Note on Now from Sandra

Wednesday March 18, 2020 Note on Now from Shastri Sandra Ladley

Dear Berkeley Center Friends,

As I sit here sheltered, ingesting rapidly changing news, and adapting to a new normal I wanted to share a little ‘Note on Now’ and a reminder from the Buddhist teachings.

I invite others who may want to share a Note on Now as these days and weeks progress to do so. You can comment on this post.

We can also set up Zoom listening circles to talk together online. The Berkeley center is looking into establishing weekly, or more frequent, online Zoom sessions for meditation & connection. Please e-mail JoshuaRaen (manager [at] berkeleyshambhala [dot] org) to express your interest & ideas of how to support this.

Today I am thinking about the resources we have to draw upon when faced with such uncertainty, fear and suffering. 

The Three Jewels come to mind.

Our Sangha and being part of the global community of humanity — I feel empathically connected to others having been forced to stop the momentum of business as usual.  I’m checking in more with friends and family.  Seeing outpourings and opportunities for community service and the many varieties of free cultural offerings online inspires me.  We are all connected and can help each other through this.  Even if we can’t touch each other we can keep in touch and comfort and help each other. 

We can Practice … I have been sitting down on my cushion to settle and practice meditation. I’ve been stopping to breathe and look out the window at the exuberantly blossoming cherry and magnolia trees — and the daffodils and freesia – in my front yard, so comforting and cheerful. I’m slowly and mindfully washing and drying my hands, and being reminded oops I touched my face, and adjusting to 6 feet apart as I walk with a friend.  I find these bits of mindful attention to details to be stabilizing.  I also find movement and fresh breaths of air outside — even for 10 minutes — helpful.  I take time to soothe myself throughout the day especially after ingesting another wave of news.  I do free form bits of creative expression, — dancing, writing, singing.  What practices help you? 

I am grateful for the Dharma and Inspiration—I am loving seeing all the Dharma resources popping up online, and we will be offering online sessions locally. I will be part of Milarepa Day this Saturday and look forward to attending Acharya Judith’s White Tara session on the morning of Sunday the 22nd at 10 am.  I’ve pulled out a stack of Dharma books I’ve been meaning to read. Now is a great time to go deeper with practice and study. 

So coming back to the Three Jewels — these jewels of community, practice and inspiration can help us as a kind of circulating global force during this time. 

To me this global retreat and shared suffering feels like a kind of cosmic reboot that presents an opportunity for us to connect with our own deep inner resources and to the life stories and history of others making it through and creating transformation through exceedingly difficult times. 

In closing, to paraphrase Pema Chödrön, may love and compassion be your primary practice now so that we can extend calm and stability to ourselves and others as we encounter pain, panic and fear during these times.