Generosity Column: Inspiration

by Matthew Lyon

To be alive at this very moment is a divine gift. We could express our gratitude in this way at any time, but it is especially meaningful in a time when impermanence and uncertainty surround us. In describing the benefits of meditation, Chogyam Trungpa once said that it trains us to relate to every moment as precious.

As we cultivate this ability, it doesn’t mean that we ignore or gloss over painful experiences with happy talk. It does lead us toward an appreciation of life that transcends good days and bad days. In fact, difficulties and challenges can tune us in to the core of our hearts, reminding us that simply to be alive is auspicious.

It’s hard to see life this way in these days of crisis and anxiety. Yet the anxiety itself is a catalyst for seeking inspiration from simple experiences.

Have you felt emotionally overwhelmed and drained as you witness the daily news of the pandemic, the economic turmoil, the tragedy of violent racism, the dysfunction of leadership and the related pain and suffering?

I certainly have. Yet when I sit in silence and allow my troubled thoughts to subside a bit, I sense a source of strength within that is not just personal – this strength is our human birthright and is available to anyone. It awakens an appreciation of the most basic aspects of our human birth: that we can emerge from our sorrow to see the world simply, almost as a child would, with fresh eyes.
The blue sky is stunning these days as the decline in traffic has cleared the air, and the clouds are supremely white. Have you noticed this? Or the warm evening sunlight spreading across a grassy hillside filled with flowers: purple, white, yellow and red – is there anything more beautiful?

I watch my wife washing dishes with the grace and attentiveness of a master painter, delighting in details. I feel the love of my daughter’s voice over the phone, and mine returning the gift. In these moments of pure nowness, inspiration rises and calms the mind with awareness, at once gentle and full of power.

May we find inspiration in such vivid perceptions, as we experience the generous abundance of life on earth, even as we acknowledge our trials.

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