Anger

I became so angry yesterday that my heart beat hard in my chest and when relief did not come it moved into the pit of my stomach and beat as a fist.  It was very painful, and the residual chemistry of it awoke me in the night with illness in my stomach, neck and head. 

So I have contemplated what took control, and exerted such power over me that I couldn’t even soothe myself in the moment to prevent the harmful after effects.  My anger arose and I suppressed it, but by what force?  And to what end? 

I have a rich experience with shame and self righteousness, so when I witness them in others, I feel I can’t bear the pain that I know so well. Even if it is another’s pain, it is mine as well.  Unable to find my authentic voice in the moment, and committed to refraining until I do, I am stifled, thus harm is not averted.  I make an attempt or two to voice, but cannot find my reason.  It is hot inside my head.

There is a sword, Manjushri’s sword of wisdom, that slices both ways. If you wield it to cut the head from someone’s  illusion,  be prepared to have the head cut off  your own.  Separation between the two of you is the illusion; the sword’s cut dispels the illusion of duality.  Accuracy is required with a sword.

In the aftermath, compassion,  and mindfulness of the breeze, the orange sunset, the tiredness in my body – gratitude and another turn on the wheel of dharma.

You know the times I love? They are the times, with loved ones, when we put aside our fear together – it  feels so playful.  Really, fear and play don’t happen so well together, do they?  They are not fair to one another.  Fear will always extinguish play, and play will do the same to fear.  But fear, wow, what a powerful influence.  And play, well, it takes a lot of heart.

Attachment

Wow, what a loaded word, it turns out – attachment.  From before birth, human beings attach to that which we perceive to be directly responsible for our survival, but not only survival.  That is just the first task.

Attachment is one of those things, like the ego, that we cannot live without yet sometimes cannot live with it either.  A case of poison and wisdom in the same pill.  So therapeutically, only positive psychology will do.  Strengthen strengths and look for their wisdom.  Allow seeds of doubt to lie still for awhile. 

See what arises, such as awareness of how well one takes care of ones own needs, or at least how prevalent are the opportunities, which have the potential to be missed.  Apparently when we “aren’t hung up on getting other people to see or support them (our needs)”, we can focus on other needs (Cori, J L. (2010).

For adults, or young people, with disordered attachments, one key may be to discover one’s own capabilities and capacities for self care.  I looked into the mirror one day and said, “I love you and I will take care of you.” Then I had to follow up, with continual kindness to myself and continual deep looking in the mirror of life to find the mother I had been seeking.  I found her inside.

Judge Not

Feb. 15

Today in large group process, a class in which I participate at Naropa University, many of the thirty six group members expressed concerns, naming anxiety, fear, and thus resistance, as barriers to open expression of feelings and experiences within the group.  Emotional safety within a group such as this largely depends on one’s beliefs about how they will be held in the minds of the others present.  Will they be judged or criticized?  More importantly to some, will they be heard and understood? 

The need to be heard and respected when we speak from our hearts is common to all of us, I believe.  It occurred to me today that when others judge me for what I have spoken, the only true impact is when it compounds self judgment.  If I do not judge myself, no problem. And how could I point at someone else to judge them, if I do not judge myself?  The contemplation gives deeper meaning to two sayings which come to mind: “It takes one to know one.” and “Judge not, that you be not judged.” 

I think there is great value in the ability to be critical, to offer insight to others through critical thought, without judgment.  Differing viewpoints can collide and produce brilliance and clarity for their speakers and listeners when allowed to do so in a space free from personal judgment.  Is this possible?  Have you ever experienced such conflict, uncoupled from trauma and personal prejudice?  If not, I wonder why.  I think it offers the highest form of education and a view of creation – the appearance of some thing that is the direct result of opposing forces colliding, yet is none of those forces, but  is something altogether new.  Hope, possibility and potentiality all reside here.  Maybe nothing else is happening, except for that, in every moment and at the subtlest levels.  Our control is minimal, if any.  What do you think?

Pain and Suffering

Intentions are desires set into motion by conscious action.  To set about something and see it manifest is the greatest thing!  Yet expectation that things will turn out as planned is a trap and will lead to disappointment and suffering.

