What do we hold sacred? What are we devoted to? Not in a religious sense but what are our lives about and who are we committed to being.
After tasting the richness of a life focused on spiritual practice, I know I want my spiritual life to be juicy, alive in my heart and my mind in every moment. I want to cut through the habits that do not serve. I want to be the change I wish to see in the world.
As many of you know I was ordained as a Buddhist nun for a few years, 15 actually. I think I could talk about that for the rest of my life. It was an amazing experience, it is not for everyone, but it was good for me. A community of like-minded people focused, together, on a shared goal: World Peace and an end of suffering for all beings. We didn’t always agree on the details, we didn’t always like each other but that didn’t matter. We shared a vision for a peaceful world, a world motivated by Compassion and Kindness.
We studied and practiced, took retreat, empowerment, prayed through the night. The intention was that every moment of the day, every action be focused on training the mind. Training the mind to see through the illusions of our experience and arise purely as an expression of our nature, an expression of Love and Compassion. We believe it to be our natural state.
As ordinary human beings, we could be counted on to show up as ‘not love’ sometimes. But we all worked at it with diligence and as much self-honesty as we could muster. We learned to practice antidotes for anger, pride, jealousy, grasping. We practiced seeing with the eyes of Love, as one of my friends says, “to see with God’s eyes,” to see the Divinity within ourselves and see it clearly in one another; to listen with a heart of Compassion, to act from a place of knowing the equality of all beings.
It didn’t take long to see that to declare one’s intention to abandon all that is not Love is not enough to make it so. When we were honest, we could see that our minds were habituated to self-concern, self-interest. Entangled with false beliefs about who we were, about our separateness. We could identify reactive, conditioned patterns that did not consistently produce the results we wished to see. We all have habits, patterns that do not serve us well. We learned that we must practice. We must be diligent. We were all ordinary human beings faced with the ordinary challenges of life and living. We learned to walk our spiritual commitments through each moment of each day.
As a nun I learned many things. Among them I learned about the power of meditation, mindfulness, self-honesty and intention to transform a life into a radiant source of Compassion and Loving Kindness. The habits of mind run very deep, there are subtle and more subtle layers continuing to reveal themselves as we journey deeper and deeper into our spiritual practice. Outside of the robes, the traditions, the ancient rituals, what does practice look like?
Integrating the experiences of life as a renunciate and those of modern day living has provided a rich and nourishing perspective. I love to share stories, practices and techniques that will enliven your path, adding a juiciness and purpose to this life’s journey.
Here in the outer beauty of Sedona’s Red Rock country we explore the many dimensions of our inner landscape, a journey to Peace, in service to the world. Please join us.