Waking up…

The house is quiet. All the people in my house (Daalu, Anji, my parents visiting from India) are resting, taking a nap this afternoon. I can hear the wind rustling through the trees, a gentle breeze through the late afternoon light. Anji is moving in her sleep, slowly crossing over from sleep to awake-ness. Have you ever been aware of that exact moment when it happens? There is possibly one definite moment when we are no longer sleeping, and fully awake. Isn’t that true of every time when we are no longer drifting in thought, but have become fully conscious and awake, present in the moment. The more we can pay attention to this moment of waking up, the more often we have the opportunity to begin again. And this beginning again and again and again and letting go of the past and the future and entering more fully into the now – this I feel is what builds our resilience and inner strength and open heart.

Of course, some moments are harder than others to enter into, they test the vulnerability of the heart, of how much we can stay open, not through sheer will but through gentleness. And yet, isn’t this too an opportunity through compassion, to begin again? Perhaps, that is why Rumi says:

“Why should we grieve that we have been sleeping?

It does not matter how long we’ve been unconscious.

We are groggy, but let the guilt go.

Feel the motions of tenderness

around you, the bouyancy.”

(translated by Coleman Barks)

For me, it is the time of year when my heart is tested, as many experiences from the school year near their end. This week, I had my last day of class with my seniors. I had always wanted to do this, this is the first year that I actually managed to do it: to write a card for each of my seniors, wishing them luck on their new adventures. My hope is that many years from now, one of them will find the card when they most need it, and know how much their Calculus teacher appreciated them!

Anji is nearing the end of her second grade, and that too is bittersweet, to see how much she has grown and learned this year, and all the many new experiences she has embraced so openly and bravely. She truly is an inspiration to me. Each last assembly, recital, homework and warm-up finds me moved, and my heart tender and my eyes close to tears. Somewhat ironic, as I have been suffering from dry eyes lately!

So, as we take in this incredible beauty of the summer, its fullness, fragrances and intensity, may we continue to wake up to our experiences and live more fully in the present…!

With love, S.


Be-coming Awake, Alive, Alight…

How can we stay connected to the underlying sense of peace and ease in the middle of chaos and change? By using every moment of witnessing disconnection as an opportunity to become present.

Its like the mind: it gets distracted. That is its fundamental nature. It jumps from one thing to another, builds mountains from molehills, is highly imaginative in setting up scenarios which never happen. This is totally okay, if we know that this is simply its nature. It is doing what it is good at. And sometimes, its amazing how creative the mind can be. We of course get caught in the stories of the mind over and over again. And yet it is the realization that we are caught that has the capacity to bring us back again to the present moment. So getting caught is good! It is the window of opportunity we have to become awake again.

Awake, alive, alight
shining brightly this light
in a dark dark room
a magical sight

Witnessing these moments is the juice of the practice of mindfulness. Its when we know its working. When we can be with disconnection and simply accept it for what it is, that is when we know we are truly present!

And then the magic happens. From this witnessing arises beautiful action. wisdom. Its like a white-board. There is all this writing on it that seems so solid. And all it takes is an eraser, and its all gone! The white board is now empty, clear, reminding us of the freedom that is possible. We will write again on the board, it will again become cluttered. probably in no time. But we know – that it can become empty again. All it needs is for us to notice. and reach for that eraser. That is the moment of truth.

May we play with the chaos of life in new creative ways that enlighten and enliven us.

with warmth, S.