Life at the moment feels a bit like a dream, with the days falling through me.
I have been practicing a lot because we have been facilitating the MSc year end retreat. This is great, as Choden and Kristine are co-facilitating. This means that when I am not teaching myself I get to receive their teachings and I can practice guided by them and with our group of students.
Then there is the environment. It has been such a lovely spring and living in the countryside in Scotland brings its treasures. A cuckoo calling, a dipper bird in the river, a red squirrel running past the window, seemingly endless sunshine and green growing bushes and trees. My potatoes are pushing up through the soil in the tubs outside my window. My seedlings are growing new leaves and might soon be able to be planted outside.
I recall the title of Mingyur Rinpoche’s excellent last book, called ‘In love with the world’. This is what it feels like – that I am in love with the world. Not a particularly passionate love, but a gentle friendship, joy and openness to my unfolding experience. I love the beautiful moments, such as a sunny walk with the dogs serenaded by myriad birds. I love the mundane moments, such as doing the washing up or feeding the dogs. Then I hear George the Poet on the radio talking about falling in love with the challenges. I can even embrace the crappy moments, such as when the Zoom recordings of our sessions get lost or take forever to arrive.
As I write this I notice how these Zoom moments are only minor crappy moments, but usually they would annoy me a lot more. Now I have a sense that there is nothing we can do about it – how can we make sure the next one records. I notice that all blame has dissolved. I am not blaming others for short falls. The corollary of this is rather wonderful. I am not blaming myself for all my own short falls and failings.
I feel sadness about certain things that are happening to those that I love in this crisis. I do what I can to help. But I also recognise that there is very little I can do, so I let the sadness be – nothing wrong with feeling sad – and it moves through my experience with a serene poignancy.
I am so grateful for my practice of insight, which enables me to see though these habits of blame and see though my habit of engaging sadness and getting caught up in ruminations which cause misery. They are optional and so in a sense unreal. They only become real if I believe in them and at the moment I don’t believe in them.
We just had a session on engaged mindfulness with Kristine. Excellent work that is reconnecting us with what we care about in the world and resourcing us to take action to make a difference. I have always aspired to apply my practice in my life and these sessions always bring a new perspective and an increased motivation to act.
However, this time my reflection reveals that all I need to do to make a difference is to keep going. Keep going with my practice, my work and my life. I feel in the right place. Doing the right work within the right community. I am so grateful to all my teachers, especially the most challenging ones that I have learnt the most from. I am grateful to all the causes and conditions that have led me to this moment.
I wish you all a happy week and hope to see you in one of the practice sessions I am facilitating at our membership weekend – completely free for members – this coming weekend.