Be Vigilant.

“Be vigilant. Guard your mind against unskillful thoughts.” – Buddha

Lately, this teaching on vigilance keeps revealing itself.

It’s not a condemning, harsh vigilance that stems from fear (I know that one well). But more like a vigilance that is deeply connected to my intention to be awake.

Like a kind teacher, vigilance reveals itself when I notice I’m lost in thought while washing the dishes or rushing my daughters through their bath or holding my breath while listening to the news or becoming impatient for the umpteenth time with my toddler – “Breathe. Connect back into the felt sense of your body. Sense the alive space of the quiet around you.”

Vigilance reveals itself in the benign moments too – while walking to the store I suddenly remember to feel the movement of my feet and legs or to really see the aliveness of the cashier in front of me or to hear the quality of her voice.

Vigilance seems to show up in those split second moments of awakening when I realize how caught up I am in my story or emotion or experience. And in that split second I have a choice to either bravely open or habitually get caught up again. It’s so challenging. To be honest, many times I get caught up again.

But vigilance is helping me to remember my intention to bravely be awake and to sometimes open up to the checking out, the rushing, the worry and the impatience and to feel how these mind states land in my body.

No matter how arduous, humbling or joyful, I am always amazed – vigilance is striking in its ability to remind me that this is it. This moment is my only opportunity to really live.

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