Monday, August 9, 2010

LIghten Up a Bit

Vipassana meditation can get pretty heavy, sometimes. Or maybe it's just me. Perhaps I tend to emphasize sitting with the difficult, the uncomfortable, the unpleasant, and the suffering, and I fail to notice the awe-inspiring, the uplifting, the joyful, the peaceful, and the just plain fun that this kind of practice can open up to me.

So yesterday, during a daylong retreat I was leading, I changed things up a bit. After lunch I suggested that we turn some attention to the miraculous nature of existence, both our own, and that of the entire cosmos. Contemplating the interdependent relationship of all things is, for me, a sure-fire way to open up a bit of joy and wonder in my practice. As the saying goes, "If you're not in awe, then you're just not paying attention." When we actually do pay attention to this process of "interbeing," as Thich Nhat Hanh calls dependent co-arising, we can see clearly just how wonderful being alive really is.

As you practice, or go through your day, reflect for a moment on how an infinite number of causes and conditions came together to make you. The countless number of chance meetings, unexpected encounters, and serendipitous happenings that brought your parents together, and their parents, and their parents, and so on and on, over countless generations. Contemplate the geologic, cultural, historic, and cosmic events that had to align, as well. You can take this all the way back to the Big Bang, if you like.

Enjoy the trip...

"Strange Miracle" by Hafiz:
Oh wondrous creatures,

by what strange miracle

do you so often

not smile?

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