Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Trouble finding our seat.

A lot of us, most of us actually, have difficulty finding our seat.  We are quickly consumed by our position, what is our view, our orientation.  Maybe we should take our seat in this location?  Or maybe it would be best if it were in that other location way over there?

Even if we have the location of our seat, there is the whole contrived act of arranging our surroundings, our dress, the lights and atmosphere.

Then when the atmosphere is just right, we might get caught up in thinking that we are not actually prepared to take our seat.  We should have read and prepared more, or accomplished this other activity or project first.

As sure as we are of our opinions and ideas and of who we are, our uncertainty shows in our unwillingness to take our seat.  Our uncertainty manifests itself as restlessness.

Taking your seat means to sit with confidence, composure and certainty.  It means to be calm and clear.  You sit with discipline and grace not to conform with the 'right way' to sit, but because discipline and grace are the natural expression of a peaceful mind.

Mainly I am talking about finding your seat in meditation.  But, I could also be talking about finding your seat in life.  

Monday, February 24, 2014

A Rediscovery

Our culture values hard work.  If you want something, we go get it.  We push, train, finagle, leap, struggle, persist and pick ourselves up again and again until our aims are accomplished.  That is what we do, that is who we are.  

We do this to gain what we do not have, or to protect what we have so that we do not lose it.  

We work hard to get a new degree, a promotion, a new house or the latest gadget.  We push through the day to day resistance so that we have freedom and resources to do other things.  We persist so that we can give our kids and loved ones a future and opportunity that we ourselves did not have.  We struggle to protect them against states of loss and fear, in all its various forms.  We do it all to protect ourselves from fear and uncertainty, from poverty and loss. 

We want happiness, peace of mind, confidence and clarity.  We want to feel love and share it.  More so, we don't want to feel anxious or discontentment.  We don't want to feel like we are wasting our lives in meaningless work. 

So we work hard. 

We are used to looking outside of ourselves to acquire the things we want and to protect ourselves.  We are used to putting in a lot of effort in order to accomplish our goals, to accomplish what we don't have.  What other option do we have?

The Buddha said:

Ordinary beings are truly buddhas,
but this fact is obscured by adventitious distortions.
Once these are removed, truly there is buddhahood.

The nature of our own mind already has the qualities of peace, clarity, natural warmth and fullness.  
Being like the sky, it is boundless and unstained.  It is pure and completely open and accommodating.
Being like the sun, it has natural clarity and warmth.  Love and kindness effortlessly radiate.
Being like the moon, it dispels all darkness and is wondrous, profound peace and calm.  
Being like the earth, it is stable and firm, the source of confidence and walking with dignity.
Being like the water, it is refreshing, soothing and reinvigorating.
Being like the wind, it is the source of all movement and change, and yet there is nothing to hold onto.
Being like fire, it is luminous and warm, providing comfort and warmth.  
Being like space, it is unchanging and all-pervasive, the source from which everything arises. 

So we only need to work hard to recognize the nature of our own mind and to remove the distortions.  What are those distortions?  Confused thoughts and emotions, negative habits and mental states.  They are doubt, fear, uncertainty.  Most definitely we need to remove the ignorance of our own self-grasping, attachment and aversion.  The good news is that none of those distortions are permanent, they are but clouds that temporarily obscure the sun and the expanse of the clear, spacious sky.  

So continue to work hard but do it skillfully, knowing that which is to be eliminated and that which is to be rediscovered, our intrinsic awakened mind, our own buddhanature.  

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Monday, February 17, 2014

The mark of ignorance.

What does ignorance look like?

Is it rigid beliefs or definitions?
Is it incorrect information?
Is it hollow assertions?  Conflated ideas?
Grossly biased perceptions?
Is it the emotionally overwhelmed?
A narrow world view?

The mark of ignorance is selfishness.

It's opposite is compassion, empathy.  It's opposite is to care.

In this way we all suffer from ignorance.  We should strive to recognize it in ourselves and work even harder to bring about its opposite. 

We should strive to care.  

Friday, February 14, 2014

No lasting effect.

When searching for consummate meaning in our lives,
time and time again we go outside ourselves,
always asking ourselves what we should do now-
travel, food, friends, job, volunteer, family, kids-
all these goals once achieved have left us unfulfilled.
Why change now?

We either seek out escape-
spa, vacation, lazy Sunday, the new.

