2022 New Year Letter: “The Times They Are a-Changin’…”
A reflection on practice by Marcia Rose
It’s been A YEAR again…an unusual (meaning not usual) and challenging year for most all of us sentient beings on this magnificently beautiful planet we all share. The microscope has been turned on to its high power, illuminating the changing & impermanent nature of just about everything that we’ve been used to & so much of what we’ve taken for granted. The truth is that it has always been & will always be this way. There’s never been anything that we can forever depend on to remain the same, or to even remain at all. But we haven’t been called to notice this quite so clearly & intimately on a planetary & personal scale until these last few years.
It’s through our own direct experience via our meditation practice that we truly learn that all sentient beings, including each one of us, and each & every life-form on this planet, are totally interdependent amazing miracles, albeit temporary miraculous manifestations of life.
As awakening beings, we acknowledge that this temporariness with all the unrelenting changes that permeate & stir our lives, can be hard to accept, at least at first. This is the beginning of our transformation towards a greater truth leading into a new way of trusting this constant change we had previously thought to be such a problem.
In my garden, a pair of Chinese ring-necked doves take turns sitting on the eggs in their nest. One morning, the two take a short break together to drink some water. Returning to the nest to take her turn, the female dove finds both eggs broken open & the contents gone. I found her sitting hunkered down, perfectly still & quiet. She stayed that way for over an hour & then flew off. A few days later the pair built a new nest in a new tree & the process of nurturing new life began again.
As we enter into this ‘new year’, we can also practice sitting still, quietly giving our breath a dedicated attention, allowing relaxation & clarity to manifest. We mindfully notice that no two breaths are alike. We notice that the breath gets more & more subtle, soft & light as we relax. We notice that a lightness of being & a quiet joy begin to show up. We’re doing nothing to make this happen. We mindfully notice that a sense of tranquility begins to permeate. We notice that we are experiencing centeredness & a balance of heart & mind. We recognize & learn to simply, mindfully be present within the body, the breath & the heart/mind as it all keeps changing.
We can make a resolve to begin each day sitting in quietude cultivating gratitude, as a clear & powerful way to affirm, inspire & engage a wholesome relationship to change & impermanence. As we spontaneously allow various aspects of our life to appear, we learn to open our heart/mind towards being grateful for whatever shows up.
BREATH…”much gratitude for breath.” SENSATIONS IN THE FEET…”gratitude for feet.” HEARING BIRD SONG & WIND…”gratitude for hearing, for birds, for air”. THOUGHTS OF MY SON…”deep gratitude for my son”. INTERNAL & EXTERNAL DIFFICULTIES…Can we be grateful for difficulties? Difficult internal & external experiences can be some of our most inciteful teachers. MORNING SUNSHINE...”gratitude”. And on it goes without any clinging…JUST GRATITUDE!
Patience, generosity, compassion, loving-kindness, clarity, equanimity & a deep sense of interconnectedness are beautiful & wholesome heart qualities that blossom & flourish from a heart/mind filled with gratitude. We begin to sense, see & know the world as it truly is, and are more & more able to respond to our inner world & the outer world…rather than reacting to how it shows up.
The purifying, crystalline & at times challenging process of our practice eventually strips us clean, creating a balanced & cool brightness… the liberating experiences of equanimity & wisdom. We are learning to trust our practice as we continue moving through all the ebbs & flows…moving through & with the changing nature of this miraculous life.
May this ‘new year’ be filled with light, understanding, ease, friendship, love & a deepening sense of well-being for each of you & for all beings everywhere.
With love, Marcia
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