Staying open

Watch yourself when you’re open, open to your surroundings, to people and places. What makes you turn away, change the topic needlessly, leave physically or figuratively. Are you done, are you bored, impatient to get on to the next ‘thing’?

If there is no need to leave, try staying until there is. See what happens. Many times we cut situations off far too quickly, before the moment has yielded its fruit for us. Many words, words that might have been spoken from the heart are not, due to hurrying along to the next item on our agenda.

Did you see the first time a bird landed at your feeder?

holding hands

Many of us haven’t discovered that we have a mind and that it can be worked with.

We wake up and run on autopilot.

We CAN work with our mind.

We can watch how it works, how thoughts arise, how we hold them or let them go.

We CAN choose what thoughts we cling to and what we let simply rise and fall.

We CAN choose new things or objects to place are mind on.

In one month, how many of the things we have worried about will matter? Let alone in a year!

Choose what is important and dwell there.

Awareness

With so much digital communication, we now see the tremendous rarity of even having some shred of self awareness of our minds craving, fear and simply not caring.

To have discovered this within ourselves is a tremendous blessing.

To have even the desire to cultivate a sense of equanimity is a further rarity.

If you see even a shred of this within yourself, try to be with it, try to be brave.

Being Ourself

When we become Buddhists, it’s a rather odd thing.
The group we are joining promises no great power or protection. We have not joined a special forces combat group or received the keys to an elaborate spa where people will wrap us in seaweed and tell us how beautiful we are.

Rather, it’s quite the opposite. We are asked to look, to look at ourselves, to look deeper and deeper. We choose to climb out of our little claustrophobic nest as best we can and take a good hot shower with lots of soap.

We stand in front of the mirror and fully accept what we see there.

We sit and read about the preciousness of life, how short it is.
We ask ourselves what is the purpose of our life.
Is it to check off as many things as possible from a bucket list?

Do we spend our entire waking life thinking
‘What about me?’ My money, my neuroses, my things, my favorite restaurant, my problems. My my my my.

In Buddhism, in taking refuge it is rather the opposite: we become a refugee.

We begin to take off our armor, perhaps we are just able to open the visor on our helmet for five minutes, then close it back up for the day. It is a start.
We taste the fresh air.

It is about loosening the armor and getting strong enough to take it all off.
Then we can experience the whole world.

We don’t need to lie or deceive others, we don’t need to dull ourselves with all sorts of things: endless magazines, endless reading, TV, food,.

We might say I will make money for 30 years the develop my spiritual practice. Usually that time never comes for most people or they die.

On our deathbed do we say: I have been to all the great resorts, I caught the biggest fish, I have acquired all the clever ways to get rich, I have defeated all of my family’s enemies?

What is your purpose for living?