Finally pulled out of Tekoa at 3:30 this afternoon. Some things left undone but mostly everything is finally in motion.

I had terrific experience of being the pleasantly surprised victim of a surprise going away gathering at local coffee shop “Eclairs”. So many kind people that have become friends in my time there. I was really moved. The word community has taken on a much deeper meaning in the last 5 or 6 weeks. More is being revealed. I’m so happy to be 66 years old and still discovering new depth and experience about people and life. True joy.

I did make the first leg of my journey, only four hours and I’m in Boardman on the Oregon side of the Columbia River in very nice, reasonably priced hotel with a good restaurant and great view of the setting sun on river. The first time in my life I just sat and enjoyed a setting without thinking about journey. I’m on one and have no worries, a very good friend is living in my house and taking care of it and my dog and cat. I have opportunity to practice full and complete trust. My life is so rich, good friends and on my way to reconnect with the sangha in Bay area and deepen my Buddhist training while not having any outcome in front of me. Yes, there are some things I would like to happen but I’m really tired of wanting outcomes, so I think I am finally ready to accept what is brought into my life. I’ll accept. I’ll allow, I won’t preclude or exclude. I want to help and to be helped. I bow in gratitude.

moving, as in motion…

This morning I drove 70 miles up the Clearwater River on the Nez Perce Reservation to the town of Kamia. Just west of it, I performed some Buddhist and personal rituals relating to the ashes of both my mother who died five years ago and those of my wife who died six months ago. It made for not only a very full day, since it was over a three hour drive each way, but also one of release and letting go . I have less than two weeks before I move back to the Bay area and lots of things still need to get done. I also have many qualms about the move concerning the care of my dog and cat and my house and belongings. It is very much a chance to practice trust in those that proffer their friendship; and that has always been difficult for me. A residue of the karma I created in my life before I got sober and went straight.

The whole reason for this move initially was the result of karma I created by being infatuated with someone and believing that there was a possible great future relationship  where everything seemed to click and appear do-able. Two mature grown-ups in love, who vowed that there was nothing that could not be talked through. Turned out there were things (or a thing, anyway), that couldn’t be talked through.  I had committed to moving there and the object of my affections refuses to talk to me because of… Well, now, I’m not really sure. It all seems so vapory. Almost like some sort of dream, or dare I say it, delusional. In my wisdom I thought that this was a different thing, that I could bypass the period of mourning and enter into a relationship that was founded on the principle of mutually caring about and being careful of my sick and then dying wife’s feelings, and the propriety of it all.

Not being greedy.

Letting things unfold.

Not ripping open the package.

All sorts of good ideas like that were individually, and mutually, quietly discarded as the heat and momentum built up to meeting and completing, in a way, the beginnings of something that looked very promising; a grown up thought out future with an open endedness to it; All that unfolding.

Seems there were some small details overlooked. I won’t go into those, but suffice it to say that “my nose was wide open”, as we used to say when I was coming up in New York, and I believed that a committed relationship was just that. Oh well. Close the nose and and don’t go crazy and you won’t be committed.

Where Oh Where did my middle-path go?

The things I set in motion for one set of reasons, are now in motion and I can readily assign another newer and more sane set of reasons. They are merely what I should have done in the first place after my wife died. Take a year and go someplace safe where I can practice in a more structured setting everything I’ve been learning, or at least been taught, for these last 30 years with my wife during that time; and see what really unfolds.

Egad! I’m a selfish and headstrong and a make big mistakes sort of fool; but, I am willing to learn. (Most things that I’ve learned that had true value, I learned the hard way.)

To make amends and rectify my mistakes and sit up in the presence of the Buddha’s and the Ancestors and try and actualize the teaching in my life (one more time), and step forward into the Eternal present moment. There is and must be an “Always going on, Always going on, Always becoming…” (A portion of the Prajanparamitta Sutra)

I Take Refuge in the Buddha, for he is my True teacher.

I Take Refuge in the Dharma, since it is the Medicine for all my suffering.

I Take Refuge in the Sangha, since its members, are Truly Wise and compassionate.

when hot, be completely hot…

We’ve had a bit of a heat wave and of course all the small talk revolving around weather and to some degree (pun intended), the whole issue of Climate Change. In our community which sits in one of the six richest soil districts in the whole world. We are in the area known as the Palouse in Eastern Washington State, a mile from the Idaho border; definitely farm country but not hardscrabble by a long shot. Wheat, Peas and Lentils dry farmed. These farmers have it real easy, but not to hear them tell about it. In the ten years I’ve been here I have never heard a farmer express satisfaction with the weather. It’s just not in their genetic make-up. Anyway, one thing I do like about all the weather talk is that it is one topic that usually promotes agreement and consensus in opinion.

