Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these. Jesus
I memorized this passage along with the children in my Sunday school class. Now, in learning what Zen meditation is about, it is really about leaving behind all the preconceived ideas and judgments that have stacked up over the years of adulthood and viewing life like a child again, with mindful awareness of the present moment. Don't be reactive, but experience everything with a "beginner's mind." Enter the kingdom of heaven. Did you really think it was up there somewhere, when Jesus spoke of it constantly while he was here with us in his human form?
Do you remember what that was like --- being a child? I do. I remember experiencing the freshness of all creation, how it was all so beautiful and everything was a new experience of wonder and joy. The mind did not dwell in the past or future, because the present had such an abundance of rich novelty. I don't have specific memories of detailed incidents in my life; in fact, my memory of details is just horrible (probably because I'm living inside my head all the time). But I do remember the way it felt to discover new things, every day and every hour, as a young child.
We were living in Castle Hills when I was in grades 4-6, and those were some magical times. My back yard was a sanctuary. I built my own little refuge back there in the "woods." Exploring the concrete ditches was an amazing journey. I remember, one day, discovering some new truth and running in to explain it to my Mom. She was a bit bewildered about why I was so excited -- apparently I was not the first to "discover" this commonly understood fact -- but my brain had just put it all together, and it was as if I was the first-time inventor and owned all creative rights to whatever it was. Yeah, sorry, I have no idea what it was -- something mathematical or scientific. This is why I probably would make a lousy fiction writer; not enough attention to details out there in the world.
Buddhists believe that we create a lot of unnecessary pain for ourselves, and this is certainly true. I found myself anxious about an encounter I imagined would happen yesterday, with a person I have trouble getting along with. I did catch myself anticipating and put the brakes on. Now, if I could just get rid of those "night terrors" (anxious moments that like to dog me when I am relaxed and trying to fall asleep). I think the rational mind goes to sleep, and the irrational mind takes over.
So today during my quick little in-truck meditation, there was a horrid fly that landed on my hand. (Did you catch the reactive part of that?) It was stimulating every little hair on my hand as it rapidly crawled around, and I could hardly stand it! But part of the meditative practice, Gil says, is just experiencing life in the present moment without reacting. We may have the luxury of living right now without any real-life crises or drama, so we practice for when we will have something big to take on. And, too, the person who can tame their reactive mind is able to take on so much more work that is of real value to the world, as I've mentioned before, because the little things (the fight with my son or the problem at work or the wart on my toe, etc. etc.) fade away to reveal what is really important. That is how it is supposed to work, anyhow.
I really don't want to ever read that last post of mine again, by the way. But when all that bubbles up, it has to go somewhere, so it came here to my blog to live. There's more where that came from that will have to be written here at some point. But I have dinner to cook and a concert to attend tonight! The expression, "Saved by the bell," comes to mind. Did you know that meditation traditionally ends with the ringing of a bell?
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