February 19, 2011
Pema Chodrin says we must learn to turn arrows into flowers. When the Buddha sat under his tree, he was faced with his inner demons who continuously shot arrows at him. Theses arrows are the nasty thoughts our mind spins. The Buddha, while being bombarded with his arrows, learned to turn the arrows into flowers. Everyday I sit on the mat, I am showered with arrows. You can't expect anything less, really; this is the way our minds work. I sat there and felt the arrows of self pity and doubt and frustration poke and prod me. The only thing I could manage to do is get myself to put my face up to the sun coming in through the window and gently smile. That's it, that's all I could manage, and the energy shifted.
I think we tolerate the arrows without trying to change them into flowers. It's like watching television and being bombarded with commercials. While my husband and I are reclining in our respective places, him in his “man chair” and me on the couch, we tolerate commercials. The commercials are like flies, or arrows piercing our brains. My husband says he ignores them, says he desensitizes himself. I tell him to mute the television. When I go to bed, I feel as if I have been poisoned. I wake up feeling beaten up. I hear the cars on the road, see the crowded houses. These too are flies, as are the rejection emails I get everyday. And the health issues. The world just seems to be a shower of arrows, these days.
February 20, 2011
I sit down and I am inaccessible to God and God is inaccessible to me. I ask for grace. I say, enough of the arrows, I sit here wanting a piece of your grace, like Oliver Twist wanting his soup. I close my eyes and see a campfire. Are you the campfire? Is this supposed to be the burning bush? The campfire spreads to flames and the flames became a thousand petaled lotus. Oh that makes for good writing, ego says. Oh will you just shut the fuck up? You're always in my face with “oh that will make for good writing.” Can you just sit down for once and keep your mouth shut while I just talk to God? Fine, ego says. Have it your way. I'll just sideswipe you anyway, when you least expect it. So I sit and all I can say is God's name. God. There's no burning bush and three thousand petaled lotus, just the word, the name and the name is God. So you see, I'm pathetic. I'm supposed to prostrate myself before you; this is what the Catholics tell me to do. But I prefer to sit like the Buddha, straight up, palms up. Blaspheme! Says a voice. You, sit down. You shut the fuck up too. Enough of all this guilt. Do you hear me God, calling your name? This is all I can manage right now. I would like some grace. Do I not give you breath, someone says inside me. I don't know who this is. Yes, breath, that is a good thing. Is that a grotto I see? In the pool, is that a grotto, on a hill? Who's inside it, I ask, I can't see who's inside it.
My heart becomes light.