep breaths visualizing that I'm  drawing and releasing each breath from center of my chest.
 
Then, to align my "thinking mind" with my intention to engage the healing possible through Tonglen Practice, I bring to mind one of the Brahmavihara phrases that I learned,  as I return to the slow expansion of the next inhalation, "May all beings be free of 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 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 radiates outward from my heart on the wings a visualization of the clear and brilliant eyes of countless beings gleaming in full awareness of their Buddha nature. 

I continue breathing and Practicing for awhile, and my heart glows as a deep, calm, joy mingles with a soft melancholy.  A pale lemon- orange dawn emerges outside the window. 

All is calm, all is bright.

Although the Silent Night has passed and the sun has returned, the words of the Christmas carol ring through my consciousness, and becomes the title to this offering.  In the lingering silence of dawn, I hear the whispering of the vast and expansive One Love which resides deep within us -- and infinitely beyond us.  It's light glows in my heart.

As we turn toward his holiday season, honoring the many traditional celebrations that have emerged at this time of longest and shortest days, may we all rest in the embrace of  One Love.   May we know Peace. 
 

(For more on Tonglen Practice, see Your Courtesy Wake Up Call: "Tonglen Practice: Taking It to Heart"

Originally posted December 2015. Revised.

 

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yes, we are all in this together ❣️
One Love 🙏❤️

Anonymous said...

❤️

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas Lance

Dharma Bum69 said...

Thanks once again Lance - again this is a subject that has been troubling me over the years and it's good to know that it's not just me. MAYBE if enough people WAKE UP we can turn this around - although we'll never be able to go back to the way things were - just maybe there's still a chance......

Anonymous said...

Tonglen turns my focus on self to putting my focus on the suffering of others. While practicing this, my own suffering usually dissipates and the compassion I have for others takes over. Never fails.

Lance Smith said...

Thanks for touching base here. One of the things that continues to inspire me is the knowledge that I am not alone in sensing that our wholehearted Connection to life trumps the energies of greed, enmity, and ignorance. IMHO, this connection to the spiritual dimension of our being even trumps Trump and those who have been misled, misinformed, and misdirected about the spiritual nature of reality.

I continue to be grateful to the One Love to have been incarnated in time to catch the Collective Kensho that emerged in the 60's and 70's as a teenager and young adult. A whole bunch of us Connected with one another and the Real Deal -- at least for a time. Some of us weren't able or willing to just let it go and return to business as usual.

I continue to be grateful, as well, to the many traditions that have kept Wisdom alive throughout time, and the folks who have passed along the meditative tools and life skills to make it possible to see what's up for ourselves -- and to actually begin to love our neighbors more consistently.

In the anonymity of the blogger comment realm, I don't really know who is who here, but I hope to continue the conversation. If you wanna, you can email me at thishazymoon@gmail.com or stop by one of the Morning Mindfulness Meditation Circles on Zoom (if you haven't already. LOL)
One Love,
Lance