This evening is the most important Celtic feast of the year – Samhain -which celebrates the end of the year – with its light and growth – and the start of a new period, marked by darkness and rest. These themes are somewhat reflected in the celebration of Halloween.
These days the mind has plenty of material to create fears, from the resurgent virus and its impact on the economy, to politics and divisions. These outside events can enter our minds as fearful agitated energies:
We create big problems for ourselves by not recognizing mind energies when they arrive dressed up as ghosts. They are like the neighbor’s children disguised as Halloween ghosts. When we open the door and find the child next door dressed in a sheet, even though it looks like a ghost, we remember it is simply the child next door. And when I remember the dramas of my life are the energies of the mind dressed up in the sheet of a story, I manage them more gracefully.
As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.
Zen is really just a reminder to stay alive and to be awake….We tend to daydream all the time, speculating about the future and dwelling on the past. Zen practice is about appreciating your life in this moment. If you are truly aware of five minutes a day, then you are doing pretty well. We are beset by both the future and the past, and there is no reality apart from the here and now.