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Winter Solstice
Winter Solstice 2010: Countdown to 2012
Listen to this talk:
Winter Solstice 2010: Countdown to 2012 (18 min.)
Transcript of a talk delivered by Brother ChiSing
Dallas Meditation Center
December 21, 2010 - Dallas, Texas

Well, tonight is the Winter Solstice, and it's the shortest day of the year and the longest night, and then it's going to start shifting back toward getting more, longer days and shorter nights, culminating in the Summer Solstice.

What's so special about tonight? Well, it's nice to observe the seasons, and the lunar cycles, the solar cycles, the earth cycles, the stellar cycles. It's wonderful to celebrate and affirm all the different cycles of nature, our bodily cycles, and those of us who are female, here, we have female cycles too, that we honor, but we men also have our cycles as well.

And I remember a time a few years ago when there was a very terrible catastrophe on the planet, a very large tsunami. Remember that? And was it like - how many people died? Was it like a hundred thousand or something like that? It was a very large number of people, died from the tsunami. But as I investigated that, I noticed some different reports here and there, where people were surprised that there weren't as many animals that died in the tsunami that they thought there should be, that the human life that was taken was much, much greater than the animal life. So they thought that was kind of curious.

And then I also heard a very small report that no one seemed to talk about, that there was an island off of one of those countries, where I think it was India or somewhere, where the people there had not been touched by the modern world yet, or very minimally. They didn't have a lot of contact with technology or outsiders, they still lived the way their ancestors lived thousands of years ago, very in touch with nature. On this particular island, not a single human life was lost. And so this was very curious, why this was. So, you know, I began to do some research because it was funny to me that why isn't anyone talking about this, it's like such amazing news, you know, these people, no one on their island died even though the tsunami hit there, you know, hit most of their island, why didn't anyone perish. So when the reporters went there, and everything, they told them, "Well, we were just paying attention to what the animals were doing, and they were all running away from the water, and so we thought we should do the same, and climb up all the trees in the middle of the highest part of the island, and see what happens." And that's why all of them survived. They listened to the animals. They read the signs of nature. Because some animals, they didn't have a clue, but other animals, they're very sensitive to vibration, like elephants and snakes and things like that. When they started moving, the other animals who weren't as sensitive, they followed them, because they'd learned they need to do what they're doing. So they followed them. The other, more dense kind of animals, they did the same thing, they just followed along. And fortunately, these humans on this island, they did the same thing that the animals were doing, just minutes before the tsunami hit.

So what can we learn from this? Well, first of all we must learn deep compassion and solidarity with suffering. That's the only true human response to a tragedy like this. But if we only stop at compassion, then we miss out on 50% of enlightenment. Because enlightenment is compassion, but there is a second part to enlightenment, and that is wisdom. So what can we learn from whatever happens? Not only do we you know grieve and have compassion and feel our hearts break in solidarity, break open and free, but we also mindfully learn from everything, no matter how difficult or challenging it is. Because if we don't listen to the message of the Universe thorough each and every situation that comes our way, we're missing out on half of enlightenment.

So the wisdom that I gained from mindfully investigating in meditation this whole phenomenon of the tsunami and these people who survived was, to me this message was, we as a society have gotten way too obsessed with technology, and we have lost the ability to be sensitive to the rhythms of nature. And that's not to say we shouldn't have technology. I think there's a balance. But it's the way we use technology, and the way we can stay in tune with nature. Is there a way that we can utilize technology for the betterment of the world, of both humans and animals, plants and minerals? The whole planet, not just for humans? Is there a way that we can use technology for all beings, in such a way that we don't lose touch with hearing our heart, hearing the animals, hearing the earth, hearing the wisdom of the Universe and the wisdom of our ancestors. The wisdom of reality just as it is.

So during this Winter Solstice, as we celebrate in this small little gathering - you know, in many of our cultures, we have ancestors, there would be thousands, maybe millions of people gathering on special occasions sacred to the earth cycles and moon cycles and sun cycles. Today, not so many people in our society do that. So the fact that we are here tonight is a statement just by our presence. We're taking a stand by sitting together. We're taking a stand to say, "Let's come back to our senses." Literally, to our sense of smell, and sight and taste and touch, our mindfulness, our sense of heart, our sense of the earth and our oneness with nature. Because that is part of enlightenment. There are other parts to enlightenment, but that is definitely one part of enlightenment, to be enlightened about our oneness with nature, to be enlightened about our oneness with each other and of the earth and of the Universe.

Not only is this Winter Solstice special just because it's just part of Nature's cycle, it's also special because two years from now, there's going to be a very significant Winter Solstice, on 12.21.12, December 21, 2012. I don't necessarily think of it as literal, but I think that because there's so many different cultures pointing toward this time period, that, well, maybe we should listen. Maybe we should kind of pay attention. I believe it is a symbolic date, saying that right now is a very crucial time in history, and this is a time when we all need to pay more attention. Because there's a Great Shift that is taking place, and the Universe is calling us to be part of the Great Shift. And so I believe that today, everyone who showed up tonight is being asked by the Universe to say yes, or no, it's up to you, to say yes or no to the call, will you make a commitment starting today to live each day in mindfulness and lovingkindness, in deep listening and deep connection to the earth for the next two years, so you can be part of the solution, and not the problem. You see?

