|I am the one with the lovely grey coat and the blue accessories|
I have been slipping effortlessly through the time and space of this planet, riding ferry boats, delivering people to train stations, sharing water with the rain, listening to wise people talk. Right now I am sitting in a high-ceilinged coffee shop in a seaside town, watching cars glide through a foggy intersection. A lick of butterscotch light flashes methodically atop a stop sign.
We are the only customers in this deliciously "Dwellish" space. A stark chandelier in the front window reflects off the white concrete floor. A coffee coloured beauty busies herself loading the dishwasher. I have recently slurped down a dinner of angel hair pasta with bocconcini, garlic and tomato. Have I traveled to a Deva realm? I mean angel hair, really!
It is undeniably fall here. Red and yellow maple leaves have pasted themselves artfully to wet sidewalks. Earlier in the evening an icy shaving of moon hung over a finger of land reaching out into the sea. Sleek snow geese covered the sky with sound as sips of rich red wine slid down my throat.
All this delicious fallness offered a smoldering contrast to a recent talk by Stephen Lewis on the aids pandemic ravaging many African countries, reminding me how fortunate I am to have been born into my auspicious life circumstances, how little we have to whine about in the developed world, although mostly that doesn't stop us. His stories clawed at our very skin. Here is a man who is not afraid to feel deeply, to experience horror, the indifference of the government and corporate world and still work tirelessly and with passion. Here is a Bodhisattva who is truly alive.
On Wednesday night we navigated our way through streets overflowing with Vancouver hockey fans to find a talk given by the Thai Forest monk, Ajahn Sona. His talk was titled, "Cool Mind, Warm Heart, Green Life". Again I was reminded of the contrasts of this world. An orange robed man who never eats after noon spoke in a neighbourhood of million dollar condos, across the street from a grocery store that flies in $200 loaves of bread from France.
Ajahn Sona poured many wise words on to our thirsty souls. He reminded us how emotions like anger cloud our minds, twisting our view of any situation like a fun house mirror. Words and actions from a "heated mind" are most often sources of regret. He had some interesting things to say about the green life, how easy it is to become strident in activism over the environment. So much is lost in this stance, including the cool mind and the warm heart which are essential gear in all situations. He asked us to look at our emotions surrounding environmental issues. Do we become angry, depressed, throw ourselves into despair, avoid thinking about it because it seems overwhelming? Always an opportunity to practice and with our clear minds, find appropriate action.
My travels included a free art demo and a trip to my favourite spiritual bookstore. I am looking forward to this rainy season to develop some new art skills and spend some time just mucking about in the studio. I am reminded by a book I have been reading called "Buddha's Brain" to spend some time really letting the good things I experience sink in, perhaps changing a little of the neural landscape. I invite you to do the same. What are the good things you might like to bathe your brain in??