Of Greatest Value…
A reflection on practice by Marcia Rose
As our beautiful home planet revolves & we turn again toward the light, the New Year often inspires reflection on what has taken place, changed and passed… in our personal life, our community, our country and in the world at large. We might note how, as life unfolded within us and around us this past year, we experienced beauty, joy, compassion, generosity and love as well as rancor, confusion, anger and misunderstanding… in our own mind and heart as well as coming from others out in the larger world. And especially we discover that nothing seems to stay the same, internally or externally.
A question that often arises is: What is it that is of greatest value? For many of us the answer comes clearly time and again. We recognize that in times of uncertainty, turbulence and stress, the teachings of the Buddha offer us what is actually a radical notion… that when we cultivate an equanimous heart and mind through our practice, even the most extreme external or internal circumstances do not consistently hold strong sway over us.
As we learn and practice with diligence and sincerity on this path that leads to freedom, we discover that more and more often we’re able to meet and respond with some measure of equanimity when facing difficult, disappointing and stressful times. The cultivation of equanimity that naturally happens through our practice brings forth an equilibrium, a fearlessness and balance of heart/mind… thus giving us the clarity and power to experience and respond to every sort of manifestation and change in the realms of internal and external experience. Consequently our heart and mind begin to relax.
We find that we are able to engage responsively more and more often with wholesome and appropriate thoughts, words and actions even in the midst of what might be some hardship in our life or in the larger world. And as our practice continues to take a deeper trajectory, these wholesome thoughts, words and actions become a refuge for us in every circumstance.
We can take inspiration from the just-about-to-be Buddha, sitting under the Bodhi Tree on that now famous night. Sidartha Gotama was protected within the great strength of his mindful presence… a presence enlivened by a determination, keen interest and a penetrating sense of investigation imbued with an uplifting and refreshing joy… all accompanied by clear discernment. We can remember this about-to-be Buddha sitting under the Bo Tree that night, with unshakable stability grounded in the evenness and balance of a receptive, openhearted presence… as though he were an immovable mountain… the mountain of Equanimity.
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