Looking Closely at Your Life
An excerpt from The True Source of Healing by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche
Photo Credit: robertsrob/Thinkstock
Last year, soon after my family and I moved to Northern California, I went for a walk to the Berkeley Marina along the San Francisco Bay. Enjoying the fresh air and sparkling light,
I gazed up at the sky. All of a sudden I felt a strong experience of openness, a feeling of being closely in touch with my inner sacred space. Spontaneous tears arose. I felt that nature was helping me recognize the inner treasure of my being, my true self. Through the doors of my senses, the natural environment supported me in making that connection.
Since that day I’ve been going regularly for walks and bike rides in that area. As I do, I observe the walkers, joggers, and cyclists coming toward me. Some of these people seem to be having experiences similar to mine. From the joy radiating from their smiles, I sense that there is no other place they would rather be. But there are so many others who look like they don’t want to be there. I can see in their faces that they are not fully present. Maybe their doctors told them to exercise, or they feel some other need or duty to do so. They seem distracted and unhappy, in the wrong place and the wrong space.
I wonder how the same environment can be so nourishing to some and have no impact on others. Furthermore, why do so many of us look for happiness, joy, peace, and comfort in all the wrong places? We seek refuge in bad relationships or toxic work environments, or in acquiring more stuff. In reality, we can find happiness, joy, peace, and comfort in connecting with the elements of nature. What nature gives is absolutely free of charge. But sadly, some of us lack the presence of heart and mind to receive the healing gifts that nature offers.
What happens when you spend an hour with someone who is complaining continually about their life? Their negativity creeps into your consciousness. You close down. What happens when you sit for an hour gazing at the clear, open sky? If you look at the sky only from a conventional perspective, you are likely to feel tired or spacey. But if you use this time to cultivate a sacred relationship with the space element, gazing at the sky can open and free you.
In the Bön tradition, there are yogis who spend hours at a time gazing at the sky in meditation. Their aim is to access the deep wisdom of an open heart and ultimately to embody that openness. Gazing at the sky can introduce you to your inner wisdom, the boundless and unchanging space of being, and this can transform your life.
Time for Self-Reflection
Some people miss the opportunity to connect with that sense of openness, but having a deeper connection with the space element can be quite fulfilling. Others may be missing the inspiration of fire in their work life, or the ease of water in their family life. What is missing for you? Where in your life do you feel something is missing? I encourage you to reflect upon this. Look closely at your life and identify what you most need.
You can begin by looking at four areas: personal alone time, family life, work life, and your connection to nature. In any of these areas, are you lacking a sense of stability, comfort, inspiration, flexibility, or openness? Notice any feelings of discomfort, sadness, exhaustion, or disconnection.
Excerpted from The True Source of Healing by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche. It is published by Hay House (July, 2015) and is available in bookstores and online at www.hayhouse.com.