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February 1, 2021

Dreamers Are We

by Seijaku Roshi

“How important it is to dream together…. By ourselves, we risk seeing mirages, things that are not there. Dreams, on the other hand, are built Together.” — Pope Francis

“There is a power in each and every one of us that lives by turning to every other one of us, a thrust of the spirit to cherish and care and stand by others, and above all those most in need. It is called love, and its path is to give ever more of itself.”

We all are continuing to make our way through a long dark night, seeing only glimpses of The Light, as we continue toward the eventual dawn, which shines in the darkened corners of our world. These are not celestial bodies as we know them, but rather fellow human beings who dare to dream and whose words and actions invite us to dream together. Paraphrasing His Holiness Pope Francis, “It is only when we dream together that we are able to build together.” And build together we must. For we are in this together and always have been and, we can only rise out of the darkness together if that, “Light On A Shining Hill” is ever to burn brightly for all our fellow human beings here and abroad.

Fundamental to our Way-of-Life, The Monks of Pine Wind, hold to a common belief that, “Community is the Spirit, The Guiding Light.” We exist in a relational reality “called by us universe”. Whenever we forget this reality which guides and sustains life forms throughout the cosmos we suffer. The remnants of our forgetfulness can be found everywhere.

In Community we turn toward “every other one of us,” because we know for a fact that — “We are More Together Than Alone.” In Community we share with every other one of us a “shared purpose” together doing for every other one of us what we would hope would be done for us — “to help every other one of us to fulfill their purpose,” and “To take care of one another.”

I have been a dreamer all of my life. Since the time I was seven years old I dreamed of Love, Spirit, and Community. I have never doubted my dreams once. I have always been convinced that we most certainly are “spiritual beings immersed in a human experience,” to make a difference, which extends outward and fills the entire cosmo.

I believe in an interconnected and interdependent world, I am convinced about it. All the myriad forms are manifestations of Tathagata, Buddha, God, Universe, including you and me. That when we “dream” we cannot dream alone. Our dreams extend beyond me toward “every other one of us,” connecting us to what is seen and what only the heart can see.

We continue to find ourselves today both in the Nation and around the world, in the most difficult of circumstances often leaving us with the experience of feeling separated, apart from other, even alone. These are all to be understood as “delusional manifestations of ego” and not reality. But to see and experience “reality” we must rely on the only means that can see what is real. For as Merton writes, “There is no greater disaster in the spiritual life than to be immersed in unreality, for life is maintained and nourished in us by our vital relation with realities outside and above us.”

If we ever expect to rise up out of the ashes of greed, hatred, and indifference which cover society today, we must realize that the only instrument that can effectively and skillfully support us is, “The Heart”.

“And now here is my secret, a very simple secret. It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Our work (spiritual practice) is to focus on strengthening the weakest of all the energy chakras — “Your weakest chakra is the Fourth Chakra, or Heart Chakra, located in the center of the chest around the heart. This chakra is connected to unconditional love, empathy, compassion, self-love, and acceptance. When the Heart Chakra is imbalanced you may feel apathetic, hopeless, unworthy, and unwilling to forgive.”

The foundation or context for the work at hand is — “There is a power in each and every one of us that lives by turning to every other one of us, a thrust of the spirit to cherish and care and stand by others, and above all those most in need. It is called love, and its path is to give ever more of itself.”

Let me repeat, We exist in a “relational reality,” When we live and behave as if the opposite is real we suffer and our suffering is compounded in the world by our thoughts, words, and actions which promote and support what is not real. Whenever we live and act on what is not real we feel groundless, we feel pulled in multiple directions. Therefore our “healing” process begins by strengthening our “root chakra”.

The root chakra is located at the perineum and extends through your legs and feet. “The foundational energy is what enables us to feel secure and grounded into our birthing experience what it means to be a human being, right at that moment, it’s important to have that foundation because once that is stabilized, that energy is activated within us, then we can go on to the other developmental stages of our lives.”

