Happy Sunday, Happy Spring and any other version of happy that allows you to count the blessings you have in your life.. go there.
It has been a few weeks now that my partner and I have been reunited in New York after eight months on separate continents. Patience and endurance has been tested to the max. What is put in place to keep everyone safe from one thing, may destroy them in a multiple of other ways. It seems to be a time in the world of too much or too little with an absence of a middle ground.
Our little home in India is not reachable. So we met in NY until we can make a more solid retreat plan. Even typing the words 'solid plans' feels shaky. With conditions and complications to every task, making plans beyond the 24 hours at hand feels between exhaustingly complex and impossible. New York City has reopened and is trying its best to exude normalcy but the eyes over the masks that we meet on the street look as tired as we are.
I often feel these days I'm disappointing my father who would say "when in doubt, be the more generous of the two." It's a stretch to feel generous and kind at times. On a daily basis here, my heart bleeds for the level of poverty on the street. Anger stirs for the excessive waste in the modern disposable society. Garbage is overflowing everywhere. The stupidity of selfish human action seems to be rampant. The insecurity that leads to greed seems to still be holding the steering wheel, blinding people from any life of balance. This take and take world rather than a give and take leaves me shamed and fearful for future generations. These are not unique problems to other cities, but NYC is a melting pot for the best and the worst. It is all part of what it takes to make it in NY. You need ample confidence, determination, and focus that you are number one, and nothing or no one else matters. The vibrational frequency of this mindset is as dense as the concrete. It may help you with monetary success but in such a time of crisis in the world, what good is that without a reason and reach for humanity.
There are always ample current conditions to challenge our state of mind, just as there are ample conditions to be grateful for. When we're overcome by negative emotions at play, we need to look for what triggers an equal weight of positive emotions. When there isn't enough energy in the tank to do this practice, then at least embrace yourself as a whole and remember with thanks that we are bigger than our minds. Thank God. When it's hard to reason with our minds, we can still embrace ourself and come back to the breath and the moment.
During an evening this week when I couldn't sleep for the street noise, I listened to this teaching with dear Thay (Thich Nhat Hanh) on practicing with disturbing emotions. Just the sound of his voice warms my heart. Thay's wisdom is delivered so gently that I quickly realize I have not been so kind to myself as these emotions arise. I get angry for allowing myself to be fired in these ways, or weaken to doubt and despair that change is possible. Thay says that if we embrace these emotions as a loving mother to her newborn, the fire can be snuffed and we can return to functioning with peace. This is a simple and wonderful practice, and I'm grateful for every reminder. Whenever possible these days, I take these practices to the classroom of the majestic trees of Central Park, where all healing is possible.
Embrace yourself kindly on this wonderful Spring day, Happy Vesak on the 26th.