From the BlogMeet Ron

MINDFUL MOMENTS IN MANOA 3-23-17

Dear friends,
I think an awful lot of the stuff we deal with in meditation is really about struggling with the way things are. 
Sometimes the way certain meditative traditions are marketed lead us to expect some eventual, big time pay out to make up for all the discomforts and inconveniences of a dedicated meditation practice.
And that expectation can spread and branch out slightly below the level of everyday awareness, such that we find ourselves increasingly goal oriented.
Not that There is anything wrong with this; I mean how crazy do you have to be to keep doing something for months, years, decades without some ultimate compensation?
Or at least some clear signs.
Yes, signs come, but in their own time.
So does the Ultimate Payout. 
But for a lot of folks, a maturing practice could be a more chill practice. No backsliding here – just appreciating the tastes and possibilities of relaxing.

The minimalist blogger Krista O’Reilly-Davi-Digui recently wrote:

What if I just accept this mediocre body of mine that is neither big nor small? Just in between. And I embrace that I have no desire to work for rock hard abs or 18% body fat. And I make peace with it and decide that when I lie on my deathbed I will never regret having just been me.

Meditation can turn into a kind of extreme sport, with elaborate training programs for those aspiring to the elite ranks. 

But what if we set aside those fantasies for a while and just chilled – clear noting in a spacious mind, with a little jhanic bliss now and again, but chilled. Relaxed.
Mary Oliver has this poem “Yellow” that I love:

There is the heaven we enter
through institutional grace
and there are the yellow finches
bathing and singing
in the lowly puddle.

Towards the end of her piece on her blog this week Krista O’Reilly-Davi-Digui writes:

What if I embrace my limitations and stop railing against them? Make peace with who I am and what I need and honor your right to do the same. Accept that all I want is a small, slow, simple life. 

A mediocre life. A beautiful, quiet, gentle life.
I think it is enough.

Heck, that’s all I want. 

Carl Jung envisioned a major shift in understanding the spiritual path –rather than ascending a steep mountain path seeking perfection, instead we

“unfold into wholeness.”

We are not so much attempting to vaporize up our bad karma or destroy our demons, as it is really hard to do a decent job of this; our struggling attempts can easily leave us with more problems.

Rather, perhaps we need to chill a little and embrace life in all its realness – messy, incomplete, yet vibrantly alive.

And come back to the intensity of dedicated practice after letting ourselves unfold a little more.
I have spoken with folks who have been dedicated to their practice for three and even four decades, and hear refrains like this from time to time. From a talk by Tara Brach:
I moved into an ashram and spent twelve years trying to be more pure—waking up early, doing hours of yoga and meditation, organizing my life around service and community. I had some idea that if I really applied myself, it would take eight or ten years to awaken spiritually. 
The activities were wholesome, but I was still aiming to upgrade a flagging self. Periodically I would go to see a spiritual teacher I admired and inquire, “So, how am I doing? What else can I do?”
Invariably these different teachers responded, “Just relax.” 
I wasn’t sure what they meant, but I didn’t think they really meant “relax.” How could they? I clearly wasn’t “there” yet.
When thoughts like these come up, can we just chill? 
Maybe when these kinds of questions wear out, another shift happens. 
One in which we are beyond liking and disliking, doubting and celebrating, and relax even deeper into the joyous mystery of who and what we are. 
Aloha,
Tom, Katina, and the kids

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