...Time, see what's become of me
While I looked around for my possibilities...
Hang onto your hopes, my friend...
That's an easy thing to say, but if your hopes should pass away
You can build them again
The grass is high
The fields are ripe
It's the springtime of my life.
- Paul Simon
I feel anxious today. I am on overwhelm. I feel like I have little time.
I have thesis writing, grades to enter, and much work to prep for school next week.
I journaled about all of that this morning before I sat down to meditate.
Of course, when I do the next right thing, the Universe provides.
I sat down on my cushion, lit my incense and candles, and opened to the next bookmarked page in Pema Chodron's book, Comfortable with Uncertainty. Teaching 55: "Start Where You Are (Again and Again)."
Start where you are. This is very important. Tonglen practice (and all meditation practice) is not about later, when you get it all together and you're this person you really respect. You may be the most violent person in the world - that's a fine place to start. That's a very rich place to start - juicy, smelly. You might be the most depressed person in the world, the most addicted person in the world, the most jealous person in the world. You might think that there are no others on the planet who hate themselves as much as you do. All of that is a good place to start. Just where you are - that's the place to start.
What you do for yourself, any gesture of kindness, any gesture of gentleness, any gesture og honesty and clear seeing toward yourself, will affect how you experience your world. What you do for yourself, you're doing for others, and what you do for others, you're doing for yourself. When you exchange yourself for others in the practice of tonglen, it becomes increasingly uncertain what is out there and what is in here (Chodron, 2002, p. 110-111).
Shamatha meditation and lovingkindness practice are gestures of kindness - for myself, and therefore, for others. So I did them both.
Following meditation, I sat down and did an enso practice. Choosing yellow paint, I drew my circle. I used yellow to symbolize Ratna - Earth energy, in the Buddha family. Ratna is grounding. Ratna provides: it is abundant and generous when it is filled with "sane possibilities" (Irini Rockwell). Today is a day when I could use some solid Ratna in my life.
Today, I will trust that I have everything I need to do what I need to do. I will trust the earth beneath my feet and continue to move purposefully forward, doing the next right thing.