Thursday, June 08, 2006

Bring on the clouds

Clouds and Blue Sky, Honolulu, Oahu, HI, February 2006, HP Photosmart R817, Exposure 1/1087 sec @ f8.0, ISO 50, no flash © Steven Crisp
Different winds come from all directions. Some are clear, some carry dust, some are cold or hot, fierce gales or gentle breezes. In the same way sensations arise in the body--pleasant or unpleasant or neutral. When a meditator sees sensations as he does the winds, coming and going, clear or dust laden, fierce or gentle, he will fully understand them and be free from dependence on them. When he understands sensations perfectly, he will see beyond this conditioned world.
-- Samyutta Nikaya
Are you ready for whatever comes? Can you accept life, as it comes, since "it is what it is"? This is the secret of life -- of seeing life, experiencing life and all that it has to offer, without being a victim (or hero) in the movie called "life". In no way does this cut you off from the world, or its sensations, but rather allows you to fully experience them, in their true nature, just as they really are, without all of the baggage that your mind brings to the party. "These are 'good'; eeewww, those are 'bad'. I 'like' this but I 'hate' that." You can see, can't you, that those reactions have nothing to do with life as it really is, but are simply your conditioned responses to the natural, evolving, interconnected, creative energy called life.

But there is more -- you are a part of that drama we all experience. You help create it. Really -- think about it -- you do. If you "get out of bed on the wrong side" and therefore react to life's events as a victim, or worse, as if under attack, you will likely react based upon fear or anxiety, and contribute a negative input to this creative moment, by snapping at the waitress or at your spouse. The alternative -- being all cheery and upbeat -- may certainly seem more pleasant, but is equally artificial, and can you really sustain an artifically positive outlook when the clouds turn dark and ominous, for example, in the face of illness or death?

Why not see life for what it is, and detach your reaction to the sensations of life, by instead seeing yourself as a witness. Happy things may make you happy, and sad things may make you sad, but you do not get caught up in the drama -- much of it artificially stimulated by society and especially the media. That detachment can give you a sense of equanimity, which will enable you to offer loving-kindness and compassion to even those who are short and ill-tempered with you, since they just happend to get out on the wrong side of the bed this morning. And in that way, you are contributing to the creation of a more beautiful world -- both by experiencing it as such (really, all of life is beautiful), and by not becoming a victim, or creating ill-will toward another.

In such a world, dark clouds and storms will still arise, but our reactions to them will be balanced and appreciative -- because everything really is all connected -- and the flowers will not grow without the rain.

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