Here is a repost of my blog – Mindfulness Meditation – Serendipity and Trust in my Values – from last October after I attended the Courage to Teach weekend in London led by Barbara Reid. We have another Courage to Teach weekend happening in Samye Ling in South West Scotland at the end of this month. For more information, please click here. Also you might like to read Barabara’s blog – Growing Courage.
Last weekend I was supporting my friend Barbara Reid in a Courage to Teach CPD weekend at London Samye Dzong. This weekend of open speaking and listening, made me feel nurtured and deeply heard and has reinforced my trust that practicing and living mindfully guided by my values is enough. A spookily magic serendipity seems to unfold when I do this.
The morning I travelled down to London I had been thinking of someone who lives in Scotland that I wanted to talk to. That evening I bumped into them at London Samye Dzong. That reminded me of the serendipity that manifests in my life all the time, when I let go and surrender to the sometimes turbulent flow of life. I recognised again how I can trust what unfolds.
I aspire to trust that what unfolds is for the best, as well as trusting 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 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, eliciting 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, 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 following that compass, without agenda. 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, because 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, rather than fighting 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, but this weekend of practice and contemplation 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. Beyond the dark clouds and the veils of snow, the sun is always shining.
To get more in touch with your values have a go at this practice of the 80th Birthday Party from our Level 1 training.
I hope it helps.