Posted in meditation

A Calm and Even Mind in the Pandemic

The world has stopped.

Well, it hasn’t really. But a whole lot of things have. My kids are out of school for the year. This year school ends at Spring Break. I’m not sad about this time at home with them, but I’m nervous I’ll go back to work before summer.

I’m working from home, and I’m one of the lucky ones. Some people are having to go to work during an outbreak. Other people have lost their jobs.  

It’s a really scary time.

But the worst thing to me is probably the uncertainty. We don’t know when this lockdown will end.

I’ve tried to encourage myself by encouraging others, so I’ve been doing videos every day on my Facebook page (facebook.com/dscharpy). I’m teaching from a text called “The 37 Practices of a Bodhisattva.” I haven’t had the opportunity to teach a class on Buddhism in a long time and this is sort of scratching that itch for me, although I’d like the chance to do an in-person version and I’m hoping an opportunity like that appears.

Anyway,

There’s a virtue we talk about in Buddhism called Equanimity. It’s learning to face the storms of life with a calm and even mind. It can be a tremendously difficult thing to cultivate and it’s an area where our meditation practice helps us a great deal.

Equanimity is what helps us when everything is going wrong. Equanimity is what stops us from falling apart in an outbreak, when we feel trapped at home. Bad things come and go in life. There are little disasters and big disasters and life seems full of them. Equanimity is what gives us the ability to say, “Right now it’s like this, what can I do to make it better?” instead of always saying, “Why is this happening to me?”

When people talk about the benefits of meditation practice, they often focusing on attention, or clarity. Equanimity sometimes gets left out. But it’s so important and so needed. The truth is that when we’re better at paying attention, when we’re mindful, when we see the world around us clearly, not taking things so hard comes naturally. We learn how to grow that space between stimulus and response so we can hold the question, “What can I do right now?”

When we feel like we’re going to fall apart, we really need the space for that question.

We’re faced with a disaster right now. I told my kids to keep journals because they’re living through a big historical event and the won’t really understand the implications until later. This outbreak is big and there will be consequences for many years to come.

Returning to stillness is our hope for weathering this storm. If you have a meditation practice, don’t let the disruption to your routine make you stop. And if you don’t have one, it’s a good time to start.

We need more mindful people right now.

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Posted in bodhisattva

Awakening in the Outbreak

I had a new plan all set up.

I had a new time and place set up for a weekly meditation group and I was cautiously excited about it. I was going to start in early April and hoping people would find me.

Now everything in the city is shut down and I’ve had to cancel that group until further notice. It was pretty discouraging when I realized I’d have to do it.

I don’t know if I’ll end up starting that group or not. The truth is I’m not sure my city needs another meditation community. There are a lot of meditation communities in Kansas City.

There’s just not one that has me teaching. I wonder sometimes if that’s as important as I think it is. That’s not the right word. I don’t think it’s important. I just feel like I have something to contribute as a teacher.

Anyway,

I’m home now. I’m one of the lucky ones sent home from work with pay during this crisis. My kids are home too. School has been canceled for at least a month, so they’re having the joy of watching their teachers teach in videos and doing assignments on their iPads. (I think the North Kansas City School District is doing a good job dealing with this situation. Everything they’re doing for “virtual school” seems to be working)

 

But the thing I really wanted to tell you about is this: I’m teaching online.

I’ve gotten inspired. I’m giving teachings every day. I say it’s to inspire and help others, but really it’s to inspire and help myself.

I’m doing live videos on my facebook page every day.

This is helping me keep it together and if it’s helping anyone else, I think that’s great. I’m giving talks on “The 37 Practices of All Bodhisattvas”

This is a text in 37 parts and I’m doing a dive into each one. We all need connection and encouragement right now. So come and let’s encourage each other.

It’s going to be 37 talks for 37 days, if I can keep up with it. I’m really inspired by the teachings in this text and I think you will be too.

As of this writing I’ve done 7 of them. You can go back and find the old ones, or start where you are, it makes no difference.

https://www.facebook.com/DScharpy/

follow my page and you should get notified when I go live.

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I’m also recording the audio for my podcast, so I’m dropping a new podcast episode every day.

If you’re interested in just audio, check out:

RSS Kansas City Meditation Podcast

 

The version of the text I’m using for these talks is called “Illuminating the 37 Practices of A Bodhisattva” and you can get it here if you’re interested:

Illuminating the 37 Practices of a Bodhisattva

and if you’d rather not get on facebook, you can also see the videos on YouTube here:

Daniel Scharpenburg YouTube Channel