My heart is full.
I write this in a fully mindful and awake state still feeling the buzz of the Members Weekend coursing through my body – it’s an energy thing, not from the coffee I had this morning but it feels similar! and I feel such gratitude flowing out from my lamp-lit heart; the Mindfulness Association has been shining a light for people for ten years, and I am so grateful, it sounds so corny but it has changed my life, and I don’t mind telling you – it’s true.
And so – from this place, I send out to you, wherever you are and whatever is happening in your world right now, and with the wish that as you read these words, that your lamp too, will be lit, with the unlimited and boundless energy that comes from connecting to others with an open and compassionate heart for the benefit of all beings. My compassion lamp was lit in a guided visualisation by Choden at the Membership Weekend, and it’s still glowing! It was one of the most powerful meditations I have ever experienced, and I immediately booked on Choden’s compassion course in June.
That I have found myself here, now, writing to you in this moment, as part of the MA team, strikes me as the culmination of a very long and sometimes troublesome series of causes and conditions; I lurched from one life calamity to another, almost drowning through storms and tides and gales and lostness, and somehow finding my way to ultimately seek refuge at Samye Ling in 1992, which ultimately led me to be washed up on the peaceful and gentle shores of the Mindfulness Association 7 years ago, when I signed up for my first course of Mindfulness. Offering to help with a couple of design elements for free more recently for the Mindfulness to Insight Book (written by Rob Nairn, Heather and Choden) led me to this wonderful job when it arose.. . and here I am writing the Weekly Challenge, and what will it be this week? I don’t know yet! (What a cliffhanger).
The weekly challenge blog is sometimes a challenge in itself, but this week I am full; full of gratitude, full of practice, full of ideas! Meditation battery fully charged after a whole weekend of guided practices, my morning walk was a very alert experience this morning, everything soft and vibrating with life and all happening all at once…and noticed I was able to talk and maintain mindfulness as me and ‘the Gardener’ drifted down through the pink campion, unfurling ferns, frothy cow parsley down the dust-dry path to the sea at Ceibwr Bay with the sound of the stream tumbling down the hill alongside us as we chatted about how our habitual patterns restrict our lives…
Akong Rinpoche is a major ‘cause’ in my story, as founder of Samye Ling, I have to acknowledge the powerful luminosity of his lamp-light which gave light to my long-extinguished lamp. I am eternally grateful to him for everything he has done and achieved. I didn’t even know I had a lamp to light. One evening in the butterlamp house at Samye ling I was so moved to be part of lighting the lamps; my one light can light a thousand more lamps and each one can light a thousand more…this is how Mindfulness and Compassion spreads in ever widening circles.
At the weekend I watched the documentary Swimming Upstream about the birth of the Mindfulness Association and was astonished. The story reveals the particular weave of the fabric that makes the cloth of the organisation that is the Mindfulness Association; it was not so much ‘organised’ as energised – energised by synchronicity, by people with focus, and by the power of intention. Rob Nairn who coined “knowing what is happening while it is happening whatever it is” and wrote the inspiring and helpful book Diamond Mind, certainly knew how to identify and bring together a group of dynamic and gifted people; his charisma and bright and deep mind fostered the respect and admiration of his new and dynamic team and cemented and empowered their intention; certainly Rob Nairn has a bright and shining light, and as Choden said, this compassionate lamp light has unlimited energy.
The film demonstrated what happened when a spark of inspiration was met with the energy of curiosity. Motivation was engaged with enthusiasm, which is infectious, and through a series of seemingly random meetings and connections the Mindfulness Association was born. What was apparent was the infinite array of causes and conditions that came together serendipitously. Just wonderful! What an adventure. You can watch the film here.
Kristine and Fay’s Engaged Mindfulness Session on Saturday also impacted on me in my daily life. Fay guided us through another incredibly powerful meditation taken from Joanna Macey’s Book the Work that Reconnects. The skill of the Mindfulness Association tutors is exquisite. There is no lecture, no guilt, just very clever ‘skillful means’ – guiding us to a place where clarity resides, but which I find so hard to access myself because of my conditioning.
I felt hypnotized. You’ll need to book on the course in June to experience it. I can’t begin to explain it, but the meditation connected me with my power; deep down inside. To start I found myself in a place of seeming powerlessness, despair and fear about the world. I don’t know how this happened, but during the meditation I ‘saw and felt’ something that shifted me away from the paralysed state of overwhelm – the place where I was telling myself it’s too much, I’m too small, where do I even start when it comes to all that’s wrong with the way we live in the world? Something shifted ever so gently.
With the way I live in the world.
This is not all an ‘out there’ problem. I don’t need to change everything – of course I can’t change everything. But I can just come back to me.
It’s not ‘what can I do?’ It’s ‘what can I do?’
I immediately think of Lama Yeshe’s wonderful talk and Q&A- Maybe it’s more about not doing! Maybe I can make sure I don’t make things worse! as a starting point, maybe instead of changing something out there I can stop doing that which harms. I have power in my pound. I can choose, this week, today, to not buy something that may be causing harm to the environment. I can choose to spend my pound by giving it to companies that are even helping the environment – organic vegetables and locally produced food, eat more vegetable based meals? Now I feel empowered to observe my habits, and really look, with focused energy on how I can refrain from harming the planet, in whatever small way. Fay and Kristine lit a lamp in me – how many lamps have I got!? My little lamplight is growing brighter and lifting my mood as it shows me how to make wiser choices… and feel that, after all, I can make a difference.
And that’s how we end up with a weekly challenge! Is there a little flickering in your lamp? I do hope so.
Take good care of yourself –
sending love and light from my lamp to yours,
We will be posting up Lama Yeshe’s talk and Q&A in upcoming digests so keep an eye out!