The Buddha, The Dharma, The Sangha

"Spiritual powers and their wondrous functioning--hauling water and carrying firewood." --Layman Pang, upon his realization

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Dog Shit & Daffodils

What is it about the dichotomies we create and why do we cling to them so ?

Sometimes they are ridiculously funny and obvious, poking fun at our need to make separations, to say, "this is good, but yuck, I don't like that."

Other times we simply don't see the connections, the state of interbeing we all exist within, which is nothing but our lives, seen without delusion.

As an artist, I'm aware that I break artistic expression into categories and sub-categories, of time, place, medium and intent. I make instantaneous judgments about what "works" and what doesn't, about what can stay but what needs to go--I have been trained in this way, to be discerning and to continually question the mark I make, or the form I intend.

All good in the world of technical skills, but too many times it feels like putting one foot to the gas while stepping on the breaks with the other!

Have you ever actually tried to do this in a car or with your bicycle? All that power to move forward is thwarted by the power to remain unmoving! It's a very strange feeling, as if being caught in a maelstrom!
(Safety note: don't try this on a bike, you'll end up on the ground.)

We are all creative beings, I believe that, and when we get into the groove without getting our heads in the way, we can all experience a freedom that seems to liberate whatever we are engaged in. The energy is fresh and spontaneous, we just need to step out of our own way to allow it to be manifest.

I've been stuck lately. But maybe "stuck" isn't even the proper word.
What is this?
In the past, without my practice, I wasn't aware enough to notice this state of stuck-ness, and so my habitual reaction was to flail around pathetically and loudly, letting everyone within earshot know how frustrated I was, and damn it, you had better stay out of my way,( but only after I've made you miserable too.)

With my practice, I recognize places of stagnation and places of primal growth, places of having my foot on both the accelerator and the breaks and places where liberation is just a breath inhaled and exhaled, so simple.

I think I'll just call it the dog shit and daffodils syndrome.

And this is how it actually appears in our small backyard:
The dog, through the winter, uses the backyard for his daily constitutional, and beneath the snow, we really don't give the piles of dog shit much thought.
But as the snow disappears and Spring brings a bit of sunlight and warmth, all those piles emerge. And from the dog shit sprout sturdy shoots of crocus, snow drops and finally, now, daffodils! In some places, if you look closely enough, you can see how the shoots and stems have shot right up through all of that undercover--dog shit, branches, leaves, onion grass, and it's a remarkable thing to really notice, because all of it exists together, in a big mash of living.
Does any living thing complain about the dog shit? Does a daffodil decide not to bloom amongst the filth?
Everything living just does what it is so brilliantly designed to do, under all conditions.

I need to take a lesson here.

These days, I find myself imagining standing in one place and running like crazy when I feel stuck. I'm going so fast, but it doesn't seem as if I'm going anywhere and I'm just wearing down the treads on my new sneakers.
Where is that energy going? What will it create? Who will it benefit? How will it be manifest?

But I also know that being stuck is a delusion. Energy waxes and wanes. The Dharma flows even when it seems quiet, maybe especially when it seems quiet.
Deciding not to accept the usual dichotomies allows us to simply be the stream of energy, in whatever form it happens to take.
Be it a Lion's Roar or the whisper of a blade of grass, the Dharma is still present.
Resting here, just as it is, is the trick.

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