the calm amidst the storm

Today a seasoned practitioner of meditation casts his mind back to the days when he grew up in the middle of the Himalayas, right at the foot of Mount Manaslu, the 8th highest mountain in the world. Born into a family adept in the Buddha nature of meditation, he was exposed to loving-kindness and spiritual temperaments that made for a well-fortified upbringing. Yet, his childhood years were permeated with feelings of anxiety and panic, ultimately, bringing into being a shadow that followed him all through his early years.

He came to know this shadow through his incessant desire to run from, suppress, and avoid it. Once, he attempted to literally run from his shadow by charging Mount Manaslu. The shadow was prodigious and vast; he was unskilled and meager. He sought freedom through his many years of running; running from what he could not control, and also running from his own perceptions of uncertainty & inferiority. Eventually, all that running came to a head. As a passage of time, this young man came to know that this shadow was entrenched in objections of his own imperfections and fears. He had spent years over and again internalizing and giving credence to the constructs instituted by society, the norms, what he believed was expected of him, his worth: these conjectures became the fabric of his way of being; his way of showing up; who he believed he was. Such conviction only perpetuated and nurtured the vitality of the shadow.

The unceasing stress, the act of comparison, the feeling of not being enough had amounted to his unabating yearn for calm; the calm he had hoped would ultimately negate the storm in his mind. Through an uncharted pathway marked with presence, equanimity, awareness, compassion, and what he had previously known as imperfection, he came to know the true nature of inherent perfection that lived within him. The freedom he sought, what he ran from for years on end, existed all along, within himself. It wasn’t until he came to know, understand, and love himself that he could recognize, and, ultimately, appreciate and value the storm and also unearth the joy that lived within.

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