Posts Tagged ‘wisdom’

Crazy Making

I look at myself and those I am close to and I see how we are drawn to actions, feelings, thoughts that are crazy making. Habitual patterns that drive us from motivations arising before consciousness, where the groves are so deep we can’t even see that we are lost in the canyons of our own making.  Our view so limited by the walls we erect that we have no idea of unimpeded space being right where we are.  When I was in the Zen community we chanted ‘You are not near, you are not far.  If you do not see it, you are oceans and rivers away’. I am like that.  True freedom is right here, yet I chose again and again to not see it.  In the bardo of this life I go for confusion.

There is some comfort in seeing the folly of my actions.  Perhaps it is knowing I could in any moment chose something else, swim against the tide of my own making.  I think that as soon as I calm down from this latest craziness I will.  This sounds like my thought that I will change my habits next Wednesday.  Next Wednesday I will stop eating when I’m not hungry, be consistent in my yoga practice, not be obsessed with my new love, do my Buddhist practice everyday which is so nourishing.  I am not near, I am not far.  I am oceans and rivers away.

Now I should pull out the wisdom that makes me seem like I have it all together.  The words that smooth the edges and tidy up the messiness, cover over the insanity that lies in waiting like the panther so patient for its prey.  So fun and triumphant to tell the story when I have emerged as the heroin in my tale, stepping over the ashes of my craziness, waving the banner of victory. Fuck that paper-thin veil.  Fuck the sigh that escapes as I have once again skirted the pit of disaster, pulled back from certain ruin.  Fuck, fuck fuck!

I want to look my craziness in the eye.  Stare down the tunnel of my insanity.  Pull back the curtain of samsaric illusion.  This dance I do is like dipping a toe in the ocean.  Touch in, pull back, run away.  Why not dive into the wave and go into the underworld where there is no orientation, no self.

I’m afraid, that’s why not.  I hold to a sense of self like a life raft in the middle of the ocean.  The waves rise and fall.  I know they are not different from the ocean even though they hold form for a brief moment.  I am the wave.  I like how Leonard Cohen says, “A brief elaboration of a tune.”

So for now I’m singing this song of Linda, riding the waves of my own crazy making, and wishing to one day open my breast and pull my heart out whole.

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CC – Solstice 2012

A few of us were talking about the Solstice and someone said that in the future we would look back on this time and see that there was a shift in our experience of time and we would refer to this change with a new demarcation.  Meaning that at other times in history shifts in perception brought forth a new time signature as BC and AD, so in turn, this time beginning with the Solstice will be viewed as a turning point and will receive a new identifier.  Not wanting to be behind the curve I decided to come up with my own , CC for Clear Consciousness.  Now, I don’t know if this will catch on but I’m going with it.

Why you ask?  I’m doing this because it helps me remember that I want to use this moment to embrace new ways of being.  Here’s the list of intentions I made for the Solstice.

  1. I want to support and participate in intentional communities.
  2. I want to open my heart and see what is good and positive.
  3. I want to release all negativity and see that we are all on the path to greater wholeness.
  4. I want to expand my ability to listen and hear what others are really wanting to communicate.
  5. I want ever-expanding generosity and compassion for myself and others.
  6. I want to find and cultivate relationships that nurture me and keep me in touch with my deepest wisdom.
  7. I want to grow my talents in art, music, gardening, and writing.
  8. I want my yoga to be my life.
  9. I want to use my difficulties as steps on my path to increasing clarity.
  10. I want to learn how to better cooperate and support others in their fulfillment.
  11. I want good health and long life.
  12. I want to experience how I make a contribution to others and how they contribute to me.

The challenge when I write these intentions and ‘ways of being in the world‘ down is they immediately start to show me where my work is.  I’m reminded of Pandora’s Box and when she opened the box how all the challenges came first before hope shined through.  I can tell already that this is not going to be easy and I will have to remember at every moment that I asked for this change.  My old habits of thought and emotion are all to present to ignore, and the energy to persist in them is so strong I can only do mantra to break the groove of my history.  Today, in a moment of despair, I heard myself asking for a healing to stop a cycle of negativity.

