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Lions Roar : September 2019
well-being. They were present in my panic attacks. I didn’t want to suffer any more. I wanted to feel safe and secure. I just didn’t know where to look. But what I didn’t see was that the instinct to be happy and free from suffering was always there. Pause for a moment and see if you can sense these qualities. Do you feel the impulse to move away from discomfort, or to avoid anything unpleasant. Just notice that. That feeling is compassion. Can you sense the wish to experience happiness, content- ment, or simply to feel whole? Rest for a moment and see what you notice. That subtle movement toward happiness is love. When you’re done reading this and you continue on with your day, notice these qualities in other people as well. They are like the rays of the sun. As long as awareness is present, love and compassion are present too. OUR INNATE WISDOM Another essential quality of our buddhanature is wisdom. Every one of us has deep insight. We may not always notice it, but it’s there. We are all searching desperately for some- thing. We don’t always know what it is, but we feel something is missing. So we keep looking and looking. Wisdom is the constant companion of all this endless searching. At some deep level, we know when we’re looking in the right place. And when we’re indulging an old habit, we know when we’re off track. We don’t always listen to that voice, but it’s there. We’re like a bird, flying from tree to tree looking for our nest. We know home when we find it, and so long as we’re not there, we know to keep looking. When we start to shift from doing to being, we start to feel that sense of finally being home. We can let go of the search and relax. No one needs to tell us this when it happens. That intuitive knowing is wisdom. Every thought, every emotion, and every impulse is rooted in that wisdom. We just need to recognize it. BEING BUDDHANATURE If awareness, compassion, and wisdom were qualities we could attain or develop, it would make perfect sense to do something to cultivate them. But we don’t have to cultivate them because they are part of our basic nature. We already have them. Any attempt to change, fix, or improve what’s happening in the present moment reinforces the old belief that we’re missing something. On the other hand, if we do nothing, we’re right where we started. Nothing will change. The key to this paradox is recognition. Buddhanature isn’t something we do, but it is something we need to recognize. A simple way to explore this in your meditation practice is pause from time to time to simply be. If your usual medita- tion is to focus on the breath, drop the meditation from time to time and just be. Don’t control your atten- tion in any way. Attention is like a breeze; awareness is like the sky itself. You don’t need to calm the mind. Awareness is already calm. Any thoughts and feelings that arise can be left to themselves. There is not a single experience that can get in the way of awareness. Just let them all be there, and notice that awareness is always there too. If you’re aware of your awareness, that’s enough. This will feel unfamiliar at first. It may even be unsettling, and you’ ll almost certainly experience the residue of the doing impulse. That’s normal. As your familiarity with this quality of being grows, you will begin to see that compassion and wisdom are right here. You will realize that you will never be more perfect that you are right now, in this very moment. ♦