Seeing the Divine
If you ask me why I practice I will answer that I practice to recognize the divine in every single being and every situation. I practice so I can recognize the spark in people’s eyes. I practice so I can see the magic in mundane situations. Sometimes I naturally see the divine. Many times I still need to practice. I literally make sure to look as many people as I can in the eyes. Make sure to spot the spark in their eyes. To recognize their divine essence. To not forget to appreciate that there’s a human being in front of me. To not forget there’s a form manifestation of the infinite in front of me. Every morning I set my aspirations to know the divine in every being and every situation I encounter on that day.
As addicted as I am to sitting silence meditation practices, these days I practice walking with wide open eyes. As much as I love the holy simple life of the monastery I practice these days to see that same holiness, virtue and same simplicity in the busy streets of London. I assure you it is there. You just need to want to see it. And I want to. I intend to see divinity in every little flower to the side of the road, every cloud, every singing bird, every single person and every situation. Every time I get out of the house I look for beauty. I look up to see the sky and the trees. I look around to see as many flowers as I can. I open my ears to listen to as many possible sweet sounds and I intentionally look people in the eyes. Looking for their divine spark.
Stairway To Heaven
If someone looks sad or sick or angry or impatient I radiate compassion and wish them to rid of whatever suffering they experience. If I see a happy couple, a group of friends laughing wholeheartedly or a baby that knows she is perfect I radiate mudita and pray that the joy they experience right now will prevail for the rest of their lives. If I can’t track anything in particular I simply radiate metta and wish them to be well, happy and peaceful. I also remind myself that “good” “bad” and “neutral” are all perfect manifestations exactly as they are. They are part of the divine path we each create and play a part of.
As I’m writing this post tonight it occurred to me that the states of mind of metta, compassion, appreciative joy (that includes gratitude and appreciation) and equanimity are called the divine abodes. They are accessible manifestations of heaven within us. And I just realize tonight that practicing to awake them is the stairway to heaven.
Oddly enough one of my favorite activities in London is taking the tube. I don’t particularly enjoy traveling under ground but I get really excited seeing so many people in so many colors, shapes, languages, cultures and backgrounds stuffed together in a small cubical. Every time I take the tube I find myself amazed by how incredible it is that the child from the tiny village in northern Israel share a ride with a man from Delhi, a child from mainland China, an older man from a small town in the Ghana and a woman from Timbuktu. I mean, what were the chances for us to ever meet in this life. And yet we sit next to each other in a cart going to Charing Cross. I can’t get over how incredible it is. What is it if not pure magic??? What is it if not a part of a mysterious wonderful divine path??
And it’s not just the tube or London. There isn’t a day go by that I don’t ask myself how on earth did I get here. I asked myself that question while standing next to a tiny Burmese nun every morning at 04:00 am in the kitchen of Panditarama Lumbini pealing apples to the light of a head-torch. I asked myself that question every day I spent in a Buddhist monastery in Mawlamyang amidst 1000 Burmese nuns. Immediately after I reminded myself that I’m actually in Burma as I couldn’t comprehend that either!!!. I asked myself how the XXXX did I get here every morning for six months as I woke up on the 23rd floor of a sky scraper in New York City . And I ask myself what am I doing here every time I walk to East Finchley station in north London. The odds of me getting to any of those places were defiantly against me considering my background. And although life challenge me many times and the ride isn’t always smooth or joyful I don’t know how I ended up living this incredible life.
But I also don’t know who ended up living this life. I don’t know who is asking “how the hell did I get here”? Who comes up with those questions? Who answers? Who knows that these questions are being asked? Who writes these words right now? and who will read them?. It’s all a mystery to me. A graceful mystery.
Dedication of practice
Tomorrow is our last day of the 30 days challenge and I would like to end our journey by offering a Buddhist tradition I particularly like. I’d like you to consider dedicating the fruits of your gratitude practice, generosity, meditation and good intentions for the benefit of others. You can dedicate it to someone you know who could really use support these days – someone sick or deeply sad or dying. Of you can dedicate your merits for the benefit of all those less fortunate. Those who don’t have the opportunities to stop and look for the divine, those who don’t have the financial or mental conditions to give, to practice meditation or to keep a moral conduct. We can share the merits of our practice with loved ones and neutral ones and difficult ones and all beings we don’t even know that exist.
We can afford to be generous with our merits. Remember that we have an endless beautiful light in our minds and hearts, inexhaustible source of love. So don’t be afraid to dedicate every single moment of gratitude; every single moment of presence; of metta; compassion or appreciative joy; every moment of insight and every moment of love to the benefit of all other beings. For other’s well-being, happiness and spiritual growth.
Some people get so inspired by the beauty they find in their minds and hearts they make an aspiration to dedicate their whole life and being for the benefit of others. I end today with a beautiful aspiration of that sort.
May I be a protector to those without protection,
A leader for those who journey,
And a boat, a bridge, a passage,
For those desiring the further shore.
May the pain of every living creature
Be completely cleared away.
May I be the doctor and the medicine
And may I be the nurse
For all sick beings in the world.
Just like space
And the great elements such as earth,
May I always support the life
Of all the boundless creatures.
And until they pass away from pain
May I also be the source of life
For all the realms of varied beings
That reach unto the ends of space.
May you always know grace. May you never forget you are grace. May you share and create grace with the rest of the world.
Namaste (literally means I see the divine within you)