Tag Archives: Pema Chodron

#LongerView: Exploring the Richness of Self

Today’s #LongerView looks into the caverns of the heart in “No Ground Beneath My Feet.” Mostly, it considers letting go from the perspective that the action has already occurred. It is in the acceptance that we struggle but need we? I’m just not so sure about that anymore.

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I’m so grateful you are here. As always, I provide the bench. 

Aim for Even posts offer equanimity a dose at a time. No day or dose is ever the same, even if the aim is. You may read about the origins of Aim for Even here or on this site’s About page.

The Ever Elusive Perspective

In meditation, Pema Chödrön advises that I look around–find out what is happening–so, I do. My mind evens out.

A breeze of equanimity continues to clear my brain fog; when necessary, it takes a broom to the cobwebs.

This airing out of thought allows me to be in the moment, my only real frame of experience.

At best, my life is a single stitch in a never-ending tapestry, a speck of dust within the multi-verse. It is a perspective that eludes more often than not

But Chödrön gently reminds me that sometimes I have perspective and other times, I don’t. If I am not fearless, then I’m not fearless. What I am is afraid. I need to look deeper into the experience the moment is offering me.

And, I need to be down with it. I need to let my emotions swirl–hopelessness, frustration, even despair–each moment I experience is the “perfect teacher.” It is my traveling professor and knows what ails me. I will discover what I need if I just stay in the moment. It’s up to me.

Should I take the day and turn it upside down looking for what I will not find? Why not take a closer look at the experience that is presenting itself–explore it, just a bit.

I, along with everything and everyone else in this physical dimension, am here to experience being alive. There is no need to dissociate or to escape from any moment. It is all an experience and no one event or situation stays the same.

Awareness is found in our pleasure and our pain,

our confusion and our wisdom, available in each

moment of our weird, unfathomable,

ordinary everyday lives.

(Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart)

Ever, there is the breeze of equanimity to clear the fog, to catch the cobwebs.

Aim for Even posts offer equanimity a dose at a time. No day or dose is ever the same, even if the aim is. You may read about the origins of Aim for Even here or on this site’s About page.

The Seat of Zen

I can suffer or I can sit in chaos. I choose chaos. It’s where I take my seat in Zen while the world whirrs.

In some moment, I will be swept up. There’s no immunity nor should there be. Life is an experience. The seat of Zen keeps me in the moment I have and only there.

The drama of the storm around me swirls but I experience only the energy of the present moment.

I am not here to escape anything. I’m here to live. Pain is integral to the life experience but suffering is not. That is a choice. Suffering is not sitting in the seat of Zen for suffering is to believe a single experience will never end.

It is not the nature of the energy that animates us to aspire to a stagnant state. Pain and joy evolve, no one state stays.

When I consider my life in that context, each experience I have—pain or joy— is a visitor, sometimes an unwelcome one but a visitor offering me the unknown.

As Pema Chödrön teaches, that visitor will have its say. I must remain open, sitting in the seat of Zen, able to receive. Each experience changes me, like the ongoing cell regeneration in my body. It is not in my being to stagnate.

Zen offers me a life lens, ever adjusting for available light.

Aim for Even posts offer equanimity a dose at a time. No day or dose is ever the same, even if the aim is. You may read about the origins of Aim for Even here or on this site’s About page.

 

It’s Not About Saving the World

A lot of people turn away from activism because who can save the world, anyway? Maybe the better question is who would even want to try? I’m not sure activism has ever been about saving anyone or anything.

What seems more likely is that effecting change is equated with saving or being saved, especially in times like these. Yet, life is and always has been impermanent so change is our one constant. There is no saving from that.

We don’t set out to save the world; we set out to wonder

how other people are doing and to reflect on how

our actions affect other people’s hearts.

 Pema Chödrön

Every morning before I begin my yoga practice, I pause. I pray that I meet each moment with compassion, joy, loving-kindness, and equanimity in all things, in all ways. I open myself.

On so many days—sometimes in a seemingly long succession—I am so unsuccessful but in failure, I return to my breath. Once again, I open myself to the moment, in search of hearts.

new-year-2017

I do not have to have anything in common with another’s heart but it is easier if I do. Even so, I struggle not to offer answers but sometimes, my head seizes the moment, and I fall into world-saving.

This can have quite the boomerang effect, especially if I have been clever at another’s expense.  And it will return to me, this boomerang, often on a day when I am already low.

Less and less do I even think of world saving. It takes too much energy, something of which I have in short supply. In the least, it seems a lesson in futility.

Rather, I open myself to each moment that is offered, wondering how other people are and how my action may affect a heart. It lifts me, this reflection, and keeps me clear-eyed.

Aim for Even posts offer equanimity a dose at a time. No day or dose is ever the same, even if the aim is. You may read about the origins of Aim for Even here or on this site’s About page.

Don’t Bail Out

We characterize our experiences as love, courage, fear, emptiness, or mindfulness. The labels fit until they no longer do. And then the bottom falls out.

Boundaries are breached, chaos ensues. We are in a free fall, groundless, and that is frightening.

And isn’t that what impermanence is? Isn’t that being alive? Our bodies are flesh and blood but we are the stuff of stars. We do not stay the same and neither do our labels. They fall off for they no longer fit.

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“The trick is to keep exploring and not bail out,” Pema Chödrön says. “Nothing is what we thought.”

My stomach lurches, as the labels of my life fall off. In disbelief, I look at a world I no longer recognize, with the exception of the familiar–insecurity and uncertainty–bailout labels.

I stay in free fall, trusting in impermanence.   

Love always finds its way as does courage. Nor are fear and hopelessness ever far behind. It is the way of the human experience.

Groundless.

The stuff of stars.

Aim for Even posts offer equanimity a dose at a time. No day or dose is ever the same, even if the aim is. You may read about the origins of Aim for Even here or on this site’s About page.

Days of Razor-Thin Rays

Light seems to shine only in slivers these days but there is enough to wend my way through “the big squeeze” as Pema Chödrön calls it.

We’ve all been between a rock and a hard spot, “caught with both the ‘upliftedness’ of our ideas and the rawness of what’s happening in front of our eyes.”

Perhaps the landscape of life is always this either/or. I don’t feel the squeeze when my moments are of peace and joy. Light seems everywhere, space unlimited.

But these days are of razor-thin rays, the landscape bleak. In the uncertainty of bouncing between a rock and a hard spot, my frustration is high and my despair deep.Rock and Hard place 1014

Chödrön tells me this is a “stroke of luck,” an opportunity to experiment with “not getting tossed around by right and wrong, learning to relax with groundlessness.”

What have I to lose except insecurity and uncertainty?

And there is a wisdom in immersing myself in that experience. It is its own peace and joy, even in the big squeeze.

 

Pema Chodron quotes are from When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times.

Aim for Even posts offer equanimity a dose at a time. No day or dose is ever the same, even if the aim is. You may read about the origins of Aim for Even here or on this site’s About page.

Wednesday Window: Compassion Among Equals

Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded.

It’s a relationship between equals.

Only when we know our own darkness well

can we be present with the darkness of others.

Compassion becomes real when

we recognize our shared humanity.


Pema Chödrön 

Equanimity is a two-way street. We must face our fears; in loving-kindness, wood-stork-0214dwell in our own darkness. It is how the heart opens. Only then is compassion a gift worth giving and receiving.

To know whether we are giver or receiver is never necessary. Who is to say where one ends and the other begins.

Aim for Even posts offer equanimity in daily doses. No day or dose is ever the same, even if the aim is. You may read about the origins of Aim for Even here or on this site’s About page.