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Summer Solstice 2014 - Opening the Door to Spiritual Lessons
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Summer Solstice 2014 - Opening the Door to Spiritual Lessons (18 min.) MP3
Transcript of a talk delivered by Brother ChiSing
June 21, 2014 - Dallas, Texas

Thank you, dear friends, for your practice today so far. It is always good to practice regularly mindfulness in various forms, whether through movement or stillness or whether through chanting or silence. It is good to do these things regularly. Of course, to do them by ourselves at home regularly is great, but also to do it together with others is very helpful. It generates a lot of positive energy that we can share with the energy of the whole world.

There's so many spiritual lessons in all of this, because when you have to deal with your own mortality and mortality of those you love, you realize the reality of impermanence. There is no way of getting around it. But then that opens the door to other lessons, too. So when we start facing impermanence deeply, it opens the door to other spiritual lessons like acceptance, forgiveness—a lot of forgiveness work, because you have to forgive the fact that there is death at all. It is almost like you have to forgive God. Okay. This is crazy. It's like when you're feeling those things, you really have to forgive reality for the way it is. That is hard. It is not as easy as it sounds. And then you have to forgive yourself because when you look back on your life, you realize so many things that you could've done differently. What is done is done, and you have to just accept and forgive it. And of course not only yourself but also other people. And when you start doing the spiritual processes—because I've been doing that. I've been noticing different people—

I mean, I always thought I'm supposed to have lots and lots and lots of people in my life and affect lots and lots of people and all that, but actually each person, if you have even 100 people in your life that you know and keep in touch with, you're doing pretty good. Most people don't have that many people in their close circle, so each person actually only has a few people in a close circle, and that is enough. So I had to let go of this idea of just having lots and lots of friends. No. I'm just having the small number of friends that I do have. Now I may have influence on a lot of other people, but I don't know a lot of other people. I look at my Facebook and there's like 1,500 on there. I only know like 100 of those people, like really know.

So I'm learning to just accept that I'm not going to directly touch every single person on the planet. No one does directly, but we touch the whole planet by touching our circle, our circle of family and friends and influence. So that is the only thing we have to really focus on and trust that that ripples across the rest of the planet.

Then you're wrestling with the spiritual questions of did I do what I came to do on the planet? Did I get a C+ or a B-? Did I learn everything I came to learn? And then here's the other question. If you're really facing mortality right in your face, oh, maybe I already did what I came here to do. Especially when we are younger, we still have big dreams, right? But even young people sometimes die. It is not always only old people that die. At any age, you can die. So it makes you face, oh, well maybe I already did when I came to do. So maybe the people I was meant to love, I've already loved them. And maybe the big dreams that I always wanted to create, well, maybe they have already happened. So all kinds of spiritual lessons are created through facing our impermanence. It is a beautiful, wonderful opportunity for growth.

So there is a great mystery to our human minds. I learned through our spiritual practice that what really matters is really staying present in the present. So one of the practices I shared I think last week was in relation to the past, don't dwell so much on all the regrets. I mean, you may have to look at everything. You need to look at everything, all the sad times and everything, but don't dwell on the sadness of it. Rather see if there is a blessing there. Try to see the blessings in your whole past and just practice gratitude. Because really, who doesn't have regrets? Who doesn't have sad times? Who doesn't feel like they didn't do quite enough? Everyone. So we are all equal in that regard. There's nothing to be afraid of or worried about. We are all equal in that regard. So you don't need to feel more guilty than anyone else. That's just being human.

So focus instead on the gratitude and the blessings, and in the present moment it is really being present to life as it is. But notice the part of yourself that is always rushing to go to the future or maybe it is always regretting or thinking of the past. Do you ever do that? Sometimes when you're mad at someone from the past, you keep playing that conversation over and over. Or you make up new conversations, but of course they will never hear it and it's only in your head. That is a waste of your time. It is a waste of your time because it takes you away from the fullness of this present moment. So don't let yourself get carried off only into worrying about the future or regretting the past. Stay in the present. Enjoy the present. Appreciate the present. It is kind of like if I were—

Like for me, I have to go back to my own example because it is what I know the most. If I were to worry all about the future about whether I'm going to die from this cancer, whether I'm going to have a lot of pain or am going to go blind first because of the cancer being near my optic nerves, if I spend my present moment always on that constantly, I'm losing each precious moment. You know? I have to continually remind myself not to dwell so much in that. Because I don't even know it's going to happen. I have no idea, so I don't want to waste my present moment on something I don't even know anything about. So part of our practice is to just keep coming back to this precious present moment.

You know, I personally believe because of what I have experienced through this spiritual practice, I personally believe that the world was being taken care of before I was born, and the world has been taken care of while I was here, and the world will be taken care of when I am not here physically. There is a greater power that takes care of all of us, and within the physical world, there are cycles of birth and death and growth and decay and sadness and happiness and pleasant times and hard times, but this physical world is held within the spiritual realm where there is no death and there is no fear. There is no lack. There is only light and love and life.

