WTP? (Where’s the problem?)

It’s been a couple of weeks since I wanted to post anything. I am in middle of a retreat and also got quite sick for a couple of weeks. Several factors that resulted in quite a bit of discomfort, physical and otherwise; not to mention the endless quality of this Winter.

Sprinkle the above with a weird social/cultural/political uneasiness and one has the makings of smallish personal storms. The good news is that all of this exists within a context, like weather within a climate. Some assumptions regarding weather can be made within and about any given climate, we just shouldn’t be too surprised when the assumptions don’t run true to standard climate models.

So, discomfort and a need for understanding, along with a drive towards resolution and ultimately, a satisfactory explanation, of how, why and what, all went Wrong.

Sadly nothing is ever going Wrong, its just not turning out the way I expected.

Or, things have appeared for which I was not prepared, after all I am a…(Long description of me, my past, my understanding of life, my opinions, insights and a generous helping of blather to make me feel like I know anything; or that I have can control any aspects of life around me.) I can barely control the life within me; and within That, I can only moderately control my reaction to all this weather, let alone have any influence on the climate.

I guess I’m trying to say I’ve been quite uncomfortable for a while now and it is all just fine.

I am Man, hear me Grumble!

There is always learning going on in this torrent of teaching I’ve been offered, but at times it has all been a bit much. I couldn’t even retreat to comfort food or books; I had no appetite and reading hurt my eyes and my head. So, I just had to be by myself. Scary at times, but actually very do-able.

I have to remember that one of the basic premises of the Buddha’s teaching is the prevalence of dis-comfort and dis-ease in daily life, which is solely due to my own picking and choosing and insistence on things being a certain way. My way.

I am sure the “My” is the major clue as to where the problem, and the solution, are nested. Together.

Awakened by fear, doubt and worry. Some Trouble was brewing percolating inside. It

Seemed real, engaging with it, it grew. Realer. Even more than everything I knew to be true.

Going slowly to sit near my altar I glanced and saw.

Stillness at center. In the Buddha, 

On the left, determination in Fudo-myo,

On the right calmness in

Avalokiteshvarahe,  Regarder of the Cries of the World.

Within the nest of the Hara,

Peace at

Rest, and

Ease sharing

Space and time with 

Fear, doubt and worry. 

They look alike when sleeping.

 

 

 

S’no worries…

An interesting week. Last Sunday at the Wallowa Buddhist Temple; after meditation the monks and lay practitioners in attendance conducted and participated in, a Memorial Service for my wife Linda. She died on the 29th of January, 2014 and since the dates coincided with the last day the temple was going to be open before the monks went on their own retreat for the month of February, it seemed good to offer this service. A nice discussion followed along with tea and some goodies and a delicious pot-luck lunch. A nourishing day for many of us, and Linda too.

Went north for a few days and returned very tired from trip and visiting with friends in Tekoa. It’s taking a few days to get back into retreat mode and am a little sick but encouraged because its almost 40 degrees outside.  Spring!  But not, Sproing!!                     That will probably come around March/April.

Part of my personal winter retreat is reading, slowly, the collection of poems titled “The Mountain Poems of Stonehouse” a Chinese hermit/recluse/monk/poet from the 14th Century, translation and commentary by Red Pine, who has done many fine translations over the years. I read a few each day and in a couple of weeks I’ll have gone through the book and then plan to go through it again, writing my own notes relating to the poems and my personal journey along the roads/trails and thickets of Zen.

Also, just finished a nice novel titled “Dictator” by Robert Harris its about Cicero the Roman statesman who was instrumental in various ways (and the recorder) of the changes that took place in The Roman republic from roughly 65 BC to the Triumvirate that ended in the Octavian elevation to Caesar. It’s politically understanding, in the sense that there is nothing new in politics and everyone scrambles, all the time, and they never really know what they are doing. They are just driven by the karma for power and success, and in those days things rarely ended in peaceful retirement. Its based on reality because Cicero left huge quantities of writings and letters. In a way it’s like Procopius’ “Secret” History, or the “Secret History of the Mongols” they  give us a look at reality not legend.

So, in light of todays political angst, the histories and the views of a recluse monk I seem to be landing squarely on the side of stillness. Lord knows I’ve done my share of creating karma that needs help. I’d better get to it and quit all the worry. I do have to remember that worry is also information and teaching, pointing me too…

The snow is so white and furious in its calmness

Just laying there, perching here, sitting on a stump

Quiet and very present. My squinting is making me

Tired and the tension in my eyes is hard to separate

From the worry even though the worry is much,

Much older than the snow. No, no that’s not so…

Snow and worry, water, ice, ocean, accepting, peace.