let go…

“Let go of the illusion of control.” ~ Master Oogway

To “let go” may be the greatest teaching and perhaps the most challenging. We find security in control, but it is only an illusion. All things in life arise and pass, all things are changing moment to moment. And control, like all things, is fleeting. Holding on to that which by its nature will change, trying to keep it from changing, brings us suffering. We are chained to a self-imagined outcome. We are not free. Life is not free. This can hurt us and those around us. Letting go, staying open, brings some peace to us and those around us.

I have a phrase I sometimes use when meditating. Breathing in I say in my mind, “May I hold all of life in love.” Breathing out I say in my mind, “And in love, may I let go…”

The great teacher Ajahn Chah has said, “If you let go a little, you will have a little happiness. If you let it go a lot, you will have a lot of happiness. If you let go completely, you will be free.”

Letting go should not be confused with inaction or indifference. Especially in a time of activism, as we are in now. We are still called forth by the suffering in the world, from our empathy and compassion, to tend to this life and those in it, to relieve and end suffering where we can. We do the good work, the kind work, but we do so not dependent on the outcome. We do so regardless of praise or blame. This can be really challenging in a culture such as ours, so driven on outcomes and a particular vision of “success.” Can we do good and kind work, simply because it is good and kind? Can we do good and kind work, knowing that we may not see fruition in our day, but we are perhaps planting seeds that may bring benefit in the days ahead?

~j

#TheLongArc #LetGo #BeFree #PlantingSeeds #NoControl #Flow #peace #empathy #compassion #suffering #enso #Zen #Buddhism #JMWart

peace…

Is peace something you get,

or is peace something you are?

If you can get it, you can lose it.

If you are it, it is never gone.

~

Scott Shaw

If my mind doesn’t go out

to disturb the noise,

the noise won’t disturb me.

~

Ajahn Chah

Be here now. Peace is now. Let go of control and breathe…

#peace #wisdom #TheLongArc #PlantingSeeds #BuddhistWisdom #Enso #JMWart

Bodhi Day – wake up…

Over 2500 years ago, deeply moved by the suffering he saw in life (sickness, aging, and death), disenchanted with the excess from which he came, and the practice of extreme ascetism, the historical Buddha (Siddhartha Gautama) set out to meet life face to face, as it is. He sat until he woke up. And in waking up he became the Buddha, which means awakened or awakened one. Seeing the middle way – not running away from or grasping at life, rather meeting life with an open heart – he found freedom from suffering.

Today, December 8th, we Buddhists commemorate the Buddha’s awakening under the Bodhi Tree, as Bodhi Day. A day to remember the event, but to also be reminded that we too can wake up, we too have within us the ability to be with life as it is, to be free and at peace.

This morning I practiced, I sat and meditated, and then painted this “wake up” enso to honor not just this one man who decided to sit beneath a tree and meet life authentically with an open heart, but to honor all who sit, all who practice, all who meet this passing life with all of its beauty and heartbreak with an open heart.

May we all wake up to the preciousness of this life, may empathy and compassion be born from our open hearts, to light the world with our love.

~j

12.08.17

maintain sanity…

I began meditating nearly a decade ago.  Similar to now, my meditation practice was mindfulness of breath as taught by the Vietnamese Zen Buddhist Master Thich Nhat Hanh.  Soon after I had started my meditation practice, I had a very valuable friendship fall apart.  At the time, it was quite devastating.  Looking back, it was a pivotal growth moment in my practice.  I didn’t know a lot about meditation or Buddhism at the time, but I did know that the only way I was going to get through that period of time, those moments, was to find a way to BE with what was happening in a balanced way – to not run away from it, but to also not live out the storyline of what was happening over and over again, replaying it in my mind. To hold that person and friendship in love with no ill feelings, but also to completely let them go.

Just sitting with my breathing at times was too painful and overwhelming, so taking the lead from Thich Nhat Hanh who uses “gathas” or verses, I wrote one for myself to use with my breathing.
The verse was:

(breathing in – saying silently in my mind)
May I have the capacity of heart to hold the entire world and all of life
(breathing out – saying silently in my mind)
And the wisdom of mind to let go

I would sit with this verse and for quite some time it was my only practice.  I would sit for 10 mins, 20 mins or a half hour, breathing in and out, repeating this verse.  I would picture the friend, as I thought the first part while breathing in, and then picture them fading off into the horizon as I thought the second half while breathing out.  I wasn’t immediately relieved, but within time, I grew more and more at ease, the burden was lifted and I felt some peace.

Though the anchor of my practice is still simply sitting and breathing, at times when life feels overwhelming, I will come back to this verse and use it.  I have in recent years changed the “I” to “we” understanding that we are all in this together, sharing in suffering, sharing in joy, interdependent as a community.

We seem to be living in a time that is quite chaotic and can feel overwhelming.  I would like to offer this verse to you for practice.  If it’s too wordy, a simple version could be:

(breathing in – saying silently in your mind)
May I hold all of life in love
(breathing out – saying silently in your mind)
And in love, let it go

My gut says we are in for a long haul, my friends.  We need sane people doing good work to counter that which is harmful.  We need bearers of light and healers in love.  We need bodhisattvas. Even as the world spins around you, hold to center, maintain your balance, maintain your sanity.

Breathe.

May all be at ease and free from suffering.

~j
11.30.17

do your part…

do your part

 

do your part, in your way, from your heart, using your talents – your experience – your wisdom, to expand minds, open hearts, to bear witness to suffering, to honor another’s story, to bring light, to embody love, with a steady-confident calm presence.
~j