It's been almost two weeks since I went into quarantine following the order of the New Zealand government. I had been staying at the Earth Village
, a retreat and training center on the North Island of New Zealand, when the order went out, and have taken refuge there. I guess many of you have been isolating yourselves as well.
I love solitude
and can’t live without it. But not seeing people in person and not moving around freely can be uncomfortable and stifling.
Since I can’t change this situation, I chose to accept it and turn this awkward time into something enjoyable. I spend my hours trying to empty unnecessary thoughts from my mind and tension from my body through exercise and meditation.
Everyday, I walk many, many miles, water plants, and harvest mushrooms and apples at the Earth Village. I’m trying to move my body as much as I can during the day. My two most important times of the day are my morning and evening meditation. At those times, I think of people I know, and even those I don’t know, and send energy of health and peace to them.
One thing I enjoy these days is reading books, including my own. I reread these three meditations from my book Calligraphic Meditation for Everyday Happiness
recently. They gave me something to reflect on, as well as comfort and courage at the same time. I hope you find them helpful too.
Surf Life’s Waves with an Unshakable Center
Life is so beautiful and worth living, despite all those awkward steps and frequent falls, because we have the will to get up again and keep walking, because we have within us a lava-hot passion for life.
I drink a cup of single-leaf tea
late in the afternoon. A slightly bitter taste is followed by sweetness. It’s a delicate flavor, sweet while bitter. How deep and wide is the gap between the sweetness and bitterness contained in this one cup of tea?
Joy and sadness
exist together in the cup of life. We cannot fill the cup of life only with joy because we hate sadness. Like single-leaf tea
, which has a deeper flavor for its bitter taste, happiness and joy shine in the background of the anguish and sadness of life.
Open wide your heart and accept all the experiences of life. Don’t let any moment go half-lived. Live with greatness even in moments of sadness and pain.
It is no shame to trip and fall as you walk the path of life. Just get up and continue on your way.
Shout boldly: “Oh, you joys and sorrows of life, come one and all. All experiences that come to me, whatever they may be, I will make valuable and beautiful.”
Those who have truly become the masters of their lives surf life’s waves
of joy, anger, sorrow, and happiness. From these they make their lives into works of art.
Solitude Teaches Us Connection
Within deep solitude, which cannot be shared with anyone else, we see the essence of the loneliness experienced by all life. In the moment we see this loneliness, a deep compassion and love for everything in the world warms our hearts. Knowing that we are fundamentally lonely beings is wisdom. That knowledge gives us strength because it is truth.
Paradoxically, when we are completely lonely
, we can feel the whole beyond the individual. As the empty fields of winter teach us fullness, as the gaunt trees of winter remind us of warm passion for life, so, too, solitude teaches us connection and mutual understanding. We have an earnest desire to connect and understand other lives because we have absolute solitude.
Truly blessed are those who have their own solitary time and space.They are not easily shaken by the praise or criticism of the world. When they are weakened and worn down by things that are not true, they can always regain strength by entering that time and space of solitude.
In the great solitude where they are attached to nothing and rely on no one, the world cannot steal their selves from them.
Live with a Grateful Heart
Gratitude is a technique of the mind that anyone can learn and develop. When your experience and understanding of gratitude deepen, you’ll know that it simply means being grateful for everything, in any circumstance whatsoever. Every moment of life will be filled with gratitude
, and you needn’t try hard to find it.
At first, gratitude
must be looked at to be seen, must be sought to be found. Find something to be thankful for, even if you feel it’s insignificant. We all have something to be thankful for. If you really think you have nothing to be grateful for, then be thankful you were born a human being. Be grateful that you are still breathing and that your heart still beats. And be thankful that the sun rose today, that a new season has come, and the trees are green again.
If you have true gratitude for even one thing, at some moment thankfulness will rush over you like a wave. When thankfulness matures, then appreciation—temporary, conditional, and calculating—gives way to unconditional, sustained gratitude.
Such gratitude takes away from our lives’ complaints and dissatisfaction, anxieties and worries, and brings in their place infinite positivity and peace. Train yourself to be thankful, whatever your circumstances. Let gratitude fill your whole mind so that thankfulness overflows into your whole life.
If your heart is filled with gratitude, you can’t live halfheartedly. You can’t use tricks or do cowardly things for your benefit alone. When you are grateful, you show full devotion in whatever you do and do your best no matter whom you meet. A holy mind comes out of a grateful heart. Gratitude
is an alchemy of the soul everyone should practice.
I hope you stay safe and strong. Sending you the energy of health and love.
Editor's Note: For more meditations like these, check out Calligraphic Meditations for Everyday Happiness
in the Change Your Energy Shop