This past week when I was on a silent retreat, as the days went by and we all got deeper into our meditation practice, I could see that people were walking really slowly…taking long pauses to enjoy the nature around us; stopping and touching the leaves of a bush and even petting it in appreciation; gazing at a wild turkey and laughing at all its sounds and attempts at impressing us with displays of their feathers, or perma-grinning up at the full moon.
If any of us had been wearing tie-dyed clothing, someone would have thought everyone was on psychedelics of some sort. And it kind of makes sense, because meditation does to our brains many similar things that psychedelics do – but that’s another podcast.
However, i’s interesting to me that we often find it unusual to be in awe of life on a regular basis.
Why isn’t that our baseline instead? When did we fall from this state of awe?
As you may know, dying is a sexy topic in Buddhism, with a lot of teachings centering around impermanence. There’s a Tibetan saying, ““Since death is certain and the hour of death is uncertain, what is most important?”
That’s really the question, right? What is most important to us?
When we deeply practice and pause to ask ourselves this, we often realize that the most important thing is to be in full, loving awareness, loving presence.
After all, the only thing that’s certain is impermanence, and accepting this allows us to let go of attachment and on a deeper level, our fear of death, which actually helps us live a more engaged life.
As we stay present with and accept the transient moment, we begin to identify less with what changes, and more with presence itself. And we can begin to realize that this awareness is actually made of love. But don’t just take my word for it. Dive into it and check it out for yourself.
I remember saying goodbye to my dad on what I knew might be the last day I might see him. There was a deep sorrow in knowing that could be the last time. I didn’t want to leave.
I kissed him on his head. I ached inside. But there was also a tender awareness of this eternal, fleeting moment. The importance of being so present as my lips touched his skin. Feeling his warmth at this goodbye.
When we let go of attachment to what’s changing, passing – we then open ourselves to infinite possibilities and miracles in the moment.
Buddha said there are different types of miracles – yogis who can stop the beating of their hearts or walk through walls and stuff – but then he says the real miracle is the miracle of awakening, of seeing the miracle that’s already here.
Do we need miracles and epiphanies to see the truth about reality? No. The very act of living and dropping into your body and having a felt sense of being alive IS a miracle.
We’ve all been given the give of LIFE, which in and of itself is amazing.
So let’s ask ourselves: what helps me to see this all as a miracle again?
Is it hiking through alpine mountains, walking along the beach in silence, sitting in meditation, or maybe just taking time for stillness in our culture of busyness?
What helps your senses open to the experience of being alive?
Practicing this isn’t necessarily easy. To get there we often first pass through mindfulness of stress, or mindfulness of anxiety. Or something way worse. But then, the reward is to once again have access to the awareness of the wonder of life.
Take a moment now to just look at your hands or your face. We have this body which has done all these things for us. We have a head and eyes and a tongue. Fingers or arms or legs that stretch and are covered with skin and have…made so much of our lives possible.
So it’s not about needing an epic experience. It’s about a beginner’s mind, the awe that comes with seeing things fresh.
It’s a lot simpler than we think. It’s being present with what we’ve got.
A lot of teachings in Buddhism were about how to live in the natural world and its mysteries. Nature helps us appreciate vastness, and there is so much beauty in its cycles and changes, so spending time in nature can helps us access this more easily. We can remember that we’re part of a larger…Universe. Not an insignificant piece of it. A part of it.
Come back to the natural, mysterious existence of being alive.
Ask yourself – what really matters right now? If I only had today, or this moment, what would I think of my life so far, and what would I do with this precious, precious moment?
In this Episode you will learn:
// How accepting impermanence and death can open us up to a more engaged life.
// How to open ourselves to the miracle and experience of being alive.
// Why nature is so important in our practice.
// How to make awe and wonder a part of everyday life.
// Did you know I lead silent mindfulness adventure retreats? Our next one is in Baja, Mexico in the week of March 26th, 2023. Save the dates. You will want to be on the early notification list!
// If you want to start integrating all of you into this one precious life we have, apply for the Adventure Mastermind. It’s Soul Work. Deep work. Important, necessary, and essential to what the world needs right now. Be a part of it.
If you’re remotely curious, apply. It will help you get clear, and then we can chat to see if it’s actually a good fit. Trust me – it’s an intense 6 months so I am just as invested as you are in making sure it’s an amazing match. Head over to AdventureMastermind.com and apply for the next cohort. We have 2 altered states retreats, weekly coaching, virtual retreats, and more. I’ve got you!
// If you’re new to the squad, grab the Rebel Buddhist Toolkit I created at RebelBuddhist.com. It has all you need to start creating a life of more freedom, adventure, and purpose. You’ll also get access to the Rebel Buddhist FB group, and tune in weekly when I go live on new topics.
// Want to dive into this work on a deeper level on your own time? To study it and practice it together with a group of people with the same goals of freedom, adventure and purpose? Check out Freedom School – the community for ALL things related to freedom, inside and out.