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Lions Roar : January 2016
its roots in one of our ancestors. Once we become aware of our actions, we can decide whether or not something is beneficial; if it’s not, we can decide not to repeat that action. If we’re aware of the habit energies in us and can become more intentional in our thoughts, speech, and actions, then we can transform not only ourselves but also our ancestors who planted the seeds. We are practicing for all our ancestors and descendants, not just for ourselves; we’re practicing for the whole world. When we’re able to smile at a provocation, we can be aware of our ability, appreciate it, and continue in this way. If we’re able to do that, it means our ancestors are also able to smile at what is provoking them. If one person keeps calm and smiles at a provo- cation, the whole world will have a better chance for peace. The key is to be aware of what our actions are. Our mindfulness will help us understand where our actions are coming from. Reconciliation (Parallax) Be Like a Tree in a Storm During a storm of emotion, leave the head and the heart, which are like the top of the tree, and come back to the trunk. A strong emotion is like a storm. If you look at a tree in a storm, the top of the tree seems fragile, like it might break at any mo- ment. You are afraid the storm might uproot the tree. But if you turn your attention to the trunk of the tree, you realize that its roots are deeply anchored in the ground, and you see that the tree will be able to hold. You too are a tree. During a storm of emotion, you should not stay at the level of the head or the heart, which are like the top of the tree. You have to leave the heart, the eye of the storm, and come back to the trunk of the tree. Your trunk is one cen- timeter below your navel. Focus there, paying attention only to the movement of your abdomen, and continue to breathe. Then you will survive the storm of strong emotion. You should not wait for emotion to appear before you begin practicing. Otherwise you will be carried away by the storm. You should train now, while the emotion is not there. So sit or lie down and practice mindfulness of the breath, using the movement of your abdomen as the object of your attention. I am positive that if you do this exercise for twenty days, ten minutes per day, then you will know how to practice whenever a strong emotion comes up. After ten or twenty minutes, the emotion will go away, and you will be saved from the storm. You Are Here (Shambhala) embrace our strong emotions with mindfulness and concentra- tion, we’ll be able to see the roots of these mental formations. We’ll know where our suffering has come from. When we see the roots of things, our suffering will lessen. Reconciliation: Healing the Inner Child (Parallax) Seeds from Our Ancestors If we’re aware of the habit energies in us, we can transform not only ourselves but also our ancestors who planted the seeds. Whatever kind of action we take, if we look deeply into it, we’ll be able to recognize the seed of that action. That seed may come from our ancestors. Whatever action we take, our ancestors are taking it at the same time with us. So father, grandfather, and great-grandfather are doing it with you; mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother are doing it with you. Our ancestors are there in every cell of our body. There are seeds that are planted during your lifetime, but there are also seeds that were planted before you manifested as this body. Sometimes we act without intention, but that is also action. “Habit energy” is pushing us; it pushes us to do things without our being aware. Sometimes we do something without know- ing we’re doing it. Even when we don’t want to do something, we still do it. Sometimes we say, “I didn’t want to do it, but it’s stronger than me, it pushed me.” So that is a seed, a habit en- ergy, that may have come from many generations in the past. We have inherited a lot. With mindfulness, we can become aware of the habit energy that has been passed down to us. We might see that our parents or grandparents were also very weak in ways similar to us. We can be aware without judgment that our negative habits come from these ancestral roots. We can smile at our shortcomings, at our habit energy. With awareness, we have a choice; we can act another way. We can end the cycle of suffering right now. Perhaps in the past we’ve noticed ourselves doing something unintentional, something we may have inherited, and we’ve blamed ourselves. We saw ourselves as an individual, isolated self, full of shortcomings. But with awareness, we can begin to transform and let go of these habit energies. With the practice of mindfulness, we recognize that a habitual action has taken place. This is the first awareness that mindfulness brings. Then, if we’re interested, mindfulness and concentration will help us look and find the roots of our action. That action may have been inspired by something that hap- pened yesterday, or it may be three hundred years old and have SHAMBHALA SUN JANUARY 2016 59