Monday, October 26, 2009

Something To Sink My Teeth Into

Here's the latest addition to my sporadic painting efforts. Done in watery blues. I can never resist adding in a little green and then blue goes so well with yellow, why not a little "Indian yellow" which I love. And of course drips. It's hard to know if I love drips (the watery, runny painty kind) or the addition of some form or text more. Things seem so naked without one or the other. I had even been thinking of adding in a little bit of Buddhist scripture somewhere and maybe I still will but for now the painting is at rest.

I noticed, as I read one of my favourite blogs (Marcus' Journal), that where my name appeared in the blogroll it showed I hadn't posted for 5 days. Has it been that long, I thought? Doesn't seem like it. I do notice in myself, less of a draw to post. In a way it seems like right speech. If I don't have anything to say it's good to not say anything at all. (I believe it was Thumper in Bambi, who used a version of this, as in "if you don't have anything nice to say....) Marcus was also commenting on finding the balance in our lives between writing and reading about the Dharma and actually sitting. It was a good reminder that we can mistake "talking" about something for actually "doing" it, whatever that "it" may be. The words occupy us, fills some hole in us, use up our energy and then we forget we haven't actually done "it".

Another blog I love is Meg Hitchcock's and she's been doing some serious ego wrestling lately, down in the ego wrestling pit. I love her art and identify deeply with her darkly humourous relationship to life. Hey, it's all grist for the humour mill in my book (as long as it's not at anyone else's expense.) And her ego wrestling reminded me of my last couple of days. I've been having a serious non transcendant dental experience (there's a joke about that somewhere isn't there?). A tooth has been brewing up a little storm which produced a lot of pain and subsequently an abscess. Where does my mind want to go? It wants to crawl all over, "what's it all about? In the middle of some house sale happenings. Why now? What does this mean? What should I do with it?" Oh and I forgot to mention the "I don't want this, why me, why now" part of the muddy stream of consciousness (looks alot like Rudyard Kiplings "great, grey, green, greasy Limpopo River").

What I learned was, that all I could do was carry on as best I could amid the pain. The ego got a rest. That ego is an energy sucker, man. Yes, go see the monks, yes go to tai chi, yes go home and lie down. And the rest just falls away. And I could see how the rejecting of the whole experience just intensified the suffering; the asking of the questions that can't be answered. Things just are. "The universe is not answerable to our wishes," my Zen teacher used to say. I could see how much of what I've been labouring over lately doesn't really matter, doesn't really require the energy and attention of that busy, yappy, little self. It's just that I am used to "stewing" over the juicy or tough little bits of life and wondering how things will turn out and trying to anticipate what will happen and what to do.

And so here is my message wrapped up in abscessed little package. Things happen, you're not in charge and oh yeah, don't forget your practice. If you're old like me you will remember all those old British "Carry On" movies. Tons of different topics (Carry on Doctor, Carry on Spying) but they all started with "Carry On". What else is there to do really?


  1. Followed threads from not sure where. Ended up here and found delight. Since I started blogging a year ago, I have been searching out "buddhist-blogs" only to find a few. Now, in one fell swoop, here I am and you've linked this post to many others. Reading your words is like an affirmation to my journey--no matter what is happening, no matter what land mines the ego plants—-it's ok, breathe, rest, sit, allow what is arising to fall away. Thank you for this.

    I am also very drawn to your art. I have a fancy for Buddhist art. Just gazing at images of the Buddha, skillfully drawn, touch my heart. I've got you on my blogroll now. Wonderful to discover you...seriously.

    May you be peaceful and at ease today...Blessings!

  2. Glad you found your way here, in the labyrinthian world of blogs. Welcome and thank-you for the kind words. Yes it is nice to have the company of fellow travelers! And just a quick mention that you will find lots more links to other great Buddhist blogs, particularly on Dangerous Harvests and Marcus' Journal. Being a simple sort I don't like to post too many links but I regularly access a number of other blogs through theirs.

  3. Yet another powerful blog - thank you! I read it last night and again now... I too find myself doing some mud wrestling with life this week! As in being dragged through the mud, kicking and screaming. hmmmm - what is going on here! So many of us appear to be in this space of wrangling and untangling. I feel another blog coming, once the words arise that want to be expressed. Right now it's all just mud... :) C