Five Day Journey to Awakening

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Vacations are great. Since I’ve had children, I haven’t had a proper sit-on-the-beach-and-relax vacation, so I was long overdue. Five days away from reality with my feet in the sand and my head in the clouds are just what I needed to sort through a few thoughts that had been pushed to the back of my head waiting for the right time to be dusted off and rolled around the right way. I was able to wander around shops during short breaks from the beach, popping in and out of the bright sun with a cold drink in my hand. I’m not gonna lie, it was heaven.

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Over the last few years I’ve been working on ways to quiet my mind in the midst of a happily chaotic life filled with the normal household noises and chatter, but this was a whole new level of peace and calm and for the first time in a while I had time to do things like thumb through magazines. I picked up the May 2013 issue of Shambhala Sun while at an organic grocery store in town. I was attracted to the photo on the cover of Jeff Bridges and Roshi Bernie Glassman and the article inside called “The Dude and The Zen Master” about them having a bromance and I just couldn’t resist. When I started reading, I found so much more inside this magazine. It was filled with articles about superheroes of peace and stories about living in the age of distraction.

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I found one particular article called “Journey to Awakening” by Judy Lief about a Three-Yana journey of Vajrayana Buddhism that made a solid impact on me. She likened a spiritual path to any journey we take into uncharted territory and urged the reader to be armed with a map and have a basic understanding of the terrain they are about to encounter while having an open mind and leaving plenty of room to explore.

I found myself drawn to one particular portion of this article describing Hinyana: The Path of Individual Liberation. Before heading down this yana, there is a pause and reflection of where you are on your journey. This yana says we all create our own consequences. It forces you to see where your life path will lead if you continue living the way you currently live. You are forced to examine every choice, big and small. By doing so, you can reveal areas that cause pain and may need attention and change. “This is the yana of personal responsibility. You begin to see your own role in creating the thought habits and emotional tangles that entrap you. You realize how much of what seems to be out there or coming at you is your own projections bouncing back at you.”

This is brilliant truth! This is such a useful path to happiness because the work can begin right away. Although I do believe in the Law of Attraction, this particular awakened state can empower you to enlist a Law of Action! A simple, yet mindful awareness that can stop allowing you to be held prisoner by opinions and judgements and not become so overwhelmed by intense emotions. Being a slave to an impulsive speedy mind has kept me from enjoying a simple, genuine presence and not until I read this article with a calm, peaceful mind did I think it was possible for me to find a vehicle to truly live in the moment. I hope for this quality of kindness and self-acceptance and strive for it through compassion for myself and others, but there was something about these Buddhist yanas that led me to see this possible life shift in a new way.

I am admittedly composing this at the end of a lost weekend, away from home and with an extremely relaxed mind. I’ve spent the last five days letting my mind melt around these words and soaking in the message. I’ve been able to ramble on for hours about nothing in particular with my darling traveling companion and haven’t thought about a bill or a carpool for a second. I wonder how I will feel about all of this when I am back in the middle of my everyday life. I only hope I can find a way to merge all of this into one beautiful yana that can be my happy life.

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