Saturday, February 27, 2010

Luminous Consciousness

My ordinary mind is so quick to run down the path of liking and disliking.

On good days (and, yes, I do have a lot of good days) I am able to catch my liking/disliking mind and interrupt it. I've learned not to believe the stories I tell to myself, because so many of these stories only make me miserable.

But in the past few days I haven't been interrupting my stories with the quickness that I usually do. Luminosity has escaped me in the past half week or so.

I even yelled at my kindergarten class this week for the first time this year (we're two thirds through the academic year now), not that they didn't need some boundaries set.

Since Wednesday, only in deep meditation practice—meditation aimed at strengthening concentration—does my mind settle down enough to become clear and still and peaceful. Thinking itself falls away and a tranquil luminous consciousness glows. These have been the best moments of the day of late. When my days are full of strife and afflicted thinking, I relish and appreciate those islands of peace.

I'm hoping tomorrow's full moon will signal the flow of more tranquility in the week ahead.

"The Great Way is not difficult for those who have no preferences. When love and hate are both absent everything becomes clear and undisguised. Make the smallest distinction, however, and heaven and earth are set infinitely apart."

—Seng-Ts'an

12 comments:

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

I so enjoyed this Dan. So difficult for our ego-mind not to indulge in preferences. It is always comparing, evaluating, appraising, judging, deciding between options ...

The way of no preference is truly accepting what is ... and then everything becomes clear. I have known times when I attain this 'luminous' clarity ... and it so easily slips away in the noise of daily life.

Being aware that it is attainable, however, is such a comfort. And, as you say, meditation allows to harness our ego to reach our goal of quiet acceptance of whatever arises - no preference.

steven said...

dan - so much begins with letting like and dislike go. i struggle with it because there are years of dedicated practice to undo. i chuckled when i read about the yell. i haven't reached that place yet with my group despite it's being large - 30 students - and very challenging. i'm waiting for the moment when it serves a purpose.
finding a space that is peaceful, in which you remember yourself (no matter how you get there) is such a gift. thanks for this post dan. steven

Dan Gurney said...

Hi, Bonnie-- Thanks for your comment. It's just as you say, "the way of no preference is accepting what is." It's attainable, but only in moments of great clarity.

For me it only began to arise after decades of meditation practice. The way out of "thinking mind" or "monkey mind" is through it. So, for me, it hasn't been so much a matter of harnessing my ego as it has been a long, long process of

(a) developing my ability to concentrate, and

(b) learning to dwell in "emptiness" or "spaciousness of mind" or "luminosity." I must use three words in quotes because it's so hard to express in words this quality of mind beyond words.

Dan Gurney said...

Hi steven. I thought that you might like this post. Maybe its because I have 31 kindergartners that this moment finally arrived. A recent addition to the class cries and pouts at the drop of a hat. It's his strategy to get his way, and, it would seem, he hadn't yet run into someone for whom this approach doesn't work for him.

It's hard work to undo five and a half years of habitual pouting and falling apart. But I'm willing to do it.

As for yelling at the kids, it did really serve a purpose, just as you say. My yelling was exactly what the situation called for, as they were out of control and were ignoring my usual redirection techniques.

My approach is to wait until half a minute past the peak of my anger before I start yelling. I'm already somewhat calmed down, so it's more of a show of anger. And my angry yelling is not directed at them, but at the sign in the room that shows the 3 rules of the class: Be Safe, Be Happy, Be Kind.

Stream Source said...

How beautifully authentic. Thanks for sharing.

We all have trip wires that send us tumbling down the consciousness stairs. My (grown) children are the weakest link in my cosmic mind chain. I don't get angry with them, but I fear for their well being and this tips my balance.

I'm learning now to sit as witness to this less than highest self behavior. And, so long as I don't sit in judgment of it, then I know I'm still where I'm supposed to be.

We are human and our emotions are beautiful expressions of our sacred humanity. So long as we are not inflicting pain on others and so long as we don't linger in that state. I think it is a healthy expression.

Now, when I react, I'm instantly reminded that I am indeed 'reacting' and not 'creating'. Each time I falter, I notice that it's a little less dramatic than it was the time prior. This is growth, this is life.

This reminds me of something Wayne Dyer once said. I don't recall the exact quote or even if it was his or if he borrowed it, but it fits here:"Trying to rush the process is akin to tugging at an emerging tulip shoot and saying 'I want the flower now!'"

Be well, in love's arms ~

Dan Gurney said...

Hi SS- Thank you. As you say, it's helpful to see reactions for what they are and look to see if we're getting involved in creating some suffering for ourselves. The more quickly we can notice it, the more quickly we can choose another, more direct path to peacefulness.

Your post calls to mind Kabat-Zinn's title, "Wherever You Go, There You Are" such a helpful book!

Friko said...

Hi Dan,

I have been seeing you as a great, calm and serene presence; although I am sorry that you are experiencing difficult moments yourself I am also glad, because it means that there is hope for those of us who tread any path with trepidation. I have much to learn.

Dan Gurney said...

Hi, Friko—

I'm human, that's for sure. I made my along eightfold path towards greater serenity, compassion, and equanimity, but I can see, too, that I still have a long, long way to go.

Delwyn said...

Hi Dan

thanks for your honest sharing. It takes courage to admit our lapses but it indicates that we are aware...much better than being blind...

Don't be hard on yourself Dan...if you had that beautiful equanimity you strive for perhaps you wouldn't need to be here then we would all be without the benefit of your valued company and friendship!


Happy days

Dan Gurney said...

Hi, Delwyn--

Yes, I think we're human for a reason: to work with the material we need to process this time around. Thank you for your comment.

The Pollinatrix said...

Like everyone else here, I greatly appreciate your honesty in this. And I hope your coming week flows more peacefully.

I can only imagine how challenging it must be to have a large class of five-year-olds. I've been tempted to yell at my medium-sized class of college freshman.

I love that quote!

Dan Gurney said...

Hi, Polli. I hope I didn't give anyone the impression I'm being too hard on myself for yelling at the kids. My yelling was exactly the appropriate thing to do in that moment.

I'm hoping, too, that the coming week is smoother for me than last week. Last week was a difficult one for me.