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Lions Roar : September 2018
Step Two: Synchronize with the Breath A gatha is intended to be practiced in alignment with the breath. Once we have a feel for the gatha, we can correlate each line with an in-breath or an out-breath. As we say or think, “Entering the garden,” we breathe in, bringing our full awareness to the moment of our arrival. Next, we say or think, “I see my true nature,” while we breathe out, entering a direct communion with all of nature and inviting a deeper understanding of our true self. Then we say or think, “In its reflec- tion,” as we breathe in, seeing the beauty and magnificence of nature as a mirror of our own beauty and connection with all of life. Finally, as we say or think, “My heart is at peace,” we breathe out, peaceful and alive in the present moment. Step Three: Shorten the Gatha After we have practiced with the gatha a number of times and have internalized it, we can shorten it. For example, breathing in, we say or think, “Entering.” Breathing out, we say or think, “Nature.” Breathing of the specific action being performed. Ultimately, both gathas and mantras invite us into greater understanding and love through their practice. If we bring our sincere attention to it, any activity can cultivate awakening to our true nature, our basic goodness. That’s why gathas, which help us bring attention to the present moment, can be used when performing any type of activ- ity—waking up in the morning, brush- ing our teeth, taking out the garbage, entering the meditation hall, or inviting the bell. No matter what activity we’re engag- ing in, or the particular words of the gatha we’re reciting, the practice is always similar. To serve as an example, here’s how we can practice with a gatha for entering a garden—for the moment we cross the threshold from “inside” to “out- side.” The crossing of this threshold gives us just enough space to come back to ourselves. We arrive. Step One: Recite the Gatha We stop at the threshold of the garden, becoming aware of the in-breath and the out-breath. We observe the beauty of the environment around us and create an internal pause by reciting—silently or out loud—the entire gatha: Entering the garden, I see my true nature. In its reflection My heart is at peace. We allow the meaning to touch our awareness. Trainings & Retreats in Santa Fe, New Mexico ENTIRE CALENDAR, TEACHINGS, AND MORE AT UPAYA.ORG SANTA FE, NM 505-986-8518 ext. 112 REGISTRAR@UPAYA.ORG september 14 - 16 The Hidden Lamp: Courage and Intimacy - Exploring Women’s Stories Z lorence Caplow, Reigetsu Susan Moon, Natalie Goldberg september 20 - 23 Exploring Inner and Outer Nature Seeking Wisdom and Solace in the Natural World Mark Coleman september 30 - october 21 Fall Pr actice Period: The Platform Sutra S , Sensei S alma october 12 - 14 Stories and Verses of the Platform Sutra october 16 - 21 Sesshin: The Platform Sutra Sensei S alma LION’S ROAR | SEPTEMBER 2018 24 CULTURE • LIFE • PRACTICE