Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Buddhist Practitioner: A Full-Time "Reflecter"

I recently read the following line by Santoshni Perara: "A Buddhist practitioner is a full-time 'reflecter'." That is a very good way to consider your practice. Often, it is very easy to get caught up in the rapid flow of life, being carried this way and that, going through the motions without truly contemplating your actions, your thoughts, or your words. As Buddhists, we see the highest spiritual value in grabbing hold of a thick, solid branch so that we can remain stable within the rapid flow of life. As "full-time reflecters," we do not jump out of the river altogether--that is escapism, which is the antithesis of Buddhist practice. Rather, we steady ourselves and observe life as it flows through and around us. We practice noticing the most minute aspects of our bodies, our minds, our feelings, and objects of our mind. This practice confers the greatest of wisdom--the ability to see the true nature of all things, including our selves.

In this wonderful holiday season, take a moment for a short meditation.

1-Minute Meditation: Take a moment and consider your life as a river. Looking just at today, at the past few hours, where has your life dragged you without your conscious decision to pursue that particular route? Even if you truly had no choice (i.e. you had to go to work today), it is still highly valuable to be mindful of your decision to go to work and consciously choose that course of action, observing and noting the backdrop of bodily sensations, feelings, thoughts, and mind objects that arise as you contemplate, and decide upon, that course of action.