Awakening: The Path of Enlightenment
Everything changes. Life is a constant shift of evolving relationships and connections. Yet our spiritual nature strives for balance and peace while we navigate our life’s course. Since human beings are endowed with free will, everything we do involves choice. From the simple to the critical, we focus on the environment, moment to moment, and we choose. From these focused choices, we create our reality. Meditation is the single-minded focus of your own spiritual Path.
Often, past karmic influences and our busy day to day lives, create conditions of extremes, situations that feel as if there is no room for choice. Consequently, decisions are made without thoughtful regard to moving life forward in the most positive direction. These are the small choices of every day, every moment. Becoming aware of the way we choose, developing a calm abiding mind capable of conscious acts of choice, is what true meditation is all about.
Recently, a pandemic and the global response, threatened our way of life and our health, and has been deadly to the most vulnerable among us. In times of crisis we are asked to use the lazer focus of our intentions, not just for the short term, but for the future beyond our own time on the planet. The Native Americans refer to this long range vision as the 7th Generation...each decision of the tribe has to take into account 7 generations into the future. They understand the ultimate law of interdependence. It is a concept that is intergrated into every part of every day. Earth is Mother. Sky, Father. Everything is sacred...and connected.
If in these moments of personal or global crisis, we pause to see the beauty and the suffering, its impossibly long unimaginable chain, we can grow in ways we were all intended to grow and eventually become...higher thinking, feeling Humans. If in that moment of choice, that weighty moment of 7 Generations, our thought becomes, "What is this moment teaching me? Who will this help? Who will this hurt?" then we will thrive, not merely survive, during our time on Earth.
Meditation trains us to think beyond our ourrent situation, by putting us in the ever present moment that becomes our future. Poet Rainer Marie Rilke said it best: "...Because we stand in the midst of a transition where we cannot remain standing. The future stands still...but we move in infinite space."
We are all unique souls. Our paths require our own personal perspectives. There is no one way on the Path. The most beneficial practice should create a personal experience of meditation that incorporates what Buddhists call, The Middle Way: taking action that is in harmony with our intentions. With guidance and training, time tested tools of spiritual evolution can develop into a new way of seeing our place in the World. We can learn to step in rhythm with our daily lives in a way that no longer finds crisis and conflict as a routine. When true transition or crisis comes to us, we move easily through the maze of decision making. We are no longer burdened with the past or chained by its eventual karma.
From a Buddhist perspective, it is our misconception of the cause of suffering that works against our efforts to create peace in our lives. Meditation is a journey towards understanding the true nature of our suffering and how our grasp of impermanent phenomenon keeps us from the true potential and possibility within each of us. With this understanding, along with training the mind to focus regularly, we can begin to choose a Middle Way that enhances our lives. We witness ourselves consciously letting go of the conditions that cause suffering. The Source of our inherent Buddha nature (the Highest Self or Soul) becomes more available to our everyday realities and every act of choice.
Though we may struggle to keep up in a fast-paced World, we come to know each step of our journey. Literally, we walk in Awareness. We begin to see our lives reflected in the World around us, especially in the Natural world of our planet Earth. We participate and communicate with the collective consciousness of Earth, in all its myriad expressions of Life, on a very deep spiritual level. We take responsibility for our connectedness to all life. We realize we have always been part of the ever growing community of Life on Earth, the Sacred Earth Sangha.
This is our inherent gift of Life on Earth. The Heart, the center of our Soul, the Source of our being, is simply given space to unfold. And like the sacred Lotus that rises from the depths of darkness...
the whole Earth responds in Love and Beauty and the Earth begins to heal.
"...Not merely to escape the antithesis of 'yes' or 'no', but to find a positive way in which the opposites are perfectly harmonized...not through logic, but through a mind of higher order."
-D.T. Suzuki, Zen scholar
The Path of Freedom
The Power of Meditation is not based on a belief in Buddhism. It is a personal practice that transcends the conditions of any one religion. The Dalai Lama would be the first to affirm that we must each find our own way. Buddhism is merely a place from which to start. It is through Buddhist and other eastern religious practices, that the concept of meditation was realized, as spiritual masters and sages devoted lifetimes to finding the answers that could alleviate suffering.
The Buddha taught that through the practice of meditation we become more conscious of the inherent interdependency of all Life and The Path of Enlightenment is awakened in us. We choose to respond compassionately to all beings, to respect our environment and live in harmony with the Earth that sustains us. And in order to extend this great compassion to others, we must first develop a true sense of compassion towards ourselves, by forgiving the regrets we may have from the past and accepting ourselves as a sacred part of this Earth. This is the real work of meditation...the realization that letting go of our past is essential to growing the seeds of our future.
Meditation develops our strong determination and commitment to move forward in Life with wisdom, understanding and patience. And as we accept our responsibility to create peace in our own lives, ultimately, we create peace in the World. This is the true Path of Universal Freedom.
“…There are no sravakas (saints) who attain nirvana. What you practice is the path of compassion; and if you practice step by step, you will all know Enlightenment"
- The Buddha