Friday, May 8, 2009

Doing My Part

I am thinking about how we assign value to everything.  Was today a good day or a bad day?   We humans have the tendency  to carve things up and put them into little tear stained or pleasure smudged packages.  This became clearer to me today because in the morning a couple of things transpired that I might put into the mildly "not good" category.  I was aware of that and resisted the temptation to go down the bummed out avenue.  I was remembering faith and reminded myself that "everything is fine just the way it is".   I was remembering my teacher's comment that "the universe is not out to get us." 

In the afternoon several pleasant things transpired.  I was invited to show some art in the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria's Summer Works show and my copy of Tricycle with my "Forest Buddha" in it arrived.  If I were in the carving mode I would have felt vaguely depressed in the morning then happy in the afternoon, and tired from all the slicing and dicing.  

The ebb and flow of circumstances stood out today, how the pleasant and unpleasant just flow into one another, in no particular order, one event unrelated to the next, a nice email, a not so nice phone call, nothing personal, just a day unfolding.  No need to do a happy dance or a crappy dance.  Just the truth of impermanence making itself clear.  And there riding on it's coat tails was equanimity, just in time to keep me company on a peaceful walk along the ocean, one where I could just look at the brilliant  chartreuse green that only Spring leaves can wear.  I could see the sunlight reflecting on the cold water, the faces of the other walkers along the path.  I was not chewing on anything, no spiritual indigestion today.

How did I get there, to the little destination of equanimity?  Did I take a train, call a cab?  Partly it's a mystery because sometimes we can do the same work, the same practice and it eludes us.  Again I am reminded that we do our part, but the timing is not up to us.  What I was aware of today was choice.  I made the disciplined choice to not go down the path of feeling bad over this small thing, not to get in a snit when my mother's care home called to say she was in a snit and could I sort it out, not to feel sub-human when I went to pick up some expired work at a gallery and the work hanging there looked so much more professional than mine, clean and polished and sophisticated.  And then just as importantly I didn't wing off into elation when the "pleasurable" experiences arrived.  These choices left me with a steady, calm feeling.  Even my walk was interesting.  Instead of feeling tired from a long walk, I felt much the same when I arrived home.  As I walked I could feel how much less physical energy a state of equanimity used, how breathing and relaxing and just being, used much less energy than other modes of being.

So the teachings were waiting patiently for me to find them today, like a little spiritual treasure hunt.  I learned that my inner state does not have to be dependent on what is going on out there in the world, that it wears me out to be constantly lobbed back and forth by circumstance.  I learned I have a choice about how I regard what's going on and how I respond.  And for me it's not just how I respond outwardly but it has to do with the emotional spin I put on that incoming information.  I can decline the choice to feel inferior, depressed or over excited.  I learned that is what "doing my part" is all about.

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