Monday, January 26, 2009

Dogen And Cheese Blintzes

I did a few paintings a while back, using only shades of grey with lots of texture and in the end they please me.  I think there is something about the rough texture and slightly crude form that I like.  I call this one "Dogen's Boat" because it has a quote from Dogen collaged on to it that says: "When riding in a boat, if one watches the shore one may assume that the shore is moving.  But watching the boat directly one knows it is the boat that moves."

I think Dogen is talking about perspective here, about where we place our eye and the difference between truth and illusion which is tricky business.  What I have been experiencing today as Dharma may not be an exact experience of what Dogen is talking about but I think there is some relation.  Today I took my soon to be 94 yr old mother to the doctor.  Lately, after much work (years in fact) I thought to myself I am making friends with my mother.  She no longer pushes my buttons in the same old way.  And then I realized that yes I am making friends with my mother but really I am making friends with myself.  I have done enough work on this that I am no longer stirring up trouble, making myself irritated at the things she does.  I don't read things in to her every action.  I don't take things personally.  In short I have come to see the "truth" of how things are.  I have come to accept her and myself.  We are no longer doing the age old misery tango that we have done for so many years.

I still listen to what she says and think that it has a negative bend to it, that her glass has a hole in the bottom and is more than half empty.  And that makes me feel sad for her.  But I can see that  life can be difficult for those of us with a practice, who spend time reflecting  and working  with what we do.   So how difficult is it when you have nowhere to rest all your troubles and grievances?  Today my partner and I could even have a good old laugh about some of her comments, no ranting and grumbling on my part, no need for him to commiserate, just a good old laugh and on with the day.  And so there I was in a boat with my mother eating cheese blintzes and poppy seed cake and both of us were enjoying ourselves thoroughly!


  1. No matter the past, it is still the past. It is wonderful that you have gained the insight of forgiveness and acceptance while your mother is still with you. So often we expect the shore to move leading to disappointment.

    Wonderful posting!


  2. Thanks for your kind words, Roger. And you know who gets to experience the great freedom and relief from being able to do this, me! It really is the "fruit of training" as my teacher would call it. And it can take a lot of work getting there!

  3. Hello. i came upon your blog, after putting "making friends with myself" in google. You have written a quite beautiful piece. It is a rare thing on the internet. Graceful and true.

    Thank you.