Riding the Radio Waves

Calmly, smoothly
Life trickles in
Drops of experience
Joy, sadness, beauty

Underneath, an unease
Reaching a crescendo
Barreling forward
Into the unknown
The drops–life–
Increase in intensity

This wave crashes down
All becomes still
Yet only momentarily
Soon, rising again

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We ride the waves
Moving forward
Excited? Scared?
Or something else–
Empowered with Equanimity
Going with the flow of all:
The Watercourse Way
Smiling at the emptiness:
The Bodhisattva Way

Don’t fear the insecurity,
The “chaos”
Enjoy the luminous ride:
Distinguish waves from ocean


This writing was inspired by this song (Radio Waves because the song is Radio Protector):

May those who read this and who hear this music find their own equanimity in the luminous ride of life.

Gassho!

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Heartbreak Wisdom Journal — Entry 8: Reclaiming Shards of the Past

For the longest time, I’ve been unable to listen to one of my favorite songs. Why? During my time with my ex, it became a song about our relationship, and sometimes, even she called it “our song”. This song is “Your Hand in Mine” by the ever-magnificent Explosions in the Sky. This post-rock anthem has always tugged at my heartstrings, despite having listened to it hundreds of times.

After being dumped, the reminders of everything were just too much to listen to this song. At this point, it still plucked at those heartstrings but in a way that I could not bear. I’d just skip it whenever I heard it. Recently, though, I found myself listening to this song again one morning over my ritual cup of coffee. Not only did I listen to the song once, I repeated it numerous times, taking a simple joy in listening to this beloved song for the first time in a long while.

It’s very difficult to get past the emotion in such things. Most people try their damnedest to forget by covering up their past or running from it. That’s not really moving on though (See an earlier post on this here). That’s just as reactive as clinging to something, and running like that leaves unresolved issues, untended wounds seeping deep inside. It takes time and patience–a resolve and open courage–to face the terrors and tortures that you experience in life and sit through them, yet there is no better way to be authentic and to walk your life’s path with a compassionate and awakened heart.

I’ve also found an ability to listen to this song recently which has always symbolically reminded me of the connection of the love between me and her. Now, the pain of that connection is no longer frightening or anxiety-provoking. It just is. I can hear these songs and experience the joy and beauty of them along with residual feelings of pain and sadness. That no longer scares me. After all I’ve been through in the last few months. I can sit with equanimity through many more of life’s challenges; strong, courageous, and awake–the tender presence that gives birth to deep compassion.


Thoughts and emotions will always arise. The purpose of practice is not to get rid of them. We can no more put a stop to thoughts and emotions than we can put a stop to the worldly circumstances that seemingly turn for or against us. We can, however, choose to welcome and work with them. On one level, they are nothing but sensations. When we don’t solidify or judge them as good or bad, right or wrong, favorable or unfavorable, we can utilize them to progress on the path.
We utilize thoughts and emotions by watching them arise and dissolve. As we do this, we see they are insubstantial. When we are able to see through them, we realize they can’t really bind us, lead us astray, or distort our sense of reality. And we no longer expect them to cease. The very expectation that thoughts and emotions should cease is a misconception. We can free ourselves from this misconception in meditation.
In the sutras it says, “What good is manure, if not to fertilize sugar cane crops?” Similarly, we can say, “What good are thoughts and emotions–in fact all of our experiences–if not to increase our realization?” What prevents us from making good use of them are the fears and reactions that come from our self-importance. Therefore, the Buddha taught us to let things be. Without feeling threatened or trying to control them, just let things arise naturally and let them be.
When ego-mind becomes transparent through meditation, we have no reason to be afraid of it. This greatly reduces our suffering. We may actually develop a passion for seeing all aspects of our minds. This attitude is at the heart of the practice of self-reflection.
-Dzigar Kongtrül, “It’s Up to You”, pp. 8-9

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May this inspire you to find your own ability to let things be and to utilize your own experiences to increase your realization.

Gassho!

Previous Heartbreak Wisdom Journal: Entry 7 – Letting Go of the Person You Used to Be (Part 2)

The Patterns that Bind

The following is a piece from a new journalling practice: Morning Pages. I approach these without any real agenda beyond writing three pages every morning. This entry began with questioning what to write and not wanting to stick in going on and on about negative feelings. I didn’t want to share that intro here and the personal details of what I “could” talk about, as the shift at the end is the point.


…Why grab onto negativity like that if not expressing to someone else, getting it out, or resolving? I’ve talked about it at length with others.

No, we all too readily fall into the patterns that bind, defining ourselves–struggle by struggle, habit by habit. We’d rather invest our time and energy in these than step out into uncharted waters or develop more positive habits that open our hearts and our vision–like meditation.

Is uncertainty–facing the fact that our selves hold a blank canvas of possibility–really so terrifying? Would we really rather pin ourselves down in our identity: I’m defined as such and such, and it explains everything about me?

There’s a lot of wonder in us. We’d prefer to dilute it with something safe–something known. The known here, however, is but a mask, a creation, not the discovery from investigation.

