Happy New Year

Welcome 2018. We saw in the New Year by watching fireworks at home from our second floor vantage point, and then in the morning walked up the local hills at 8am to watch the sun rise on the first day of the new year. Shame the sun wasn’t actually visible behind the clouds, it just got a lighter shade of grey then rained rather heavily on us. Freezing cold auspicious rain! It was actually a refreshing and invigorating start to the year.

I’ve lots of things I’d like to do this year: lots more study, more vow taking, practise and retreats with the Awakened Heart Sangha (plus more walking, reading, gardening and growing things) but I’m currently in a bardo-esque limbo. I’m still waiting for my next operation date, which could come at any time. It should’ve happened in October and I should be healing nicely by now, but now I have to wait indefinitely while the NHS appears to unravel.

The uncertainty has been good to practise with. Kshanti – patience and forebearance comes up a lot, as well as meditative exercises comprising of letting it all be and allow it to unfold.

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It’s not always easy but luckily my sense of connection to my practise and confidence in it, doesn’t wane. There’s a growing gap of curious awareness between the peaks and troughs that’s intriguing and helpful, and my teacher, the lineage and the teachings are a comforting inspiration.

Instead of New Year resolutions, I’m practising daily re-alignments. With each new day there are new possibilities for all sorts of things, but especially for Buddhist practise. Before I took the Refuge vow last year, I read Lama Shenpen’s booklet about the vow and she describes it not only as a formal ceremony, but as an ongoing daily, spiritual practise that gets deeper and deeper. I find this daily renewal, and realignment (or at least even the aspiration to realign) with my practise mandala particularly inspiring.

Although planning ahead is difficult for me at the moment, it has been a helpful reminder of the ungraspable nature of our experience; of the impermanence of everything that’s changing all the time.

There’s a quote from a book on Buddhism, often erroneously attributed to the Buddha: “Each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most” – which is still an inspiring reminder that everyday is a fresh, new opportunity, and I can be grateful for whatever arises as an opportunity to deepen my practice.

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