Or we seek out illusion-
food, fun, goals, experiences.

Neither have lasting effect. Both are conditioned.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Everything is impermanent.

Things are impermanent, thank goodness!

The world is too sloppy for permanence.  Imagine holding a permanent black marker and wearing all white clothes.  Oh, and you don't have a cap for the marker.  What a mess!

Impermanence allows for change.

Sure, we are sad at the moment of death.  But you don't want its opposite.
Time to appreciate, rejoice, enjoy.
This life is a sacred ornament.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Liberation is not somewhere else.

We have the concept that our freedom is somewhere else.
We need to change that social conditioning.
Don't change the conditions, change your perception.
Your job is yoga, expressed through your trade.
Your work is your art.
Take your practice to human interactions.
Be open and responsive. 

Friday, February 7, 2014

What is truly beneficial.

The Buddha's teachings are not self-help,
they are self-liberation.
They are not meant to save your self,
nor to improve your self.
They are meant to liberate your self.
That is truly helpful.
Truly protecting.
Truly beneficial. 

Thursday, February 6, 2014


Gravity is very interesting.  We are all familiar with it, we learned how to operate within its bounds and even to use it to our advantage to do amazing things.

But what about the gravity of our decisions, actions and responsibilities?  Those have a lot of gravity, gravity that gives a lot of weight to our lives.  Weight that we often don't know how to deal with.

The interesting thing about gravity is that it always starts off with a fight and a fall.  We have to fight to get up.  We need to push and finagle and adapt.  We need to be persistent.  And then we fall.  The falling is inevitable really.  We may have succeeded in getting up but we still need to learn how to maintain that posture and even more so how to maintain it amidst movement and change.

But we persist.  The falling provides us with the tools to learn and we continue to examine and analyze until we succeed.  But the success doesn't stop there, once standing we move forward, we take steps and learn to hop and skip and roller skate and even fly.  We have actually learned to fly, even with gravity, not despite it.

So let's go back to the gravity of our decisions, actions and responsibilities.

Our initial reaction is to feel the heaviness of our situation.  We are often overwhelmed by the weight of our life, wishing that somehow it would all change and we could soar through the sky carefree and without any problems or conflict.  But it is important to realize that we are the weight.  That heaviness, it is us.  So we need to fight to pick ourselves up.  Or push ourselves up I suppose.

We will fall.

But recognize the problems and conflicts for what they are- learning opportunities.  Opportunities to adjust our posture.  Opportunities to find our balance.  Opportunities to make the right correction at the right time.

As we learn to stand with dignity and confidence, we can then learn to step forward with kindness and generosity.  As those develop momentum we can run with insight and develop the endurance it takes to accomplish great feats, great feats for ourselves and great feats for others.

We may even learn to fly.  Fly even amidst problems and conflict, amidst doubt and the impossibility of doing so because of the heaviness of our situation.  We learn to fly on the wings of skillful means and wisdom.  We can build those.

But first we need to learn to stand. 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The working class.

The working class is a precious life.
The ultra rich are like the god realms,
they think they already have liberation.  
We have opportunity,
but also see its elusiveness.
Take it and transform it into the path of liberation.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Work as dance.

Work as dance,
opportunity to do art,
endless play of partners and songs,
some lead, others follow.
Meet them where they are at,
not enough to show them what to do,
need to recognize where they are,
and where they can go.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Why healing? Why purpose?

Why healing?
We all have this notion of healing ourselves and even healing others.
The human condition is one of suffering and strife, feelings of guilt and inadequacy.
The focus is always on 'I', ego.
Paradoxically, it is we who cannot forgive ourselves out of our own self-grasping.
Out of self-grasping, we seek healing,
because of self-grasping, we are not healed.

Why purpose?
We all have this notion of fulfilling the purpose of ourselves and even others.
The human condition is one of seeking to overcome all the suffering and strife,
that is said to be buddhanature ripening.
The focus is always on 'I', ego.
Paradoxically, it is we who cannot accomplish our own purpose out of our own self-grasping.
Out of self-grasping, we seek purpose,
because of self-grasping, our purpose is not fulfilled.

Cutting the root, self-grasping,
we find that we are simultaneously healed and fulfilled.
All the qualities once sought have become fully manifest.
We have arrived at the citadel,
surrounded by the noble riches of those thus gone.
We are the womb of suchness,
in which worlds of opportunity unceasingly unfold.