3 Steps to Open The Gates of Heaven

It looks like it’s going to be an extremely ascetically pleasing day. The sun is out, the clouds are sparse, temperatures will reach close to 80 degrees. Not bad for March, not bad at all.

I’m sitting here reading tweets and blogs and articles and I began to feel…I don’t know…anger+despair+outrage+resignation…whatever feeling that adds up to. I was just about to retweet this article covering some crazy Orwellian Executive Order Obama and dem just released in relative secret, but before I did I turned my head to the right and saw the day unfolding through my window.

I’m grateful for moments that bring me back to myself.

There’s always going to be stuff to complain about and things to rally against. There will be tragedies that enrage us, and injustices that leave us feeling unsafe. This world and the spirit that runs it is not for us. The systems in place are not designed to bring us peace, to give us beauty or to make us dance. All of it: government, education, food supply, entertainment…Everything is a function of the same old delusion that the stuff happening around us is more important than what exists within us. So long as this is the case, there will never be peace out here. We can not find satisfaction, fulfillment, or rest in identifying with this world and its cycles.

Looking out of the window reminded me that the beauty of what naturally exists far outweighs the struggles created by mankind. The way the birds love their song, or how the trees love passing the wind. Just like this, the natural beauty that exists within each of us exceeds whatever troubles we create for ourselves in this journey through living. It is helpful to remember to rely on our natural talents and our natural loves to carry us through this world.

I remember this Zen tale:

A WARRIOR CAME TO THE ZEN MASTER HAKUIN AND ASKED “IS THERE
SUCH A THING AS HEAVEN AND HELL?”

HAKUIN SAID “WHO ARE YOU?”

THE WARRIOR REPLIED “I AM CHIEF SAMURAI TO THE EMPEROR.”
HAKUIN SAID “YOU, A SAMURAI? WITH A FACE LIKE THAT, YOU LOOK
MORE LIKE A BEGGAR.”

AT THIS THE WARRIOR BECAME SO ANGRY HE DREW HIS SWORD.
STANDING CALMLY IN FRONT OF HIM, HAKUIN SAID “HERE OPEN THE
GATES OF HELL.

PERCEIVING THE MASTER’S COMPOSURE, THE SOLDIER SHEATHED HIS
SWORD AND BOWED.

HAKUIN THEN SAID “AND HERE OPEN THE GATES OF HEAVEN.”

This is a beautiful story on a number of levels, and Osho has a wonderful explanation of it from his point of few that I enjoy. But when I look at it from my own understanding, it is the last two sentences that stand out. The warrior did three things to bring himself to the gates of heaven.

1. Perceiving the Master’s Composure — this is akin to looking out of the window and seeing the beauty of the day; or it could simply be counting your blessings. We can ‘perceive the master’s composure’ in everyday life just by taking the time to recognize what is right, what is good and what is perfect. The master in this story maintained the exact same composure in greeting, in taunting, in standing before the sword, and in giving sage advice. This is the same as life..it is composed and perfect in all of its states, whether it is providing seemingly good news or bad news for us to follow.

2. The Soldier Sheathed His Sword — We need to put away the ideas and beliefs that prevent us from experiencing beauty and dancing with the flow of life. Too much energy is expelled in judging the world instead of living in it. Sheathing your sword is getting beyond contrived, personalized ideas of what is right and what is wrong so that you may be present for what is happening.

3. And Bowed — Finally we need to give in to life. This has been a consistent theme on this blog and I cannot see how that would ever change. I can not think of many lessons I’ve been able to learn and implement that have aided my ability to be at peace than the lesson of Surrender. This world is not mine to run or govern, nor do I have any real control over what other people will do and how circumstances will unravel. My only domain is my thoughts and behaviors, and even that power is most often usurped by the ego and unconscious motivations. So I have learned to Allow…whatever happens, we Bow to it with surrender and appreciation. And from that place opens the gates of Heaven.

K

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