A bright hard frost this morning, after a clear starry night. The wind has dropped and it’s absolutely still.
At 11am, I’ll be presenting Tonglen in relation to ‘self’. I’ve been remembering a period of time when I was quite new to meditation, and how I had to face certain uncomfortable truths about myself: five hard years of going on retreat acknowledging what was really happening! But the work that I did on myself during those years has become a foundation-stone to all the years that followed.
Like the other Brahma Vihara Practices, Tonglen moves us from the ‘particular’ to the ‘universal’ and it’s important we allow ourselves to make that shift. Like in the story of Kisagotami, where the Buddha is able to shift the distress of a mother’s grief at the death of her child, and give her the more open perspective of universal pain and grief. So in this meditation we’ll be turning towards our experience - whatever it is - contacting what’s actually showing up, and use that experience as a spring-board for Tonglen: towards the particular and also towards the simple truth of the human condition, impermanent and insubstantial.
4pm: A quiet session of meditation with no input. An opportunity to simply turn inwards and work with whatever is there in our experience. After long periods of busyness and distraction, these concentrated sessions of meditation can be a place where we re-establish contact with ourselves and become less estranged from who we are on a deeper level. Phew!
8pm: Puja dedicated to the development of Bodhicitta