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.

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