|Jack Kornfield + Trudy Goodman|
Thursday, July 30, 2020
Like kelp in the ocean (Insight LA)
Kelp in the Pacific nourishes thousands of species who graze on the blades (leaves); it shelters fish, seals, sea lions, and whales who seek safety and refuge in the forest fronds; the anchoring roots are home to anemones, sponges, and starfish. Sea otters take naps wrapped in kelp frond hammocks so they won’t drift out to sea while sleeping.
One of the great joys of life is watching folks who practice meditation grow like kelp, in insight and metta. Insight or mindfulness meditation is a way to transform the experience of suffering (disappointment) and let go of what is not needed in life.
Humans are a different species, obviously not brown algae like kelp, but all life needs certain conditions to exist and thrive. The ideal conditions for kelp to grow – upwelling cool water to bring nutrients to the kelp forest, strong rock foundation to anchor it during storms, light for photosynthesis – all reminiscent of what’s needed to cultivate strong mindfulness.
Loving kindness (metta) in awareness is the cool water, the upwelling of nourishment for our hungry hearts, the Four Foundations of Mindfulness are the rock that anchors stability of presence-of-mind when the heart wants to turn away, so that mindful awareness illuminates life.
Like the refuge of the kelp forest, a steady meditation practice shows us how to rest and relax with things just as they are, without getting uprooted and drifting away lost at sea. Nature, the ocean, the teachings of loving kindness can provide shelter from stormy weather and global uncertainty.
Understanding the conditions needed to be of benefit, we humans, like kelp, can be an ecological treasure. Nourishing ourselves with a regular practice, we flourish and become a treasure -- nurturing all those around us.
Founder of insightLA.org
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