The best place for your efforts

I was late to wake this morning, so the neighbourhood was up by the time I reached my front step for meditation.

I like the early mornings, not just because the mind is more amenable to practice, but because the air is so fresh, particularly now with the spring rains and the fresh green growth.

I wrapped up my meditation quickly when the Green Drop truck pulled up. Apparently the neighbours, with whom we share a front lawn, hired them to spray their yard.

My deep breathing was about to get a lot less fresh.

I headed inside, anger began to rise. Is fresh air too much to ask for? Do we have to continue this war on the dandelion?

I poked my head out the front door and took a whiff, like I did in the old days at school in the lab… carefully. Yep, that’s gross. There goes my day writing outside. I did take a moment to say good morning to the worker. Lovely fellow.

And then I stood at the window and, following Buddhist teacher Tara Brach’s words from an online session yesterday during the Voices of Wisdom Symposium, I said:

May these circumstances open my heart more.

And in that moment, there was a softening. And a continuation of what I’ve come to understand about this time that is applicable at any time: this is our opportunity to transcend suffering caused by the mind. This is the time to notice when and how our thoughts hook us and drag us around. This is the time to release that hook, again and again, and return the mind to thoughts of ease and spaciousness. This is our time to practice.

There will always be something external that we want different or better. And we will continue to show up for environmental protections, humane treatment of animals, equality, food for all, and mental and physical wellbeing. We can do that better when we’ve, as the Dalai Lama puts it, tamed the mind.

Once my request to open my heart had softened my anger, this insight came:

If you’re not familiar with Tara Brach, check out her talks and her 11 minute RAIN meditation.

Be the change. Be the love. Be.

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