Today I started the second of my two summer courses. If I get bad results from this week's bloodletting, I get to pull a junior high trick and get a note from my doctor, so that I can drop the course for a full refund. There are moments that I think it'd be worth the further uncertainty and intrusive gynecological procedures just to have an excuse not to be in a class for the rest of the summer. Does it sound like I don't care for schooling?
But if you think that's where the post name comes from--haHA! wrong! This is actually the first dharma post in quite a while.
Regard all dharmas as dreams
No Such Thing As A True Story
By weaving our opinions, prejudices, strategies, and emotions into a solid reality, we try to make a big deal out of ourselves, out of our pain, out of our problems. But things are not as solid, predictable, or seamless as they seem ... [W]e habitually string out thoughts together into a story that tricks us into believing that our identity, our happiness, our pain, and our problems are all solid and separate entities. In fact, like thoughts, all these constructs are constantly changing. Each situation, each thought, each word, each feeling, is just a passing memory.
Wisdom is a fluid process, not something concrete that can be added up or measured. The warrior-boddhisattva trains with the attitude that everything is a dream. Life is a dream; death is a dream; waking is a dream; sleeping is a dream. This dream is the direct immediacy of our experience. Trying to hold on to any of it by buying our story line only blocks our wisdom. --Pema Chödrön
My experiences over the past few weeks have included a lot of fear, a lot of sheer incredulity over the intensity and variety of what can befall me over such a short time. But over the past couple of days I've found momentary relief in moments where I get in touch with the sensation that I am just moving through life, that I am walking, breathing, lying down or standing up--just this continuity of existence that I can rest in if only I can take the first single baby step from my churning mind that is constantly manufacturing memos in triplicate Re: the past; Re: the future. How much freer could I be if more of these memos hit the circular file?
Be grateful to everyone
Writing this post, I was struck by how difficult it was articulate adequately my profound joy at the overwhelming gift of love that has washed over me from so many sources: of course, Howie and my Jellybean and others in my family, but also certain beloved individuals so talented in the art of friendship and superabundantly endowed with generosity and affection that I have been just knocked senseless by it. I know that this slogan, this instruction, is about stretching myself to be grateful to everyone--even, say, to embryos that have mistaken my pelvis for caves near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border--however I am so struck by my profound gratitude for my friends that I am going to willfully ignore the instruction and concentrate my gratitude on those who so glaringly have earned it.
Three objects, three poisons, three roots of virtue
The 'three' talked about here are craving, aversion and apathy. I have been blessed with the opportunity to experience heaps and heaps of each of these recently. This is the 'poison as medicine' slogan, the basic idea being: I can just allow myself to be slapped hither and yon by these forces for the rest of my life, and feel all the suffering and confusion that comes from following them around like a sheep after its bellwether; or just as unskillfully, I can look at them as 'the enemy' and aspire to be 'above all that.' They become 'three roots of virtue' when instead of reacting to my responses by running like hell, hiding, acting out, I just let my feelings open my heart. Somehow this slogan has touched me very recently, and I feel a lot of compassion and humility rising out of my own confusion and chaos and grief.
If you can practice even when distracted, you are well trained
I have been hugely distracted. Normally, when this happens, dharma gets a sabbatical. I don't know why this time around, I am having these tremendous, tearful experiences of contact with myself, really making friends with myself in a new way. I humbly admit I have no idea who I will be a week from today. I am resigned to having lost all delusion of having a ground to stand on.
Correct all wrongs with one intention
Life is precious. I really hope for nothing more than to leave it better than I found it.