“There is some principle of magic in everything, some living quality. Something living, something real is taking place in everything.” – Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche
It’s that time of the year when the sun shines for more than 15 hours a day in the New York area, rising around 5:30 am and casting brilliant rays of light into the earth’s atmosphere. The long days can sometimes feel epic in their scope, compelling us to do more, feel more, experience more, soak up more and see more. We feel drawn to parks and beaches, forested trails, mountain streams, cool lakes, celebratory picnics and numerous recreational and sporting activities. We are driven by the light of our nearest star to affirm our sense of being truly alive in the world, connected and engaged, savoring the abundance of it all. Our senses and our spirits are ultimately awakened to the precious gifts of the source of light.
This theme of awakening light is so relevant to the practice of meditation and mindful awareness. Indeed, meditation practice is quite often referred to as “waking up” or cultivating wakefulness. Meditation can create the space where we allow ourselves to see the light that is within and also to shine light upon areas that have been in the shadows. By offering the mind and the spirit the possibility of letting go of the continuous attachment to our thought stream, we can begin to experience the natural beauty and clarity that is our inner world. We can start to see new domains in our consciousness, explore the patterns of our narratives and discover the brilliance of the peace that is within us.
In this sense, practicing mindful awareness and meditation can bring light into our souls. The essential qualities of this light are compassion and wisdom. The compassion is something we cultivate first for ourselves—by accepting who we are and where we are at in our lives. We can then begin to really open up to the vastness of our experience and become more familiar with the landscape of our hearts and minds. (In fact, the Tibetan word for meditation is “gom” which translates as “to become familiar with.”)
This compassion for ourselves can then extend to our relationships and connections with others. Having established some peaceful abiding with our inner reality, we create more space for tolerance, forgiveness, empathy and love. These gifts ultimately generate a greater sense of well-being and foster the wisdom that we are truly and deeply connected to others.
Very often in our commitment to the necessary routines of daily living, we can become disconnected from the space that is our inner world. We are so wrapped up in the career and the school and the business that we can get alienated from the source of it all—the inner light that is so vital to our existence. And yet even a simple daily practice of say 15 or 20 minutes—or more, of course–can offer tremendous rewards if we just create the space for connection. So during these long days of Midsummer, imagine that the luminous rays in the beautiful world around us are an invitation to tune into the wonder of the light that also shines inside.
Written by Gabriel Woodhouse for bodono.
Gabriel Woodhouse is one of the teachers at Three Jewels which offers free meditation classes every weekday morning and on Friday evenings. Three Jewels functions as a Meditation, Yoga, Dharma, and Outreach Center for the community. More info at: threejewels.org