Happy Bodhi Day!!
Today, the 8th day of the 12th month is celebrated every year as Rohatsu by Zen Buddhists the world over.
It is also the 30 year memorial of John Lennon’s death. Shakyamuni Buddha and a former Beatle – what could one possibly have to do with the other? Well, for one they were both meditators. And they both influenced not only their own generation but generations to come. They did this by showing up in the world as a bright light with everlasting “beginner-mind.”
This day memorializes the Buddha’s early morning moment of Enlightenment. Today we also mourn the loss of a great musician and humanitarian, John Lennon. A well-loved guru in his own right. It is said as Buddha gazed upon the planet Venus he realized the nature of self, man, and all human suffering. He realized he was connected to the Great All. And the Great All was connected to him and all other beings. He realized the importance and significance of every one and everything. He realized he must take care of himself first to affect others well. He realized our equality.
This knowing is Enlightenment.
Taking our place in the great scheme of things is something we sort out for ourselves. Obviously, John Lennon realized his place was exulted through music. As a meditator he would have quieted his mind to connect to his creativity. We all do this when we meditate. Meditation is the most direct way I know of to embrace the higher truth of self and life. The truth being we are all in it together! The ocean, the sky, the earth, the rude bugger that cut you off in traffic, your one true love, the sweet lady at the check-out counter.
We are interdependent.
We need each other. Once we understand our personal role in the grand scheme, life will make more sense to us.
What have I discovered through meditation? I have discovered that my first duty in life is to show up well-cared for. It’s not so sexy ya know? Because no one does this for me. I have to care enough about who I am in this great interdependence to actually take care of myself. Quite frankly this is something I don’t always do.
Knowing and doing are two different things.
What I know I know is this. On the days I meditate and remind myself all day long that taking care of myself properly is my primary role in life? On those days I do well. I feel well. I express myself well. I feel protected rather than rejected. I connect and stay connected.
Enlightenment, success, forgiveness, love, all of these are realized through a process of being. My meditation practice inspired by both Buddha and John Lennon when I was just a teenager helps me with processing life itself. I may never have the impact on the world Buddha or John Lennon has had. But I will impact my life and in turn the world in a positive way if I just practice the practice of taking care of myself.
Happy Bodhi Day!
Have a sweet one!