Fourth of July Reflection
My teacher, Prem Rawat, has said that practicing is like taking shower. The subtle impurities of the day are washed away by the breath. Like a flow of water carries off accumulated grime, the river of breath cleanses us of hatred, greed, ignorance and fear. Even for a few moments we can feel reconnected with oneness, contentment, knowledge and peace.
Lately I’ve been reflecting on how mindfulness introduces order in my life. Chaos seems to rule the world outside my doorstep. Everything feels more unpredictable than ever, which contributes to clinging, grasping and suffering. I want it to rain so my river comes back to life. I want a democratic government I can count on it to uphold basic values. I want people to behave ethically within our institutions. I want a tolerant, stable society that rejects hatred and prejudice. I am clinging to these things as other agents both conscious and unconscious introduce profound chaos like climate change, authoritarianism, corruption, racism, and global insecurity.
But when I practice there is only this moment, only this breath.The moments follow each other in an ancient order akin to the movement of the sun, moon and stars. My life unfolds with precious mornings, noons, evenings, nights. I feel the orderly awareness that I identify as mine. This order requires no grasping, no clinging, no judgment, no action. It is available to me as long as I breathe.
I may choose, as I did yesterday, to stand beside the road with a sign that says, “Where are the children?” but it isn’t because I am in disharmony. I can be in harmony when I am content to stand there with my sign as people drive by some staring steadfastly ahead, some flashing me a peace sign, some honking their horns.
Chaos need not penetrate my mind for long because I have the shelter of my breath. I can feel oneness when I see the connection with others, even others who hate me. I can have contentment to be in this moment when I cultivate it. If I ask for it I can have peace. If I ask I can know myself. These are revolutionary actions I encourage everyone to take today. As a founding father said, "we must hang together or we will surely all hang separately."