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Today in the northern hemisphere we are living through the very closest we on Earth get to Enlightenment. The Summer Solstice, the longest day and shortest night of the year, inspires all kinds of activities, from drum and dance circles and community ceremonies to private moments in which the participant takes time to reflect on the metaphoric planting, growing, and harvesting we invite into our summer lives. This blog explores this individual way of honouring the Summer Solstice by taking time throughout today and the days to come to increase awareness of our inner gardens.
Seeing through Nonsense, Lies, and Smoke Screens
These days it is easy to be swept away by the reactive energies to the highest profile stories in the media. The most pervasive of these stories involves the polarized US electoral campaigns in which candidates from the major parties promise safety and prosperity in an unsafe, economically corrupt world. As we parse these promises, we rightly doubt the simplistic nature of the argument “Vote for me and all will be well.” Sadly, this may not be the biggest lie uttered during these campaigns, but it is without doubt the most pernicious.
Reducing any issue to two simple sides, or two parties, is a ploy we resort to when we are terrified and heart broken. Our mature selves know life is never one thing or another, good or bad, right or wrong, coherent or absurd. By its very nature, Life is complex, ever changing, and rich with diversity. By its very nature, Life does not conform to rigid rules and plans of action. By its very nature, Life is the growing force that takes us by the hair insisting we move forward, whether we feel ready or not. Life is an interventionist friend addressing our self medication habits, our community collapsing in violence and poverty, our government failing to act because of the importance each party places on winning.
Once we have recognized our delusions and the lies that support them, what then? Tara Brach, in Radical Acceptance, reminds us of our daily opportunity to take a Sacred Pause. In her Buddhist practice, Brach describes this Pause in Meditation terms, as a daily practice serving to take us out from under the thumb of our inner critic and into the perfection of the present moment. During a Sacred Pause, judgments about others slip away, fears regarding our past and future dissolve, and kindness toward the self and others flourishes.
All Judgment is Self Judgment
It is momentous to finally reach the conclusion that all judgment is self judgment. When we are in the heart of a Sacred Pause, the expression of our opinions about this person or that situation becomes nothing more than “thinking.” At this point of release, the thought flows away from our awareness, allowing the next and the next and the next thought to arrive and release in similar fashion. Holding ourselves with the lightest of touches in the Sacred Pause, we are freed from the rigid, fearful views that make others the enemy. In this space, there are no enemies, within or without. There are only thoughts, some more “weedy” than others.
Weeding out negative thoughts actually increases our openness to Sacred Pauses. If calling this practice meditation supports our desire to weed our internal gardens, then we can do so. If the term feels alien or intimidating, then we can speak of taking a break in which we tune in to our inner garden with love and compassion for ourselves and others. Whatever approach supports our reflective nature is the right approach for us. Sacred Pausing is a large and roomy practice, one that comes to the literal gardener on her knees in the flowerbed, the teacher in her classroom, the doctor with her clients, the dancer in her dance. and. yes, the meditation student on her cushion.
Becoming radicalized means becoming deeply rooted in practices that serve our highest values of love, compassion, and healing. Going to the root of a problem such as polarized politics, gun violence, and xenophobia always begins and ends with the awareness, not of stories of hatred and divisiveness, but of our own ability to be the change we want to see in the world. Being with what is in a tender and non-judgmental way creates space for diverse ways of viewing every situation. And diverse views help to form wise responses to every crisis.
This Summer Solstice, we have the opportunity to use this period of longest light to see how truly frightened we are and how easily we can replace this fear with curiosity, inspiration, and respect for Earth and all her Creatures. This Summer Solstice we can take a Sacred Pause several times each day to simply Be. This Summer Solstice we can breathe into our differences and release them with the gentle word, “thinking.” This Summer Solstice may we meet in the place of radical acceptance and allow our inner gardens to produce as much nourishment as our outer ones.
Until next time
Jane Buchan, MA, AAMET Advanced Practitioner, email@example.com, 802-533-9277
Jane is a Learning Coach specializing in neutralizing cultural age, gender, and race constructs to support learners of every age. To engage her coaching services, please contact Jane by phone (802) 533-9277 or email, firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to put Coaching Query in the subject line.