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In today’s reflection, Vajragupta suggests we review our practice so far and how we are getting on with Sailing the Worldly Winds. In times of adversity, I am often more able to honestly review my practice - how am I coping with the uncertainty? Based on my response to a crisis, I can often see more clearly which areas of my practice require attention and where I have set up positive conditions and responses within my mind. I can also notice how much I really turn to the Three Jewels as a refuge.
We’re in such different conditions than is usual at present, so the way we practice the Dharma is likely to need to change to adapt to these conditions. In her talk, Vidyamala suggests that we can “drop into the changing nature of experience”. She says that this is the Insight aspect of working with the worldly winds - seeing things as flow and change, rather than as fixed and static. What an opportunity we have for that right now!
What we are reading and hearing is changing so quickly - new information, advice, new ways of interacting. I notice the potential to be very blown around by this. It struck me when considering reviewing my practice that I need to be kind with myself and patient if my practice looks different at the moment - I need to be realistic about what’s possible in these conditions, right now.
I also appreciated Vajragupta’s call to be more ambitious, as well as realistic. For me, this comes in the form of the other-regarding aspect of my practice. It would be easy to get caught up in my own difficulties. I’ve been trying to remember to light my shrine once or twice a day, specifically bringing others in the world to mind - contacting Loving-Kindness for the whole world. I’ve also been so moved by the acts of generosity within local communities. I live with someone who is an a higher risk group, so I’m limited by how much I can go out and about and offer support to others. I’m therefore having to review and be more creative right now about how I can practice altruism - donating to charities, smiling or talking to people who seem lonely on my daily walk, being available (in the virtual world!) for friends and family. I’m wondering how I can be more generous at this time, following and responding to the flow of conditions, rather than being blown around by loss and gain and by my own preferences, based on pleasure and pain.
How is your retreat going so far? What are you learning about yourself in relation to your practice with the Worldly Winds? We’d love to hear from you here if you feel like sharing your practice.