Like a seed, we too have to soften and open in order to reveal and then release the inner essence. Conditions have to be right for a seed to crack and allow the potential inside to begin its expression; the same is so for us. And, the most favorable condition for a human being is a meditation practice with all it entails.
On the meditation cushion, we are supported by our decision to be present, to experience emotions and thoughts, sensations, insights, and even the barometric pressure just as they are. Getting familiar with the things that so often go unnoticed provides understanding of oneself like nothing else does. Then, familiarity with emotions, mental tendencies, preferences, and general state of being allows the subtle aspects of one’s presence and being to emerge. We are like a plant in that the germinating seed sets a primary root deep into the soil before it can begin to grow upward toward the sun.
Trungpa Rinpoche reminds us* that we generally are unfamiliar with the soil inside us. Distraction, dismissal, simply not noticing, or blatant denial of emotions and conceptual frames of reference that determine or undermine our personal reality are the common state. A meditation practice begins the deep foraging into this soil. Of course, the soil inside is replete with comforts, joys, relating, and such also; but these too can be limiting or dismissive of the inner essence as well. Like warm sunshine after the Spring thaw, meditation comes to the rescue!
To soften and open to the fullness inside will always begin with the fullness of the common inside our mind-emotion complex. That, and only that, creates the possibility of opening to the fullness of awareness-being.
Christmas celebrates the birth of a child, a soft innocent child. Christmas remembers the soft wool of sheep, of shepherds cloaked against the chill of the night, and of the soft warmth of Mary’s breast nursing the newborn child.
Christmas also honors light: the light of a star, the light of aspiration in the magi, the light of virtue in Joseph, the luminous purity of Mary, and the light of the Christ-child. But, Christmas is also about the light within each of us symbolized by the star in the East, by virtue, purity, innocence, and by the intention of an incarnation. That light is within each of us, therefore Christ would say as an adult, “You are the light of the world.”
Perfectly, today begins step four of The Practice of Living Awareness: Soften, Open, and Receive. Whether one celebrates the deeper meanings of Christmas or not, our meditation practice invites us to soften and open to the qualities within.
May all people realize the innocence of truth of being, the softness of the heart’s power, the light of the awakened and altruistic mind, and a life lived for the well-being of others. May we all understand the amazing gift to the world that each of us potentially is: we are “the light of the world.”
Yesterday’s meditation mentions the Winter Solstice and the Full Moon, but its emphasis is the continuous flow of light, lightness of being, and of heart-mind awareness. You and I have a choice each moment: that of clarity, brilliance, and joy or of mediocrity. Hmmm. How can we even consider that a choice?
Each moment lived with others in lightness of being makes the world a better world, makes you and I better human beings. Trungpa Rinpoche calls this sanity; and, I think that’s true. When we create a current of respect or decency through our words and actions, benefit to those around us results, as well as to our immediate environment, and for the future of others.
Each day, we are asked by our heart to live the light, brilliance, and sanity that each of us is capable of. Our heart asks us to be true, to be good, and to be beautiful from within. How joyous!
We have contemplated the relationship of breath to one’s life many times. Doing so removes the dullness from our perception about our life. Life is scintillating, always dynamic and changing, stunning in beauty and variety, and ceaseless. Life goes on all around us, inside our bodies, constantly churns in our minds and emotions, and the more that you and I can become aware of, the more full one’s awareness of LIFE will be.
We begin here in this sitting, with the mysteries, miracles, and common quality of the profound. May we be awestruck over and over throughout our day by how common the profound actually is.
Say the words “flow” and then “pace” inside yourself giving time to experience how your emotions, mind, and energetic body respond to each word.
You probably experienced what most people do:
“flow” felt like a river, felt gentle though constant, and felt bigger than yourself in a beneficial way.
“pace” felt active, maybe hurried or at a rate that felt not of your control. It might have felt bigger than you but not necessarily beneficial.
The third step in The Practice of Living Awareness is Flow. It usually begins its emphasis on the flawless flow of the breath and hearkens to the foundations of meditation that we have been using for the last two weeks. In this meditation, we are brought to an awareness of the felt-senses mentioned above and then into the silent ease of the continuity of breath/awareness/presence. The latter is supported by silence, for the most part.
May our meditations pour presence and awareness into the collective human consciousness!