Here comes the sun. And we are all too happy to embrace some warmth and light. We have been busy ushering winter on its way. We dont like to suffer. Which leads me perfectly to this month's blog here at SumKovi. A lot of changes, per usual in my world; life is constant. A new home meditation practice has been a big focus for me...Jobs starting, jobs ending, new friendships and the most powerful lesson I've learned is about samsara. Samsara is a Sanskrit term, loosely translated, means struggle, or "cycle of struggle". It is us as humans trying again and again to find happiness. In the cycle, we get disappointed and we seek self fulfillment in the hopes of achieving happiness outside of ourselves. The problem is, we hate to face the dark parts of ourselves, the shadowy essence that lives in all of us. The things we regret,the anger, the sadness, the wound. We hate to address these things, so we strive again and again to fill the space and mask what makes us uncomfortable or uncertain. We create repetitive behaviors that allow to remain in our comfort zone. There's no uncertainty in familiar habits. Yet the unwillingness to sit with our darkness only makes us struggle more. We think we are trying to achieve happiness, but we are deflecting what we truly need to look at.
It's hard. No one wants to sit with uncomfortable feelings. We are taught early on to run away from uncomfortable feelings, to "fix" them, to "cheer up". We just make it worse for ourselves when we refuse to look at what we dont like. But that's where the strength is...thats where the actual information is that we need to truly be enlightened. I use the term enlightened because I think "happiness" is a misnomer and a bit of a myth. Struggle is constant and permanent. The Four Noble Truths of Buddhism explain that life is always suffering, it's changing, chaotic and impermanent. Once we stop clinging to the idea that life shouldnt change, that there is no boat in a "calm harbor", we begin being enlightened.
Shambala Master Trungpa Rinpoche tells us that "Chaos should be regarded as very good news". It means our boat is rocking: it means we are on the edge and seeking something new. Chaos doesnt happen in our comfort zone and without it, you can never move from there. Put frankly-you have to be willing to disrupt shit-again and again. You have to be willing to tear it down, dissolve, crawl to your knees to emerge a new strong you. In this process you are not looking for happiness on the outside, you are turned inward, exploring all the part of you that you dont like. And guess what happens? You become enlightened. You recognize behaviors and patterns that keep you feeling empty. You stop looking for sensory pleasures to make you "happy". Self fulfillment is and endless tug of war...an empty jar that can never truly stay filled. Happiness (self fulfillment) is ephemeral. It is a constant craving and an escape from the stuff we should really be looking at.
Dont run, stay in the fire: Tapas. We love to run like a cheetah (quote by me) when bad feelings appear, or we are in a situation where we are in the grips of fear. For me, in the past month, all these things have happened. I learned most importantly, that you have to stay there, in the yuck, in the bad feeling. You have to sit in the fear and let it grip you and crush you....then, very simply....breathe. When you run, you are simply repeating a behavior again and again. And guess what? You never face your fear, so you never move beyond it. Or you might have a memory or regret or part of your personality you dont like. Once you bring it into the light and give name to it, it ceases to be bigger then you in your thoughts. You own it. Then it shrinks and disappears, and a new behavior takes its place. THAT is enlightenment, and there is no need for samsara...it becomes joy.
Life is suffering. and it takes bravery to say that and allow yourself to sit with it. The good news is, you have everything you need inside of you to accept and deal with the chaos life engulfs you in. . You have the ability to say...thats not what I expected but I'll walk beside it and maybe embrace it. You cant control chaos, but you CAN decide how you will react to it. Your life is carefully designed by you whether youre aware of it or not.(Preston Smiles) You will attract the things you fear and repeat the same patterns of behavior until you bring them into the light.
A flower's purpose is to bloom. It starts as a seed and then cell by cell grows into the beautiful flower it was meant to be. Our only job is to create an opening for higher awareness, deeper truth, and new ideas and insight that help us grow and bloom in life.- Preston Smiles
Enjoy the images, enjoy the writing.....Om Shanti