If you are not
in the here and now,
you are lost.
After I had left the house, I wondered if I had closed the remaining open window. As I was unsure, I returned to check. And there it was – closed. As I left the house again, I wondered when I closed it, as I couldn’t remember. I must have closed it, that I’m absolutely sure of, for there was no one else in, and it was open before. Why am I not absolutely sure of when I closed it then? I must have sleepwalked to close it, closing it personally, yet not closing it mindfully, going through the automated habitual motion. No, I don’t mean I literally walked asleep, but that in essence, it was similar. When we go through the ‘rituals’ of life in a mechanical manner, lacking presence of mind, it is as good as sleepwalking. More examples include checking doors and the gas!
I was obviously there to close the window, or I couldn’t have closed it, yet while it was being closed, my mindfulness wasn’t there in the moment – which is why the moment of closing it wasn’t registered in memory upon hindsight. Having to return to check the window was actually a needless minor cycle of rebirth. We are reborn time and again from life to life in Samsara precisely because we lack mindfulness in firmly realising and registering the lessons of life and death. There must be many missed opportunities. As such, we are forced to return, to relearn how to break free from the Samsara. Whether we are diagnosed with OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) or not, rebirth is already our OCD! Mindfulness is the cure for the disease of meaningless repeated forces of habit.
We need to train our minds to be sharper, with greater mindfulness and insight – not just for mastering the Dharma, but for mastering everyday life matters too. In fact, there is no separation, for the Dharma is exactly for application in everyday life. This would include mundane stuff like closing windows and locking doors! Mindfulness can be systematically trained through meditation practices. Even chanting done properly is a meditative practice. Then again, even mustering our mindfulness to more deeply see and feel a window handle can be meditative. There is truly no separation between the Dharma and Samsara. All the Dharma we need to master is in the midst of Samsara. Even the beings in Pure Lands peer and venture into Samsara to master the Dharma!
Pure Lands are for training us,
to peer at Samsara from a safe distance,
before returning better qualified to liberate beings from it.