I think many of us come to contemplative practices like meditation and mindfulness from a place of suffering, discontent, pain, grief, disconnection. We are looking for some relief. At least that was true for me.
And through practicing, I have found certain deeply ingrained patterns that contribute to painful states, and the body/heart/mind is learning different ways to respond with more wisdom. (Still a work in progress, of course.)
But as I have continued to practice, it has become more apparent to me the deep interconnection between all of us, and that what we do matters.
Mark Coleman closes his book this way:
In conclusion, through the journey of mindfulness, as we become more aware, we begin to wake up, personally and collectively, to our common humanity and our shared responsibility. With this awareness, we see our interconnectedness and understand that our role, in part, is to be stewards of our community and our world. Our goal is to embody an awakened caring, so that we leave to future generations a society and a planet that are sustainable and healthy in all ways. The clarity that comes from practice helps us realize that life is short and that what we do, think, and say makes a difference. The time to act is now, but with mindfulness, we can do so with balance, wisdom, and compassion. This is the fruition of a life of awareness, which expresses itself as love in action, borne out of concern for the welfare of all life.Mark Coleman. From Suffering to Peace: The True Promise of Mindfulness, page 285
This is what gives my practice purpose. To keep growing and learning and serving and loving the world, though I inevitably stumble along the way. There’s a gentle perseverance despite the obstacles. Or as Rosemerry describes this:
“When the brain is separated from the heart, it is capable of doing terrible things to each other and the planet.”
And so I try to tend the path each dayRosemerry Wahtola Trommer
between brain and heart.
Whatever smallnesses I trip on,
I try to remember to bow as I remove them.
Whatever weeds try to overrun it–
weeds of should and shame–
I try to yank them out, knowing full well
I never get the whole root.
The more I travel the path,
the easier it is–
though steep sometimes,
and the effort to go on
makes me weep.
And sometimes, it feels unfamiliar,
though I’m sure I’ve travelled this way before.
Frightened, lost, tired, exposed–
yet I try to find and preserve the path.
Because the stakes are too high
when the path is gone.
Because the healing is so great
when I honor the path
step by stubborn step.
Have you noticed any shifts in your relationship to others and the world? What gives you purpose?
Honoring your dedication,