One of my biggest pitfalls is when I tell myself a story of rejection and abandonment.  My hurt rises up as a force to push away that which I identify as the hurting source.  I feel angry and tell myself stories to justify my position and then create strategies that only serve to keep me locked into these patterns I want to break.  I don’t even know if the story is true and am reluctant to check in because I’m basically embarrassed by my own behavior.  Generally I’ll come up for air just long enough to notice how I am judging those whom I have identified as judging me.  It is all so seductive out of long familiarity, like an old blanket I wrap myself in.

Now that I have written down my intentions it seems the flood gates have opened and at times I wonder why I ask for ‘my difficulties to be steps for healing’, or ‘to release all negativity’?  Am I really strong enough to face my emotional habits?  I’m glad I, at least, included ‘compassion for myself’.  This is hard to face and the way through is murky.  One thing is clear, I am not saying the phrase ‘new energy’.  I fear it will be code for categorizing and rejecting anything and anyone who I’m at odds with, as in ‘that’s not the new energy’ or ‘they’re the old energy’.  I want to remember that all of us are on our own path to greater wholeness.

So I welcome my list of intentions and have added another list to help myself along the way.

  • I will honor how hard this is for me.
  • I will remember I’m doing my best.
  • I will hold myself with compassion.
  • I’m going for CC, Clear Consciousness.

Happy to say, writing this has brought a healing.  In the language of NVC, sharing myself openly has created a space to get connected and from that touch my need for authenticity, honest communication, and community.  As Garrison Keillor says, “Be well, do good work, and keep in touch”.  So I hope you will keep in touch with me and at some point we can compare notes on how we’re doing in this time of CC – Clear Consciousness.

Do You Have a Yoga Butt?

I recently saw an ad for Old Navy.  The question was, “Do you have a yoga butt?”.  The answer – buy the pants and then you would.

If I take the ad as a reflection of what’s in, then I need to ask myself:  Do I have a yoga butt?  Do I want one?

Its no news to anyone that we are a culture obsessed with our appearance.  The ads that surround us testify to that fact.  Though having a yoga butt may not be my personal issue I am not immune to the wish to look good.

I can laugh at this ad but at the same time know I’m part of this culture that wants to stay youthful.  But the question arises: is that enough?  If it is, then buy the pants or do enough yoga to have the desired objective – a yoga butt.

Still the question persists and I ask: Am I missing something?  Is it enough to have an attractive body?  Is this why I practice yoga?  For me the answer is no, this is not enough.  This last week I read a short work from Rachel Naomi RemenEverything Has a Deep Dream.  You can read the full text at the end.

She says “There is a hidden seed of greater wholeness in everyone and everything.”  She encourages us to befriend life and to “uncover something that is already happening in us and around us and create conditions that enable it.

I like this reading.  She says in her few words truths that I hold dear. For me, she speaks to the deepest meaning of Yoga.

When I come to my yoga practice I am a friend to myself seeking this seed of greater wholeness.  I am coming with the intent to create the conditions for ‘what already is’ to unfold.  In moments of stillness,  I know deep in my bones that all is with me right now, there is nothing else to get.  I say this last statement not out of a hubris of self aggrandizement, but from a place I have touched occasionally that knows without thought that I am complete, fully realized, and that I could not be anything else.

Do I live in this state of awareness, enlightenment?  No.  The Tibetan Buddhist teachings tell me that complete enlightenment is my natural state, that I am already enlightened.  The fact that I don’t experience this are the veils that cloud my vision.  My “avidya”, ignorance and misperception, that fool me into thinking I’m separate, a part of the whole, not wholeness itself.  So I walk the gradual path.  I come to my yoga each day, I carry it with me, and I pick it up when I have dropped it and lost my way.

