Brilliant Dharma talk given by Jack Kornfield.
thank you so Dharma Seed.
i’m going on a silent meditation retreat in a couple of days.
five days in the absence of phones, reading, speaking, & gently avoiding eye contact.
for over two months i’ve been waffling between going and not going.
in the span of a day i would wake up and be sure
i’m NOT going
and these are the reasons why i’m NOT going.
(a person who i have feelings of attraction for is going to be there… a person who i can’t stand because she tried to break up a friend’s new marriage is going to be there… i’ll earn money if i stay and go to work insteeaad… people don’t seem to wash their hands after going to the baaathroom… i really enjoy sleeping in my comfy bed at hooome… trekking uphill in the snow to use the outhouse is gonna be cooooold…)
then by mid-day i’d completely change my mind and be sure
and these are the reasons why i’m GOING.
(it’s of benefit to work with my feelings, it’s good practice to just feel… taking time off seems like a gift right now… money isn’t everything… helping out in the kitchen on retreat would feel good to give back to the commuuunity… being silent is nourishing on a deep leeevel… reconnecting with folks i haven’t seen for a year could be really greaaaat…)
i threw the I-ching (numerous times), processed with people (numerous times), wrote a “pro & con” list (at least twice)…
you get the idea.
less than two days before the retreat
i still catch my mind waffling.
but i’m going.
see, i saw this video the other day
(if you watch it you HAVE to watch it through the end of his reading… for the redemption…)
and this video is what cemented (okay, wet-cemented, slow-drying-wet-cement) my emailing the person leading the retreat that YES i’m GOING to be there yes
because my heart is similar to C. Anthony Martignetti’s heart
o the aggression.
i’m ashamed by this aggression that lives in me/is me.
and how fast it comes up
how FIRST it often arrives
aggression before the softening
(sure, i’m glad that there even IS a softening)
sadly, i’m not one of those “laid back” people
when people say “you’re easy to be around” i’m both astonished and honored
because oftentimes, especially when i’m out in the world, i’m walking around with a pretty tight heart
or maybe perhaps,
a soft heart, very much tucked away behind a lot of hardness.
sure, things soften it, open a few of the (bolted) gates and doors letting in fresh air…
…seeing an elder shopping at a store…
…witnessing couples holding hands…
…someone helping somebody else out…
…being with animals…
but i don’t go around life with an open heart, mostly.
i have to remember to soften, to be open.
and i judge myself for this.
that the aggression is more like breathing than softness is…
in that aggression is the unconscious habit.
don’t have to think about it, it just arises.
to be soft, out in the world, i have to actively practice it.
so when i saw that video, i was reminded of my heart – like looking in a mirror, hearing his story, and remembering
that while being on retreat is no proverbial walk in the park
(even though there is a lot of walking)
there is a sort of heart-tenderizing which occurs…
if you don’t happen to see any “good morning” photos for a 5-day stretch, you’ll know why.
wishing you all a Happy New Year
aka: obedient plant
this is a photo taken the following day after a MAJOR torrential rainstorm last week.
i was looking at the image today, and thinking about why i took the photo on my dinky phone in the first place.
so this plant stands tall. taller than me. that would be taller than 5′ and almost a couple inches.
Physostegia stands very tall, very erect, very upright.
up up up
the bees love this stuff. great perennial bee food for late summer, in case there’s no goldenrod in your area, it comes in a variety of colors, AND it’s lovely to boot.
the pummeling rain laid down every stalk growing.
all the way down to the ground… were talking horizontal physostegia.
the next day, this is what was going on… the flowers began growing towards the sun.
now, i’ve seen this phenomena before in various places. it’s nothing really new… trees, plants, etc do this all the time.
they are so smart, plants.
such a great reminder.
sometimes i get really sad about things… mostly what’s going on in the world… and sometimes i just get all worked up about things in my mind.
i’m not proud of this, but it does happen, still.
seeing the shift in the flower growth in one cycle of a day really struck me. so i took a picture. to remind me.
to do the things i know i need to do to find my ground, or re-balancing, given the nature of the shifting and changing of the world, both inside and out.
this obedient plant reminds me of the strong will that’s in all beings – plants and critters alike – and the true nature of all plants and critters is to grow… that there’s an inner will, like what’s in a seed, to grow, to change… but in my case, it may take a bit of discipline to guide my way there.
also, the importance of honoring the times of darkness… i mean, for all i know, the Physostegia needed that time through the night to find its bearings… that the time through the night was integral to the 90 degree shift towards the sun.
now, don’t get me wrong – i’m not one of those ‘it’s all light’ sort of people.
i’m SO not.
i’m a big fan of the balance of light AND shadow –
anyone who has done the experiment of trying to grow grass in 100% darkness or 100% light will find out pretty soon that plants need a balance of light and dark for health.
this quote i read yesterday may have been the spark of inspiration for taking steps towards practicing yoga, and meditating regularly again. honestly, i’m not really sure. i suppose it doesn’t matter.
but i do know, that any steps i take to settle this wild-rabbit-mind, through mind-training & focused body movement will make a beneficial impact on/in the entire world.
it’s a gooder… enjoy:
by Joan Chittister, from Uncommon Gratitude
“Darkness deserves gratitude. It is the alleluia point at which we learn to understand that all growth does not take place in the sunlight.”