Saturday, December 17, 2011

Experiencing Ordinary Perfection

Every now and then I realize there is perfection all around me. This sometimes comes up during or at the end of a meditation sitting, but when it is most profound is when I'm just driving in the car or talking to my wife, or having a beer with a friend. This comes up more and more as my meditation practice gets stronger. 

I didn't often realize these moments of perfection before I started meditating, although once in a while I think I did. Before I started a serious meditation practice, these moments usually arose when I was in nature and when the light was unusually beautiful. I can recall a few sunsets at the beach that were sufficiently mind-blowing for me to experience this gap. These experiences almost always came with a sense of majesty, beauty and tender-heartedness.

The feeling now arises when I'm doing something totally ordinary. I might just be having a conversation with a friend, as I was yesterday, when this feeling arose. Then, rather gently, I feel a gap. There is a sensation of great spaciousness. I feel like I can breathe deeply and relax. I realize that everything is perfect at this moment and I can just soak it in. It's immensely satisfying. 

I also realize that this moment won't last and that everything ends. On some level, the sadness is what makes it feel so precious. I realize the moment, and even the awareness, won't last. 

In the Shambhala lineage of Buddhism, this principle is referred to as Great Eastern Sun. The Great Eastern Sun arises in you when you are able to touch your heart and actually feel your heart as if it were a sense organ. There is nothing mystical about that, by the way. It just isn't emphasized in our culture. When the you feel the Great Eastern Sun in your heart, there is a sense of sacredness all around you. 

I don't think you have to meditate to experience this, but meditation greatly enhances your ability to have gaps between your thoughts, allowing you the space to see the world clearly. 

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