Friday, July 24, 2009

The Peaceful Restaurant

A few months ago I started subscribing to Tricycle's Daily Dharma.  It's nice to have a spot of Dharma with my morning tea or coffee.  It always points me in the right direction, reminding me of what's really important in this life.  Some day's tidbits speak more directly to what's going on in my life and training and today's in particular, so I thought I'd pass it along"

"When I meditate, I am always inspired by this poem by Nyoshul Khenpo:

Rest in natural great peace
This exhausted mind
Beaten helpless by karma and neurotic thought,
Like the relentless fury of the pounding waves 
In the infinite ocean of samsara.

Rest in natural great peace.

Above all, be at ease, be as natural and spacious as possible. Slip quietly out of the noose of your habitual anxious self, release all grasping, and relax into your true nature. Think of your ordinary emotional, thought-ridden self as a block of ice or a slab of butter left out in the sun. If you are feeling hard and cold, let this aggression melt away in the sunlight of your meditation. Let peace work on you and enable you to gather your scattered mind into the mindfulness of Calm Abiding, and awaken in you the awareness and insight of Clear Seeing. And you will find all your negativity disarmed, your aggression dissolved, and your confusion evaporating slowly like mist into the vast and stainless sky of your absolute nature."

–Sogyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying (HarperSanFrancisco)

Read this Daily Dharma on

This writing really spoke to me because getting ready for some art shows lately I was acutely aware of how I run my energy, how I work in this habitual, nonsensical state or hurry and rush.   "This exhausted mind" reminded me of what I get up to.  I can feel the  agitation, the restlessness, the striving and I am aware of how tiring it is.  I don't get any more done (perhaps less) because I am thinking of all the things I need to do.  It is a longstanding way of being in the world for me.  And I teeter back and forth between the process of catching myself at it and remembering to stop and just be.  Back and forth, back and forth.  I know it is a stress producing state and physically unhealthy for me.  I can feel it in my body, the tension it produces.  Yet strangely I cling to it.  Why I wonder?  What is so enticing about it to some part of me?  Yes it is a habit, a very strong one but I suspect it lends an element of importance to what I'm doing.  And at some level I feel I must rush about to get things done.  I mean don't we believe that if we work faster we will get more things done?  Isn't there some kind of western faulty logic that makes us feel that way?  And yet at a very deep level I know that if I am simply present and relaxed I will get it all done, everything that needs to be done.  Some things may fall away and that's okay.  If I have pointed myself in the direction of the Dharma I can trust that the important things will get taken care of and what doesn't get done will not harm anyone or any thing.  And life will be more pleasant.  I will rest on trust and faith, rather than fear and agitation  I will be present for what my life brings me.  

So that's what I'm working with these days as I prepare for two more summer shows.  Maybe that's why we chose to eat in a lovely little Chinese restaurant the other night on Broadway called "The Peaceful Restaurant".  So I recommend "The Peaceful Restaurant" metaphorically and the real one, where we enjoyed cold buckwheat noodle salad and a spicy garlic eggplant while watching handmade noodles being pulled and banged and twisted.  May you enjoy the fruits of your training at your own peaceful restaurant.

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