Right now, I think that that date, December 21, 2012 is a symbolic date. It's just a way of saying, it's a way of the Universe to say to us, "You decide, now. Do you want to be a part of the problem, or part of the solution? Of global catastrophe or global awakening? It's up to you." It's up to us. That's all.

I don't think you need to listen to all the weird wackos out there talking about, you know, the end of the world and all that. You know, it's not the end of the world. It's just an opportunity to awaken. So. That's what the Universe is asking of us. So I invite you to listen to the invitation of the Universe tonight and answer either yes or no. But actually there is a third answer, "Maybe." But, did you know that that's no longer an option? That third option, "Maybe," was allowed by the Universe for the last few thousands of years, out of compassion and patience with the human race. But now that the population is over six billion humans, and several species of animals are becoming extinct every year, and because of climate change, and pollution, and all these different problems escalating exponentially, the Universe is very clear now. Maybe is not an option anymore. So you only have two options, yes or no. Choose consciously to be part of the problem, or part of the solution. There's no grey area anymore. It's just that. And so, I think that's what we're being called to do. To take a more clear stand on where we stand. Are we saying yes or are we saying no? And all the enlightened ones, and all of our ancestors, are surrounding us, like cheerleaders, encouraging us, "You can do it. You can say yes." And maybe your "Yes" is maybe just "yes", you know, kind of a little "yes." That's okay. The Universe will take that little "yes" and support it, and help you grow stronger and stronger in your yes.

You know, because why can't we be enlightened in an instant? Well, we could, if every single part of our being said yes. But, we are multifaceted beings. So, one part of us says yes, and another part says no. One part says yes, another part says no. Yes no. So we have lots of yes nos yes nos yes nos yes nos within us. All these different parts of us. Through the practice of meditation and mindful living, we start aligning each part of us to be on the same wavelength, to be on the same page, and eventually over time, through disciplined practice, all of your parts start saying the same thing, yes, yes yes. And then your yeses add up to your neighbor's yes and your neighbor's yes and your brother's yes and your sister's yes and when a whole community of yessers come together, it's a very powerful yes. It's like a light shining in the darkness. And all these little bits of light across the planet start to shine brighter and brighter. It encourages other people to say yes. You see, it's not unimportant when we come together in these small circles of light to meditate together. It's not unimportant at all because every time we do that, we send out a ray of light that helps other people have a little more courage to say yes. A little more feeling of support that they can do it. That's why it's so important. So it's not just for you, when you meditate. It's not just for your benefit. It's for others benefit too, and together we can create a movement of collective enlightenment.

See, the days of solitary enlightenment, they existed 2000 years ago, but today we cannot afford only solitary enlightenment. you know, just one person getting enlightened here and there. We cannot afford it. The planet's survival is at stake. The only thing that's going to save our planet and our human species and all species living in harmony together is if we can have a collective enlightenment. So it's not enough for you just to meditate by yourself at home anymore. You need to come together with others and be part of spiritual communities. You don't have to be part of just one community, you can be part of several, but be part of the movement of collective enlightenment, because only together can we create enough positive energy to help the shift toward global awakening, rather than global destruction. And maybe they're simultaneous, but personally I'd prefer the global awakening, rather than the global chaos.

So when you go home tonight, go home in silence, for some part of the evening, and listen to your heart. And see if I'm correct or not. See if the Universe is inviting you to practice diligently every day for the next two years. Can you commit to that? Can you say yes? Because if you don't say yes, then the Universe hears no. That's really the only other alternative. There's no more maybe. S o you either say yes, or your silence means no. That's the only choice right now. Because lives are at stake. People's lives are at stake. Humans and animals' lives are at stake. We cannot continue on the way we are going, the way technology and civilization and Westernization and globalization is happening - the planet isn't going to allow it anymore. Something's going to have to give. So we are called to be the light in the darkness. We are called to be the calm in the chaos. So you either are going to be part of the solution or part of the problem. It's your choice. But either way, just know that in the larger picture of things, everything is held in grace. Everything is held in love. Everything is held by the light.

Sometimes you don't want to tell everyone that because they'll get lazy. No, there's two truths here, you know. And it depends on the context of what you say as a teacher, because if people in the room are very very lazy, you have to tell them urgency, you've got to make a choice. But if everyone is very working hard already, and they're working too hard and they're hard on themselves, you don't need to tell them to work harder. What you need to tell them is, relax. No matter what happens, it's still all going to be okay, because everything is held by grace and love and light. So there's no need for fear. So anyway, there's both sides. There's both sides. But right now I think the message that most people need to hear is, "Wake up! The time is urgent!" But for those of us who are very evolved and enlightened, that may not be the message. The message may be, "Lighten up. Don't take life so, so seriously." Because everything really is just a manifestation of divine love, and in the end there is only love.

Amitabha.

Transcribed by Jennifer Jonnson

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