Ever since I came home, things have been a bit hectic, emotion-wise, and I have been intensely "with me", meaning I haven't been overly social, actually I must admit, I've rather been behaving a bit hermit-like.I wouldn't say I've been sad, or overly disturbed by the situations unfolding around me, but I haven't been totally indifferent either. Change has been the only constant and I try to ride it with as much detachment as possible, thinking little about problems but feeling them all the same. Many issues coincided, and I was facing purification left and right. My inspiration was the first to suffer, although I had many ideas to share with you all, I just couldn't get myself to actually put them into words.
While I wouldn't say I have suffered, I must admit these past few weeks were difficult. It's not easy when things don't go as you planned. When your well-thought-out, well-organized and prepared projects just don't follow our predictions (projections?). In retrospect, it would seem that this is what the whole lesson was about: Things don't always fit our expectations. Boom! I hear an echo from the summer's teachings: "Don't have expectations!" Our lama keeps repeating to us. It is a stupid waste of our time. Yet I must say it also a good opportunity to look at ourselves more closely.
And everything has not been a loss. I must admit I have never before in my adult life spent as much quality time with my mother. I can feel the improvement, and although we still don't always see eye to eye (I sort of suspect, we'll never actually see eye to eye, in fact, I fear on some issues we will forever remain in well separated corners), we enjoy being with each other. The beginning was tough, it was as if my mom was very subtly complaining about all my months of absence, and wanted me to make good for lost time in a matter of hours (minutes, please?). But I feel we've finally asserted ourselves in comfortable positions where I am more able and willing to give than ever before, and she is open as she hadn't been in a long time. It's good.
My kids are also on top of things with my self inflicted reclusion. They get to see me ALL the time (probably TOO MUCH time for my adorable teenager, but just perfect for my youngest!). We sleep, eat, play, dream, joke, cook, drink, study, read, and almost bathe together. It's not too much for me either. I'm just fine with it, (although my teenager I would probably like to lock in a closet sometimes, but it's part of the story and I always knew these days would come, just please promise me it won't happen with the other one as well!!!!), so definitely, there are upsides to the whole confinement situation.
However, I have been trying so hard to focus only on the good parts and outperform the misery, that I think I just forgot I am suppose to work on this, to do the magic, to use the methods and turn coal into gold. Or better! into diamonds. As I was meditating one morning, finally lightning struck. I could suddenly understand that I have not managed to ignore ANY of my suffering, that I have actually suffered, am suffering right now, and will probably continue to do so until I acknowledge the fact that the only thing that's hurting is my own expectation of things. That it was stupid of me to actually build and have these expectations. That when you lose something, you're actually NOT losing anything. That all is good in the world (yes!), and that deep inside I have nothing to worry about (yikes! really?)
I remembered that disturbing emotions are not rocks and bumps to be avoided, rather they are truly the fuel on which wisdom runs, and I realized I was quite lucky to be able to burn all this before it did any more harm. Buddha's present is infinite and unmeasurable. I had forgotten it, but now, I remember. I am suddenly brought back a few months into the past, at a time of great confusion and suffering, when I thought I might have committed an act of folly and that my heart would never heal from its longing. I remember how deeply I felt it then, how profoundly I connected with my pain, and how quickly I allowed for it to heal. That's really what it takes, to accept our shortcomings as what they are, and stop blaming everyone and everything else. Things are the way they are, and that's not so bad if one takes a good look. Everything happens for a reason and we can only accept this and move on.
I decide not too linger on my own flaws, I see them clearly and also move on, little can be learned from self-recrimination. Eyes wide open it's easy to see the emptiness of phenomena, and how little weight the small tragedies have on the big picture of our lives. Just a few months have passed, and my life has changed drastically, of course not only the areas that I wanted to change changed, some changes I couldn't foresee took place, and I decide to start considering everything as evolution. After all, my life is blessed, full of prosperity, health, love, and blessings, so what if some people stay behind, if some chapters close, if some moves entail some suffering. Success comes to the bold, the dreamers who dare to make their dreams come true, come what may.
After that sad bump in the summer, I found myself at a Phowa course experimenting the wildest of disturbing emotions: desire/attachment. Without seeing it coming I had become slightly obsessed over a handsome stranger that kept locking eyes with me, but who never approached me, for his life. I wanted him and no other, and could not understand the sad fate that would not bring this man to me. After a couple of days of more and more miserable longing, a cute, funny guy sat next to me in the course. We became fast friends and in a surprising turn of events I found myself one night happily entangled with this young man in Carina's tent. After a most satisfying and entertaining night, we said goodbye, as my new friend was leaving the course early. With a sweet and spontaneous speech, he wished me good luck, may I soon enjoy many nights like the one we had just shared, good-humoured and loving, may this bring me happiness. As you all know, his wishes worked. I can't complain of the gifts that came my way afterwards, and I think of my good friend with unending gratitude. May all his wishes come true for him as well.
Not only did he teach me that the greatest joy comes from wishing the best for others, he also gave me the ultimate teaching: although we generally believe we know quite well what's best for us, if we release our own projections for a minute and open up to space, the results will be much more than we ever hoped for, even if they surprise us greatly. It's once again a matter of absolute trust.
Smiling while in the heart of the Red Buddha, these lessons are quite easy to appreciate. Reconnecting with the blissful nature of space proved a little bit more difficult locked-up in my mother's house in San Salvador, sulking with grief over the idea of lost friends and the resulting disappointment, and worried about the future as to money-issues and the impending separation from my family. Yet, by simply bringing it to my mind, the joy of the Phowa meditation is once again all over me, and I can effortlessly connect with the nature of bliss, and reclaim it as my birth right.
It's all very well to have emotions and to understand them, even better if we let wisdom surge also from the process, yet it's even better to play them down in order to focus on what's real through and through, the nature of my mind. Once again I take ownership of my reactions. This is MY life after all...