Monday, April 27, 2009

The Dharma Is Waving At You

I have been hijacked by the real world and become a faint shadow to the blog-osphere.  This implies that somehow the world in which we are commun-icating here is something less than real?  Which leads to the next question, what is reality anyway?  Oh, oh, I'm not going down that rabbit hole, Alice.

But I think you get my gist.  I have been preoccupied with the Bricks and Mortar, flesh & bones world of creating art, finishing work, organizing work, etc, meeting other artists and folks interested in art.  And sometimes I have been composing blog entries in my head but my fingers have not quite gotten to the keyboard.

We went to the Opera for the first time on Saturday and as always there was the Dharma, standing right in the middle of it all, waving at me.  Wherever you go, there it is!  It was the Magic Flute  and so many times during the wonderful pre Opera talk that we attended and during the show I wished I'd had a pen to jot down "that's Dharma".   So I forget many of the specific references but unbeknowningly Mozart was definitely speaking the Dharma which reminded me that all enduring art speaks some kind of truth and of course what else is the Dharma but an expression of eternal truth.  How could they not coincide?!

You could see how some of the characters in the story were simply aspects of the self, our poisons (greed, hate, delusion) our confusions and delusions.  And really what else is the search for love, which is the main tale in the Magic Flute, but our search for wholeness and happiness and harmony, uniting aspects of the self.  There was the symbol of 3 which apparently was supposed to represent the Free Masons, but is an archetypal symbol in both Christian and Buddhist religions.  There was so much more but I won't bore you with details.  It was a great evening of  story and music and  people watching, that reminded me of how delicious people are to watch in their wonderful variety and quirkiness, the delight of people dressed in their varied finery.  I could have been happy just to watch the Opera goers all evening.

And in two days of Open Studio I got to watch myself and as a young Dharma friend expressed so well "move back and forth between hope and fear".    I might not necessarily call it fear but I could see all the expectations of how it "should go" and the disappointment when these expectations were not meant.  Mornings were quiet, afternoons busier.  I had some wonderful Dharma chats with friends.  One friend who has been doing some very hard spiritual work talked about how painful it was.  And then we could talk about "the suffering that leads to the end of suffering" which is the hard stuff but you are doing your work and and then there's the suffering that leads to more suffering when we're just falling in the hole.  Another friend I hadn't seen in a long time and struggles with addiction issues talked about how strong the draw is to these things and how hard it is to get unstuck.  She has done some hard work lately too and said she could see her own "willfulness" more clearly now.

I met some delightful fellow artists and one particular treat was to find a woman whose work I love and have admired visiting my studio.  So while the weekend was perhaps quieter than I'd hoped for it was rich with Dharma and connections.  And as my friend the monk always reminds me "we can never really please the little self".  I reminded myself that we never really see the big picture, that our expectations are formed out of a pretty limited world view.  And in the evening as I read my bedtime bits of the Dhammapada I was reminded of this in Easwaran's commentary," ... to make progress we become eager for opportunities to go against self-will, especially in personal relationships. There is no other way to gain detachment from the self-centred conditioning that burdens every human being.  The Buddha calls this "swimming against the current", the concerted, deliberate effort to dissolve self interest in the desire to serve a larger whole, when eons of conditioning has programmed us to serve ourselves first."  I am sure these opportunities await us all today out in the world somewhere.  May you find them, rise to them and savour them!

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