the holiness of ordinary life

The first two verses of the Dhammapada (translated by Gil Fronsdal):

All experience is preceded by mind,
Led by mind,
Made by mind.
Speak or act with a corrupted mind,
And suffering follows
As the wagon wheel follows the hoof of the ox.

All experience is preceded by mind,
Led by mind,
Made by mind.
Speak or act with a peaceful mind,
And happiness follows,
Like a never-departing shadow.

These two verses are rich with meaning for me when I consider how we experience life. With each experience, two things happen. There is the actual experience and then there is all we add to it because of habitual responses developed over a lifetime.

This is one of the things that makes mindfulness so helpful, this giving attention to the moment: we are in a position to notice. We have an opportunity to experience life for what it is, in this moment. Without the story-lines, we can respond more wisely to the experience rather than react in an habitual way.

When the mind is peaceful, alert, and watching with a nonjudgmental awareness, something wondrous occurs. Each moment begins to shine with a sort of holiness: ordinary events become sacred, pregnant with meaning and flush with significance. This is why I trust the process. I’ve learned that all that is required of me is to cultivate a peaceful mind, receiving each experience without judging it “good” or “bad”. All of life is there to be experienced fully if only I take the time to notice and engage as fully as I am able with what is actually happening, in that moment. The darkness taught me this and very well.

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