“I want to unfold. I don’t want to stay folded anywhere. Because where I am folded, there, I am a lie.”
Rainer Maria Rilke
this quote very well may sum up enlightenment or waking up, for me – to live authentically, to be in authentic relationship with the arising and passing life around us, to not fold up or close up in fear or anger, but to remain open – both heart and mind – courageously loving all that is suffering.
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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.
“The infinite is in the finite of every instant.”
we search outward and inward, seeking enlightenment, wanting to wake up, to find meaning, to find peace. there are no guarantees in this swift life. like a lightning strike, it flashes hot and bright, then gone.what if all we needed to wake up was available right here, right now? all of it grist for the mill, to open our hearts and minds?
we only have this moment. if we are to find enlightening, meaning, and peace, it is found here and now.
“For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the Force around you; here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere, yes.”
“If there’s any possibility for enlightenment, it’s right now, not some future time. Now is the time.” ~ Pema Chödrön
“I have arrived. I am home.”
~ Thích Nhất Hạnh
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we sit, we practice. we practice with our breath, with our thoughts, with all that is in our hearts. allowing all of it to rise and fall, to arrive and pass away. in doing so, we open our hearts, we develop compassion for our own self and our own situation.but what good would it do, to end the journey there? compassion, once developed, naturally extends if we remain open.
the cushion is a great place to start, but not to stay.
go out into the world and offer your compassion through your words and actions.
I sit with patience.
I sit with impatience.
I sit with an open heart.
I sit and let go.
over and over again.
I sit with this life as an offering.
I sit with my vow to not harm,
waiting with compassion
for the Ocean’s next wave…
In the struggle
between the stone and water,
the water wins.
You can cut all the flowers, but you cannot keep Spring from coming.
~ Pablo Neruda
love is the spring. your open heart and your love, have the power to awaken this world. so, center yourself in openness and love no matter the outside forces, moving forward with empathy and compassion, working to lessen the suffering in the world.
there’s a whole world outside waiting to meet you.
and there is a whole world inside also waiting to meet you.
let go of the stories you repeatedly tell yourself and meet this life.