Some things we agree on.

Sure is a hot one today!

Yep! But good sleepin’ weather.

They say it’ll cool of come

Friday. Yeah! That’s what

I heard too, maybe even some

Rain by Monday. We sure

Can use it. Can’t hurt, long

As it’s not gullywashers

From a Buddhist perspective the agreement on all things constantly changing comes in just a few forms that we repeatedly see and often misinterpret. Weather, aging, health, wealth, jobs and children and neighbors and friends and enemies. the mis-interpretation begins when we assign outside conditions and causes to the observable phenomena of change; rather than looking at the phenomena in how it presents itself within us, throughout the day and throughout our lives.

In other words, there is no outside to the universe.    We are all in it.     Completely.

We are thin upon the ground, and here.

Had lunch today at the Mexican restaurant at the St. Maries, ID golf course. Good food and good company. Went with a good spiritual friend (that  I’ve grown close to for the almost 10 years I’ve lived in this area), who has offered teaching, advice, solace, ceremony and stillness, as needed; and is just a joy to know and be around. In a few weeks I’ll be leaving the area and want to visit with friends as much as time will allow. He is a Buddhist monk of 34 years as a monastic and lives very quietly in this small rough little logging/outdoor sports town and quietly helps a small sangha that is spread from Sandpoint, ID to Tekoa, WA (my town), down to Santa and Moscow, ID; with the odd visits into Montana and small groups there.

This is how the dharma spreads. Quietly. Thank you Reverend Master, for your teaching and presence (presents).

Three hours to the south of us in Joseph, OR. another couple of monks are quietly teaching the Dharma to a small dedicated congregation. Both are female monks and in just this one big circle we have the actuality of the Noble Fourfold Sangha; Lay men and women and Monastic women and men. In noparticular order of hierarchy or preferment. Just the four forms of training. Wonderful and inclusive; yet, I must remember that all religion is composed of volunteers.

Life is truly good.

I think I’ll go sit quietly

In the downstairs meditation

And ceremony hall.

Blowing Zen…

Todays struggle was to not spin out. Just keep doing that which seems good to do and not let expectations arise in a form that is not helpful. So far so good. I put to rest a yearning when I learned that there was no way for it to be realized. So far so good.

I am reading a book called “Blowing Zen” by Ray Brooks about his journey to Zen through taking up the Japanese bamboo flute called Shakuhachi. Very good read and informative. I’ve been listening at night to an album of Zen Shakuhachi healing music, that I had originally played for Linda during her last decline and now I listen to it as I fall asleep. The cat and dog both like it as well. I do have my cat available for adoption, but no takers yet. She’s a truly great cat and I’m getting a little worried. We’ll see.

My karma and my cat’s karma are like her gravity and my gravity.

The same and similar in many ways, but experienced differently.

When I board an airplane, I am in a planeload of people with whom

I share some karma; If that plane crashes, it’s still that karma, and,

Very different;   yet,      the same and similar              in many ways.

 

 

Packing & Unpacking…

The next ten days or so will have us in the high 90’s every day. Real Summer. I have given myself ’til the 21st to have everything packed and stored so that the tenant can move into the house while I finish preparing for the move to the Bay area. I’ll be living at one of our temples for a time.

My wife died last January and I never took the time to slow down and take stock of this massive change in my way of being and doing. I got involved in ramping up an old smoldering friendship and desire that felt very grown-up and involved a friend of ours. Nothing was ever acted on in my wife’s lifetime but the desire pump was certainly primed. Anyway, things went too fast and that has all burned down to the waterline. So, now I have to take the time to see who I was, what I was doing, and why?

There were mistakes made because of not seeing things the way they actually were, and there were mistakes made because of a shared delusion. Very old karma that needed help. It may have gotten some help or it may have been fertilized and nurtured; and there may be more to this in other ways and days.

For now, however, there needs to be a time to settle down and strengthen the practice and be in an atmosphere of training and support rather than wishing and hoping and contention. Two things are sort of operative…

There’s no Fool

Like an Old fool.

And, it’s never, ever,

Too late to Wake

Up! and step

Forward into the

New day.  Just

Ahead. Of us.