As human beings we share a tendency to scramble for certainty whenever we realize that everything around us is in flux. In difficult times the stress of trying to find solid ground—something predictable to stand on—seems to intensify. But in truth, the very nature of our existence is forever in flux. Everything keeps changing, whether we’re aware of it or not. Pema Chodron
There is so much radical uncertainty in our world right now and so much more of a need for this practic, for this refuge, or a safe place to rest our attention. To rest in the heart space, is a true refuge; as Sharon Salzberg so aptly titled her book, ” A Heart as Wide as the World.” That this practice is one where we place our trust in the compassionate heart and the wise mind to help us navigate life. And as Pema Chodron, reminds us, “everything around us is in flux. In difficult times the stress of trying to find solid ground—something predictable to stand on—seems to intensify. But in truth, the very nature of our existence is forever in flux. Everything keeps changing, whether we’re aware of it or not.” And so it is, that we have come to a very challenging time in life, where everything we counted on as being stable and steady, is up in the air. From the smallest thing, like that cup of coffee that I was used to getting, in the morning, on my way to the office, to being able to hug my husband, or mom, all of it is suspended for the time being. So there can be the feeling of the rug being ripped out from under us. And as I reflect on that, I recognize that the rug and the ground is an illusion. Because, if there is one thing that is guaranteed in life, it is that everything is in flux and things can change in a finger snap. Change is not an enemy, it’s not a problem. It is more how we relate to it and I would broaden “it” to be life.
For me the practice is the ground. It is mindfulness that helps me come back over and over again to this moment, to this breath, to this body, mind and heart. And this is true no matter what is happening in the external or internal world. Mindfulness, kind awareness is always available to us all. The Buddha tells us to make of ourselves a safe refuge. And these words are what carry me during times when anxiety tries to take root and I’m caught in a story of some future that is full of loss, grief, anger and sadness. It is coming back home to compassion and the breath that helps me navigate the huge swells of anxiety that can seem like monstrous waves, just waiting to take me down. It is the teachings of the Buddha, his words of wisdom and clarity; practical teachings not based on placing my faith on some outside entity, but instead resting in love, knowing there is no greater refuge than the heart that opens to suffering and vulnerability. It is also our Sangha that helps anchor me in the wider world of interconnection. These three refuges are what are in this moment the anchors that help me stay grounded in this here and now that is at times terrifying and others peaceful.
Tell Me What it is You Plan to do With Your One Wild and Precious LIfe…
Yes, change is happening, it’s fast and scary. This virus is both a tragedy, a blessing and everything in between. It is a forced pause on the busy way we have lived our lives. Blindly doing and not realizing the damage that we leave behind, and around us. It’s damage that cuts both ways; internally and externally. So, the virus you can say is the pause that is forcing us to stop and re-evaluate how we are living our lives, where we are placing our attention and how we are paying attention to what we are are attending to. These are reflections that can help us arrive and shift towards kindness, patience, compassion and courage. It is not a bandaid fix; fix the problem and do more of the same. As we pause, we have the opportunity to align ourselves with that which heals, transforms and empowers us to show up for life authentically, in all our imperfection. To live fully, to cry, to laugh, to work and to play…eventually. But first arrive here…be here…present and openhearted…turn towards what is painful and difficult and let it open your eyes and your heart. As Mary Oliver said so beautifully, “Tell me what it is you plan to do with your wild and precious life?”.
P.S. As a way of helping us all stay grounded in what is healing and wholesome, we are now meeting on line 3 times a week via Zoom. (I will be creating a seperate page on our website and will post the schedule at the end of this post.)
We offer this to our growing Sangha and to ourselves, as a way of staying grounded in the healing qualities of the heart as we meet both the challenges and blessings of this sacred pause. This class is offered free/with a suggested donation of $10.00. This helps us continue to be able to offer this freely. Please donate at paypal.me/wbmindfulness
Here is the On line Zoom Recording from our March 29th Sangha Meeting on Compassion as a True Refuge
Schedule of upcoming classes via Zoom:
2 Mindfulness Meditation Circles (Guided Meditation, Talk related to Mindfulness practice, Mindful Iquiry)
Wednesdays: 6:00pm-7:30pm EST – Zoom Link at https://zoom.us/j/295955531
Sundays: 11am-12:30pm EST – Zoom Link at https://zoom.us/j/560767880
Lunchtime Meditation Circle – approximately 1 Hr. (Guided Meditation and Mindful Inquiry)
Thursdays: 12:05pm-1:05pm EST – Zoom Link at https://zoom.us/j/318473702
**A password is required to join all of these sessions. Please email Cindy at firstname.lastname@example.org, prior to the meeting to receive the password.