Monday, April 27, 2009

MPOW #14 - Be the Sun

"The sun was shining on the sea,
Shining with all his might.
He did his very best to make
The billows smooth and bright.
This was odd because it was
The middle of the night."
- Lewis Carroll The Walrus and the Carpenter

Living in Seattle, it is possibly to go a whole month in the winter without seeing the sun peek through the clouds. Though, I know, when I pay it mind, that the sun is always still shining, whether cloudy or not, day or night. Even when I cannot see it, it still shines. In this mindfulness practice of the week, let us contemplate the sun and how we are like it.

There are a few traits that we can share with the sun:
1. The sun always shines, even if layers of clouds or a rotation of the planet hides this. As such, we always shine underneath, even when circumstances make it difficult for us to shine outwardly.

2. The sun does not boast of its shining. The sun is a massively powerful body, a giant ball of burning gas that sustains all of the life on Earth. Yet, this is what the sun is, and what it does. Likewise, we are what we are, and our abilities, though many and wisely born and often earned are what we are. We can take our cues from the sun and not boast of them either.

3. The sun makes no excuse for shining. The opposite of boasting, sometimes we are embarrassed by our abilities and seek to downplay them or cover them up. Just like the sun, these abilities make up who we are, and we can confidently put them to use for wise growth and kind, generous action.

4. The sun always generously shares its energy with others. It doesn't ask for anything in return, nor mind when it is taken for granted. It continues to nurture the whole planet.

5. The sun does not discriminate. It offers its energy for any and all.

There are many other traits of the sun that you may bring forth in your meditations.

Mindfulness Practice: Be the Sun
If the sun is shining directly, place yourself by basking in it. If it is not seen, recall the sun, know that it is there shining, and be in that knowledge of its shining. Begin in a basic meditation to clear your mind, calm your emotions, and relax your physical body. Form your arms into a curve, as if you are holding the sun within them. I recommend holding them aloft, but you can also rest them if you require.

Focus on the space between your arms and will you attention between them. In this attention, bring your intention to bring the sun in. As you focus your intention, allow this to be your manifestation. The sun will manifest in your arms. This may be frustrating or silly at first, but allow yourself to indulge in this notion. As you hold your arms, feel the warmth of the sun on them. You may need to shift their arc to accommodate the sun. Relax your belly, what the Chinese call the dantien, the Japanese the tanden, many call the second chakra--it has many other names in other languages. As it relaxes, you might feel that this is a battery storing the energy of the sun.

Notice the ways that you are like the sun. You may even become the sun or realize that you have been the sun all along. You may realize that like the sun, you are both part of the same universe. You may instead or additionally notice other things. For instance, you might saturate with optimism, or recognize the properties that you and the sun share in common.

My wish for you is that the sun inspires you to be more like it.

This post is dedicated to Grandmaster Chen Xiao Wang, who once wordlessly taught me how to embrace the universe in a single moment.

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