Saturday, September 30, 2006

inside the view

Is it early summer again? The weather delights in that game. After a frosty dip, complete with nighttime fire last week, the days are again robust and full, brimming with sunshine and joyful birds and skies streched with blue, way past the hilltops. Yesterday late afternoon I walked with my tribe part-way up the steep hill at the back of the property, known quite simply as 'the jeep trail' (even on maps!). Though I am sceptical a jeep could actually traverse the rugged, washed out incline right now. Hard to find even a footing, particularly going down and being pulled by two determined dogs who have not learnt the meaning of 'slow'.
We reached a sort of halfway point, Gypsy and I. The others of course were since long gone, way up the hill (why stop?). I turned, and felt my breath and heart expand. There was the valley, laid out in its splendour, the edges and hills glowing with gold. Everything was clear - the ranchhouse and the blue-tarped dog kennels, the rusted roof of the log cabin, the wolf homes and prayer flags high on the meadows. The trees all shades of green, the sky ruffled by one or two clouds. I laughed, and said out aloud " Guru Rinpoche, I need to get out of the valley more often, to open my heart. I get so closed in and tight!" Because its true; in that moment 'it' all fell away, any stress or tension or ' i know i'm right'. There was no room for that in all this space and beauty. There was no room for anything other than big, open, joy. If I could have fallen into the view, I would have have, right then. Which of course is quite silly, because in truth I live in the heart of what I was seeing.
We are always reminded of view on this path, it is such a fundamental and vital starting point, the very foundation of recognising who we are and the nature of truth. So simple, yet sooo much easier said than done!! We fuddle around with trying to 'get it', or I do. I twist and turn, take my glasses on and off, put drops in my eyes, squint. Not literally, perhaps, but with my mind, as I try to reconcile that what appears before me is the trappings of my heart.
Now, my heart is no different than yours. It is not my valley, it is ours. That is one aspect of view. That the edge of this valley, as I perceive it, all dripping with late autumn sunshine, is only how I perceive the world, today, just then. But that is so fluid, like my moods, and no different in essence than what you can see. As Jetsunma tells us, there is no place where she ends and we begin. There is a continuity, a vastness, a pristine sameness, that we like to carve up into neat (or ragged) parcels of time and place, and then label them for safe-keeping.
This is the silly mistake we continue to make, day after day, life after. Creating distinction where there is none, and then reacting to our own creation. We have forgotten to listen to the goodness of our hearts, to recognise the message they never cease to beat. And because we forget, we are blessed that kind teachers - in so many guises - appear in our world to remind us. It does not matter what your faith is, because the view is all-encompassing compassion, with no distinction. Not one.
It seems to me (and believe me, I am still working on this, just like you), that because the view and compassion are different colours of the same luminous essence, we need to always embrace them both equally in our lives. We ultimately don't 'get the view' only by squinting harder and trying to think what it means, but by leading a life of compassionate service to others. And as we become our compassionate nature more deeply, the separation will diminish, and the view become evident. One supports the other, is the other. It is only we who set ourselves apart, halfway up the hill, and yearn to be in the valley where we actually live.
I need to climb the hillside sometimes to remind myself of this. To experience the stillness, the beauty, the enormity. The sameness. And to wish that every being may have the oportunity to stand on a hill, or in a church, or by the sea, or simply in their minds, and glimpse that view which is their own heart, and to know its fullness, its goodness. However it may look in that moment, it is vast, beautiful, luminous. And yearning for you to remember, and recognise its nature as your own.

Monday, September 25, 2006

waiting for the first heartbeat message

it has been a long wait between posts, for many reasons which I cannot fully explain. I went to summer Retreat, which was an experience I cannot describe in any simple way other than to say I feel extremely blessed and grateful for this opportunity.
Then began the waiting for the first heartbeat message, which is what my computer told me it was doing when i could not go on-line; a comment which i contemplated again and again, rolling it around in my mind like hard candy on the tongue. In a way, we are always waiting for that message, the sound of our heartbeat, trying to interpret the confusion of our feelings. I have experienced that a lot in recent weeks. While on retreat my external world shifted, creating ripples of change both so huge and so infinitesimal I cannot even recognise them. Jetsunma moved from Sedona to Maryland, which for all of her students is a wake-up call, a time to re-align oursleves with her activity, intention. To re-commit to living with and for loving-kindness and compassion.
At first i did not think it would have such an immediate impact on me; having lived here the whole time I have been in the US, there were long stretches of time when I would not see Jetsunma. But as it became clear that the move will not be brief, and for other, internal, reasons, I fell into a deep hole with dark slippery sides, and so narrow and steep that I could no longer recognise the sliver of light at the top. Within the hole was a solitary pool of grief, in which I swam in seemingly endless circles.
I knew it would not last forever - nothing does - but it was a hard, painful time. I just sat with it, as with a sorrowful child whose world has been torn apart. Waiting to know that first heartbeat message, which is ever present but whose rhythm is sometimes hidden from our ears.
The internet access was finally fixed - naughty squirrels had chewed through the line - re-linking me with the world. But then blogger refused me access, no matter how hard i tried; hence now a new blog, a new beginning. It feels like a new beginning in so many ways. There is a lot of activity here, as we plan to accomplish Jetsunma's vast vision at the Valley. Embracing the potential, moving forward inside and out.
I have also been to MD for a sacred weekend of empowerments. While there another nun told me something Jetsunma said to her many years ago, " There is nothing you can do to make me love you more, there is nothing you can do to make me love you any less". I have held these words closely in the last weeks. It reminds me that no matter where Jetsunma may appear to be, the quality and essence of which she is display is present everywhere, always. I cannot be closer nor farther away. That nature of love is constant through time and space, like the sky which embraces the earth.
If only we all felt that way, towards each other, or neighbours, our 'foes'. Imagine if every one in the world started from a foundation of unconditional love, not the topsy-turvy, erratic way we relate, creating conflict and torment and division. Perhaps this is the first heartbeat message we all need to hear, not with our ears, but our lives.