Dogs from the Humane Society. Hunting is a very sad way to entertain oneself. I loved knitting with my great aunt as a teen. Om Mani Padme Hum. Favorite book is Brave New World. Favorite Autobiography is Janet Frame’s. I like a home with lots of plants. My favorite movies are ones I watch with my dad. A cedar chest full of grandma’s quilts. Sunrise is a very special time. I always feel at home where there is a Buddha statue. The Dharmmapada saved my life. Breaking Bad. “Put a Bird on it.” Punk rock of years past. Painful memories fade and love fills the spaces. Fresh farm eggs. Snakes scare me. Guacamole. New Mexico. Sand Dunes Hot Springs. Khenpos. Rinpoches. Dharma brothers and sisters. Art museums. Libraries. Turquoise and Silver. Western art. Jack White. Johnny Cash. Buddy Holly. 1965 Mercury Comet. Tesla Model S. Spinning wool is relaxing but I no longer have time for it so I will sell my spinning wheel. Mount Princeton Hot Springs in the snow. Manitou Springs after a big snow. Williams Canyon hikes. Facebook is a wast of time. Jazz. Live music is wonderful. I like to listen to my mom talk. The feel of crisp air and smell of apples bring back wonderful childhood memories of family picnics. I miss my cousin Bruce, he lives so far away. I used to be a brat and now I am not. Frida Kalho. Chogyam Trungpa. Karmapa Chenno. I sleep better with my husband in bed with me. My children were so darn cute when they were little. Star gazing is best done in a remote high desert. I love the sound of crickets. Charles Dickens. The sound of children playing in a pool is comforting. Women make the best comedians. I have my grandma’s jewelry. Antique clocks. House Margaritas on the rocks with salt. Homemade mead wine. Pictures of loved ones. Home is here.
About 22 years ago I had my first present and complete moment. A very spacious moment. A moment that time just paused. A moment I wished all beings in the world could have shared and enjoyed.
Life can tend to become very dramatic and discursive. As a young adult I was very caught up in this mind play of unsteadiness .I had been very busy and wrapped up into my thoughts of the good, bad and ugliness of life. As a young adult my mind was so busy with who am I, what am I doing and what are others doing that I had not had a moment of clarity.
I remember this moment so clearly for so many reasons. This was the first time that all became complete spaciousness. It was the first time I intentionally took time for myself, on my own dime, thus making my own decision to go and do what I needed for my body and mind. It was a time of a of close friendship; a friend who is so relaxed, open, honest and kind with herself and everyone with who she was with.
So many ingredients came together to make a perfect recipe of complete Absoluteness.
So what is that moment of spaciousness you may wonder. It really does not matter what the moment actually was because it was a close personal experience that you or I would not be able to duplicate. I was on a weekend get away with a friend. I was taking a night swim on a dark, snowy, star filled night in a mountain hot spring pool. I floated on my back and inhaled the sight of the star filled sky when smack… a flash of Nirvana.
I will always carry that moment in my heart because it was the first time I was able to really be a peace. So now my intention is to bring all these ingredients into my everyday life to care for myself and others. To be the catalyst for the openness that people need in their lives.
Today I sat in on a teaching on the practice near and dear to Tibetian Buddhists, Ngondro. The practice is defined as a preliminary practice upon entering into the Vajrasattva Path. My understanding is that even though it is considered a preliminary practice one may accomplish enlightenment by the practice(s) of the Puja. The practice of Ngondro, as explained, is the bridge between the practitioner and the Karmapa’s heart and mind, explaining the meaning of the Lineage of Blessings. Much to my suprise the Lama’s I consider to be my primary teachers were so open and generous with information.
