Winter. Grey skies. Grey faces on people in the street.
A time to look inward; reassess direction; ponder the past; examine the moment.
In Buddhism, we are reminded that only the moment is real. Our past is only a memory, a construct of images, words, feelings; always open to change. The future is even more illusory, the more fervently we cling to our notions of the future, the more certain is our suffering.
But what does it mean to 'be in' or examine the moment? To truly understand this is to be enlightened, to have unshackled oneself from misunderstanding of phenomena, freed oneself from suffering, to have overcome even the most subconscious belief in a self under all of experience. So be skeptical of any and all who claim to know what this means! All that the unenlightened can do is compare another's path to their own and point to the errors if they are seen.
One of the suggestions made by the Buddha on being in the moment is that one 'sees body as body' 'feeling as feeling' etc for ideas, volitions, and consciousness itself. This would indicate that in our everyday life we do not see these as they are, we do not see 'body as body'. We see body as 'my body' or 'his body' or 'this body'. What we are doing is taking raw data and constructing it into 'mine', 'his', or 'this'. According to the Buddha, this is a mistake, a most serious one.
And so we meditate. Not to escape the world, but to see it as it is, eventually. One thing that is soon understood from regular meditation is that our emotional reaction to the world is not something we are forced to take 'as it is'. This means that when the sky is grey and the world seems cold, we may step back for a moment and ask, 'is the world really so cold and grey?' Perhaps behind every grey face there is infinite joy awaiting release. So the next grey face we see becomes an occasion for a warm smile. And perhaps, if the time is right, we will see joy released from that face, we will see color where before we saw none. And so we smile more, and the world comes alive. The clouds are no longer a barrier between us and the joyous sunshine. They are now a vehicle by which we may discover the joy of seeing things as they truly are.
Through sadness comes joy. Through sorrow comes rejoice. Eventually balance dominates, equanimity pervades experience. Kindness, giving, and openheartedness become spontaneous and effortless.
It is a very personal journey. But guidance is essential, and undiscerning love for all is the inevitable outcome. So... Off I go for now.