Lately, I’ve been feeling out of sorts – wanting change, longing for something that I don’t have now. Do you know that feeling? I know where it stems and I know there’s stormy weather in front of me but I also know that it’s impermanent. I know this from practicing meditation on our precious human life.
What got me to this place is a lack of effort and understanding. Here is how it happened: my family moved then my partner was away for a week, and my practice went upside down. I lacked in meditation practice, writing, yoga and running. I was feeling kind of down.
Because of this, I was impatient with my children, not very friendly with others and withdrawn. Why is it difficult to stay centered when there is change?
When we want something other than what we have here, and now, we are not entirely present. When we’re not present, we experience feelings of anxiety and even depression. Buddha gave us teachings on how to eliminate this stress so that we can part the clouds around our hearts.
I know these instructions work because when I don’t practice them, I end up in this place, in this inclement weather. However, when I stay consistent with my effort there is no severe weather, and I feel centered – calm.
Meditation on our Precious Human Life
For this post, I’d like to focus on one particular practice meant to keep our effort consistent. This method is the meditation on our precious human life. This meditation is the umbrella that protects us from the storm of samsara.
Within meditation on our precious human life, we scratch the surface of teachings on impermanence, which is the antidote for that feeling of anxiety expressed when we’re not living in the present moment.
It’s important to note that there are two types of impermanence and they are gross and subtle. Today I’ll be talking about gross impermanence or any impermanence that can be experienced by our sensory awareness. For further reading, I suggest the book, “Joyful Path of Good Fortune.”
Meditation is an integral part of understanding the teachings on impermanence. This is because impermanence means emptiness and teachings on emptiness are extensive and can be difficult to comprehend.
During meditation, we use our imagination and mindfulness to explore our inner worlds. This exploration through meditation is particularly useful when investigating emptiness. Through practice, we discover emptiness is an object apprehended by the mind versus objects such as love and compassion, which are actual states of mind.
The distinction between perceived by the mind versus actual states of mind
With continued meditation practice and Dharma study, we cultivate positive states of mind and slowly realize the impermanence found in negative feelings. My spiritual guide, Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso Rinpoche said, “Painful emotions…are only feelings, a few moments of bad weather in the mind, with no power to cause us any lasting harm.”
We can take impermanence and use it as an object of meditation, our guide to keeping us on track. In this meditation, we begin to understand that our life, just as it is, is so precious. As spiritual beings, we have a rare opportunity to experience this human life and to express compassion and love.
With our precious human life, we can work to serve others by looking after those who are ill, sharing generosity, offering protection and many other virtuous deeds.
Our life is impermanent. No one knows how long we’ll have this gift. Meditation on our precious human life and focusing on the opportunity it provides for spiritual growth, we appreciate our experience and then love, and compassion naturally arises.
If you’d like to try meditation on our precious human life here are brief instructions
The practice blossoms when we bring it into the meditation break. That’s what I’m working on now. I can let my light shine and treat others with kindness when life seems upside down. This happens when I sincerely remember just how precious my human life is.
I don’t want to waste any more time dwelling on the inclement weather but to spread the beautiful light inside and use this opportunity to help others.
So for the next week, I’m going to express my gratitude out loud. I’m going to remember that painful feelings are just a few moments of inclement weather in the mind. Plus, I’m going to practice meditation on our precious human life. You can too!
Practice for 5- 10 minutes, longer if you feel comfortable
Find a quiet space to practice
Sit on the floor or in a chair, whatever is most comfortable
Gently close your eyes and place your hands on your lap
Breath naturally from your nose
Contemplate the following:
Our human life is so precious and rare
As humans we have an opportunity to experience spiritual growth, other animals do not
In this life, that spiritual growth includes working to benefit others
Since we do not know when our life will end or if we’ll have the opportunity to experience another human life, we should make it meaningful
After repeatedly contemplating these points, we determine to practice. This decision becomes our object of meditation. If we lose our object of meditation, we can return to the contemplations. This conclusion becomes our object of meditation. If we lose our object of meditation, we can go back to the reflections.
Originally appeared on CM.
Photo by Pixabay.