Buddhism

The Natural Flow of Enlightenment

"Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world.  Today I am wise, so I am changing myself." ~ Rumi Today our lives are filled with information overload and all kinds  of professional trainings that we have forgotten who we are, naturally.  Being authentic has turned into one more task we have to check off our many to do lists.

The busier people get the more distracted and unsettled they seem.   Our attention spans are shrinking, but what are we doing about it?  Trying to be mindful creates more anxiety because we are, again--trying.

There are schools and methods and techniques for everything imaginable and it seems that many of us grasp for all of them.  Could all this learning actually keep us from ourselves? Our Joy?

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I recently went to a dharma talk on the importance of meditating and "how" to meditate.  One of the objectives of the instructor was to value the practice and not seek for an "end goal.". Even Kafka had said that if you just sit, the world will roll at your feet.  It is really that simple:  Sit. Don't get up.  Breathe.  Eventually your breath will find its natural rhythm if you don't allow your mind to interfere. (My mind interferes often...)

Many years ago, while reading Shunryu Suzuki's, "Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind", I remember a similar message:  enlightenment is really our true nature.  So why do we make everything from  how and whom we love, what we eat and how we breathe so complicated?

Could enlightenment simply be knowing what it means to feel alive?

Enlightenment and mindfulness is a coming home to the place before The Confusion began.  Muddled Minds have their early stages rooted in turbulent pasts at a time when caregivers, religion and society decides much of our training and ultimately much of how we think and feel as adults.

Enlightenment is:

Happiness.  Happiness is the state of feeling alive.  Meditation gets you to that feeling.  Breathing keeps you in that feeling.  It is that simple, but not so easy to achieve.

Misery is:   Distraction.  Overthinking.  Anxiety.  Busyness.  All the things that keep us from ourselves and from  any amount of joy.

Enlightenment can be a sudden moment of clarity, a gestalt of some sort that changes our lives forever, yet it can take many painful years to unravel the accumulated clutter from our rigid and overly structured pasts.

We are collecting the patterns of our future with the routines of our days.  When we are curious about life and our world around us, we can settle our pasts and re-pattern our future with each day, naturally.

Unless we can lasso the feelings that support our thoughts, now, life can take us on a tumultuous course against our will, without ever knowing that our memories are preventing us from living richer, happier lives.

In Buddhism they suggest that we do not go digging up our pasts for we have too many pasts to glean into and it would take lifetimes to resolve each one.  Whether the Buddhist philosophy is correct or not,  I have discovered that it is more than enough work to change my old beliefs about myself and the world.

Even if there are other lifetimes, those life-times are as flimsy as our yesterdays and will only keep us from being available for our life today.  When we focus our attention on ourselves and where we need to grow, ultimately we find a reservoir of energy and love available not only for ourselves but we find giving to others is a natural expression and extension of ourselves.

When we focus on the changing of others and the changing of the world--we actually find we are too depleted to give of ourselves to anyone.

Obviously the most challenging of memories are the negative ones from our childhoods that we unconsciously haul into our adult lives.  For many of us, our past messages do weigh heavily on whether we are happy or not.  The latent background memories and voices from our pasts are what prevents us from any hope of enlightenment.

What can we do?

We can heal our pasts today, every day by committing to being happy and by changing ourselves and not worrying about the anxieties and fears that make the world go busily around.

By being happy we will know how and when to slow down.  When we are happy we seek out the silence in our day, even if it is for five minutes. Five minutes feels like eternity when you become friends with that intangible quietude and stillness--that space and place that holds the key to our soul.

So when that Clock is about to strike 12 and that noon train is approaching around the bend; the tracks are laden with golden bricks pointing in a Direction and your life is asking you:  Decide, decide, decide....what will you do?  What will you do?  Mediate or procrastinate?  Be happy or sad? (only time will tell...)

Holy-Days, Holidays & then there is...

Carl Sagan!

"It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is--then to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring."

Whatever holiday you have celebrated this week or are still celebrating, let us all remember that there is a fine line between what is true for us and what is true for the universe.

(trust me:  the universe cannot be fooled...)

The costumes and rituals have their own place as do the beautiful cathedrals and temples. However, lurking behind the clouds during the day and the stars late at night is the true Ring Leader & Magician: The Master of the Macro World.  And we should all count our-lucky-stars too, for we, yes, all-of-us have that same spark of magic to lead and create an enchanting little world inside of us.

When we do?

 We get to bring our micro world (or mini world) out into the macro world and make a masterpiece out of our lives!

Make this holy week and Holy Day  a Michelanglo day! Create! Create! Create! = Masterpiece! Masterpiece! Masterpiece!

What can we really know...

if we do not know our-selves?
 
All we will know is what other's have learned or told us is true about the world and maybe what they perceive as true about us.  But even knowledge, information and theories change--as do opinions.
When we know ourselves, we naturally want to grow, change and expand who that person is.
When we know ourselves we can know every-thing and no-thing at all!
(and that my friends-- is the Riddle of Life, so enjoy the puzzle!)
 

The Dream: To Get Along

(If we all dream the same dream, it will come true…)

If we let go of the past, new dreams can come true.

If we let go of the need to judge, we feel accepted.

If we don’t need to control, we feel more relaxed with uncertainty.

If we let go of our individual stories, we can appreciate the big story.

If we do not blame, (but understand) we begin in the present.

When we establish clear boundaries and are respectful of others, we understand how-we-do-not-need-to-take-things-personally.

When we listen patiently, thoughtfully and kindly, we hear what is being said and can respond, rather than react.

When we let go of the need to make someone wrong, we lose the need to be right.

When we validate another’s personal sorrow and loss we discover our compassion and empathy for them.

When we redefine a relationship, we sometimes redefine love.

When we forgive the past we find that the past had positive lessons in it for the present.

When we pause our apprehensions and suspend our doubts, we find safety in the moment.

When we remember:This Conversation is between you and I, not you and I and Others, then the dialogue stays pure.

We must all remember:There is no High Road for any of us to take.There is only The Road and it is made of tracks, laden with yellow bricks and-we-are-all-on-it—together.

We can all create our peace wherever there is discord when we are able to redefine who we are in each other’s lives and not need a relationship to be based on a history, society or any past conditioning.

With every Happy Ending there is always a New Beginning!

(so let’s start now…)

So, when that Clock is about to strike 12 and that noon train is approaching around the bend; the tracks are laden with golden bricks pointing in a Direction and your life is asking you: Decide, Decide, Decide...who are you going to listen to? Your heart or your mind?

(only time will tell...)