Setting intentions is first.  Making plans is second.  Plans are just vehicles to get you mobile, not absolutes to hook your star to.  The very best things happen when your plans go awry.  Now you know you are in the hands of providence and you have placed yourself there intentionally. 

“Life is pure adventure.  The sooner we realize this, the sooner we will treat life as art” Maya Angelou.  This is my motto.  Thank you, Maya.

It seems I am off the Life Change Stress Scale (Holmes and Rahe).  A score of 300 gives a 90% chance of developing illness.  I score 320!  Fortunately I did not know this when I awoke with excruciating hip pain, after a week in which I broke my toe, had a first migraine headache in ages and other ailment which had not arisen since forever.   

It is all opportunity to work with pain, to work with healing, to work with mind.  Welcome to my home, vulnerability. 

My intention, as a student at Naropa, is to live beginner’s mind, to learn skillful means in working with suffering and pain, mine and others’.  With beginner’s mind, every lesson is fresh and free from self applause or self aggression.  Like a child, I am awed by the moment to moment happenings (happiness and happen come from the same root word, “hap” meaning to come about by chance). 

I met an angel today who offered me body work and touched me deeply.  Another angel, from my cohort, and her children, today invited me to be family and to offer me TLC.  Their sweetness is salve to my loneliness.

In my vulnerability, I am receptive to friendship, love and healing powers all around – connected to the source of happiness – and grateful.

Co-dependence? or Dependent Co-arising?

In exercise during retreat at Naropa yesterday, I was asked to place myself in the center of a circle of seven classmates. The instructions were to control the movements of the people in the circle, non-verbally, through body language, primarily hand signals. It was suggested we control placement of each person’s gaze, as well as body.

In reflection this morning, I wrote the following:

I desired to (needed to?) take care of all others’ comfort. To this end, I looked each person in the eye. What I wanted to say was “I won’t fuck with you. I will not confuse and manipulate you.” The challenge was, do I know how to not do those things in relationship.

I moved each of you around for a moment, trying to place you in the shade, where I felt you would be most comfortable. Since I accepted control, I did not consider that I could communicate non-verbally with you to ask if you were comfortable.

Further, I realize now that just because I thought I should or could be response-able (my new spelling ) for your comfort level, does not mean this is true, especially from your perspective.

But since I am a kind person with a huge and open heart, and you sense this, you want to be kind to me and allow the controlling, so as not to hurt my feelings by refusing to move when I so direct you. All this as if you could or should be response-able for my feelings.

My strength in pushing against your boundaries found your permeability and before we both knew it, or even if we did know it, the merging of boundaries became confusing.  For one thing, it was clear to you that I had your best interest at heart, and you did not mind my taking good care of you as best I could.  You agreeably placed yourself in my care.

Could a situation like this in real life be the initial stage of co-dependence?

I think that by bringing awareness to this inter-play of energies, co-dependence may be arrested, not gotten rid of as though bad, but given refuge, so to speak,  in the form of maître (Pema Chodron defining maitri:(http://maitrimatters.blogspot.com/2009/12/definition-of-maitri.html)  

In so doing, co-dependence might be transformed into dependent co-arising.

A decision I made during the process demonstrates, I believe, some recent growth in my own struggles with co-dependence.

I finally looked into the eyes of each, invited them one by one to stand close to the inner circle, then invited them to lower their eyes with me. We stood close enough to experience inter-connectedness, but within a refuge of individuality and stillness.

At least I recognized the futility of the situation as it was being played out, as well as the opportunity to stand together in connectedness in the moment, whether experiencing suffering or happiness.

I am thinking now about spontaneous co-arising in a new way; that manifest conditions are dependent on spontaneous co-arising. Human consciousness evolves according to individual awareness of its contribution. Relationship of  individuals offers opportunity to communicate accurately verbally and/or non-verbally to support the ground of spontaneity.

I call this a good start. I am grateful to Naropa teachers and students, for offering me this opportunity.

The Zen of Stuff

Stuff happens.

Life requires Stuff.

Stuff sustains life.

Life sustains Stuff.

Stuff sustains Stuff.

I want my life to be about life, not about Stuff.

But what is sustainable life without sustainable Stuff?

Is this the Stuff of life?