Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Dart To The Heart

This piece was almost finished before I packed it away several months ago. There was something not quite finished about the face. And so yesterday I took it out of its paper and got out the eye shadow & the blush (just kidding), added a little more blue to the sky, green to the ground. It's called "Dart To The Heart" and it's a sister painting to "What The Buddha Sewed". Adding finishing touches was a nice way to ease back into work instead of having to stare down a blank canvas as the first act.

I am learning to be kinder to myself, to pay more attention to inner inclinations. What better time to shed the old snakeskin of habitual behaviour? What better time to disconnect service to the little voice that tells me I should be doing this or that, in this way or that way? It's true I didn't need to move house to leave behind old habits but why not use this occasion intentionally? I think that concrete physical acts can offer an opportunity if we employ them. In a way it's not that different from ritual. We light some incense at the beginning of meditation. An outward physical act connects to the inner act.

It's about the mind, really and how we use it. The mind is a little power substation that can offer light if we use it wisely. And I am well aware from experience that it can do some high voltage damage if we let it course through the lines unchecked. But enough of this high wire stuff, soon I'll be joining the circus.

And so when I think about "Dart To The Heart" I think about the Buddhist idea that the first dart is some pain we might experience, but we add the second dart by thinking about it in an unhelpful way, by obsessing or focusing on it. It reminds me of something RM Jiyu Kennet said, "The mind makes a good servant but not a very good master." I wonder if the mind does room service and laundry?


  1. Ahhh, I really enjoyed this post. Last weekend, I served as teacher's attendant at our half day retreat. Lot's of incense lighting, taking care of details I barely knew about until a few minutes before doing so. I remember having an internal shift about it all about half way through - suddenly, the bowing, incense, and the rest were all seamless with everything else. Not jobs to do, but just living, be alive in that place and time.

  2. "The mind makes a good servant but not a very good master." Yet, we often let it be the master. Thank you for your wonderful posts:)