On the first full day of the Insight Meditation Community of Washington’s weeklong 2021 fall retreat, entitled Intimacy with Life, one of my favorite of all moments came during La Sarmiento’s dharma talk. They had been speaking about their love for walking meditation, and shared, “My vow in this lifetime is to have an open heart.” (They recommended having a dimmer switch rather than an on/off one, however. 🙂
And then came the moment that has really stuck with me. They said, “When I’m feeling overwhelmed, I walk out of my house and look up at the sky. Breathing in, I’m alive. Breathing out, sending wellness and lovingkindness to all beings.”
Just go outside, and look straight up at the sky overhead. I’ve been doing this every so often ever since the retreat. And it’s just extraordinary.
What I feel is awe, and vast spaciousness. But also a kind of loving familiarity; a recognition of our beloved world, right here, being quietly and utterly magnificent.
As La shared, this is a wonderful antidote for overwhelm. We instantly get outside of ourselves. When we’re present with all that space, and breathe in all that magnificence, it creates room in our hearts for more of everything—the 10,000 joys and the 10,000 sorrows. The good and the bad, the beautiful and the ugly.
And having done this, I feel, above all, gratitude! For my teacher, La. For my life (I’m breathing! I’m alive! Yay!). For my family, friends, and community. For the birds flying across the sky. For all beings. For you. 🙂