This is an unofficial blog of news and info from Diamond Mountain University and Retreat Center which was founded by Geshe Michael Roach and Lama Christie McNally in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition of the Dalai Lamas.
Saturday, May 26, 2012
Tuesday, May 01, 2012
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Looking back at all of this is over whelming. It was like being in therapy for four years and the therapy worked. Except it was free and I didn't know I was in therapy because I was working too hard and having too much fun. Which is the only way I would have ever gone to therapy.
I was taking my laundry over to my man, Johneo's, house to hang on his line. My line is too shaded. I looked toward Diamond Mountain in the distance. I thought to myself "I had to come here to become ok with myself. I'm the same person I was four years ago but now I'm at peace with myself." I am, in some ways, through some lenses, a "worse" person then I was four years ago. I was sober and vegetarian for seven years. Not anymore. I have vows against intoxication and harming life. I willfully and conflictedly break them on a regular basis. I'm alright with it. I'll take the hit. It's what I need to do now and it will no doubt change. That's who I am. I would rather live in a world where I'm so naturally high that I don't need a drug to do it for me. I would love to go to the super market and just not have the option of buying organic, free range bison ground beef. I should even know better. I know how animals are treated in factory farms. I know what it's about. I've ripped the heads off freshly killed chickens, plucked them, sliced them open and cleaned them. I helped raise a bunch of steer from babyhood only to round him up later, watch him tremble with fear as he smelled the other steer we had butchered behind the barn, blow his brains out, cut off his head, and help tug his innards out onto the frozen ground. And then I ate him. It felt wrong and it felt right. If I was smart I'd distance myself from that culture as much as I could. The karmic blow back from that sort of thing is going to be hard. But I'm not smart. I'm not a raw food eating, vegan, leather avoiding, non alcohol drinking yogi. Nope. I am what I am and how can I help you. I also know that this could change at any moment and will. Everyone and everything is constantly changeing. We'll keep on changing until we die. My favorite mantra is "I'm wrong."
Whenever I write in this blog I want to tell you details of the care taker experience. I stop myself because none of it is important and most of it is just gossip. The care takers are a bunch of normal people doing the same thing with different motivations. We mostly get a long and work well together. Sometimes we act like fools and let each other down with how we treat one another. It's like a slightly disfunctional relationship. The point is to grow together. I don't know if everyone up there thinks of it that way. It doesn't really matter. As long as I think of it that way then that is my work. That's the best and only thing I can do.
I have to wrap it up. I've got a lot more to say and I'll save it for later posts. If you are out there and are supporting this retreat, thank you. Serving it has already changed my life and I can only imagine what it is doing for people inside the retreat. It's an insane, audatious, holy undertaking. Two more years to go. come out and get a piece of it before it's over. It will never happen this way again. I'm pretty sure the larger American buddhist community will not even take notice. You're not going to read about it in Madala, Tricycle, or Shambala magazine. Course, we don't really read their stuff so I guess I know where that comes from.
Tuesday, March 06, 2012
Parable made Real
There's an old story my teacher told once. What point he was illuminating at the time is lost to me right now. The story is as follows. A man was walking through the jungle and suddenly realized that he was being stalked by a huge tiger. He quickened his pace and started looking for a way to evade the beast. He saw a tree with branches pushing out over a sheer cliff only big enough for him. This refuge could keep the tiger at bay. He crawled out on the limb and settled in. The tiger came out into the open and paced around the base of the tree. Suddenly, the tree branch tore away from the tree and the man had to hang on for life. He looked down, thinking he could drop to the bottom of the cliff and survive but saw to his horror another tiger below him waiting for him to fall. He looked up to the edge of the cliff and saw the first tiger looking down at him and snarling. Horror above, horror below. He then saw a small wild strawberry plant within arms reach on the cliff with a ripe berry. He reached out, plucked the berry, and ate it with much happiness and relish.
So I was looking out the window in a downtown Tucson yoga studio, falling into the pain of my friends situation, when I noticed an ivy vine clinging to a high post outside. The sky was blue and gentle. The grey metal post was covered in an elegant vine of green ivy. Each leaf was so perfect and small. I could hear the cars go by and the people's voices outside. Inside the room all was quiet relief of corpse pose. I put myself in one of the curls of the ivy vine. I suddenly felt an enormous peace. In that space with the leaves and the sky and the post was utter stillness and peace. There was no war, no famine, no politics, no drama, no pain. The leaves were healthy despite the pollution of the cars and the dryness of the desert. I became so happy in that moment. It was remarkable. I plan on cultivating that feeling for the rest of my life. Since completing my year of care taking, I've had a lot of these sort's of first-time moments in regards to mental states. I'm still going up to DMU to serve when I can but I am free now to go when I need to. I'll go up tomorrow to deliver food. They are tucked into a long two month deep retreat period up there, I believe. This next year will be the quietest for them, I think. The time when some big meditative shifts will occur. It's very exciting.
Monday, February 20, 2012
Friday, February 10, 2012
I hope to be starting a big job in Tucson in March. My friend Eric is hopefully starting a remodel job there and needs help. This would be the first big job I've had since the retreat started. Not surprisingly, it only surfaced after my one year commitment to DMU was over. To me it feels like it's been a three year commitment. The two years of building were as important a part as the year of care taking.
Just when you think you understand the world, the rug will get pulled out from under you. Just when you think that we are not connected, connections slap you in the face. Lately, I feel that there is a call urging me to take responsibility for the blinders I put on myself concerning the larger world. Where do big problems in the world come from? I feel like there is a lot I can do in my life to help counter act these problems. I keep thinking about the power of and idea who's time has come. Weather positive or negative, they are unstoppable.
more to come,
Monday, January 16, 2012
In the main room here is a banner covering one window that reads "The people who walk through this door are special". There is a door next to the banner but there is a two by six propped against the handle so that it cannot be opened nor walked through. Funny.
The weather is amazing today. Some rain in the morning and last night. You can smell the creosote strongly in the air when it rains. There was a rainbow when the clouds cleared up. The sky stayed deep purple over the mountains near DMU. You could see sheets of lighter blue rain rolling out there while the sun was bright over Bowie. It is really dramatic. The town itself seems very beautiful today, even with and especially because of it's run down parts, which are everywhere. I saw a little white house/shack that had used asphalt roof tile nailed to the trim near the ground as weather proofing. Then they laid broken concrete against the tiles to keep them in place. It probably cost the owner nothing. I think that is sort of beautiful. Everything passes Bowie by, economy, trains, the interstate, politics, visible government, everything. And because that is so rare, it is beautiful.
People you love are equally as rare and beautiful. I've been trying to keep them in mind all day long and feel grateful for them. Seeing how loneliness was my biggest problem out here, it's the perfect head space for me. I have to say, that after a few weeks of this, I do feel strangely happy. I'm having trouble feeling stress about not finding work and various other factors that I have historically used to feel bummed about. It's nice to let that all go for a good long time. Oh, I also saw a fake nail on the ground in a puddle that was half the color of the sky and half the color of pearl, which was the color of the clouds.