Saturday, January 8, 2011

A luminous and compassionate presence

Sadly, I forgot to bring my cardreader with me to Portland, or I'd share images of the amazing lobby of our hotel: it's all mahogany, glass and mirrors; built around the turn of the last century and beautifully maintained.  A very nice change from last weekend's Motel 6, and only $20 more a night...

Sigh.  I wish, sometimes, that I didn't appreciate creature comforts quite so much.  But a warm hotel room, cotton sheets, a down comforter and a firm mattress are just so appreciated.

I am embarking on John Welwood's Toward a Psychology of Awakening (kindly given to me as a present by a dear friend) and he does remind me that I am a creature of the body as well as the mind; perhaps I shouldn't be too hard on myself for that.

Anyway, I'm here in the lobby, sharing a table and coffee with my husband, who also woke early, and I just wanted to say that class yesterday was amazing.  Yes, the teacher was good, and the subject matter (metaphor) intrigues me. 

But the blessings of the day were all in the people interactions: I really enjoy my fellow students, and feel very much a part of the Antioch community.  There is so much joy and wisdom and earnest desire to serve, to help make the world a wiser, better place -- sitting in the classroom is almost akin to sitting on the beach: I just enjoy basking in the light.  I feel warmed and energized and, oddly enough, hopeful -- which makes me realize it's been a while since hope was a detectable emotion for me.

So I'm hoping you're finding yourself, as you face into the new year, with a renewed sense of hope and possibility.  And to feed that, maybe I'll do a little Tonglen this morning: breathing in the despair of the world, breathing out this sparkle of hope that's rising up.  We may be discouraged about the state of the world around us, but we can at least feel a sense of possibility  that emerges from our immediate surroundings -- whether camping in the snow, sitting in a lobby, shivering under a bridge, basking on a beach or simply typing at our computers.  There is an awareness, a potential there: can you feel it? 

Welwood says, "Recognizing the essential nature of our awareness as an open, wakeful, luminous, and compassionate presence allows us to relate to our life in a much richer and more powerful way."  Which resonates: I'm thinking it was that luminous and compassionate presence that began to reappear yesterday after a period of hibernation.  And I welcome that...


Joyce Wycoff said...

Food for thought, comfort for the body, and connection for the soul ...what a way to feed your spirit. I feel nourished just reading this.

Maureen said...

So pleased you enjoyed the first class of the term!

My husband wrote one of his master's degrees on the use of metaphor in Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring". Metaphor as subject is, I agree, enormously interesting.

Louise Gallagher said...

Luminous awareness.

Like that.

Like this post. Lots

And no -- there is absolutely nothing wrong with appreciating comforts. If we can appreciate comfort, we can appreciate hard time. It is the appreciation that matters.

Great post!