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Lions Roar : May 2008
SHAMBHALA SUN MAY 2008 67 and stay with our suffering, attend to it with all of our tender- ness and kindness, and take good care of our suffering. Let’s try not to run away. We run because we’re too afraid. But if we can be present with our suffering, the energy of mind- fulness is strong enough to embrace and recognize that pain and that sorrow. We suffer because we lack insight into our nature and into the nature of reality. The energy of mindfulness con- tains the energy of concentration, and concentration always contains the capacity of seeing deeply and bringing insight. To see deeply, we have to first learn the art of stopping. The Buddha is often portrayed as sitting on a lotus flower, very fresh, very stable. If we’re capable of sitting in the here and the now, anywhere we sit becomes a lotus flower—whether that is at the base of a tree, on the grass, or on a stone bench. When we’re really sitting, we’re free from all worries, from all regrets, from all anger. Many of us sit on the meditation cushion, but it’s like sitting on thorns because we don’t know how to enjoy the lotus flower. You can start by just appreciating your eyes. Breathing in, you are aware of your eyes; breathing out, you smile to your eyes. When you embrace your eyes with your mindfulness, you recognize that you have eyes, still in good condition. It is a won- derful thing to still have eyes in good condition. You need only to open them to enter the paradise of colors and forms. Those who have lost their eyesight know what it feels like to live in the dark and wonder at the capacity to see things. We can just sit on the grass and open our eyes. The beauti- ful sunrise, the full moon, the orange, all these things reveal themselves to us when we are truly present. The blue sky is for us. The white clouds are for us, as are the trees, the children, the grass, and the loving faces of our dear ones. Everything is avail- able to us because we still have eyes in good condition. Most of us don’t appreciate our eyes because we are not mindful. We may think that everything in us is wrong, but that’s not true. There are millions of things in us that are right. When we cook, when we clean, when we walk, each move- ment can be made with mindfulness, concentration, and insight. With each step we take, we can touch the earth and become one with it. Our fear and loneliness dissipate. There is no other way. With every breath, we can generate mindfulness, concentration, and insight. Insight is our liberation. Insight liberates us from our fear, our ignorance, our loneliness and despair. It is this in- sight that helps us to penetrate deeply into the nature of no-birth and no-death, and the interconnected nature of all things. This is the cream of Buddhist practice—and we can do it by means of the very simple practices of breathing in and breathing out, be- ing mindful of each step, and looking deeply. ♦ MAY 64-67.indd 67 MAY 64-67.indd 67 3/6/08 11:32:07 AM 3/6/08 11:32:07 AM