Meditation and contemplation are two of the three tools we will use to reestablish and sustain our relationship with Reality. Each day we spend essential time in quiet and serene meditation focusing on that area of our bodies which is located at the very base of the spinal-chord, often referred to as the perineum.

Sitting upright yet comfortable, focusing on our breathing, we take a deep breath and imagine directing that breath deep in the perineum and allowing it to settle there. (We continue to follow this technique until we begin to feel,“settled” as in “settled-in”.) Relax there now for a while. The amount of time does not matter as much as the quality of attention you give to not being distracted by thoughts (mental formations) and the “narrative” forever calling you away from yourself.

How do I know my “root chakra” is opening and beginning to balance? You will begin to experience the force of feeling grounded. Choices for example become simpler and essential, not just reactionary and fleeting. Because the root chakra has a direct connection to the earth, your body may begin to feel heavier, as if planted to the ground. There may be the sensation of heat and tingling. Another side effect is sleeping or resting and dreaming come easier, more relaxed and less convoluted.

For many years I have warned students that, “Your ego got you here, but it will not keep you here.” Your feelings, and ideas, and desires brought you to this moment of considering a spiritual path for your life. But the problem with ego is that, “Ego” is fleeting, ever-changing, and easily distracted. Without grounding ourselves, or as I say, “Dropping Anchor” there are no possibilities for cessation and awakening.

“There is a power in each and every one of us that lives by turning to every other one of us…” Dharma, Love, is always moving toward us, we are the ones always walking away from it. Dharma is always calling us toward each other. The Buddha defined the Third Nobel Refuge necessary for cessation from suffering to be The Sangha, The Community. We are relational beings living in a relational reality. Our very existence depends on us, “Turning toward every other one of us…a thrust of the Spirit to cherish and care and stand by others.” As Thomas Merton reminds us, “Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone – we find it with another.”

The more we focus on strengthening our “Root Chakra,” grounding ourselves in “Relational Reality,” the Heart Chakra can begin to open and we can begin to experience emotional, mental, and spiritual healing and growth.

When meditating we begin by directing our attention toward the Root Chakra setting our intention to heal and strengthen our groundedness in life and in our relationships with others including the whole of Nature. Try to take a walk as often as possible in the Natural World. Allow it to touch you and to be touched by you.

We need to stop running away, running around, toward every stimulus we are attracted to. We need to recognize that our happiness and our very salvation lies in our relationships with others, especially the Sangha, or that spiritual community we belong to. “We are More Together Than Alone.” The more I ground myself in my spiritual practices, my spiritual relationships, my responsibilities, I will not so easily be distracted and drawn away from what is essential.

Our third tool which strengthens and opens the Heart Chakra becomes evident once we are grounded. Our third tool being, “A thrust of the spirit to cherish and care and stand by others, and above all those most in need. It is called love, and its path is to give ever more of itself.” We need to stop taking other for granted, always assuming they will be there, always assuming they have no needs. If this pandemic has taught us anything it is “we need each other”. If we are ever going to change the future into the world of our dreams, we will not achieve it by, “Battling what we Hate, but only by saving what we Love.”

We begin to open the Heart Chakra by random and spontaneous, as well as planned, committed acts of love for ourselves and for others. Reciting affirmations or mantras which reinforce our worthiness to be loved; forgiving ourselves for our mistakes and shortcomings, accepting our brokenness; being mindful of our speech, the words we use to communicate love, as well as the thoughts we dwell on. Caring for ourselves, our bodies, the home we live in, and anything we have invested time and energy into. We can ask ourselves how do my words and/or actions communicate “I Love You”? And make the necessary changes.

Gratitude is another powerful tool to opening the Heart. Becoming mindful of the negative narrative and how it may be reinforcing the walls around our heart. Being and expressing daily as often as possible our gratitude for what we have, rather than complaining about what we don’t have.

The future and how it will be is entirely up to us. No one is coming to rescue us, we must be a Messiah, a Buddha, a Human-Being, for each other remembering always — “We are indeed, More Together Than Alone.”

I Love You,

Seijaku Roshi

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