Jun. 14th, 2011


Jun. 14th, 2011 07:56 pm
midwestbuddha: (silence)
There are times in life when simple awareness can be extraordinarily comforting. The five hindrances can be such a frequent part of our lives—feelings of anger, fear, restlessness, desire, (even sleepiness!)—that one clear moment can bring us back to the here and now with astounding grace and beauty…

Consider the foggy morning I was standing at the bus stop, fretting over the duties I had before me to accomplish that day at the office. Out of the blue, I noticed a car coming toward me had the most amazing aura around it I’d ever seen! What’s happening here? I thought. I continued to watch for a moment as the car passed my position. As the next car passed and the next, I saw they all had this amazing glow about them—it was the fog, of course: a multitude of microscopic droplets of water, refracting the headlights of each car as it passed in a golden haze—like a candle, upon a far sill.

Suddenly, I realized there is a part of my heart that rejoices in these small moments of beautiful awareness. And I started thinking about other moments I had known:

The first summer I moved in with Dave and the kids there was a lot of adjusting to do—this was the most people I’d ever lived with in my life! So, of course there were conflicts. One evening I went out on the front steps to brood…angry and frustrated thoughts roiling in my brain.

Gradually, I noticed there was a lovely glimmer to the grass…and a moment later I could clearly focus on a spider’s web caught amongst a few moist and shimmering blades. Wasn’t that extraordinary! Look at the way the slanting evening sunlight catches the web and makes it sparkle! I started to think about all the little creatures living at that level of our world—wondering what their lives were like. How wonderful! I thought—to have no care in the world besides bumbling along, carrying food back to your family. No one among those blades worries about what someone said to them or whether they can live with another’s messy habits. How amazing the simple, peaceful lives that go on under our feet, every day. What we humans could learn from ants about acceptance and equanimity!

Or, for that matter, what we could learn from moths about courage and fortitude…

While I worked at a restaurant, one of our cooks, Alan, came to me during the morning. There was something he wanted me to see at one of the dining room windows. Suspecting one of the usual tricks—our cooks were always up to something—I approached the pane with caution.

As it turned out, what Alan wanted me to see was on the window, not through it--a tiny white moth, no larger than the nail on my index finger.

Alan had traded a shift with someone else so he could work this morning and have the evening off. So I really didn’t know him very well. But what I was to learn in the next few moments was a new awareness—not only of my world, but of one of the people I saw every day…

He pointed at the window. “Look.”

I looked.

“No, really,” he smiled quietly. “Look.”

This time I noticed the moth wasn’t just sitting on the glass…it was clinging to it. The brisk March wind tugged at the little creature, ruffling what looked like snowy fur along its thorax. Still, it never moved. What holds it on there? I wondered, examining its tiny, insectile claws closely.

Amazing! I remember thinking. Is this the way all life is: from this tiny creature to…me, to my neighbor, to my enemy? All just clinging to life, maybe not even knowing how or why?

How fragile life is!

And how fragile our emotions…how easy it is to get caught up in the fear, anger or doubt of the moment! Awareness—that’s the key. To look around, notice gifts of spirit in the world all around us, and to know that the next extraordinary moment of life is just around the corner—waiting to be discovered…


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June 2012

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