My daily meditation practice has been and continues to be an important and indispensable aspect of the connection that I have with Amida Buddha. It also helps me to find the balance that I need in my mind to process the challenges of a life of faith. Nembutsu is, for me, a meditative practice in its own right. It opens up latent dimensions of my spirit that connect me to my deeper self. The breath is a conductor for and helps to initiate this process. The words breath and spirit have the same linguistic root. When I breathe consciously I merge with my spirit, the gap between my heart and my mind is closed and I come closer to Amida.
I usually start with some standing meditation, which is literally just standing, noticing my breath and allowing it to illuminate my body, bringing any important physical sensations into my immediate awareness. This brings a feeling of unity and harmony from which gratitude and Nembutsu always arise. It feels like being called from the deepest depths of my soul, as if this is where Amida Buddha resides, waiting for the right time to reach me with His love. As I shift from standing to sitting I notice a settling. My body, bathed in loving awareness, relaxes. My spirit permeates my body and my breath anchors it there. I have a profound sense of space without limits, encompassing everything that is and ever could be. A lightness and sweetness intertwined with nature herself that listens to my mental impulses and meets them with a gentle, patient and compassionate knowing. Knowing what it is to have a human brain. Understanding its function without judging its content.
After 20-30 minutes I usually get a sense that whatever needed to happen has happened and I allow the Nembutsu to form on my lips and flow from my heart, like cleansing. Namo Amida Bu, Namo Amida Bu, Namo Amida Bu…I let go of the pleasures and discomforts of my meditation practice and surrender to the chant. I have several different chants that I use and one usually comes more readily to mind that the others, so I go with the flow and sing it from my heart. This feels like the perfect conclusion to the practice period.
As I go through the day I pause regularly, allowing myself to reconnect to this energy, to Amida. Listening to my deep emotional stirrings and embracing them with Nembutsu. No matter how caught up I get in my busyness, Amida is always close by, ready to welcome me back.
Namo Amida Bu( :