Bits of zen flotsam & jetsam from the daily practice of a zen fool with shards of modern Buddhist art from my studio. Sometimes cranky, sometimes inspiring, mostly entertaining.
Friday, November 19, 2010
Nourishing Your Inner Being
"Nourishing Your Inner Being" is the title of Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche's latest webcast which you can watch here. I love that he even asks this question, "how do you nourish your inner being?" There are a lot of similarities in the various traditions of spiritual practice and some differences.
These days I find myself gravitating to the positive, nourishing aspects of practice. Probably for a couple of reasons. I am familiar with suffering and have a personal tendency to be a bit of a glass half empty type. So to bring this body mind into balance it is helpful to pull a little in the direction of the sunny side. Breaking my habitual patterns means focusing on the positive. And I want to be clear that this does not mean putting on a pair of rose coloured classes and a flowered mu-mu and stumbling around giddy with crazy joy.
But nourishing my inner being is something that appeals in the form of building my own strength (physically, mentally and spiritually). In his webcast Rinpoche talks about the 4 qualities of a nourished inner being: peace, creativity and expansiveness, power, strength and confidence and fearlessness. He asks "what quality do you especially need in your life right now?" If perhaps we are feeling stuck or frustrated then maybe we need creativity to approach this. How can I be of help to any other beings if I am not nourished myself? If I am depleted and crabby? Perhaps as an example of what not to emulate??
And in true Bon spirit Tenzin Wangyal describes how we are nourished by the elements of water, fire, earth and air. If we feel suffocated in our lives, maybe we need more air? Try it. Deep nourishing breaths? Time in the great outdoors? Are you someone who loves to swim? Perhaps you find your nourishment in water. Fire is the element that brings creativity and love, warmth and enthusiasm. You probably know some firey folks or maybe you are one?
Rinpoche always goes back to the source of nourishment as stillness of the body, silence of speech and mind and spaciousness of our minds and hearts. We connect with these he tells us through our awareness. The old simple but not always easy.
I always find that the great outdoors is a nourishing place for me. Lately a wander around my pond, a trek in the bush can lift both my spirit, improve how I feel physically and bring a delicous sense of peace to my day. A little hanging out with some tall, straight fir trees is truly nourishing for me (something I learned to pay attention from my wise qi gong teacher). And how do you nourish your inner being these days?
Buddhism & Art...if I had to pick two words that give an overview of what I get up to in this world those would be my choices. Buddhism is the ground upon which I rest all else. I like to think it brings me some sanity. It helps me think in some logical way about what I am doing and look at it as deeply as possible. What did I just do? Why ? What's that all about? ...To try and look at my life without sliding over things or fooling myself...To be present for life, not rejecting or preferring one experience over another. Buddhist practice makes my life full and rich, sometimes filled with joy and sometimes with a deep experience of the suffering present in this world.
After all those words does it seem odd to say that it is the simplicity of Zen that appeals to me? This inclination to simplicity pulls me to try and integrate my practice and work, to paint Buddhas, to observe my process as I work.
I am drawn to mixed media, integrating script and words with images and colour.