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Posts from the ‘wisdom’ Category

Curiosity and Care

How you care for the least of things is how you care for the greatest of things.

Adyashanti

There is simplicity and a depth to the above words. It brings to a level playing field the things that appear to be small or unimportant, with those things that appear to be bigger and significant. How I meet the person checking me out in the grocery aisle might plant seeds for how I meet my daughter at school pick-up. The way in which I drink my morning coffee or tea might influence how I show up to meditation class later in the day. The scenarios are endless, but the essential inquiry remains. Am I rushing past moments? Am I always preparing and planning for something in the future? Am I disregarding things or people now, thinking they are not relevant or important? Am I constantly quick to judge and react, or is there space for me to include and attend? It is not about perfection in what we do, nor is it about attending to everything in our field, all the time. That would be exhausting and depleting. Instead it is about the care and attention we offer to the things that come along our way, as we feel available and replenished to do so.

In a meditation practice, we often take time to attend to the simple and the ordinary; a gentle curiosity towards sounds, sight, scent, taste and touch. Slowly we rest and open with the same interest to the field of our body, sensations, breath and vibrations. These are the more simple aspects of our experience, because often they are covered over by the mind’s interpretations, likes, dislikes, and stories. This curiosity has an open, soft quality to it. It does not assume, but instead feels and listens. It is alert, though not directive.

The more we open to the simple things with care and attention, the more likely we will open to the moments that are more complex and beyond the ordinary in the same way. Beyond the sensations and breath, there is the potential that I might meet the many emotions, such as joy and melancholy, peace and agitation, with curiosity. I might meet the homeless person as I meet my neighbor. I might meet the agreeable person as I meet the one who is disagreeable. And when I am not able, I might meet the emotion or edginess arising in me with care and interest. In this way, everything in life is connected. Indeed, the way I care for the least of things is the way I care for the greatest of things. In truth no one moment or thing is more important than the other. This is not something the mind can grasp because the mind by nature divides. This truth is known through the heart, and my heartfelt wish is that I may remember the significance, connectedness and divine essence across the many people and things that come upon my path.

 

Judgement vs Right Perception

Today I had an interesting conversation with students around the idea of judgement and acceptance. The conversation evoked inquiry, and ultimately a renewed clarity for me, and I hope for others as well.

In spiritual communities, judgement is sometimes misperceived as bad, especially in light of ideas like acceptance and kindness. However, judgements are neither good nor bad. They are simply a facet of the thinking mind. They may have some information to relay, often about the person judging, rather than the object or person that is being judged. If we allow it to be, without suppressing or reacting from it, we can come into greater clarity and alignment with life. This allowing is the essence of accepting.

Acceptance does not mean we submit to life all the time, nor that we tolerate disrespect or abuse. It simply means that in this moment, I surrender to what is. This surrendering is not one of resignation. It is alert and awake. It is feeling and sensing. Through this, there is the potential to come into clear relationship with life. In time, we may open into ‘right’ perception, ‘right’ words, and even ‘right’ action when Life is calling for it.

My use of ‘right’ has no opposite. This ‘right’ does not make anyone or any other opinion wrong. It simply states what feels true; what brings me into alignment and harmony with life. When this truth calls for us to say ‘no’ to something, as Eckhart Tolle describes, it will be a “high quality no” that is free of all reactivity. “Without egoic defensiveness, there will be power behind your words, yet no reactivity.” (A New Earth, pg. 216) This ‘right’ also has no good or bad. In fact, what feels right might be very uncomfortable to navigate at times.

A little more often now, I can discern ‘right’ perception from judgement. Judgement often has a charge to it, an edginess, a sense of inferiority or superiority. The words and action that stem from judgement are less than skillful, sometimes hurtful, and I have had my fair share. ‘Right’ perception on the other hand feels clear and even strong at times, yet it has a calm, grounded and open quality to it. Generally it does not arise through thinking, instead it emerges from the vast, open, wise ground of Being.

In Peace,
Sheila

the Wisdom of the Body

Finally, this week we will begin to explore why we spend so much time in the field of the body in meditation.  The body can be a source of many things: pain and pleasure, birth and death, health and illness … the list goes on.  The body is a play (lila as spoken in sanskrit) of these opposites of experience, truly a dance of that which is always changing.  When we embody this dance and its vibration, perhaps there are moments we drop beneath the appearance of opposites, and we deepen into the unchanging essence of Being … Being that is complete, whole, perfect and timeless.

