Our problems are a big deal for us.
So we need to make space for an attitude of honouring things completely and at the same time not making them a big deal. It’s a paradoxical idea, but holding these two attitudes simultaneously is the source of enormous joy: we hold a sense of respect toward all things, along with the ability to let go. In Buddhist terms, the space that opens is referred to as ‘shunyata,’ or emptiness. It’s basically just a feeling of lightness. When you begin to see life from the point of view that everything is spontaneously arising and that things aren’t ‘coming at you’ or ‘trying to attack you,’ in any given moment you will likely experience more space and more room to relax into. So shunyata refers to the fact that we actually have a seed of spaciousness, of freshness, openness, relaxation, in us.
photo Manfred Werner
We use the word heartbreak as if it only occurs when things have gone wrong: an unrequited love, a shattered dream, a child lost before their time. Heartbreak, we hope, is something we can avoid; something to guard against, a chasm to be carefully looked for and then walked around; the hope is to find a way to place our feet where the elemental forces of life will keep us in the manner to which we want to be accustomed and which will keep us from the losses that all other human beings have experienced without exception since the beginning of conscious time. But heartbreak may be the very essence of being human, of being on the journey from here to there, and of coming to care deeply for what we find along the way…
Nothing you ever understand
will be sweeter, or more binding,
than this deep affinity between your eyes and the world.
Mary Oliver, Terns
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