As someone who was born into Christianity but raised in a vehemently anti-religious household I thought, “What do I know about devotion?” Then when I turned to the internet for a little research and found mostly the words of preachers, I got scared. “Oh god” (can I even say that???), I am in very uncomfortable territory. How can I make peace with this word, that for me and probably many others, had such religious baggage?
It doesn’t take much time on the cushion to figure out that there is nothing passive about meditation. Knowing the present moment, and ourselves, is full of effort. It’s hard work to recognize and acknowledge the realities we’re faced with, to see them clearly and sit with the discomfort they bring. But this clear-eyed acceptance is the groundwork for meaningful change. Its opposite is denial; that’s what keeps us stuck.
This is exactly how it is supposed to be, always was. All the forces of the universe, the same ones hammering stars into stars into stars, every chemical collision and thought pattern has made it come true, and there’s nowhere else to be, no other place worth trusting except this one. What matters most is not what was lost or what might have been, but what I’m losing wishing the story in front of me away.
By Kevin Lacroix
When what we usually consider to be ourselves (our self-referential thinking) is rendered ‘insignificant’, we taste a brief moment of just being. Not just in nature, but as Nature. The distinction between us and nature collapses. Maybe this transcendent experience frees us to merge with the beauty that floods our sensory awareness. To be reunited with the larger, indivisible nature seems to bring a sense of relief.
Often in life I’ve been too ADD to meditate in the usual seated way – too jumpy, too agitated, too busy-brained. When this happens, I’ve learned to turn to these sorts of active absorption practices. This is a path of concentration, but not the Buddhist kind, or not exactly. More the athlete’s or the artist’s kind. Its external form may look like going for a run, or drawing on a canvas, or even moving the vacuum around the house.
I sat. I learned some stuff. How to turn towards those feelings I’d been pushing away, that my emotions were only an aspect of a larger experience, and that nothing, even the hardest feels, lasted forever. These new ways of noticing gave me space where once there was none. It went on like this for years, incremental bits of breathing room that kept me alive. Then something strange happened.
“That the world is loveless results directly from the repression of beauty, its beauty and our sensitivity to beauty. For love to return to the world, beauty must first return, else we love the world only as a moral duty: Clean it up, preserve its nature, exploit it less.”-James Hillman In Douglas Rushkoff’s newest book, Team Human, … Continued
We make choices all day long to either stick with a plan, a decision, a career, a person…or Surrender, and let go of the control. See how your day unfolds when you aren’t attached to a particular outcome. Trust comes in here, in a big way. Trust that your best intentions are being served, even when you’re not in charge of every decision. Step outside of being your own micro-manager of every minute and every hour. Surrender and see what presents itself. And if you have trouble doing that, I’ll lend you my daughter for a day…
How do we begin again?
According to Therese, we have no choice. We just do, because that’s where the cycle takes us, again and again, a part of nature. Take the breath, she said. Every inhale a creation, an entire life. And every exhale a destruction, a little death. And between … something unknowable.
Could I welcome my lows the way I welcomed the out-breath? Could I experience them as nourishment for the next upward movement, the seed of something new inside each ending?
Could I get better at dying?
“You are an alchemist; make gold of that.” ~William Shakespeare Alchemy was popular in Europe from the 16th to 18th centuries. While many today believe it to be a superstitious attempt to transform lead into gold, in reality it was as much an art of inner transformation as it was the precursor of modern chemistry. … Continued