Mindfulness Meditation – Serendipity and Trust
Last weekend I was supporting my friend Barbara Reid in a Courage to Teach CPD weekend at London Samye Dzong. I felt nurtured and deeply heard during this weekend of open speaking and listening. My trust that my mindfulness meditation practice and living mindfully guided by my values is enough was reinforced. A spookily magic serendipity seems to unfold when I do this.
As I travelled down to London on Friday morning I had been thinking of someone who lives in Scotland. I wanted to talk to them. That evening I bumped into them at London Samye Dzong. I was reminded of the serendipity that manifests in my life all the time. All I need to do is to let go and surrender to the sometimes turbulent flow of life. Once again, I recognised how I can trust what unfolds.
I aspire to trust that what unfolds is for the best. I aspire to trust what unfolds to be my curriculum for the day. Seeing what happens as our curriculum for the day is a suggestion from Pema Chodron in her wonderful book ‘Start where you are’. The idea is that whatever happens, good or bad is an opportunity. An opportunity for us to open and learn more about ourselves. Or, if we begin to close down, to see what can be learned from that.
The weekend was contemplative, full of reflection, often based on evocative poems or prose. This elicited a response from deep within. It gave space for a quiet inner voice to be heard. I find, at this moment of my life, I am experiencing a lot of confusion. My confusion is born of multiple changes, confounded expectations and inaccurate assumptions. The analogy from the weekend is that I am in the midst of a blizzard.
After the space of the weekend I now have a choice. I can ruminate, elaborate, try and figure out, but I know that this will only pile on the snow. Or I can trust the compass of my values and keep plodding through the blizzard. I will simply following that compass, without agenda. My mindfulness meditation practice brings clarity. I know that this will move me more quickly towards a lighter dusting of snow further ahead.
The trust takes courage. It is like jumping off a cliff. It requires me to let go of trying to control what happens. But time and again that is what seems to work. Somehow, and this is so counterintuitive, this is how life works. Being open, without agenda allows serendipity to manifest and the opportunities it brings to be recognised. It strikes me as wise to work in accordance with how things are. A better choice that to fight against the natural unfolding of events.
But it is hard! All my conditioning, all my years of training in logical thinking, and our culture’s way of doing things counsels the opposite approach. It impels me to try to get control, to work tirelessly to achieve the desired outcome. Hence the analogy of jumping off a cliff.
When the blizzard is at its strongest, it is hard to remember to let go of trying to control. This weekend of practice and contemplation and my mindfulness meditation practice reminds me. Given the scale of my work, which sometimes feels overwhelming, the only way to manage it is to trust. In this I am inspired by how my teachers’ work – they know how life works – and the scale of their work dwarfs mine.
So if you get bogged down in your blizzard, see if you can let go of trying to control and simply keep plodding on guided by your values. Mindfulness meditation practice will help. Beyond the dark clouds and the veils of snow, the sun is always shining.
Barbara and I are repeating the Courage to Teach CPD weekend at Samye Ling on 31st May to 2nd June 2019. You might like to join us there. Click here for more information.