The Exposure Meditation

I think of the times I come alive and the times when I am dead.

Life abhors security:
for life means taking risks, exposing self to danger, even death.
Jesus says that those who wish to be safe will lose their lives; those who are prepared to lose their lives will keep them.

I think of the times
when I drew back from taking risks, when I was comfortable and safe: those were times when I stagnated.

I think of other times
when I dared to take a chance, to make mistakes,
to be a failure and a fool,
to be criticized by others, when I dared to risk being hurt and to cause pain to others.
I was alive!
Life is for the gambler. The coward dies.

Life is at variance with my perception of what is good and bad:
these things are good and to be sought; these others bad and to be shunned.
To eat of the Tree of Knowing Good and Bad is to fall from paradise.
I must learn to accept whatever life may bring, pleasure and pain, sorrow and joy.
For if I close myself to pain my capacity for pleasure dies
—I harden myself
and repress what I regard as unpleasant and undesirable, and in that hardness, that repression,
is rigidity and death.

So I decide to taste in all its fullness the experience of the present moment, calling no experience good or bad.
Those experiences that I dread—I think of them, and, inasmuch as I am able, I let them come
and stop resisting them.

Life goes hand in hand with change. What does not change is dead.
I think of people who are fossils.
I think of times when I was fossilized: no change, no newness,
the same old worn­out concepts and patterns of behavior,
the same mentality, neuroses, habits, prejudices.

Dead people have a built­in fear of change.
What changes have there been in me over the past six months?
What changes will there be today?

I end this exercise
by watching nature all around me: so flexible,
so flowing, so fragile, insecure,
exposed to death
—and so alive!

I watch for many minutes.