“Human nature has been sold short…[humans have] a higher nature which…includes the need for meaningful work, for responsibility, for creativeness, for being fair and just, for doing what is worthwhile and for preferring to do it well.” ~ Abraham Maslow
It is easy to forget, in our loneliness, our brokenheartedness, our ambition, our lust, our poverty mentality, our stinginess, our casual cowardice, our habitual patterns, our prejudice and solid views we work so ardently to defend and foist upon others…that
…space happens. The sky is above you and I, both. When is the last time we looked up at it for five minutes. The earth is below us: naturally free of poison, full of life-giving richness, stable and yet alive…when is the last time we walked barefoot over untamed land?
Space happens, even in the midst of our red, raw, vulnerable, powerful heart.
And when space happens, it gives us perspective, it reminds us that the simple things in life are full of goodness, and that we can connect them them and their goodness: good coffee, a beautiful old plate, the way leaves shake in the wind, the chairness of a chair just sitting there.
This isn’t spiritual: it’s ordinary. Trungpa Rinpoche called it “ordinary magic.” Suzuki Roshi called it “beginner’s mind.” Marketers and advertisers try to sell it to us, one way or the other. Lovers find it in us, then decide we don’t own it (and they’re right, in both instances). We find it in our own experience it, and want to keep it, tame it, run from it, hide from it, buy it. Sometimes sunshine is too bright, and we want to hide from our life and live online, on our netflix queue, close the curtains and eat ice cream until the cows come home.
And that’s okay, sometimes. We all need down time.
But even in our tired moments, ordinary magic is there. All we have to do is cease revolving around the drain of our own whirlpooling self-concerned thoughts. We don’t have to silence them, we don’t have to get rid of our neurosis, or figure everything out. There is no project, because there is no fundamental solidity. Our thoughts are like the wind: just a part of our experience. All we have to do is be aware of them without buying into what they want: food, sex, anger, stress about stress.
All we have to do is slow down, if we’re too fast. Or speed up, if we’re too out of it. This isn’t about speed, really: it’s about being mindful, being present, and practicing being through meditation, or prayer. Whatever we call it, the present moment is the source of all the good things in life.
And we know we are fundamentally aok, basically good, because we have the ability to work and play in harmony with that moment, and with goodness, and we feel empathy when we see a sweet puppy injured or a friend saddened.
So cheer up, sweetheart.
Practice meditation. Don’t let your busy self live your life.
Quotes via Chogyam Trungpa, a Buddhist meditation master:
Basic goodness is simple. It is “the realization that we can directly experience and work with reality.”
“If we are willing to take an unbiased look, we will find that, in spite of all our problems and confusion, all our emotional and psychological ups and downs, there is something basically good about our existence as human beings. We have moments of basic non-aggression and freshness…it is worthwhile to take advantage of these moments…we have an actual connection to reality that can wake us up and make us feel basically, fundamentally good.”
“…when you relax more and appreciate your body and mind, you begin to contact the fundamental notion of basic goodness in yourself. So it is extremely important to be willing to open yourself to yourself. Developing tenderness toward yourself allows you to see both your problems and your potential accurately. You don’t feel that you have to ignore your problems or exaggerate your potential. That kind of gentleness toward yourself and appreciation of yourself is necessary. It provides the ground for helping yourself and others.”
“The way to begin is with ourselves. From being open and honest with ourselves, we can also learn to be open with others. So we can work with the rest of the world, on the basis of the goodness we discover in ourselves. Therefore, meditation practice is regarded as a good and in fact excellent way to overcome warfare in the world: our own warfare as well as greater warfare.”