Each year, warm breezes carrying sweet scents of spring invite us to experience life's renewal. Nature gently nudges us -- take a look around, the world is unfolding!
If we pause to notice this transformation, then we may remember the nature of our existence: All is impermanent. Even the heavy frosts of winter's dormancy melt away to reveal new life.
Timely spiritual traditions support this sentiment and offer occasions for celebration. No matter what faith we practice, spring calls us to revel in her abundant opportunities for growth. The simplest of these opportunities, and perhaps the most rewarding too, is the awakening of our senses.
Although enjoying a sunny afternoon in the park may not, at first consideration, seem like a growth practice, it absolutely can be. Anytime we plant ourselves firmly in the present moment by drawing our awareness to the here and now, we open the door of understanding. Once this door is open, light floods in to illuminate truths, plus reveal misconceptions that have long caused us suffering.
To love ourselves and others, we must be present. But this simple practice is often lost in our multitasking culture. Though autopilot helps us cope with the constant demands of modern life, it also severs us from the most beautiful aspect of being alive: connection.
When we sit in the park and worry, we don't notice the fragrance of the grass, the enveloping warmth of the sun or the joy of our neighbors. Instead, we are consumed by our negative thoughts. We can transform this experience instantly by lifting the veil of our perceived isolation and practicing awareness.
As spring so fragrantly reminds us, we stand at the threshold of life. We are constantly transforming and therefore capable of wondrous things. To embrace this gift, all we need do is show up, truly and fully.
Showing up takes practice, bravery and commitment, but it's endlessly rewarding. The Buddha said it well:
"To live here and now, you must train yourself:
In the seen, there will be just the seen.
In the heard, just the heard.
In the sensed, just the sensed.
In the thought, just the thought.
That is the end of sorrow."
This spring, I invite you to indulge your senses in the vast catalog of sights, sounds and smells like never before. Step into moments fully, and in so doing, nurture your ability to find peace in all things.
For more by Lilian Cheung, D.Sc., R.D., click here.
For more on mindfulness, click here.