If you could only take a few people, a few things with you on a long trip, who or what would you take? I’m not talking about some exotic trip away from home, but the trip that you live every day from the moment your eyes open to the minute you fall asleep, and the cycle you repeat each day till you breathe your last breath.
What really matters to you? Who or what do you trust to carry you to the destination you seek? Do you travel with rigidity, considering the journey a failure if you don’t land where expected? Or do you course correct with wisdom and still love yourself when you miss the mark?
I’ve contemplated these questions for some time. Blown around by the eight worldly winds: pleasure/pain, gain/loss, success/failure, praise/blame, I’m tired of packing people and things along for the ride that shake things up unnecessarily without purpose.
sitting like a mountain
massive in this moment
no thoughts can blow me away
So I made a list of what supports faith in the journey, and what hinders it.
Supports to Faith:
- meditation (simple healing breath, heart-mind framing each moment in wisdom and care)
-pausing, waiting for what’s shaken up to settle so that speech, action can be more skillful
-Dhamma mentoring, classes, retreats, talks
-spiritual friends who mirror my True Nature
-family and patient challenges reminding me of Bodhisattva vow (on your way enlightenment, will you take us with you?)
-seeing how I’ve met challenging situations before, inspires trust that I can do it again
-Nature, unconditional loving Mother who nurtures calm, beauty, patience, wisdom, understanding, and trust
-writing strengthens the whispers of inner champion who takes inner critics’s concerns and transforms them into healing, wise words
-inspiration from music, movies, reading
-heart connections with family, friends, patients, clients, strangers
-embodied, grounded presence
-deleting Facebook account (cultivating contentment, simplicity over comparing mind, creating space in my calendar, my life)…ok, so I’m back on Facebook, and I need to remember aspiration over expectation
Hindrances to Faith:
-physical, emotional pain
-losing someone or something dear
-when something breaks, looks unappealing, increases aversion
-disagreement, disconnection with those I am close to
-prolonged exposure to bad news
-relying on astrology for good news, things to look forward to
-scattered, thinking presence
-alarm going off in the middle of a disturbing dream
-too many choices, not trusting the future
Practicing with these contemplations this month, I’ve discovered a few things. I can cultivate an unconditional love for this body-heart-mind, no matter how it is feeling. Despite a medical system that requires so many competing components for attention, I can connect with patient stories and not just make it to the end of the day disconnected and depleted. The allure of technology does not need to eclipse the possibility of contentment found in each moment.
And, I’m still a being doing her best to course correct with wisdom, still learning to love herself when she misses the mark. May the labyrinth of life allow for a natural spiraling in, then circumambulating out, never knowing if the center is reached and still carrying its intention with each step.