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.  





18 comments:

  1. Hahaha! The pain in me bows to the pain in you! Love it. Love you. Glad you're back!

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  2. yep, that's December! love you back! Keep warm, be happy.

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  3. Nattering in drain mode - very familiar reminder. Wish I remembered to remember more often... Love the paintings! Real Namaste ;)

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    1. ah, the remembering! and a real namaste to you!

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  4. You've been knocking back some real beauty in the studio! Lovely subtle beauty as is your wisdom ... ahhh Holidays!

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  5. whoa! these paintings, carole!! wow... i love them. and your words.

    xoxo

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  6. hello Lynne! kind words, thanks & hugs

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  7. Great post, Carole! LOVE your new work!! xo

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    1. thanks, Connie! xoxo may your season be full of real namaste's!

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  8. The first paragraph had me laughing out loud, Carole! The reverse of namaste - love it! the idea of treating it as a game is intriguing, I reallly like it - think I will give it a try.

    Your new work is really elegant, Carole; it makes me feel a deep sense of calm and presence. I don't know if this makes sense, but I couldn't think of the right words to describe it.

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  9. Oh, good Sharmon, really I am all about the laugh factor, it's so important to me!

    Thanks for the kind words about the work. I like that it was wordless!

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  10. Carole, I love these paintings, crossing the Inner Landscape really speaks to me, and so does this post.
    My mom passed a few years ago and I loved her dearly, but she was crazy making, now I miss the chance to learn from those fights we had. There is still drama in the family, but not near as much and my brothers don't push my buttons (they push each others :-), so a lot has changed.
    Yes, there is more peace, but you know I have come to realize, it is all good.
    Did you use the Venetian plaster on these? How is that going?
    xoxo

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  11. Thanks, Annie! I had a crazy making mother too, but it a passive, aggressive sort of way :) Is there a family without it's own brand of drama?

    The top one has Venetian plaster on it. The otheres are reworkings of old pieces (I seem to spend a lot of time on that) I tend to get stuck on working on old canvases that I no longer like. I have another Venetian plaster one in progress. I liked working with it to get the texture, a little different than my old plaster of paris mixtures.

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    1. Carole,

      No :-).
      I think you did a great job with your first try at the Venetian plaster, can't wait to see more.
      I often work over paintings that I no longer like.
      If they hang around I figure they are fair game :-).
      xoxo

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  12. Find your paintings interesting. Will check out your other stuff.

    -Rob (bookofhaiku.blogspot.com)

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