Mindful Awareness - Practice Makes Presence|
by Richard Rudis (Sonam Dorje)
Sound Healer, Workshop Leader and Owner of BuddhistArtifacts.com
To be ‘Mindful’, as it is patterned in Buddhist constructs, is to be at the epicenter of life. This level of awareness, oddly enough, requires practice. Our minds are such as to be asleep to the unique unfolding experience of each present moment and its possibilities. It is our common nature to proceed through life without actually touching more than the large bits. We begin to live for what is to come and ignore the omnipresence of the present moment. Given the pace and apparent complexity of the world, we have created, our mind’s adaptation to ‘autopilot’ is understandable - but is it acceptable?
To be aware means to be fully engaged in a moment, allowing no space for any other moment, past or future. An instant filled with awareness, without judgment or dualism, is a consequence of self empowerment. It is a pause in our all consuming everyday life that allows for growth, healing and unconditional love. It is an opportunity wherein we can actively sculpt the world around us and our own existence within it. It is a possibility, an advantage, a juncture and it is the birthright contingency of each human mind.
What does it mean to be without dualistic view and is it possible? Can I come to understand self without another? Does a point that is relative to no other point exist? Surely light and dark, good and evil, suffering and joy can only be experienced in relation to each other. A mind must judge one thing to appreciate its other. That is certainly and undoubtedly the defining logic of everyday reality.
I propose that the fault is not in the logic but rather in its point-of-view. The nature of the universe teaches us that all observation, all experience is based on perspective. As a child I could obviously block out the entire moon by simply positioning my hand between it and me. As an adult I can undeniably refuse to see or even know the sufferings of other sentient beings by merely not reading the daily newspaper or listening to the nightly news or maintaining that my beliefs are the only true ones.
‘Dualism’ is the entrained context of opposites. A ‘non-dualistic’ understanding treats such apparent contradictions as ‘relationships’. It accepts life as not being a solitary experience and concludes that a person’s existence is not mutually exclusive. This, of-course, implies we are all interconnected to each other and the ‘all-other’ at a fundament level. This is the basic teachings, sometimes shrouded under symbolism or metaphors, that underline every spiritual imperative.
I have chosen the Tibetan Buddhist tradition as a vehicle to gain deeper access into the nature of self. This ancient practice is a construct supported by four principle pillars of understanding. The first recognizes that as conscience beings we all eventually grow into the discovery that phenomenal existence is intrinsically unhappy. That the cause of this dissatisfaction is rooted in the simple, but unmistakable, realization that ultimately all things naturally and perpetually change. The third pillar is the acceptance that the cause of suffering, being subject to the same inherent laws, is not a permanent situation. The last support provides a road map to conducting a life that will lift the curse of physical, mental and spiritual anguish. This road way is guided by extensive study and application of wisdom and compassion.
An ancient Tibetan teaching story explains: ‘An aged lama practicing meditation by a pond is continuously being distracted by small insects drowning in the water before him. Each day he assumes his meditational position; each day he begins his prayers and each day he saves a bug from dying. His fellow monks, concerned for him and his apparent inability to focus, suggest he close his eyes while meditating or move away from the pond. The old lama replies: How can I sit with closed eyes and meditate on compassion while other beings suffer before me?’
This then becomes the whole of the journey. The phenomenal world, in which we are all engaged in, must be embraced as a sea of opportunity. Each of life’s challenges, each love or malice, every moment of illuminating insight or empathy is yet another possibility to progress on our shared voyage. To open one’s mind, the heart, to this view results in a being who is not fearful of birth or death, youth or aging, health or illness. He or she is freed from fear and the world emerges as luminous possibilities spontaneously becoming realities.
As you enter this new day, this new beginning, consider reclaiming and cultivating the gift each moment of life offers. It matter’s little how you go about it or what system it is named or what religion or philosophy is used. Look inside for the answers. Look into your heart for the road signs and intrepidly advance on your journey to enlightenment. It is the sojourn that we all abundantly share.
Visit Richard's website at www.buddhistartifacts.com for current listing of Buddhist and Hindu artifacts (ancient and contemporary). Also visit his newest website at www.SacredSoundandSpirit.com for current availability of ancient, sacred Himalayan healing instruments. When in San Diego, Ca. visit the Shi-Ho Gallery at 2002 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar and view museum quality Himalayan statuary. To receive our Dharma oriented newsletter, Dharma Tapestry, (which includes scheduled events & special offers), email firstname.lastname@example.org (place Dharma Tapestry in subject line).