Friday, April 16, 2010

We are surrounded by miracles...

Reading my book or movies reviews may make you wonder if I'm a closet pessimist. I assure you, I am not. The reason that I take such a hard line opinion on matters I see as gravely important is that they effect ALL of us the same. All earthlings, not just humans, but all living creatures, including the earth itself.

All of our lives are truly interconnected. And we all experience the same array of emotions in the course of our life, feelings & experiences are simultaneously personal and universal.

All of life if filled with miracles. From the miracle of pregnancy & birth, to the miracles of wisdom & experience. From the largest mountain to the food we eat to the joy of breathing. From putting away your Winter clothes to the bliss of flip-flops & a warm breeze, and back to the crisp refreshment of the Autumn chill after a parching Summer, bringing a miraculous palette of turning leaves.
From the smile of a stranger to the generous help of a neighbor, from the eyes of a child to the love they spark in us. Miracles come in all forms, like Mom's cooking or the joy of a hot shower, all places, like a random act of kindness at the convenience store or exquisite sunset at the park, and at all times, like the near silent sound of pure snow falling in the middle of the night. Our coffee & chocolate, grown in equitorial lands, touching so many lives before in comes to delight our senses. Our breath is a miracle- sustaining life force & able to alter our mood and body chemistry. All of life is a miracle within a miracle, and each moment brings countless miracles to us.

Indeed, it is remarkable, that all events in history bring us the unfolding of each present moment. This moment is a result of everything I have ever experienced- had one day been different, life would have delivered me to a different present moment reality. The same is true for all of us & each moment. All of the phenomena and potential possibilities of the universe intersected in such a way, to produce infinite present moments experienced from as many points of view as there are beings to experience it. And so, miracles truly abound.

This is what the Buddha taught. He didn't tell us the all life is suffering, that is a poor translation. He said that our nature is to experience disatisfaction. We suffer because we are ignorant to the nature of reality, which is constant change. We suffer because we are not awake, we are living with our eyes closed. Once we pay attention to the details of our reality in each moment, we find the miracle in each moment.

Buddha never promised that we'd never feel pain, sorrow, disappointment or anger. Only that applying mindfulness, we can let these experiences pass by, we can even learn from them, but they need not make us suffer. We can have joy while we are sick. We can have love while we have anger. And we can focus on the positive aspects of our reality instead of dwelling on the negative. Thus, our experience of the world becomes transformed.

As we learned in science class, yoga & the Buddha, who was a yogi, taught that all of life is woven into an interconnected tapestry. Numerous living beings depend on the ecosystems vast array of relationships. It can never come to pass that just one species is affected, because the success of all depends on the success of one. The same is true for humans. Culture lives in the minds of human beings. As the minds of individuals change, society itself changes.

We practice yoga not because people tell us we should, or because its forced upon us, but because it helps us to feel better. I feel like a better, healthier person when I do yoga. When I feel like a better person, I act accordingly in life. Thus, I am a better person because I do yoga. But it is important to realize that it is not the yoga making us better, it is the yoga revealing our natural, healthy state of being. The result is within us, the yoga practice is a tool to reveal it. Awareness, compassion, generosity, strength, poise, and peace are within us as potential states at all times. Yoga waters those seeds & gives them the encouragement to grow. All states are potential within us like seeds, both positive and negative. It is through practice, repetition and mindfulness that we choose whichs seeds to cultivate. That, too, is a beautiful miracle.

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