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Lions Roar : May 2014
be happy, I don’t need. I don’t need the perfectly respectable life that everyone wants. Mainly I don’t need to know what happens next. My own life is an unknown path through peach blossoms. Centuries later, another poet across the sea, in Japan, wrote touchingly: The village peach trees were not aware of their own crimson but still they freed lingyun from all his doubts. Meditation, particularly koan meditation, dis- tracts you until, barely noticing how, you start to accept the strange magic of your life. It’s beyond effort or concentration. There’s no separation between you and what you’re paying attention to. you do what you love, and the simplicity of what’s here and now is called enlightenment. a few things to enjoy about distractions 1. Distractions sort themselves out if we have the courage to turn toward what we love. Meditation practice helps us notice what we love. 2. What’s here has its own life. What’s here is it. We don’t have to hurry through the now. Now is not on the way to something else. 3. If you feel distracted, trying to get back to a pre- vious state of mind won’t help. There isn’t a there to get back to. The only place available is in the dis- traction you are trying to get away from. 4. Not only is there not a place to get back to, there’s not a me to get back to either. you can’t take hold of the past mind. That idea of myself was just made up anyway. 5. It helps to allow room for the universe to come to meet us. The reason I stop texting or checking my notifications is so I can experience more life. It’s the same reason I don’t reach for a credential or an identity when I meet a stranger. A credential is a form of barrier. 6. Even if you don’t stop texting at your uncle’s funeral, where you are is still it. 7. We rush through the moment by working out of a story about who the other person is, or who we are. But we don’t have to put a story world in front of everyone we meet. 8. Meditation is not about manufacturing a state of mind that’s clear, calm, or full of insight. It’s about interfering less and less with what is actually here. 9. The nature of mind is to move. your mind doesn’t always consult you before it moves. That’s okay, kindness applies to our own minds as well as to others. 10. There is not anything that’s not meditation. you are the universe that you are in, so the thing you think you are not, you’re that too. abiding nowhere, the heart Comes forth Oh and as I was saying before I was distracted... about thylacines. In Mole Creek, in Tasmania, there was an ordinary old-fashioned pub with a dark- wood interior, like something out of Tolkien. (It’s still there but I hear it’s fancier now.) It served farm- ers and wildlife people with weathered hands and creaky knees, smoking in the corners. Inside the pub were posters, letters, and clippings about the thy- lacine, and it was clear that the place was devoted to the notion that the thylacine still exists in some dimension of the universe—as a mythical beast like, say, a griffin. On the walls I read of a theory that our holding the thylacine in reverie is itself a kind of existence for it. I found the notion encouraging. This marvelous perhaps-not-quite-extinct crea- ture touches on the nature of things—that we don’t have to know where our mind is, or where it belongs. It belongs in the universe; it is universe. Every time we are distracted, we are falling into the Earth and the stars. The world catches us each time. No matter how many losses we have, the world doesn’t forget to be itself. There’s not a world to go back to before it became the way it is, before the cli- SHAMBHALA SUN MAy 2014 54