Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Sitting like a frog
Recently read where some Teacher reminded us how special it is to be the only creature that can build a relatively safe, comfortable shelter from the weather. Though even at this moment one thinks of the tornadoes that have barely missed us lately, of how Hurricane Ike sent high winds all the way to Ohio, and big trees fell in our neighborhood, where we are fortunate to have big trees, and we were out of power for seven days, and everything in the freezer and refrigerator finally went bad, though I did manage to give some chicken nuggets to Barb.
Yes, that's this beautiful mind today, open. Big day yesterday, drove to Amish country to visit with Tom's folks and Uncle Ted, had an excellent lunch, a wonderful time. Today, I am tired, a frog without the energy to stick my tongue out and catch a fly.
Trungpa's advice to just sit was exactly the advice of Suzuki Roshi, I remember - and it was Suzuki who told his students to just sit like a frog. I didn't "get it" as well as I do now that I am reading it in Trungpa Rinpoche's book The Path is the Goal: A Basic Handook of Buddhist Meditation. Whew, long title. The idea is that the path is not a journey. The goal is not to become a perfect human being. Not to move along the path and get somewhere so you can be a student of a higher order. The only goal is to get on the * path. Just get both feet on it, take one step. No, maybe it's just sit down on it. That's all. No going forward. It is a wonderful thing to hit this guy at this stage in my practice. He illuminates everything from another direction at a time when I have learned too many ways to occupy my mind while in meditation.
Ah yes, I am loosened up and happy today by a wonderful day with family yesterday, all that riding through gorgeous green landscapes unmarred by big farm machines. At the produce stand, there was a team of horses waiting. An Amish man was showing a non-Amish neighbor the hoe he just bought - handmade. Hand riveted.
But back to sitting, I mean, meditation. Trungpa very emphatically wants us to begin practice at the very beginning, to sit down and do nothing. Don't focus on a candle flame or your breath or your mantra or a visualization. You begin at the very beginning by sitting down like a tired old frog on a lily pad on a hot day, not even waiting for a fly. We humans call it "wasting time." Letting time go by, empty.
Furthermore, he maintains that there is no verb form for meditation in his tradition. No such word as "meditating" in Sanskrit. It is a noun. You be in meditation. You don't do it. So think of it as a nice sort of closet of cool light you step into, sit down, and don't even wait.
Anyway, I felt quite odd today after doing my meditation, oh no, not doing it, just sitting there. It was quite different for me. I came out of it still feeling froggy or foggy, not having any idea what to do next. Okay, got dressed. Have to go do labs. I don't do them, I submit to them. I sit like a frog and people put big needles in me and take my blood away. Like six vials every two weeks to make sure I'm as healthy as I look. And don't even give me a * cookie. That's life post-transplant.