Thursday, August 17, 2006

Challenges in Holding the Vision

The primary tenet or basic belief that I have been living my life by in the past year or so says that it is important to hold a vision, to have something to work for or to believe in as a goal, a fulfillment of one's desires. This belief develops in the midst of a prior life practice or belief in Buddhist teachings. The belief in holding a vision to manifest your desires is not emphasized in Buddhism. The belief that thought or intention is indeed primary or the cause of one's experience in life is quite Buddhist, however. Perhaps it is just a matter of emphasis as both belief systems, Buddhist philosophy and New Age philosophy draw on natural spiritual truths. While I would interpret the eastern tradition as warning against "sidis" or powers, I see the New Age tradition as encouraging our natural creative powers because of the belief that humans are god incarnate. At this point in time, I must admit, I'm having a little trouble reconciling the two systems of belief.

Part of me really yearns for the simplicity of mindfulness Buddhist practice. Living life on a meditation cushion is a fine state of being. I've done many meditation retreats and regret I haven't done more lately. Past retreat experiences as I recall at IMS or perhaps the time I spent living amongst the cave dwelling swamis in India have always been wonderful, peaceful, ecstatic. There are also difficult and rough times during intense meditation practice, of course. But ultimately I manage through all that and come to a place where I can simply be. It is a state of acceptance of one's mind, one's thoughts, emotions and body sensations, all transcended while sitting on the meditation cushion in a partial lotus posture. I remember getting up once from a meditation sitting at IMS during a long retreat. It was late in the evening, probably tea time and a winter's snowfall was gracing the view of the bucolic New England countryside as I took a moment to gaze out the meditation hall window. The sun was setting giving wonderful color to the sky from the horizon and silhouetted the trees. As I took in this scene my heart became electrified with a continuous series of jolting bliss. My heart was open, the power to receive the beauty in its fullness was present. This is only one example of the openness of heart meditation practice has given me.

Going away for meditation practice is one of the best things I've ever done. I'd much rather do that than, say, take a luxury cruise. If only I had the discipline and insight to hold that view during my daily life outside of the meditation center. Inevitably, I've never gone on a meditation retreat without someone asking the question, "how can we maintain this experience once we return home." It is at this point the answer seems to be blasé, at least to me. Retreatants are always then advised on the importance of maintaining a daily meditation practice as we transition back to home, work or school. Of course, meditating everyday is an important and beneficial activity. Call me an extremist, but I am looking for a better answer. I really want to find or create a world that nourishes me with that openness of heart, safe and secure, loving, blissful way of being. There may be some Buddhist caution here about not being attached to the good feelings, however that doesn't stop me from believing that an ideal existence can be created. Indeed, that is where the next level of my personal spiritual evolution has taken me. That is why I've set my newest spiritual adventure towards the power of intention and vision. I don't really mean to say this is so different from Buddhism. Buddhism teaches that if we focus our mind on love, generosity and wisdom, then love, generosity and wisdom is the reward or karma that the world will reflect back to us. A New Age philosophy, again, may just go a step beyond that in emphasis. That is important for me, since something was not quite working in my life practicing Buddhism alone.

Enter "the law of attraction." This states that what you think about is what you bring into your life. And, as I described in a previous entry called "Living in the Highest Light" it works best when one is in a happy emotional state. Our love, bliss, contentment and passion draws the good things in life towards us. I truly believe this. Fear, worry, struggle create the very things that we worry about. This is the law of attraction. I've been dutifully mindful of this law in my life for some time now. As a result I've been asking for change and transformation. I want things to be different than they have been before. In the past I've settled for whatever the situation has divvied up for me. I've not always been happy with that. As a result I am compelled to try harder, seek more deeply. I am challenged to create my world more to my liking. After some smaller experiments in consciously creating my reality, I've become convinced of the power of these principles. As a result I've taken on a bigger vision. I've made the decision and found the determination to seek a fuller integration of my desires into my reality. This may require some reprogramming that this is bad or selfish, but for me it seems to be my calling and compelling life lesson.

Indeed it is a challenge, but a challenge which is most authentic to my true self. The Buddhist training might temper the mind, especially when the practice of conscious creation tells us how we think and feel will affect how we are manifesting our visions. What happens if I wake up feeling really depressed? What happens now that I've made a big trusting transition from my cozy 17 year home of Northampton, Massachusetts to Sedona, Arizona? How have my visions for beauty, success and a life of ease brought me to this place of magnificent towering redrocks, energy vortexes and New Age thinkers? This transformation has not been without its turbulence. It has been a challenge to bring the mind and emotions back to a place of trust, contentment, peace and creativity. Patience and gentleness is required when there is perceived lack during parts of the transformation. As the old me dies away I can only see that a new me must be reborn. I must console myself to have courage, and right myself as the situation warrants. The opportunities for the new me, the visions I've been affirming are beginning to take root....please stay tuned. In the meantime, perhaps I have reconciled the Buddhist and New Age philosophies. Perhaps the openness and spaciousness of heart, as my Buddhist teachers have guided me to, guides me now even more than I realize. For those teachers, my heart swells with gratitude.