Tuesday, December 23, 2014

After Yesterday Before Tomorrow

Saturday's Flight 9"x12"

What you already are
Before the picnic
The ground of awakening
In the presence of a tree

Collect no jewels
A time of bewilderment
An inside job
Already free

No lock on the gate
Where hope is born
The idea of a journey
In the present tense

As you really are

Taking Refuge
In your present condition
Below the mind's radar

The truth about yourself
Sudden Radical Insight

No matter what

Some block is gone
A door has opened
Stepping outside
Not a bunch of thoughts

The whole world wants to stop here
A simple thing, Transformation
Lift your face to the sky

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Seasonal Koan: What's The Opposite of Namaste?

10"x10" Deep In The Forest
It's that time of year when the opportunity to see if you're enlightened offers itself up to you. It's kind of like a little gift disguised as family dressed up in holiday duds. It's our collective opportunity to put our practice where our mouth is, if you care to see it that way. You know that quip, "if you think you're enlightened, go spend a week with your family." Well here come the holidays. My mother used to say we all have our own "mishigas" (which means craziness in Yiddish) and this time of year brings it out.  Mostly we panic, grit our teeth and fall victim to our old familiar "pain speech".  Here they are, our "famous person(s) ringing the doorbell, all ready to drag us through our personal mishigas.  It's kind of like the reverse of "Namaste", it's "the pain in me recognizes the pain in you", and we're off to the races.  We become the living embodiment of the email that should have been left in the "draft" folder.

16"x16" Crossing The Inner Landscape

But there are other ways, really, I'm not kidding you, not that I'm so skilled, but I'm working on it. This fall I attended several retreats with a Buddhist teacher whose wisdom speaks directly to my heart: Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche. He talks about how we are constantly "draining" ourselves, depleting our precious human battery. And it's bad enough when that happens to your car, but we tend to forget  about what's under our human hood. And when we feel our depletion do we know how to nourish and recharge ourselves? Do we think TV or a glass of wine, or a little treat might do the trick? Perhaps temporarily, but then we end right back there in drain mode. Tenzin Wangyal's teachings aim at connecting us with the stillness of the body, the silence of our speech and the spaciousness of our minds so that we might consistently nourish that deep place in us the is the source of our strength, peace, creativity and fearlessness.
10"x10" Notes From The Evening

How do we remember to pause and connect with our inner refuges of stillness, silence and spaciousness when Uncle Henry tells the same story for the 10th time?  Tenzin Wangyal offers us a great little trick. When we feel the tug of that pain that's just the reminder we need.  And mostly we're pretty familiar with those painful feelings, it's just we forget the next step.  We either sink deeply into the pain or reject it completely, or maybe dance between the two. His suggestion is that the nagging thoughts of the egoic mind that are constantly finding fault can remind us to connect with the stillness of our bodies. The nattering of our internal voice or perhaps our unkind speech to others is the reminder to connect with silence.  And our crazy imaginings, run wild can offer us the opportunity to sense the space that is always around and within us.

16"x16" Cloud Mountain

In his attempts to help us bring our practice into the parts of our life that need it the most he suggests we think of it as a game.  Our challenge is how can we win at this tricky, moving, ever challenging game of deinstalling the things that push our buttons.  This can help make our "problems" lively in  an upbeat way that encourages us to work with them rather than lament them or crumple from them into the perfect little Christmas ball.  What's your game this season?  May it be merry and bright. 

ps: with many thanks to technical wizardry of Lynette Monteiro for helping me retrieve this lost post from the ether. Many bows to her.