City Canyons

Walking through the high rise canyons of Portland, I am filled with awe and sadness. Humans have such a capacity to create beautiful tall buildings that house huge numbers of businesses and people. These structures create their own environment affecting winds and sunshine. They change the face of nature to such an extent the original world is displaced. One could live an entire life in the city and never know the rhythms of natural cycles.

Our conditioned mind adopts a pattern very similar to big city life. We erect edifices built of habit patterns and rarely glimpse the radiance of the natural mind. We are shielded by ego boundaries and emotions. Once we get used to wandering the canyons of these illusory structures, we become unaware of the winds of possibility blowing far above and beyond the city we have created.

Once in awhile we may take a walk in a park where the wind blows free and the sun illuminates the landscape. The only shadows are cast by trees. But these shadows dance in the sun and wind. They cannot enclose and limit our experience like buildings. When Buddha taught about the nature of suffering, he referred to the suffering of “pervasive conditioned awareness.” This is the dissatisfying experience of such limitation.

My wish is what we have created as the Natural Mind Dharma Center may point to the unlimited winds of possibility in the original mind. I pray that glimpses of luminosity may rain down like a shower of blessings, eroding the hard structures of ego fixations. When the light of pure awareness penetrates our experience, we kindle a fire that cannot be extinguished. 

This is the love to which we are born and to which we will return. Even if we find ourselves wandering through city canyons, whether actual or metaphorical, the sun in our hearts will illuminate our path. That luminous display also lights the way for others through our loving service and acts of kindness. 

So, practice playing in the park or dancing in the mountains or desert. Turn your face to the sun. Settle the mind and discover natural joy riding upon unencumbered air currents. But, most importantly, become a light for all you meet. Anoint them with your smile. Embrace them with your love. This is your only purpose.