This afternoon I was dining at my favorite lunch spot when I happened to look up. I had never really looked up before, usually just ahead as people walk into the grocery store, or down at the latest book I’ve chosen to read.
It caught me off guard and I caught myself taking pictures of the ceiling from the same seat in which I usually sit.
It was the first time today I told myself, “sometimes I just need to look up.”
I’ve been reading The Book of Joy, lasting happiness in a changing world where Douglas Abrams depicts spending a week with the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu. Two men who have known great joy and great suffering. During lunch I happened across what the Dalai Lama calls “mental immunity”. He says, “The best solution to our suffering is mental immunity. We human beings have the ability to make a distinction between the rational level and the emotional level. At the rational level, we accept that this is a serious problem that we have to deal with, but at the deeper, emotional level, we are able to keep calm. Like the ocean has many waves on the surface but deep down it is quite calm.”
Abrams continues, “each position was valid and simply reflected a different stage in the emotional cycle. Through self-inquiry and meditation, we can discover the nature of our mind and learn to soothe our emotional reactivity. This will leave us less vulnerable to the destructive emotions and thought patterns that cause so much suffering.”
Late this evening, I found myself in the same thought patterns that seem to be unhelpful to my heart. Five babies were born this month; the month of Lion. Each birth making waves inside my fragile heart. Once again, we’re greeted with a lasting reminder of what is not in our lives.
I’m working diligently to calm my heart-mind as the seas of grief continue to crash against my heart and into my soul. Admittedly it’s hard work. I am continually learning how to fix my eyes on what’s above me as the less we focus on ourselves, the more we’re connected with each other and healing reveals itself to us.
Psalm 84 says, “What joy for those whose strength comes from the Lord. When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs.” Abrams concludes, “Indeed, we can use our tears, our stress and frustration, as a well from which we can draw the life-giving waters of our emotional and spiritual growth.”
I know that even in darkness there is light. Ralph Waldo Emerson says, “Sorrow looks back, worry looks around, faith looks up.” It is better then to look up.