Things as They Are

Date : June 28, 2017

I gave my sister, a fellow writer a chapter draft from the interactive book I am writing on contemplative art practice, to read this weekend. She pointed out what she considered “awkward phrasing” saying, “This sentence ends with a verb.” “Just as we sit with the rising and falling away of emotions and thoughts in meditation, we are getting to know and befriend ourselves as we are.” She said, “Are, what?” I said, “Are, full-stop!”

So much of our lives is spent trying to be other than who we are.  To be more or less of something. We expect the world to do that too, only to be disappointed when neither lives up to our expectations. One of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves and others is to see and appreciate what is, without alteration or excuses. With this approach, tremendous spaciousness filled with mercy and acceptance opens us to the magic that is all around us all the time.

She also pointed out another sentence later in the chapter that does the same thing. “Allowing a creation to alter us, without filtering it based on our likes or dislikes can be very freeing and informative, just as seeing our world from that perspective can be.” What would it be like to experience phenomena without needing it to be a certain way? How can this enrich us and allow us to relax with the world around us? This is a practice I teach through Contemplative Photography and my series of Square One Saturdays happening this summer at Portal 18 in Oakland. The next talk, on July 8, as part of the Meditate/Contemplate/Create series will be on “Seeing Things as They Are”. This phrase, coined by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, in his book, True Perception, is at the heart of contemplative practice.  Register to find out more about “Are” full-stop and how it can affect your perception of the world.

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