Archive for August, 2009
I have not been in an altruistic space the last few days, although the thought below has been an ever present whisper among my own self absorption.
My body is tired, my lower back has been out for several days, sleep has not been easy for over a year, the workload has been pressure filled and family life has been, well, complicated. I do not want to sit with any of this; I just want some relief. I just want to return to a sense of comfort.
I’m not beating myself up over it, but I’m not pleased either. So for right now I just remind myself through teachings and readings . . . and remembering the universal compassion which is at work even when I do not feel it – even while avoiding my shit.
Eventually I’ll stop avoiding, but for now I just feel like bitching . . .
When we’re afraid, the mind tends to dart away instead of diligently and deeply entering the fear. It gets confused and thinks, “Let me take care of myself first,” as if it weren’t responsible for the whole world.
Part of what zazen—sitting meditation—does is to help us settle down into gentle, unswerving attention and peel away that false sense of separation.–Bonnie Myotai Treace, from “Rising to the Challenge,” in the Spring 2003 issue of Tricycle
Human Nature – so complex. . . especially the personality/mind. This translation by Sogyal Rinpoche really spoke to me recently and I have gone back to it several times (along with an article about the dangers of meditation – these two writings are a good balance – so I ‘ll publish the other one next time) For now enjoy this analogy.
Rest in Natural Great Peace
When I meditate, I am always inspired by this poem by Nyoshul Khenpo:
Rest in natural great peace
This exhausted mind
Beaten helpless by karma and neurotic thought,
Like the relentless fury of the pounding waves
In the infinite ocean of samsara.
Rest in natural great peace.
Above all, be at ease, be as natural and spacious as possible. Slip quietly out of the noose of your habitual anxious self, release all grasping, and relax into your true nature. Think of your ordinary emotional, thought-ridden self as a block of ice or a slab of butter left out in the sun. If you are feeling hard and cold, let this aggression melt away in the sunlight of your meditation. Let peace work on you and enable you to gather your scattered mind into the mindfulness of Calm Abiding, and awaken in you the awareness and insight of Clear Seeing. And you will find all your negativity disarmed, your aggression dissolved, and your confusion evaporating slowly like mist into the vast and stainless sky of your absolute nature.
–Sogyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying (HarperSanFrancisco)
The perfect teacher is the one who is front of you. It’s a real relationship, not an objective measure of who is the best. You may learn more from a teacher who has faults and who practices with them.Dairyu Michael Wenger, Tricycle Winter 2004
Just as energy can be used for many different purposes, so can pure existence be experienced in relation to any phase of life—anger, hatred, or jealousy as well as love and beauty.
Every human action must be carried on through the ego, which plays a role comparable to that of a pipe or channel through which energy is conducted for different uses.
We usually think of the ego as a kind of constant, unchanging entity. In fact, however, it is simply a succession of physical and mental events or pressures that appear momentarily and as quickly pass away.
–Katsuki Sekida, from A Guide to Zen (New World Library)