Friday, January 20, 2017

Burrrr, Says Buddha.

We have just now come out of hibernation.

And it's not because of some exciting snowfall (although it did come ironically on the same day); but rather, freezing weather.

I thought -7 degrees was bad! We hit some unbelievable -26 temperatures and that doesn't even compare to the -49 degrees that other parts of the state reached.

So you can imagine that I've been cooped up in my wood house, glued to the fireplace and obsessed with having slippers on my feet at all times. I only go out when necessary and when I do, I make sure to don every available glove and scarf to avoid any chances of my skin meeting the frigid air.

This has been going on all week long.

Luckily, we woke to soft snowfall this morning and as the afternoon and evening wore on, it didn't let up and I daresay we're going to be finally getting that winter wonderland we've all been wishing for.

One of the treasures I've stumbled across in being homebound against the raging cold is an old book that a dear friend of mine recommended a while back called The Buddha Walks into a Bar written by Lodro Rinzler. I don't actually recall cracking open the book back when I bought it, and I have to admit, I was a bit hesitant even now about reading a book "about Buddhism."

And it was in the first twenty pages that I stumbled across the line: "The purpose of studying Buddhism is not to study Buddhism, but to study ourselves."

So I continued to read.

I have to say, it's a very enlightening book and if there's a few things I've learned as core themes, it's to remain open-minded, practice being generous and compassionate, and to always be present. Quite important, and rather simple practices. And once you nail those yourself, other people follow suit. Then pretty soon, the whole world is engaged with their open hearts and basic goodness!

Quite inspiring.

So although I've been cooped up and locked-in all week, I learned how to be present in my homebound situation, engaged with what was going on around me and appreciative of the comfort of my couch, the crackle of the fire, the merino wool against my skin, and the view outside my window. Instead of wishing for warmer temperatures, more snowfall, and something exciting to occupy my day, I took a deep breath and looked at all the simple splendor around me, remembering this:

"If we could relax our idea of how things should be and appreciate them as they are, then the world would be magically transformed into a rich ground of opportunities..." 

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