In welcoming everything, we don’t have to like what’s arising. It’s actually not our job to approve or disapprove. It’s our task to trust, to listen, and to pay careful attention to the changing experience. At the deepest level, we are being asked to cultivate a kind of fearless receptivity.
This is a journey of continuous discovery in which we will always be entering new territory. We have no idea how it will turn out, and it takes courage and flexibility. We find a balance. The journey is a mystery we need to live into, opening, risking, and forgiving constantly.”
–Frank Ostaseski, founder of the Metta Institute
Psychologist Nicholas Humphrey has proposed that our ability to awe was biologically selected for by evolution because it imbues our lives with sense of cosmic significance that has resulted in a species that works harder not just to survive but to flourish and thrive. This is a two and a half minute video that is definitely awe-some!
We have a responsibility to awe.
February is a good month for so many reasons – Birthdays, Valentine’s Day (love and hearts), and Sharon Salzberg’s annual meditation challenge. I’ve meditated daily for the past two February’s, and the experience has been valuable. Despite the fact that over the year I turn into a sporadic meditator, certain concepts stick with me–one of them being ” the magic moment.”
Many people think that when you meditate, you clear your mind of all thoughts. But minds wander–that’s just what they do. Rather than thinking that this is a sign of failure (“I’m horrible at meditation), Sharon describes it as a magic moment.
The moment that we realize our attention has wandered is the magic moment of the practice, because that’s the moment we have the chance to be really different. Instead of judging ourselves, and berating ourselves, and condemning ourselves, we can be gentle with ourselves.
This magic moment message can be extended in so many ways.
- The magic moment is when we go from driving ourselves too hard to letting ourselves rest.
- The magic moment is when we move from trying to be perfect to being real.
- The magic moment is when we move from isolation to realizing we’re all in this together.
- The magic moment is when we stop fearing change and embrace uncertainty instead.
- The magic moment is when we come home to ourselves.
Oh, and by the way, I’m meditating again this February. The old me would have said, “Why are you even doing this again. It hasn’t stuck before; what’s going to be different this year?” but the new me says, “Hmm, I wonder what will happen…New habits take time to develop and lots of tries…It’s great that I’m willing to begin again.”
I wish for you many magic moments in your life.
Sharon’s books on meditation are very practical, down-to-earth, and not attached to any particular religion. I just bought her newest book, Real Happiness at Work with a Barnes and Noble gift card I just got for my Birthday. (It’s actually in the business section; I had to ask because I couldn’t find it.) Her other recent book is Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation.
To see the first of the Tiny Heart series, click here.
I hope you’ll join me on Facebook. I like to hang out there.
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our Light, not our Darkness, that most frightens us.
People are like stained – glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.
There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.
To see the beginning of this series, read about Hearthstones.