Friday, October 06, 2006

after the thunder and rain

The day after my last post I listened to Jetsunma teach. Since returning to MD she has often been teaching on Sunday mornings, which is a wonderful blessing; it is what she yearns to do, and it is the nectar we need in order to change.
Because of the time difference it is 8am in AZ. I sit in the small log cabin kitchen, prayer book on the table by the window, and listen, the phone pinned to my ear. It is an extraordinarily intimate experience, I can almost feel her breath on my skin, and it truly seems that her voice arises within my mind, not from outside. I take detailed notes of her very words (i always excelled at dictation!), something I never do when I am present in the Temple, there it feels like a distraction. And because I am alone, the dogs perhaps tumbling in play in the next room, I experience the freedom to respond deeply, spontaneously from my heart. I have sobbed as her words cut to the bone, exposing the confusion of my habits, which lead to separation from the truth, and therefore suffering.
Last Sunday Jetsunma said something that sat me up straight. Probably of less significance to many others, in the context of the entire teaching, but a sharp reminder for me. She was teaching on how important it is to continually engage in activities which create merit or virtue, including prayer and meditation. She pointed out that especially when you don't feel like it, that is exactly the time to do it, because it involves some wisdom and understanding. Then she said (not a direct quote, my pen was stationery at this point) - anyone can do it when they feel good, "anyone can have an experience up on a hill!"
This startled me, because of its simple truth and because even as I wrote my last post I had a slightly queasy feeling that something was not right. The something being, that although I understand the words I write, I do not understand the sense. I mean, I have no accomplishment and no experience. i am definitely the anyone on a hill!
One essence (to me) of the teaching came home in that one phrase. It reminded me I need to be mindful of my actions and speech, to lead a conscious life and never, ever, accidentally or otherwise, appear to be other than where and who I am. Because if not, i am all asquew, no alignment at all. It is the moments of non-choice, as well as the times we are mindful, that all add up!
I guess this is a sort of disclaimer, reminiscent of those things they have to say on American TV ads ( a most peculiar cultural habit)....that truly I am just like you and don't ever mean to suggest otherwise, and that what I hope to do is share with you my journey, because wherever we are, somehow we are in this together.
I went to town this week, something I very rarely do. "Hitched" a ride with Mark; after he dropped me off I walked to the Basha's carpark, where I was ambushed by grief. It's not that I miss shopping at Bashas per se, it was more that it catapulted me into a different time, some years ago, when I lived here alone and used to go with my then 1 dog Gypsy every week or two for our big excursion, or on the way to Sedona to visit friends for a few days, which I did every 6-8 weeks. Those times have long, long since gone - truly water swept over the cliff and into the sea of the past - but somehow that familiar place put me in that out-dated time frame, and I was struck with a sense of loss. It's not that I wish them back, but there they were in my mind. Sometimes the impermanence of our lives is more obvious; although they change all the time, every second, at some particular moment we may recognise this, by hearing a song, or looking at a photo, and we get to taste the sorrow of letting go. Or the joy of forward movement; they are both cut from the same cloth, it just depends on the light as to which colour we think we see.
The weather has been turbulent for the last 24 hours - thunder and torrential rain. In the middle of the night one clap was so low it seemed to arise from the creekbed, not the sky. I love when the sky is cast iron and the air cool. After the rain the land is alive, rejoicing. And ultimately, so am I. Despite the tears or hard times, there is nowhere else I want to be other than in my teacher's heart, her voice awake in my mind.

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