Each Friday, we share three topical longreads in our Weekend Reader newsletter. This week, LionsRoar.com’s Lilly Greenblatt looks at the inspiring sky above us. Sign up here to receive the Weekend Reader in your inbox.
I spend a lot of my day looking down, as I think many of us do. We look down at phones, computer screens, and books. We direct our gaze toward the sidewalk as we rush to our next destination, smile at dogs walking by our feet, or stop to observe the wildflowers on our path. Even on beautiful hikes through the forest, I’ve caught myself fixating on the ground as my feet navigate rocks and roots, trying not to trip. It’s easy to go a whole day without really looking up. But when I do, I’m always impressed by what I see.
Day and night, the sky offers a constant, everchanging gift. The clouds shift into all sorts of shapes, some bright and buoyant, others dark and looming. The sun colors all around it with shades of pink, red, purple, and orange as it rises and sets. The moon changes each day — sometimes it’s barely visible, a tiny stroke of light, other times it shows up full, bright, and round. The stars glow like little lights left on to help us find our way home.
When I’m really caught up — in a thought, emotion, or situation — I like to remind myself to look up. However the sky has chosen to appear, looking up always offers a reminder that there’s more to this world than me and my own problems. The three pieces in this Weekend Reader draw inspiration from that same sky, reminding us that we all exist under this vast and wonderful canopy. May they remind you, when your head hangs down, to simply look up.
—Lilly Greenblatt, associate editor, LionsRoar.com
Ephrat Livni reflects on years of spiritual study with the moon as her guide.
One night, as I was riding despondently back from practice, a one-hour journey that took me along a straight, empty stretch of road surrounded by fields, I noticed the bright moon, round and large. It was right there with me, every time, every ride, always slightly different, waxing or waning, lighter or dimmer, and I realized, laughing happily, “The moon is my friend!”
And something shifted. This moment released me from the vice grip of wishing things were different.
Meditation teacher Jack Kornfield explains the why and how of developing wise attention, or open awareness.
The Buddha instructs in the Majjhima Nikaya, “Develop a mind that is vast like space, where experiences both pleasant and unpleasant can appear and disappear without conflict, struggle or harm. Rest in a mind like vast sky.”
From this broad perspective, when we sit or walk in meditation, we open our attention like space, letting experiences arise without any boundaries, without inside or outside. Instead of the ordinary orientation where our mind is felt to be inside our head, we can let go and experience the mind’s awareness as open, boundless and vast.
Shine the warm light of awareness on your thoughts and feelings, says Thich Nhat Hanh.
Throughout your meditation, keep the sun of your awareness shining. Like the physical sun, which lights every leaf and every blade of grass, our awareness lights our every thought and feeling, allowing us to recognize them, be aware of their birth, duration, and dissolution, without judging or evaluating, welcoming or banishing them.