Everywhere we look Spring is announcing her arrival…bright yellow forsythia sprays; fruit trees brimming with white & pink blossoms; brilliant yellow daffodils bursting on hillsides; and perennials emerging from their winter sleep with the promise of Summer flowers to come. Alongside this outpouring of life lies the debris of leaves, sticks and branches from the Fall and Winter. All of these seasons coming and going, co-existing in the present moment.
Perhaps with nature it is sometimes easier to be open to and accepting of these natural changes and variations. Perhaps that is because we are confident and trust that the seasons come and go and come again, trusting in the flow of nature’s rhythm.
With my internal “weather” and “seasons”, I’m often challenged to be open and allow experiences of sadness, fear, doubt or uncertainty to come and go in their time. I can find myself longing for more ease or contentment, happiness or joy which can seem so elusive in the moment. I forget that I am also a part of nature and that the ebb and flow of my experience is the same. Mindfulness helps me to remember to come back, to remember and open to the larger space of awareness that can hold it all.
In practicing meditation, we’re not trying to live up to some kind of ideal—quite the opposite. We’re just being with our experience, whatever it is. If our experience is that sometimes we have some kind of perspective, and sometimes we have none, then that’s our experience. If sometimes we can approach what scares us, and sometimes we absolutely can’t, then that’s our experience. “This very moment is the perfect teacher, and it’s always with us” is really a most profound instruction. Just seeing what’s going on—that’s the teaching right there. We can be with what’s happening and not dissociate. Awakeness is found in our pleasure and our pain, our confusion and our wisdom, available in each moment of our weird, unfathomable, ordinary everyday lives.
Excerpted from When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times by Pema Chödrön