Saturday, August 28, 2010

POEM - Wise Words

Wise Words
dedicated to Prajna Paramita

What would wise words be?

Direct, but circumspect words
clear, like well cut diamonds
beautiful smooth and precise
with kind threads
sewn into every accent
and punctuation mark

Lovingly robust words
well fed and etched
with copperplate and curlicues
for additional ornament
and swirl

Words uttered
then placed on the ear
with consummate care
like an Ace on top
of a house of cards.

And how would they be heard?

In heart stopping awe
at the fulfillment
of an antique dream

Swollen with gratitude
as when a prolonged hunger
is finally satisfied

As an invitation
arriving unexpectedly
would strike you dumb

By Vidyavajra

POEM - I do not see death

I Do Not See Death

I do not see death
he is someone who for now
I can blithely ignore

I do not see death
its not in my nature
or daily horoscope

I do not see death,
though I sense his pulse
through hardened veins

I do not see death
yet sometimes he's so close
I could make him tea

I do not see death
though he confirmed me
as a friend on Facebook

I do not see death
because I wear dark shades
in bed at midnight

I do not see death
this wide and happy face
hides an altogether grimmer grin

I do not see death
I do not see
I do not
I do

By Vidyavajra

Friday, August 27, 2010

DIARY 128 - The Abrasiveness of Samsara

A week after the end of the Five Freedoms to Insight retreat at Padmaloka, and I was in an inwardly irascible mood. The retreat had been the most beneficial and fruitful I'd been on in many a year. I've not had any turning around in the seat of consciousness, no major upheavals in how I perceive the world. Though I have perceived, with an increased lucidity, the 'posturing struggles of my ego-based mind' as the retreat leader, Kamalashila, so aptly put it. I took a notebook and filled half of it with hurriedly scribbled explorations of what was coming up. Here are some of the most salient ones.

  • Last year had an underlying feeling of panic about the imminence of my mortality,of there not being time to waste. This year has been characterised by the subtler melancholy of an 'apathetic doubt' that it wasn't worth me bothering making the effort. It became clear, I'd flipped from 'horrified anxiety' to a studied 'indifference,' and that both were states of aversion to really looking at my death implacably straight on.
  • I saw the walls of ideas I've built around myself, the defensiveness of my views, the self- justified cycles of habits that I entangle myself in, that make a boundary of who I see myself to be, and how this often imprisons me in states I really don't want to be in.
  • Further reflected on praise/blame, the underpinning for self-esteem and confidence issues that I've often had to battle with. I ended up drawing a mind map which pretty much incorporated all the major mental potholes I've ever fallen into - all of them trying and failing to paint over perceived failings.
  • This led on to revealing a 'souped-up-ego' that thinks I'm truly a wonder, unique, the greatest, as yet, undiscovered talent, and gods gift to the world. It a bogus confidence, a confection, overcompensating for a perceived lack of the real thing by manufacturing this impostor. Self-inflated balloons inevitably get punctured. Things tend to fall apart, which is why I can find dissatisfaction so hard to bear.
  • Falling short of ideals for myself, raises the old spectre of 'not being good enough,' explaining why I've dropped projects/jobs in the past at the first sign of failing. I appear to be uncomfortable with just being average or ordinary, this turns the imminence of death into a restless, anxious subject matter. I'm running out of time in which to distinguish myself.
  • The 'souped-up-egos' has a flip side - the embittered grouch that undermines any endeavour with persistent carping. I caught myself doing this during a particularly difficult meditation, and before I knew it, it had taken over my whole mental state. Because I tend to set ideals for myself too high, I frequently fail to live up to them. This makes practising Buddhism more than a little tricky for me at times, just getting the balance right.
  • Whenever I'm learning something new, the 'souped-up-ego/embittered grouch pipes up. Its tone is dismissive, it trashes the importance or value of what I'm being taught - I don't need to know this - I know better- basically its resisting all the way. I have to fight my way through this reactivity most times I take on anything new.
  • This 'souped-up-ego tends to be critical of people who are 'too clever for there own good,' They're a bit of a threat, they might pull the blanket and reveal how I really am. This can twist bitterly back on me, until I become strangled by the umbilical cord of my own envy.
  • My external practise of ethics I believe to be in pretty good nick. But I experienced on this retreat how shamefully nasty and virulent this 'souped-up-ego / embittered grouch duo can be, now I know I have some cleaning up of these factors of instability, as Sangharakshita calls them.
  • I discovered I had a tendency to over visualise my breathing when I'm doing the Mindfulness of Breathing practise, creating a subtle distancing in the quality of my awareness, once I stopped doing this I soon dropped into dhyana.
  • What stops me meditating is not weak discipline, but weak inspiration.
After a week on retreat, my back and hip pain disappeared during a particularly potent Vajrasattva Puja, and stayed absent for a further week. This is the first time I've been pain free for over a year. By the end of my first day back at work the back and hip pain has returned, the impermanence of phenomena eh! This probably accounts for the irascibility by the end of this week. I've struggled to stay engaged, the return of the above I have found hard, compounding the expected bumpy retreat return and the regrettable dwindling of the light. What I was in touch with for two weeks was inevitably fleeting once faced with the abrasiveness of Samsara. I'm finding these transition increasingly more painful. Every time its as if I'm being torn out from a beautifully refined painted version of Vidyavajra and pasted back into a crudely drawn cartoon.

I'm getting a sense that something is about to come to an end, without knowing what, if anything, is to replace it.My previous two dream recollections you could see as either optimistic oracles, or pessimistic omens. Either way, the atmosphere of uncertainty, combined with the seemingly unsustainable nature of my current job mix, is producing a nervy restless edge for me to sit on.

DREAM - The Speaking Baby

I'm having a baby. Well, its not me giving birth, but who the Mother is was never clear in the dream, if indeed there ever was one. A baby boy was born by ceasarian. Even at birth the baby is so advanced it talks to me fluently,and knows I'm its Father etc. Within a day its able to walk, and already grown to the size of a two year old. This rapid development continues, and my anxiety grows about how I'll explain this to others. Its unclear, but I appear to have been involved in some sort of genetic experiment. As the days go by, the abnormality of the situation begins to produce increasing amounts of paranoia. What will the neighbours say?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

DREAM - A Ceiling Collapses

I was in a large and rambling old house, it is my house. In places it reminds me of our old family home in Crowle, with North Norfolk Flint knapping mixed in.

I'm walking around it with a female friend and we enter a room where the ceiling is sagging badly. She points it out, I say I must get around to doing something about that. She begins prodding it with her finger, and the bulge in the ceiling moves about. It seems to be collecting a large amount of water there. Despite my protestations not too, she prods right through and the water comes pouring down.

I go upstairs to the room above with a male friend, to view the damage. The whole floor/ceiling is on the verge of collapse. despite my protestations not too, my friend recklessly jumps on the floor and falls straight through into the room below. I start walking around the edges of the fallen floor. Everything is now structurally unsound, the water has obviously been doing more damage than I thought. From the outside of the house there is a long crack down one side, and rumbling noises. Even the opposite end of the house, unrelated structurally, has a sense of the whole house being about to collapse.


Get over the posturing struggles
of your ego based mind