Beads. . .

I’m  of Native e American decent and over my many years have incorporated Native American practices in addition to a Buddhist practice. I’d like to explain the Native American medicine wheel as one framework for New Beginnings.

The framework is a cycle of four elements, such as four seasons, four directions, and interestingly, New Beginnings is not the first but the third stage. To explain in a little detail—the medicine wheel symbolizes the natural progression of all things, including the human journey. It starts at the West direction, where health and help are needed as we do in the beginning of life; going clockwise to the North, where one needs courage and guidance to go through challenges in one’s youth; then the East, with New Beginnings, a renewal and reenergizing symbolized by the rising sun; and lastly the South, with purity of heart, characterized by love and generosity, where we will hopefully arrive at in old age. This cycle happens both at macro and micro levels, over and over again, and gives us a larger perspective than the challenges and rewards of each particular part of the cycle.

Life is like a string of beads, except there’s no string. When you look to the past, the sequence of all the moments, all the beads, makes it seem like there is a string, something connecting each bead to the next. However in this and every moment, a bead appears, out of emptiness, and not separate from emptiness. Life just appears moment after moment like that. Things never turn out quite how we thought they would, right? Life is always new, always fresh. There’s no predetermined bead on a string, waiting for us to come to it.

We are love. Dalai Lama once marveled, in a meeting with western psychologists, “we don’t know what self-esteem is. We don’t have that problem.” When we know, in the cells of our being, that we come from love, then we’re free from the measuring of self-esteem and resulting neuroses. Widening our focus, we can feel in the moment the difference between when we’re ‘being good’ because we want something for ourselves; and when we’re simply  good.

When we’re acting from purity of heart, it is how we can truly improve our lives, the lives of others and be useful to the world.

Peace and Love, Jim

#beads #thedailybuddha

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