As much as we may try, we cannot think our way into this experience, we arrive by feeling and sensing our way into what already is and has always been here.  Please don’t take this as your truth.  I offer it to you as an exploration, so that you can recognize Truth in your own way.  If you are able to think yourself into this unchanging experience, please share it with me.  As a student, my intention is to remain open and curious.  I will continue to share some reflections and guidance on exploring the realm of the body in future posts.

For now, I leave you with some words from Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now.

“Do not turn away from the body, for within that symbol of impermanence, limitation, and death … is concealed the splendor of your essential and immortal reality.  Do not turn your attention elsewhere in your search for the Truth, for it is nowhere to be found but within your body.

Do not fight against the body, for in doing so you are fighting against your own reality.  You are your body.  The body that you can see and touch is only a thin illusory veil.  Underneath it lies the invisible inner body, the doorway into Being, into Life Unmanifested.  Through the inner body,  you are inseparably connected to this unmanifested One Life – birthless, deathless, eternally present.”

 

 

The iPhone predicament & the human predicament.

After years of waiting to upgrade my older iPhone, it was only two months before I dropped it, leaving the phone with a cracked screen. Naturally, I have looked into getting a more protective case, yet I did not want one that was so obtrusive that it inhibited access to my phone. More protection, less access.  More access, less protection. This somewhat insignificant predicament found me reflecting on the significance of our human predicament.

In life, there are times when we experience some nature of injury or pain, be it physical, emotional or psychological.  Often we have a natural response to protect ourselves so that we don’t have to re-experience similar pain while the wounds are still raw and healing.  While we may use bandaids for physical injury, we create almost superhero-like, invisible armoring for those we carry in the heart and mind. In my experience, sometimes these protections outlast the benefits they offer.

While barriers can shield us, to some degree, from further discomfort and hurt, the same barriers, often unintentionally, shield us from fully experiencing the opposites of comfort and love. We cannot have it both ways and life is a mixed bag of experiences. To the degree that we can open to our difficulties will also be the degree to which we can open to our joys and successes. Life comes with such inherent vulnerability.  Isn’t it true that when we embrace love, we also open ourselves up to loss?  Can we really assume to only have successes without failures and challenges, comforts without discomforts?  These are some of the necessary stepping stones in our human development and experience.

Pema Chodron says, “If you are invested in security and certainty, you are on the wrong planet”. This certainly rings true with me.  I don’t mean to imply that having guards and boundaries are never wise.  In fact they can be very skillful. The practice of meditation, in many ways, prepares us for the vulnerabilities of life; to sit a little longer with a discomfort before moving away, a little more fully with joy and happiness without holding too strongly.  In addition, it offers us a safe space for armoring to soften, at least for a time, so that we can feel what we may have been avoiding or what remains, and inquire as to what feels right and true now. It is an invaluable practice to explore the ways we remain intimate with life and the ways in which we sit back at a distance.  The inquiry itself can be the seed for change that arises somewhat organically when the time is right.

As far as the iPhone, I can be somewhat clumsy at times so a more protective case feels like a wise move.  As for my heart, it is both open and guarded in subtle ways.  And for today, this is completely okay.

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Guided Meditation: Coming Home to Essential Nature

I am sharing a 23 minute guided meditation that invites you to be with the moment as it is and simultaneously to experience the Truth of your essential nature.

We may come to meditation at times because we are experiencing some difficulty that we wish to alleviate. While this is completely fine, ultimately meditation is not only about feeling better. It is about sitting in experience as it is.  At some point our aspiration grows more fully toward truth, not only the alleviation or betterment of life. Quite paradoxically, meditation then uncovers the fortitude and ease that allows us to meet experience with a sincere and open heart. When we no longer struggle with moments or wish for them to be some other way, a quiet peacefulness and lightness of Presence ushers forward, very much like the sun that always rises.  We begin to feel and touch into all of the flavors of life and slowly open to the unchanging essence of Presence and the wisdom that lies within.

I welcome you to use and share this audio if it resonates.  Be well and at ease.

Gratefully, 

Sheila