Do I want a yoga butt?  Do I want enlightenment? Absolutely, I want it all (I’m a baby boomer)!  The joke is, if I’m ever in the experience of enlightenment, there won’t be a Linda to know if she has a yoga butt.

Everything Has a Deep Dream


I’ve spent many years learning
how to fix life, only to discover
at the end of the day
that life is not broken.

There is a hidden seed of greater wholeness
in everyone and everything.
We serve life best
when we water it and befriend it.
When we listen before we act.

In befriending life,
we do not make things happen
according to our own design.
We uncover something that is already happening
in us and around us and
create conditions that enable it.

Everything is moving toward its place of wholeness,
always struggling against odds.

Everything has a deep dream of itself and its fulfillment.

Rachel Naomi Remen

Knowledge and Wisdom

Heritage of Yoga

Knowledge and Wisdom:  What is the difference and how can I cultivate wisdom in my yoga practice?

I place my feet, I lengthen down in the inner calf and lift from my outer arch.  I feel the strength grow from my feet through my inner and outer legs as it weaves a pattern into my pelvis.  I follow this strength up my spine lifting one vertebra off another.  My upper ribs and collar bones lift and roll back and I release my shoulders.  The strength transforms into an experience of length and lightness as it passes up to the crown of my head.  I feel myself strong and tall.  I have taken the form of Tadasana.  But is this the asana Tadasana, the experience that transcends the form?

My eyes tell me that I have placed my body in the correct position.  My nerves, bones and muscles echo the truth of what my eyes see.  My memory of previous experiences affirms that I am in the correct alignment.  All this I know through my senses; my senses which have guided me before there was cognitive thought.  I trust them to be a sure guide in every moment, reflecting the world back to me and me to the world.  This is the sphere of I and other.  This is the world of knowledge.  Knowledge presumes that there is something to know and someone who knows.

There is something more I experience in Tadasana which defeats language.  The moment I begin to describe it, it no longer exists.  This moment is not known in language.  Language is linear, moves in increments along a continuum.  This experience comes whole without a subject and an object.  When the moment is past and I hold the memory recorded in my senses then I can speak of it.  I feel light, no effort to hold myself up in gravity.  There is balance.  There is no in or out, no sense of breathing.  It  is quiet, peacefulness, joyful.  Joy that is like the warmth of the sun, everywhere and nowhere.  This memory is not the moment, but the shadow of the moment.  In the remembering I have separated myself and made my experience solid.  Wisdom is fluid.  It is that which transcends duality, that which cannot be named, but can be known.

So how do I cultivate wisdom in my practice?  In truth, I don’t know.  I believe that at best I can establish fruitful conditions and make a sincere effort.  I can watch out for pitfalls and not be discouraged.  I can hope for blessings and recognize them when they happen.  I don’t think there are any guarantees.  Effort and the right conditions don’t create wisdom, but without them I have little hope.

So I cultivate being present.  I am grateful for finding an authentic spiritual teaching and good teachers.  I am happy to have spiritual friends who guide me and give so generously of their inspiration.  I am blessed with a practice that so easily reminds me when I have dropped it and bears fruit when I persevere.  I walk the gradual path from the foundations of the yamas and niyamas to the apex of samadhi.  I know from previous experiences that any moment can transform into wisdom.  Recently I was sitting at the end of class when I realized that when I am ‘in the state of yoga‘ all eight limbs are present.  That even when it seems I am only walking the path of yoga, I am also the path.  I am not the form Tadasana, but the thing itself.

I am reminded of a comment a Zen master made to a group of us who had just finished a week long meditation retreat.  In essence: ‘That when we have insight (wisdom arising) it is like breaking out of our box into a larger box.  The important moment is when we are between boxes‘.

So each time wisdom arises I move into a larger arena of awareness.  I expand my understanding, my knowledge, and for a brief moment I drop my small self and am a spark of wisdom.

You live in illusion and in the appearance of things.  There is a reality.  You are that reality.  If you wake up to that, you will know you are nothing, and being nothing, you are everything.  That is all.

Kalu Rinpoche