today i hatched out from a cocoon of transformation to be reborn for a new cycle until the next awakening strikes and until eventually kensho’s sharp swords cuts everything away.
the first thing i noticed when i woke up today was the reduced mental chaos and the easier or more positive ambient background atmosphere. i remained in bed until i had worked up some motivation and some goals for the day. i reminded myself about the importance of being mindful and cultivating that essential skill. i took a minute or two to feel out my body from the “inside” and especially paying attention to my breathing. i remembered about Right Effort and the intention to maintain my efforts throughout the day. after a while i was satisfied that the attitudes i was endorsing had settled in, and got out of bed.
actually, the prelude to all this was my thought process late last night just before going to bed. yesterday was a day not really worth remembering except for its closing which was pretty significant. my mind was all over the place; fractured and restlessly relentless with its irrelevant and worried chatter. however, as i lay in bed, i decided to move my thoughts into more productive avenues since i was obviously intent on thinking my brain to death. i thought about the Eightfold Path and about the steps that were relevant to my path and the steps that i needed to focus on. i ended up splitting the eight into two categories, four in each. Right Understanding, Right Thought, Right Speech, and Right Livelihood were the four that i decided were not yet relevant to me. Understanding because i had yet to consult with a master (something i intend to do at the nearest opportunity to do so). Livelihood because i do not yet work for my living. and Speech and Action because those would resolve themselves with the proper application of Right Effort. The four that i chose to focus upon were: Right Effort, Right Action, Right Mindfulness, and Right Meditation. virtue (Right Action) was necessary for progress on the path. but Right Effort even more so. Mindfulness and Meditation were two steps that i was already focusing on. so with my mind thus attuned to these noble topics, i spun my own cocoon around my body and slowly fell asleep.
after a night’s worth of fermentation within my head, these musings blossomed as i awoke and helped blast me out of my realm of “ego-worship” and slavery to a happier and more liberated state. this cycle of descent into an abyss followed by an ascent up to a higher level of presence has already happened with me several times. i feel like this will be a constant theme along my path, and that i will encounter many challenging days that will test my resolve and my commitment to the Buddha-Dharma. however, i learn valuable lessons each time i am reborn and every such cycle of death-rebirth brings forth a layman one step closer to realizing his innate Buddha-hood.
these orange butterflies are significant for two reasons: 1) they represent that beautiful metaphor from nature about metamorphosis as the caterpillar inevitably grows and transforms into that magnificent and majestic creature, the butterfly; 2) the picture is actually a picture of my bathroom towel and i have many chances each day to lay my eyes on this beautiful and artistic piece of cloth. the first reason i have already discussed. the second is relevant because those butterflies on my towel serve as accurate indicators of my level of presence and mindfulness. on days when my mindfulness is sustained and intense, i see a glorious and vividly orange butterfly superimposed on a richly textured white background of cloth. it is absolutely stunning to look at it. this was how i saw this towel today and it resonated deeply with me. on my days of ego-subservience, however, i see nothing when i look at the towel. im too distracted and/or worried about something stupid and/or suffocated with a torrent of useless thoughts to properly SEE anything on such days.
today i learned about the benefit of taking a few minutes every night before going to sleep and every morning before getting out of bed to remind myself about my goals and intentions and to try to work up some determination and motivation to keep at it “with diligence”.
today i am butterfly. soon i will be caterpillar once more, then butterfly again after that. this is cyclic existence. the only way to end it and attain true, lasting, and pure happiness is to realize the truth within and the way to do that is to follow the Eightfold Path.
“All wrong-doing arises because of mind. If mind is transformed can wrong-doing remain?”