There is Life After the Thesis

After chronicling my thoughts, feelings, ideas, and experiences throughout the thesis process on this blog (formerly entitled Rites of a Thesis), it seemed odd to me to simply let the blog go just because I had turned in my thesis and graduated. I don't want to merely "shelve" my thesis nor do I want all that I got from my time at Naropa to lie dormant. I want my thesis to continue to live and breathe and become, and I would like all the teachings and experiences I had during my time at Naropa to do the same. So I am keeping the blog (changing the title), and am commiting to myself to (w)rite on as I journey forward.

Friday, March 19, 2010

"Time, Time..."

...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
Simply pretend
You can build them again

Look around
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.

1 comment:

Griffin said...

I just read the last four or five entries one right after the other... all for the first time (I got a bit behind)... and it's an interesting view of how your attitude/perspective has morphed over the course of this week off from school... I can feel the energy shifting and changing as the week progressed... light an airy at the start... full and rich in the middle... pursuit of clarity... and ending with you actively seeking the power of ground... I hope the thesis has risen, swollen, clarified, and grounded itself right along with you!!