Dear Khenpos went over breathing techniques that are important to clear the head and to begin to open channels in the body. Direction of how to do a proper prostration. One good prostration is more important than many prostrations done with a discursive mind. Refuge is key. In the Mahayana tradition one will take refuge to the 3 Jewels but in the Vajrayana tradition one takes refuge in The Guru, a Deities, Protectors, Buddhas, Dharma and Sanga. To begin with one holds their hands in an Anjali mudra, the hands are held together and cupped closed as if your are holding a precious Jewel, a Wish Fulfilling Jewel. The position of the hands when starting a prostration is at the heart, this is in respect to the Buddhas. The second position is at the forehead, this is in respect to the Buddha Body. The third position that one holds his hands is at the throat, in respect to Buddha Speech. The fourth position one holds their hands is at the heart, respecting the Buddha Mind. When prostrating one will begin in standing position then kneel while placing both hands and forehead to the ground either by half prostration or full body prostration. By touching knees, hands and forehead to the ground one thinks to purify their 5 negative actions in order to increasing 5 positive actions. When prostrating one is to visualize that he/she is leading all sentient beings, of the 6 realms, into refuge. It is very bad if one think only of oneself while doing prostrations.
Devotion as Khenpo reviewed it is as follows: the first level of devotion is devotion from inspiration of a teacher or guru. The second kind is devotion as a result of wanting to be like your inspiration. The third and most powerful kind of devotion is unswayed trust in your teacher / guru.
While this is only the beginning of the this practice so much was taken away from this 2 hour instruction. I look forward to practicing as instructed by my teachers. I look forward to learning and hearing more of the practice in the following months. As much as one reads and reads and even practices a Puja it is so important to have the support from a Master Practitioner. So many blanks and questions are filled in and answered. The completeness of the practice is realized. I can blog about this but it is no more than my own words to describe what I found value in. It is not the practice. It is only hints.
My morning ritual includes one of my favorite things. The Aeropress coffee maker. I especially enjoy French Press coffee but this method is better; Brewing time is less, there are no grounds in my coffee and the mess in very minimal.
Do you know where Coffee came from and who invented it? The legend is that an Ethiopian goatherder noticed that his goats where more “spirited” and had a “spring” in their step, after eating berries from a certain tree. “Jumping Goats”. Legend continues that the goathearder reported his observations to a local monastery after which the monks would gather the berries and make a drink out of it. From there the potent berry’s news spread. In the 15th century Arabs were the first to plant coffee crops. During the 17th century coffee became popular (over 300 coffee houses in London) yet very controversial ( referred to as the ‘biter invention of Satan’). During this time the Arab’s monopoly changed when the Dutch was able to obtain coffee seedlings. Coffee then spread worldwide by such companies as the Dutch West India Company, armed merchant ships with a strong presence in the Atlantic, where a coffee seedling was planted and took root in Martinique. Coffee plantations quickly spread in the Caribbean to Africa and the South and Central Americas. So now when we drink our morning coffee we can take a visual historical journey of these favorite little berries.
If you enjoy historical fiction I recommend reading The Coffee Trader by David Liss
http://www.ncausa.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=1 for referenced history.
The kids go back to school in a week. There is both relief as well regret in my heart. Relief that there is going to be a regular schedule for the kids. Regret because I feel like I did not provide them a summer to look back on and have fond memories.
I decided to try to work during weekdays this summer. Now that the kids are a bit older I thought that they would enjoy mom being gone during the first part of the day. I worked out a shift, 5am to 1pm, with modifications to accommodate my son’s swim team schedule. In the past I either took summers off, worked nights or worked weekends. This left the kids with either one or both parents at home with them.
So what did the kids do this summer? Not much but sat at home on the computer, playing video games on the game console and watch TV. Their father and I decided that they should not go out and play with their friends when a parent was not home. A side note here my son received a knee full of stitches after “jumping” his electric scooter. With a teenage son it is always best to be available for such mishaps. My son, Robin did get to the pool 2-3 times a week, depending on if mom and dad was able to juggle our own work schedules. Sadly, my son, would sometimes have to wait, up to an hour, for me to get off work to come get him. When I did come home I would take a nap to catch up on sleep lost. In my own mind, by the time I got up from my nap the day was literally shot.
Looking back I really feel that this summer was a wast. A big wast of my efforts. Gone opportunities to have fun with the kids. I will not get back the time lost to build my relationships with my teens . Squandered opportunities for the kids to have the time to explore with friends and family. Lost time to build their own self-esteem, that I feel middle and high school so efficiently dismantles.
If I had to do it all over again I know I would have something different? What would I do different, I do not know. All I know is that it is difficult to parent and I continually second guess my efforts.