Thursday, February 02, 2006

May all beings be at peace

Well, I have taken to meditating directly in front of the Peace is Every Step calligraphy. It reminds me of when I was in the midst of my difficult pregnancy and I needed to use a simple guided meditation to get any sense of quieting the monkey mind. Lately I need to have my teacher Thay's energy out in front, to help me get centered, to keep my balance. I have to say, it feels a little precarious. But this is my practice, my path, the way that makes sense to me.

At the risk of having this turn into some kind of blog-o-drama, I will relate the sparse details of my day last Sunday after awakening with a migraine headache and ending with a trip to the emergency room complete with cardioversion of a dangerously fast heart rthythm. Now along with medicine comes the scheduling of a battery of tests and appointments and all the attendant thoughts and feelings. I am no stranger to high tech medical care: I work in an ICU but I am strangely unfamiliar with feeling personally vulnerable to illness.

It's amazing, isn't it, that faced with a reminder of my own ultimate impermanence, what I feel is surprised, even when I take care of young patients facing life-threatening illness every day. So it's interesting to see what proceeds from this little mind-stopping event, to observe what thoughts, what feelings float in and out of my awareness. Another teacher Pema Chodron quotes, "Don't even think for a moment that you're not going to die" but apparently it's a challenge for me to consider it seriously for even a moment. So I am thinking deeply about how to open my heart (no pun intended) to this experience that seems to have been strangely timed in a series of difficult events.

So begin again, begin again. Sit and breathe. Notice, notice, feel, name, observe, and breathe, breathe, breathe. Flash on impermanence, spaciousness, ultimate goodness and be aware that countless sentient beings are thinking the same thoughts, are trying to make sense of similar experiences, are feeling the same feelings. Hold a sense of connection for a moment and breathe out a sense of safety, of gentleness, of the sacredness of life.

"May all beings be at peace...."

Authentic Kindness of the Heart


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