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Lions Roar : November 2019
ALL HAVE MOMENTS OF appre- ciating what we see or taste or smell—just as it is. We relax and out of nowhere we accept our experience without wanting anything to be more or less or different. We feel that everything, at least for the moment, is complete. When our mind is open and fresh, we see beauty every where, including within ourselves. There’s a sense of savoring the uniqueness of each moment. Things have never been just the way they are now. Nor will they ever be just this way again. We’re in tune with the transience of the world, with its poi- gnancy and its profound richness. The idea of appreciating things just as they are is simple and accessible, but it’s also ver y profound. It’s the key to feeling warm and loving toward oth- ers and toward ourselves. This ability to open, to experience things freshly, is always present in our mind. We may not sense it at all times, but it is waiting in the background. The question then is how to uncover this ability, how to contact it, how to nurture it. How can we learn to spend more and more of our time in this state of mind? How can we develop trust in the completeness of “just as it is”? The first step is to realize the importance of how we choose to orient our minds. We may find that we’re habitually focused on incompleteness. We How to Appreciate Your Life— JUST AS IT IS We need labels to communicate, but if we get too fixated on them, we forget that everything is subject to change and interpretation. PEMA CHÖDRÖN on the freedom and enjoyment awaiting us when we stop being fooled by our labels. have thoughts such as “I am unworthy, I am lack- ing, the world is nothing but problems.” With this outlook, we will see imperfection wherever we look and always feel dissatisfied. To begin healing this negative orientation, one simple approach is to practice noting whatever we appreciate. We can take note of even the most ordinary things, such as the way the light hits someone’s face or reflects off the side of a building. It could be the taste of your ordinary lunch, with its various shades of sweet, salty, sour, or bitter. It could be a piece of music or a painting or the way someone moves. It could be a voice you hear. Maybe a stranger has just opened her mouth and you discover to your surprise that she has a beautiful accent. To appreciate people and things in this way doesn’t take a big effort, but it warms our hearts and makes us feel connected to the world. It’s a lot more pleasant than collecting grievances from morning till night, which can easily happen if we just let our- selves go with the momentum of our habits. When I became director of Gampo Abbey, the monastery in Nova Scotia founded by Trungpa Rinpoche, I drove everyone nuts. One of the rea- sons I was such a bad director at first was I wanted everything to be aesthetically pleasing accord- ing to my taste. It was especially important that PHOTOBYZORANDJEKIC/STOCKSYUNITED LION’S ROAR | NOVEMBER 2019 48