Very mixed weather in Ireland this week, snow on Wednesday followed by warm sunshine on Friday. Our experience too can be mixed, with encouraging moments at times and moments when discouragement reigns
But patiently, underneath it all, something emerges and we learn to let go…
The trees are coming into leaf
Like something almost being said;
The recent buds relax and spread,
Their greenness is a kind of grief.
Is it that they are born again
And we grow old? No, they die too,
Their yearly trick of looking new
Is written down in rings of grain.
Yet still the unresting castles thresh
In fullgrown thickness every May.
Last year is dead, they seem to say,
Begin afresh, afresh, afresh.
One must — as in a swimming pool —
dare to dive from the quivering springboard of trivial everyday experience and sink into the depths, in order to later rise again —
laughing and fighting for breath — to the now doubly illuminated surface of things
I grew up in a post-Depression household. My parents went off to work, so my grandmother did a great deal of the mothering, and I remember her bathing and washing and dressing me and making braids and preparing the kinds of foods that I liked. The only thing that she was not moved to respond to was the coming and going of childhood bouts of “I’m not happy.” I’d say, “But I’m not happy.” And she’d say, “Where is it written that you’re supposed to be happy all the time?” And I actually think it was the beginning of my spiritual practice — that life is difficult. Then 40 years later, I learned that the Buddhists said the same thing, that life is inevitably challenging, and how are we going to do it in a way that’s wise and doesn’t complicate it more than it is just by itself?
photo gaijin biker
Let life live through you.
And do not worry that your life is turning upside down.
How do you know that the side you are used to is better than the one to come?
Inside the huge Romanesque church the tourists jostled in the half darkness.
Vault gaped behind vault, no complete view.
An angel with no face embraced me
and whispered through my whole body:
“Don’t be ashamed of being human, be proud!
Inside you vault opens behind vault endlessly.
You will never be complete, that’s how it’s meant to be.“
Blind with tears
I was pushed out on the sun-seething piazza
together with Mr and Mrs Jones, Mr Tanaka, and Signora Sabatini,
and inside them all vault opened behind vault endlessly.
Tomas Transtromer, Romanesque Arches
More thoughts inspired by the desert, a place where we notice our thirst. As the original story tells us: “Tormented by thirst, they complained to Moses, ‘Why did you bring us out into the desert?’ “. We try to quench this thirst in numerous ways. However, the Buddhist tradition tells us that we need to come to a direct and felt understanding of a basic truth of human nature, which is the ultimately unsatisfactory nature of the contingent realities we encounter every day:
Desire full stop is always the desire of the Other.
It’s crucial for all of us to find a practice that will help us have a direct relationship with groundlessness,…a practice that will enable us to touch in with the transitoriness of our thoughts, our emotions, our car, our shoes, the paint job on our house. We can get used to the fleeting quality of life in a natural, gentle, even joyful way, by watching the seasons change, watching day turning to night, watching children grow up, watching sand castles dissolve back into the sea. But if we don’t find some way to make friends with groundlessness and the ever-changing energy of life, then we’ll always be struggling to find stability in a shifting world.
Pema Chodron, Living Beautifully
photo Karl and Ali