One of the beauties of meditation is the opportunity to face ourselves in an open space of self-reflection. Seeing the flowing nature of our thoughts, experiences, feelings, and ourselves, all these things we hold dear as definite. They emerge, shift, shine, and pass moment by moment: a dance of unfolding wonder, no matter how much we might try to staticize them.

I’d like to use this journal for that open exploration, allowing the words to flow through me, offering my mind in its open potential as creative unfolding.

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What I’ve written here fits well with the title of this song (at least I think so):

May you find your own creative unfoldings and steps beyond the patterns that bind.
Gassho!

Fate???

What if fate isn’t a gloomy set of chains pulling us along through history or the ecstasy of positive fruition–destiny?
What if, rather, our choices are always our own yet also are not–nestled as they are in the environment of an entire world: a life, a society, a history, others, and a universe unfolding alongside these choices? (Aside: Can a painting exist without the boundaries and texture of the canvas, the materials (oil vs. acrylic, for instance) and colors of the paint, and the cultural history informing the creative process? Likewise, our choices hold infinite potential, but they spring forth from certain sets of certainties.)  What if these dynamically intertwined choices have their own consequences entangled, sometimes in years to come?

Our lives are not written. We write them. However, as we write, our story takes shape, and certain words, plot twists, and styles of expression become more and more likely to follow. We create words, a story, a voice in the universe which shines and reverberates forth as an unfolding path of neverending light–ever-changing, dynamic, but with direction. Rather than the gloomy story already decided, the tangled yarn of fate as usually understood, fate is both defined and indefinite, deciding and decided, bound and boundless, free choices made within discreet limits and an open future limited by the karmic consequences of choice. It is the paradox of luminous emptiness and karmic interdependence.

May this post get you to see your own luminous possibility and the interdependent limitations and impacts of your own choices.
Gassho!


I was inspired in part by these songs. The title of the first really brought up this different idea of fate:

Also:    Wake Up by Anesthesia

Neverending tracks of light…

Heartbreak Wisdom Journal – Entry 2: Gentleness Toward Your Experience

“Love Love Love” by Of Monsters and Men

&

“Reminder” by Mumford and Sons

Until recently, if I heard these songs, I would almost instantly be brought to tears. Such lines, as: “So I watched the world tear us apart. A Stoic mind and a bleeding heart — You never see my bleeding heart…” were enough to bring the depths of my pain and anxiety to the fore, washing over me like a great tidal wave. The other day, one of the two popped up on my phone, and I found myself smiling gently, enjoying the melody and accepting the myriad feelings that bubbled up.

Some might be confused: “Why not just remove them from your phone?” I cannot hide every reminder of my past and my heartbreak. That would be inauthentic, childish, and extremely difficult. It would be like trying to stubbornly deny that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west while doing my damnedest to never look up at the sky.

The tender heart of the warrior makes friends with the feelings that come up, no matter what they may be. The warrior knows that trying to eradicate or obliviate what we feel just keeps us stuck in our painful patterns. Opening to them tenderly allows room for kindness to oneself… and to others.

As a counterpoint, the song that reminds me of this tender, gentle presence is:

 “Megan” by Anesthesia


What helps more than anything is to be gentle toward yourself. Gentleness doesn’t mean being all “poor baby” or coddling yourself in any way. Real gentleness has much more precision and intelligence than that. Gentleness means simply that you acknowledge and embrace your own experience from moment to moment, without judgment. Without trying to fix it. Without feeling ashamed of it or, if you do feel ashamed of it, you do not feel ashamed of your shame! In this way, gentleness is actually an advanced form of bravery. You aren’t afraid to take on your own suffering, even though you don’t know how or when it will end; still, you agree to feel it. Somehow, this acceptance begins to calm things down. On its own timetable, gentleness begins to pacify even the most raging emotions. Gentleness is the spiritual and emotional warrior’s most powerful weapon.

The best way to cultivate gentleness toward yourself, thought by thought and moment by moment, is through the sitting practice of meditation. In fact, meditation, which is sitting with your self, your thoughts, emotions, and yearnings, and simply allowing them to be as they are, is the practice of gentleness itself. There is no better teacher than this.

Most likely, there will be only a few times in your life when you’ll reach the limit of what you can bear. It may be from falling ill, the death of a parent, or even the loss of a most precious possession, such as your home, and of course it can also be because of a broken heart. To face these extraordinary times, you need to take extraordinary measures. Most of the tactics touted as “extraordinary measures,” however, are really ways of escaping the reality of what we must face: our emotions. Certainly drinking, drugging, random sex, and sleeping all the time are ways to avoid emotional pain, but even healthier means, such as positive thought, physical exercise, therapy, or simply forcing yourself to move on are also methods of stepping away from what ails you, rather than toward it. Stepping toward it and going into it do not just mean lying around crying all the time. It means meeting your emotions and relating to them, not as enemies to be conquered, but as wounded friends from the front, needing your loving attention. — Susan Piver, The Wisdom of a Broken Heart, pp. 48-49

The Strength of the Warrior


Previous Heartbreak Wisdom Journal Entry: Entry 1: Wounded Heart’s Tender Flesh
Next Heartbreak Wisdom Journal Entry: Entry 3: Wounds