Posted by: Michael Rickicki | 02/11/2019

From the Shadows and to the Light

I have noticed that my mind has been attracted to dark places of late, believing in all manner of dark fantasy and speculation. And, although buddhanussati (on Lord Sakyamuni and Amitabha) and devanussati (on Avalokiteshvara, Ksitigarbha and Metteyya) have helped, it has sometimes been hard to find the energy for sustained practices. I guess I took quick stock of my situation yesterday and realized that the situation was pretty dire and I needed to do something about it.

So, in between ministering to sick children and making meals I began I quick book search on the topic of “joy.” Much of what I found there didn’t initially strike me but I somehow made my way into looking for titles about “gratitude” and realized it was this quality of mind that had been sorely lacking.

My fault finding mind has been on overdrive and this couldn’t be more true than with my own practice. I realize how my awareness styles on anything only to quickly criticize it and accentuate the negative. Obviously, appreciation is the antidote but, in my mind, this quality has so often been conjoined with theistic metaphysics that it has been hard to figure out the right approach.

It now seems that the right approach is to cultivate appreciation by whatever means necessary. Whether it’s through comparison (I have a place to shelter tonight), by rejoicing in the potentiality (I have met with the Dharma and can release myself from suffering) or simply appreciating the present moment (as in the stillness of a tranquil meditation session) I can turn the mind from the shadows and towards the light. And, why not? What better way to train the mind to be of benefit to self and other than to choose light and not?

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Shillelagh Studies

A hub for the music, culture, knowledge, and practice of Irish stick-fighting, past and present.