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Aug 23

Eclipse

As you know, this week in the U.S. we experienced an amazing solar eclipse. It “overshadowed” everything so to speak! Most everyone’s attention was focused for a short while on this cosmic event. I got to see it, through the properly prescribed glasses, of course, and it was an incredible feeling. It made me feel at once connected to the vastness of the cosmos, and also quite small.

We all have plans and dreams, projects we want to see succeed, visions we want fulfilled. And we need to work towards them with perseverance.

But the best laid plans often go astray. Unforeseen obstacles can confront us, even seem to block us. Then our feelings of frustration, or even despair, can be overwhelming.

What can we do when we lose heart?

American Tibetan Buddhist author and teacher Pema Chödrön offers this advice:

“…when you can’t bear to experience what you are feeling, you might recall this instruction: change the way you see it and lean in…. Instead of blaming our discomfort on outer circumstances or on our own weakness, we can choose to stay present and awake to our experience, not rejecting it, not grasping it, not buying the stories that we relentlessly tell ourselves. This is priceless advice that addresses the true cause of suffering – yours, mine, and that of all living beings.”
(From her book Taking The Leap)

This is a step that you can repeat over and over again. It will enable you to undo the chains that bind you to feeling that you have nowhere to move, that you have no options. There is always a way forward, but sometimes we need to take a pause—while the moon passes over the sun—to experience our feelings fully, before the next step makes itself known to us.

Pema Chödrön advises us to:

First accept what has happened.

Next, breathe the feeling into your heart and imagine your heart getting bigger. No matter how bad it feels, give it more space. Then, breathe out space.

Make room for whatever difficult feelings you are having. Wait and see what happens. Transformation will take place. Eventually, at the right time, you will know what to do next.

“You are the sky. Everything else – it’s just the weather.”

“Letting there be room for not knowing is the most important thing of all. When there’s a big disappointment, we don’t know if that’s the end of the story. It may just be the beginning of a great adventure. Life is like that. We don’t know anything. We call something bad; we call it good. But really we just don’t know.”
—Pema Chödrön