Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Is That So?

I am going to get a reputation as an art recycler! Here is Green Tara again, a slightly zoomed in view. No wrinkles or skin imperfections like us humans, just a complexion of papers: Chinese newspaper, and rice paper with Korean lettering, a little bit of map, some florist paper that I liked from a bouquet. Tara comes from everywhere, she is part of all things, including florist paper and polka dot tissue. And of course her mantra is tucked away in all the script: Om Tara, Tuttare, Ture Svaha.

I am still pondering those "afflictive emotions" as the monk referred to them at the Fire Puja. I woke up this morning thinking about the story of the old monk who is accused of fathering a young woman's baby. "Is that so?" he says as they deliver the child to him to care for. When they return years later to collect the child, after the mother confesses that he was not the father, again he says "is that so?" I wished I could have been more like this monk as I listened to the twists and turns of yesterday's real estate story. It would have felt very powerful to say to the realtor, "is that so?" But then I am not a monk, in case you haven't noticed!

As we headed to the art gallery this morning for our sit with the sand mandala monks I reminded myself of the irony that each morning I go and sit in the presence of the mandala of compassion but that I was having an awfully hard time feeling one iota of compassion for the woman yanking on our real estate chain. Imagined compassion and real compassion are two different things! This was being played out for me in full colour.

So today the whole ball of real estate yarn unravelled into a wet lump of slightly stinky wool. We suspected it was heading in that direction. And after you're finished feeling angry and betrayed as we were yesterday, today you feel the melancholy of disappointment. And you watch it all rise and fall and blow over, a little storm of afflictive emotion, complete with wind and rain and dark skies. It feels grey for a bit and then as the afternoon wears on the sun pokes it's head out.

It's good to work, to carry on, to not collapse into a little pool of despair or get too tangled in the stories and drama and trying to make sense of it all. So I went off to paint. (I think I might even have something new to post tomorrow!) I went to do an errand. The cool fall air and the coloured leaves on the sidewalk were somehow comforting. Exchanging pleasant words with the folks working in the bank and the grocery store was vaguely uplifting. As I drove home I reminded myself that this is a friendly universe and I simply need to have faith.... faith in the fact that life unfolds as it should, and as I read somewhere, the Buddhas are always raining down help on us; it's just that somehow we don't notice.


  1. "imagined compassion vs real compassion"...Wow! I know you know you are not alone in this real life conundrum...the way our highest self would like to respond and the way our "makin' it through the day" self reacts to a given circumstance often seem to be at odds. And yet...there are those blessed moments when the two are simpatico. It happens, it really does...not as often as we wish it would, but it does happen and so there is reason to rejoice and to continue our practice. I love your green Tara and that she is a collage of varied patterns and colors...how perfectly your composition of the Tara "mother of liberation" teaches us that part of our freedom comes when we learn to accept that these multifaceted aspects of who we are/how we respond/react can coexist harmoniously.


  2. Yes, WOW - the "imagined compassion vs the real compassion" spoke to me too, as Laura so eloquently commented on. What this brought to mind for me was the word "authenticity" - my new word btw. :) That we cannot manufacture compassion, it has to be authentic. And *we* have to be authentic in our feelings and in our dealings with ourselves and each other - being real. Allowing what's there to be there. Wonderful post. Christine