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Lions Roar : May 2017
wrapped in mental concepts, beliefs, and assumptions. Insight meditation trains us to recognize and pierce this veil. It skill- fully wields the sword of our innate intelligence to cut through concept to direct perception: this tree, this music, this smile, this grief, this full moon. Looking at reality directly, with a clear and stable mind, we have insight into its true nature. Buddhist meditation flowers in artistic expression, including what Buddhist teacher Chögyam Trungpa called “art in everyday life.” Cleaning our home, cooking a meal, having dinner with friends, engaging in genuine conversation about our differences, enjoying a walk around a lake—all can be done in the spirit of open steadiness and vivid appreciation that is the essence of Buddhist meditation. GAYLON FERGUSON is an associate profes- sor at Naropa University. His most recent book is Natural Bravery: Fear and Fearlessness as a Direct Path of Awakening. Without strength of mind, we recoil in fear from exploring the uncomfortable realities of sickness, aging, and death. Medi- tation helps us to meet the challenges of everyday life with quiet yet unwavering confidence. To our surprise, the vastness of our minds is much larger than the challenges we face. We discover for ourselves the oceanic and mountain-like qualities of mind traditionally associated with Buddhist meditation. As the mind’s distracted fixation on “what’s happening out there” begins to slow and settle, an innate clarity dawns. This is the emergence of insight, or “seeing clearly,” into the nature of our experience. Insight meditation arises as a natural result of stabilizing the mind. Imagine placing a gold ring in a clear glass jar full of water mixed with sand. Peaceful abiding meditation allows the sand to settle so that we can easily see the gold ring. What is this ring? It represents the golden quality of directly experiencing life. Here, insight is a matter of direct sensory per- ception: clearly seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, and smelling. Normally our moment-to-moment experience arrives tightly PHOTOBYA.JESSEJIRYUDAVISPHOTOBYROBERTMANN LION’S ROAR | MAY 2017 55