January 5, 2013
Do you know what a Buddha Board is? Or a Zen Board? It’s a magical board where you use a soft calligraphy brush dipped in water to create a picture, a design, or to write a word. Then as you sit back and watch, it slowly disappears, dissolves and is gone. It is brief, fleeting. Impermanent.
What if we could make our crazy, busy, over thinking minds like a Buddha Board……noticing what we have created in our mind, or are experiencing with our emotions, and then watch it fade away and be gone? Anxiety, worry, fear, doubt, apprehension anger, sorrow, anticipation, even joy and happiness. What if all these things were there, and then not there?
For me the idea of not holding on to the experience of happiness, joy, satisfaction, contentment, etc., is hard to “want”. At the same time, I understand these are a type of false happiness because they do not last….they fade even if I try to hold on to them. They are fleeting. They cause me to have desires for more of the same, or feel sad when they are replaced by another emotion, or to long for the past, or be anxious about whether the future will hold more of the same good feelings or not, to wish or hope for something more or different……what a circle.
Another analogy is your mind being like the sky with clouds drifting by…changing and disappearing. Thoughts and emotions are like that. When we watch clouds for real in the sky we do it with awe and humor and then, when the cloud has changed into something else or floated away, we do not mourn the “loss” but think: “That was fun.”, or “That was beautiful.” Often we do not give it another thought. No longing for that cloud to return. It was, and now it is gone. Yet we experienced it, appreciated it. It brought some fun into our lives….made us smile and feel good.
Our minds are so jam packed full of stuff: thoughts, ideas, emotions, self doubt…..Sometimes it is hard to just be settled and present with where we are now. To be grateful for life and health. To smile and make eye contact with someone. To say “thank-you”. To be present for ourselves and someone else.
Everywhere we go there is artificial noise, and visual overload. All around us are images and suggestions of what will make us feel happy, or powerful, or important, or satisfied, or beautiful, or even scared or worried.
But will they really? In a lasting, meaningful way?
I’ve come to a time in my life where I WANT my mind to be like a Buddha Board. I want to be able to watch the clouds in my mind drift by, change shape and disappear. I want to be able to be in THIS moment, free from longing for the past or being anxious for the future. One is gone forever, and the other may not even come.
August 4, 2012
ECOTONES: the in-between spaces in an ecological setting.
It is a transition area between two biomes
or different patches of the landscape,
like the space where the ocean meets the shore.
We have spaces like this too. In-between spaces, where the boundaries are blurred. It is not always clear where one emotion or thought begins and another ends. There is a symbiotic relationship. Each “part” needs the other to be balanced, but sometimes the boundaries change or are blurred making it difficult to feel we have completely moved on from one to another.
Emotions, thoughts, feelings that we might consider separate, actually coexist. There is no finite boundary, no solid line where one begins and another ends.
For many of us this lack of clearness can be difficult. We want to know that one thing is ending, finished, and another is beginning. But it isn’t always so easy, so clearly defined.
We have pain and sorrow right along side joy and happiness. Anxiety can be cradled next to assurance. Perhaps trust is holding hands with doubt.
How do we live with dynamic boundaries where variables blur the edges? The in-between places where we are just not sure of what is going on, of how we are feeling, of where are going, or where we have been? What we may have lost? What we might have gained?
In nature these areas are sometimes turbulent, sometimes peaceful. Waves on the shore may carry sand and plants away, eroding the shore. Other times the waves bring new sand, plants or animals to the beach. Sometimes these are “good” changes, sometimes not. There is a give and take. Sometimes the balance is quick and easy. Other times, the compromises cause the two sides to give something up. But in the end it is Nature’s way. Nature is life. And death. And violence. And supreme gentleness. In the ebb and flow there is all that represents life: change, uncertainty, risk, balance, loss, pain, joy, gain, happiness, sorrow, life, death, beauty, “ugliness”, fear, calm, love……without any one part, the other pieces are diminished.
Think about the synonyms for “transition”: changeover, conversion, development, evolution, flux, growth, metamorphosis, passage, progress, progression, realignment, shift, transformation, turning point, upheaval.
What are the whispers from your in-between places telling you? Take some time in this space and listen to the possibilities.