Discover more from Timeless Luminosity Newsletter
2023, April, Issue 39
When I sit in the forest, meditating or in contemplation, whatever term you would like to use, I am present. I pay attention, fully absorbing all the life around me, all the motion, the chatter of numerous beings, the wind swaying the trees, the energy of land and water. I pay attention to all the elements that come together in each moment. I observe mind, watching thoughts when they arise, not letting myself become afflicted with disturbing emotions or distractions of any kind.
On the surface, this may sound peaceful; however, mind wants to be in motion, especially when among so much, when noticing all that is taking place as I sit motionless. The interaction between beings is far from peaceful, even though a forest setting is usually seen that way. Beings argue, they chase each other around, they kill and eat each other, competing over food and territory. It’s very busy here. All these little critters are pretty skittish, especially with predators hanging around, with wolves and eagles nearby, as well as humans.
Remaining present in a place that is full of life takes practice. We can’t just say we will be present or mindful, expecting it to happen automatically. Without practice, we easily get distracted. If we are distracted, it is difficult to awaken. It’s important to pay attention to your own mind, especially your own actions, or you will carelessly create causes and conditions that will make it all the more difficult to awaken.
All this chatter and busy-ness in the forest is no different than in a city or an ocean or any out-of-the-way-place out in the middle of nowhere—really anywhere that life exists, and life exists everywhere throughout our tiny little universe. I’ve seen it; and, I should say that it is more than a bit overwhelming. The same problems exist everywhere, whether in places like Earth or more ethereal places like the formless god realm. All these places buzz with the same deluded actions, leading to perpetual distractions, thus binding us further in this endless cycle.
When we think of karma, don’t give it some sort of magical cosmic meaning. Karma simply means action. We stay busy and distracted, with our body, speech and mind, then we create a different world around us. Everything we do spins off across all there is. It’s really the same as this idea Western Science has been discussing, called the ‘butterfly effect’. The example is that a butterfly flapping its wings in Singapore can create a hurricane in Florida. The actions of an unknowing being spread everywhere, leading to things that might be unexpected. The world changes with everything we do. Dispelling ignorance can lead to a better world.
This is why it is so important to start with the intention of Bodhicitta, developing this attitude of awakening, as well as causing no harm. Our actions go everywhere. It’s not that negative actions will come back as some sort of cosmic punishment, it’s that we change the world, depending upon what we do. We have to live in this world. What we do comes back to us as an entire universe that we have now created for ourselves and others.
We might think that we only live once; however, there is no evidence to support that idea. Science tells us that energy can neither be created nor destroyed. When we look at matter, all the atoms swirling about, all the electrical impulses creating action, it starts to become very clear that we are energy. This light, this ineffable condition that we think is beyond, is us.
Be careful, be patient enough to take the time you need to understand this great big dream called life. When we examine this phenomenon of life, observing self and other, we might come to the conclusion that it is all nothing or even that we are everything. Both views are commonly misconstrued beliefs that are also expressions of ignorance. We attach ourselves to such things, thinking that we’ve finally had our aha-moment.
The extreme view that everything is nothing does not take into consideration what appears in mind. It’s comical to even think such a thing, if you really think about it. Thinking that life is nothing but a dream does not mean it’s nothing. Life is an appearance, just something transitory, but it’s not nothing. We need to take good care, generating positive karma in each transitory moment.
Be very careful, as well, that you do not think that we are everything, as we are far beyond that. We must understand that when we have great compassion for ourselves and all beings, we are simply radiating our natural condition, as we transmigrate this gap that seems real to us. Generating Bodhicitta means we take good care of this seemingly real appearance that is our life. That’s important if we wish to awaken.
If we are patient, we will eventually see that generating Bodhicitta, as well as being gentler, or sometimes fiercer, with ourselves and others leads to a more favorable environment where we can awaken. This means we generate beneficial karma in each moment. The karma we generate on this side of the world leads to favorable conditions for awakening, no matter where we are reborn.
Blessings in Light,