As part of my usual morning routine of practice I picked out one of the compassion cards from Pema Chodron’s compassion box. This morning it was ‘Examine the nature of unborn awareness’. I then read and reflect on the relevant part of her book ‘Start Where You Are’. After my practice on alternate days I run on my treadmill for around 30 minutes, to music. When I say run what I really mean is I alternate between walking and running according to my ‘Couch to 5k’ app. I usually hover around week 2 or 3 but hope to progress at some point!
Anyway, I find that this routine of practice and running often results in significant insights while I run. I love the music and find I experience a lot of joy (when I am not grumbling to myself about when the lady from the app is going to tell me it’s time to walk again!) Here are some songs from my playlist – I strongly recommend them for some after practice exercise:
September by Earth, Wind and Fire
Give Me the Night by George Benson
I’m Coming Out by Diana Ross
Miracles (Someone Special) by Coldplay
Viva le Vida by Coldplay
Adventure of a Lifetime by Coldplay
Sit Down by James
Good Souls by Starsailor
Four to the Floor by Starsailor
Now is Exactly the Time by Noah and the Whale
The song that caught me this morning was ‘Rule the World’ by Take That. Now I often have an impulse to skip this one, as it is a guilty pleasure and I often feel a bit embarrassed to myself – also I find this song about true love quite moving. But the thought that arose this morning was contrary to this usual impulse and I thought ‘I believe in love’ and this was followed by a load of other things I believe in, such as ‘right and wrong’, ‘honesty’, ‘loyalty’, ‘courage’ and ‘walking your talk’. Somehow, I feel a bit embarrassed to say out loud that I believe in these things, but as Diana Ross says ‘I’m Coming Out’ as a believer in love.
I feel corny saying all this – but I don’t care – I am going to say it anyway!
In my childhood my example of true love was my grandma and grandad, who were married for almost 50 years before my grandad died and who never had a cross word, did everything together and were clearly genuinely fond of each other and happy together. This is what I sought in my own relationships and on my second serious attempt, I met my husband Mark and 23 years later we are still very much in love and happy together. I understand how fortunate I am in this respect as many people don’t find this kind of ‘true love’ in their lives.
But we all have love within us. This is what gets me to the cushion most mornings. I sit, getting to be familiar with the churning of my thoughts, knowing that beneath the churning is love, essence love as Tsoknyi Rinpoche calls it or fundamental OKness as one of our MSc: Studies in Mindfulness students recently described it on our Holy Isle retreat. Those times when there are gaps within the churning of my thoughts, that fundamental OKness, a feeling of rightness and joy, momentarily shines through. The thoughts may come and go but the OKness is always there. My conceptualising thoughts cover it over much of the time, but the more I practice the more I know that it is always there to accompany me through each moment of this life. This is the unborn awareness from the card this morning.
So I believe in love! This is why I love the Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings books so much, because they are about groups of friends who love each other, are honest and loyal, courageous and they walk their talk. This inspires me and I aspire to be a true Gryffindor in my life and my work. It’s how we all could be and if we were, what a wonderful world this would be. Mindfulness and more importantly Compassion training helps me in my aspiration and I am happily surrounded by family, friends and colleagues who also hold these values. I feel that the team within the MA and the Everyone Project are a group of such friends on a quest to dispel suffering and fear – what better way to spend a life?
So we don’t have to hide or be embarrassed by such aspirations in the cynical world we find ourselves in with junk values of money, power and fame. Let’s be out and proud!
I am struck by the courage of a colleague of mine Bill, who has this at the end of his emails:
Work like you don’t need the money.
Love like you’ve never been hurt.
Dance like nobody’s watching.
Sing like nobody’s listening.
Live like it’s Heaven on Earth
Another World is Possible
What a wonderful message to send out into the world with each email and what a wonderful message to embody in our lives.
So what do you believe in? Can you be out and proud about your values? Can you send them to your friends, colleagues and strangers in your emails?
I am thinking of this as a footer for my emails, from the poem by Marianne Williamson, which was read at Nelson Mandela’s inauguration as President of South Africa, after his many years in prison.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
Which brings me back to the Take That song I was running to this morning and which started off this whole chain of thoughts ‘Yeah, you and me we can light up the sky’.
If you like this train of thought and would like to connect with other people who think in a similar way and who are training their minds to get more and more in touch with their fundamental OKness, why not join us for our Joyful Club weekend. As fundamental OKness is the source of our joy.