Many of us haven’t discovered that we have a mind and that it can be worked with.
We wake up and run on autopilot.
We CAN work with our mind.
We can watch how it works, how thoughts arise, how we hold them or let them go.
We CAN choose what thoughts we cling to and what we let simply rise and fall.
We CAN choose new things or objects to place are mind on.
In one month, how many of the things we have worried about will matter? Let alone in a year!
I am reactive
More than I wish I was
So being reactive is the stepping stone to discovering part of who I am.
I try to remember how fleeting thoughts are, as in the Wizard of Oz-‘People come and go so quickly here …’
or the wise saying
Good and Bad
Happy and Sad
All Things vanish
Like the imprint
Of a Bird in the Sky
There are times when I contract and my world becomes small,hot, claustrophobic.
I find tremendous freedom in remembering a simple phrase ‘Open, spacious, relaxed’.Those words were given to me by a Buddhist Teacher who was remembering this phrase as it was given to her by her Teacher. (So it goes in an oral tradition; wisdom is kept fresh and applied when needed.)
I hold that phrase within me as a wellspring and taps deep within me bringing up other goodness up within me-phrases, scenes begin to spill into my mind and restore me.
Where my mind has been, I do not know-thoughts are from who knows where and afterward go who knows where.
I do not try to distract myself by other activities, I try to stand with the hot, claustrophobic feeling. It is only a thought, however powerful it may seem.
But now I am here Present to Myself and the Vast World Around Me;
‘Open, Spacious, Relaxed’.
I woke up one day from a self that was stale and stunk of old ashtrays, dirty laundry and for no reason the coffee tasted amazing and I really heard my friends happily saying ‘See you next time!’ for the first time.
We wake up
we fall asleep
we wake up again
and we ingrain the gratitude for this life we feel in our heart
and we share it.
This photo I took at a parade?
I hung around and the performer came out of the changing room
pushing a stroller with her young child and headed into the 7-11.
So we celebrate, we share our joy when we can.
My mind, your mind is beautiful and pristine; and that is ever its’ state.
Being reminded of that, I realize that when difficulties arise for me, I can see how my mind works with them.
I can help my mind by the wisdom I have gained through the teachings of the Dharma. I can remember, the presence of the Sangha can remind me.
Thus when storms hit, I know how to sail my ship …to the Other Side
I took this photo many years ago in Mount Rainier, MD.
Dolls randomly piled into the front of the storefront window of the junk shop. For me they speak of a collective sadness, unconsciousness, waiting.
For myself, it was a great time of transition, of suffering, of sadness. I was living in my own home, yet with a mind and heart of a displaced person, a refugee within my own country.
There were many fits and starts in becoming who I am now, awards and recognition for my photography, poetry began to flow from my hand, I changed from one spiritual tradition to Tibetan Buddhism, more and more my friends identified as spiritual seekers.
The spaceship was on the launch pad and all the connecting hoses were streaming fuel into the tanks, and I was sitting and watching and dreaming of getting on board, knowing little of what was to follow.
I began spending more and more time away from my home and began living life as a truer refugee; away from those I had known and in the company of new friends.
On the final day, I jumped into the oldest of our two family cars and began driving to faraway Maine with just what I could pack in
and left everything behind except my responsibilities to my family.