I try to focus on that reality, too, as I'm going through this, and you can do that with anything. You don't need to be facing death directly. It can be just anything in life. If you can remember that greater reality within which we live and have our being, then it takes the edge off the fear. It takes the edge off the worry. It takes the edge off the uncertainty. It may not take it all completely away because we are human beings while we are here, and we're meant to feel these kinds of feelings. So there's nothing wrong with feeling fear or grief or uncertainty or whatever, but those feelings are not the only totality of us. There's a part of us that is not just human. There is a part of us that is beyond human, that is spiritual, and we should also connect with that reality so that our human part does not get all overwhelmed.

So a few weeks ago I was in Galveston, and I just took a 30-minute walk on the beach with my shoes off and my feet on the sand and at the edge of the water so that the water was washing over my feet on the sand as I was walking up and down the beach. And the sun was shining overhead, and you could hear the seagulls and hear the crashing waves. And I thought about—and I was doing this because it's a very healthy practice to do, earthing and sunning. So my feet were on the earth, and because it was on sand and in the water, that is very good conductivity for the natural electricity of the planet to flow into your body. It is very healthy and healing. And of course the sun is very healing as long as you don't overdo it. So I just sat there for 30 minutes, and I was practicing walking meditation on the beach, and I just felt this deep love and communion with the universe, with God, Buddha nature, whatever you want to call it. I was just feeling deep connection to the sun and the earth, heaven and earth, and I was also feeling the connection of the breath, of the air, and the connection of the water.

So I had earth, air, fire, and water all in one, and I felt like I was at the center of all of this beauty and love. And so there was earth, air, fire, and water and also soul, my soul at the center of it all. And I really felt this feeling of when there is harmony of heaven and earth and water and air and everything with the soul, with your own soul, your own soul is in communion with everything. Isn't that what we call God? Isn't that what we call Buddha? Isn't that what we call ultimate reality? You don't have to wait to die to find ultimate reality. You don't have to wait to die to find heaven. When you can practice being present to all of this in harmony right here in your soul, that is heaven, right here and right now. And when you know and experience heaven right here and right now, then you don't need to be afraid of what is after death because heaven is always with you. Wherever you go, that is where heaven is.

So I guess the short answer to everything you ever wanted to ask is that you will know the answer when you have really lived your life. You know? We always want answers before we live our lives, but the answers are never really there until you have lived a life, and that is how the answers come to you, by the living of it. And why are relationships are complex? Well, relationships are what they are, and we have this idea in our head that makes things more complicated because in our head, we have this idea that we have come to earth. We're supposed to have the perfect mother, the perfect father. We're supposed to have the perfect brothers and sisters and the perfect teachers. We're supposed to have the perfect life, the perfect career. We're supposed to have the perfect healthy body our whole lives, and then just go to sleep and die in the perfect death. This idea is what causes us suffering, because it is the idea that we compare reality to. It is like, something is wrong. Because of this idea, we think there's something wrong always with everything and everyone in every moment.

But if we could just practice letting go of that idea and just live life as it is, don't compare and contrast as much anymore and just roll with the punches, you see? Are we supposed to have the perfect wife and perfect husband and perfect children? No. What we're supposed to do is just grow and learn through each moment with everyone and keep growing and keep changing and keep transforming and keep forgiving and keep forgiving and keep forgiving. Because maybe why we are here is to learn the spiritual lesson of forgiveness, the spiritual lesson of acceptance, surrender, letting go and letting be. And that is a tough one. You don't learn that lesson of forgiveness in a realm where everything is perfect, so maybe the fact that we are living in an imperfect world is perfect because it is exactly the kind of world we need to learn these kinds of spiritual lessons. Because you cannot learn these kind of spiritual lessons in a perfect heavenly world, which is where we came from. It may be the reason why we come here so we can have a little fun and excitement and learn something different, because personally I think being on a cloud with harps and music singing all day long for ever and ever is a little boring, so as spirits, maybe that's why we have these kinds of realms, physical realms, to spice things up a little bit and make it a little more interesting.

But see the main thing is, no matter how bad it is here, there is always a default program, isn't there? There's always the heavenly world to return to, so we don't have to be so afraid. No matter how bad it gets here, whatever badness goes on here, it is only temporary, and then we get to go back to the safe realm of eternal love and light. So learn to just really see your spouse, really see yourself, really see your children, really see your friends and coworkers as souls, beautiful souls who are temporarily in a human life. Know that just like you, they have forgotten who they really are, too, so give them a little break. So spend less time in your mind and more time in your life, more time with your breath, more time with your soul in the present moment. That's where you'll find the answers to life, and death, and beyond.

Transcribed by Jessica Hitch