It's been a long time since I've written anything here. It's nice to see all the old and new faces here!!
I want to write you all my unwritten letters but instead, remembering that it's not the telling of stories that which we cherish, but the connection itself, I think I'll talk about how when I took refuge in 2009 I really broke down into "consuming less". I hit a kind of a rock bottom with it all, it wasn't just this or that in my life, but the whole cycle of suffering simply saturated me to the point I was fed up.
Nowhere to go but up.
I embarked on an adventure to test myself in what I really needed, and dropped what I didn't without too much thought. We often think of sacrifices we have to make as these dreaded losses, things that make us chafe and churn, but I've learned that they're simply accepting what is uncomfortable in such a way that releases the tension that cuts up inside.
Well, that sounds fancy and all, but what does it mean. In simplest terms I was tired of "wanting" because I felt the desire arising with its inevitable end result. To feel good meant I'd also feel bad, to start something also meant it had to end. This incomprehension on my part is a huge part of the knot that gives me so much angst.
So I followed the advice of many dear and kind fellow buddhists to learn to take it easy a bit more, to lessen activities that intensify self-importance, to focus on joy and to really just learn to be open without fear, hostility, and when experiencing those things to be extremely kind to myself in all my own humanity. catmoon, Yeshe, Ngawang D., Optimus Prime, you guys really helped a lot even from a distance in simply letting me come to you about "how do I approach this kind of tension, this kind of knot" or "what does this mean".. the people who don't try to change a thing for me but who let me really come into my own discovery and understanding of ideas of reality and waking dreams.
Dechen Norbu, you my friend were the first to really help me pierce the veil in understanding the seed concept that reality is empty in that our experience of it is like a waking dream... you told me about the painting idea, how two people could see the same painting and feel totally different things, you encouraged me to break through the solidity of my notions and for that, I can never repay you. catmoon taught me a lot about co-existing with that which is supremely uncomfortable, I always respected that kind of naked bravery you have in being openly tender or wrong. Optimus Prime was like a friend who takes on the quality of "voice of reason" to always pause and point out what could be observed. Pausing like that helped me navigate sensibly through some very difficult internal landscapes, the messes of many years of complexes and neuroses. Yeshe always encourages to be kind, to consider the depth of the wound as part of the medicine itself. Ngawang Drolma - my sister you have supported my practice by sending me little gifts, you never had to, but thank you so much, without those pieces, I feel like my path to this sense of adventure would not have developed the same. You were my instrumental influences because of what was withing reach when I hit rock bottom. Jikan, you are like a teacher with how you have shown me practical application in how I can tap into the small influence I do have, by helping my immediate community. Thanks to our interactions I've been able to grow my social awareness and actively engage positively in ways that make small differences.
Meez, retrofuturist, Su DongPo, heart, and many many many others. Even though we've never met, it's like we've walked side by side in so many ways, like so many great connections with others encountered I am failing to mention (and I thank ALL my teachers-near and far whose kindness I can never repay), these are just examples here from Dharma Wheel that really actively helped shape and hone my attitude with so much positive encouragement to face myself kindly and without fear when things got really bumpy.
What's the result of 2 years of this practice and learning? I've learned I don't actually desire to consume more, I've lost near 50 kgs, down to a much healthier life/work routine, I've grown calmer, bolder, started surfing, starting to tattoo soon, still make malas for all who ask in the world as a generosity practice. I've been learning. That's really the bottom line.
I learn daily how little of a deal I am and simultaneously how big of a deal I am. If I don't do something, for myself and those I love, who will? At the same time, I am so minute that if I were to blip away from the face of existence, the world wouldn't notice. Noticing the duality of extremes, the duality built into my vision from having this body and solid form, I've been realizing that perhaps it's not at all impossible to be mindful of the seeming. It seems a lot of things - this reality thing. But I'm still not sure I've quite seen it, because I can almost taste my ignorance in the form of my certainties, and pleasure-seeking habits.
So I've been learning to grow down into the mud, and have been growing my lotus. Also my husband just joined DW today, and wants to take refuge so it seems to be quite real in my experience at least, this karma that moves conditionally to intention. I've made a lot of mistakes, but I've also learned to accept that I'm ignorant and I'm learning, so I just vow to do better next time and try to grow more aware each moment.
This general attitude has grown down from an internet experience in a forum to a full blown lifestyle. In just learning to be good, no matter the reason to be right or find wrongs, I've found a kind of stillness in the compass, a way to really navigate sensibly and productively for the welfare of those around me. It's one step at a time and progress is an illusion. It's just a series of attempts and sometimes I succeed and sometimes I don't. Most importantly it allows me a space to really recognize the precious quality of life and how fleeting it is.
I hope to have some time to perhaps come back and write more, but if I don't, your hearts are in mine where I keep them. I just wanted to write a note of thanks in how this forum and the internet experience of buddhist forums started something in my life that's affected me more than just a few posts, pretty words, and nice beads. I'm a thriving healthy human being who wants less and gives more, who talks less and listens more, who pauses when not sure instead of habitually filling in the gaps. It's only a few steps, but I feel reason to celebrate and enjoy while this life lasts.
You never know how you can impact someone you don't know... always take care to treat them mindfully, it could be the difference between budding and dying in how the flower meets the conditions to flourish...
All my love,