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Lions Roar : July 2015
good, we want the good times to go on forever. If things are bad, we want them to change into something good. When we stop and tune in, we can clearly recognize our longing for things to change or to stay the same. We realize that when we try to fight reality, we always lose. Once we have stopped and tuned in, we are ready for “O.” We can “open” to everything: first to our own sense perceptions, thoughts, and emotions, and then to the whole wide environ- ment in which we find ourselves. This is the moment when we see the morning star, when we discover the iguana in the tree. In this opening, clarity arises in our thoughts as well. We may turn the “O” into “Oh! How wonderful!” Or, it can be “Oh! How awful!” The important part of opening is not whether we like or dislike what is happening, but that we are seeing what is hap- pening clearly. Finally, there is “P.” After the opening, after the clarity and spaciousness of our widened view, we know what to do. We “pro- ceed” if that’s what seems to be the wisest course. We take action. Meditation practice is not only about sitting around and being quiet and still. It is about seeing clearly how to be effective partici- pants in the world. Instead of adding to the suffering and pain we find everywhere, we can contribute to healing and reconciliation. Of course, because being a human being involves taking chances, when we make a decision to do or say something, we may discover that we are wrong. Our clarity and wisdom may be missing a few important pieces of information, and we may receive feedback directly or indirectly that we have made things worse. At that point, we can start all over. The “P” could also stand for “pull over and park.” Maybe it’s time to turn off the com- puter, take a nap, have a snack, or call a dear friend. Throughout the day, we can practice STOP in an endless cycle of pausing, acting, and learning. Even if we are at an actual silent retreat, the habit of stopping is still necessary, because the mind doesn’t come to a rest simply because the body does. So, here’s the challenge. Are you ready to taste the truth of what life has to offer? Will you be a bodhisattva, a “wisdom being,” and take the vow to enter every experience, every dharma gate? The road ahead is clearly marked, and you can stop at the very next intersection. I can’t tell you what you’ll encounter, but I suspect it will no longer be any of your old ideas of things. You will discover life itself, vividly appearing to you. And you will know for yourself, like the Buddha, that you, and I, the great earth, stars, iguanas, stubbed toes, and all beings, are naturally and simultaneously awakened. ♦ PHOTOBYJULIEDUBOSE SHAMBHALA SUN JULY 2015 61