Remembering the Natural Mind

I am writing this on new year’s day according to the Tibetan lunar calendar. It is called Losar and is celebrated for fifteen days during which all activities are thought to be multiplied by 100,000. During this time, it is important to remember our fundamental pure awareness and connection with natural cycles.

If we were traditional Tibetans, we might go to the local spring to perform a ritual of gratitude, making offerings to the nagas, spirits who activate the water element in the area. Smoke offerings would also be offered to local spirits associated with the natural world. These beliefs and behaviors evolved long ago and are often seen as primitive by so-called ‘civilized’ societies, suggesting they are only projections of fear onto elements of nature. This is because many of us in the West are so culturally insulated from our real direct experience of the elements: earth, water, fire wind, and space.

 When we engage the path of Vajrayana Buddhism, we are reintroduced to our elemental connections, and reestablish ourselves as indigenous earth dwellers. By quieting the mind and seeing ourselves as earth deities, archetypes of the way nature dances, we begin to recognize how the senses and aggregates of personality mirror natural phenomena. We also notice the way kindness and compassion are fundamental expressions of our original nature. 

Of course, on an absolute level, we do not need practices to help us reconnect with natural cycles. We are born with an innate understanding. Unfortunately, we develop an idea of a separate self, what we call ego, and live as if that innate connection is severed. We born to experience a great healing, a reawakening of what we lost. Maybe now is a good time to remember the true nature of mind—at least 100,000 times!

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