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The Diamond Mountain Blog

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.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Blues

What is it that I want out of my practice? I know there are those that say to give up the wanting. To Hades with them. I want things. I want to have the fire of life and happiness and wisdom suffusing my heart. I want the things I do to be of help to others. I once had a friend who replaced "I want" in her language out of protest. She said that inherent in "I want" is a lack of something. She used something like "I am" or "I create". I haven't checked back in with her to see how it was going on that front. I like the concept though.
I have to thank my friend Angie P. Many months ago she gave me something with the three sphere's fully engaged. She said, "Matty, I want to give you this while fully understanding the emptiness of the three spheres." She then said aloud that the giver, the thing given, and the person given to are all completely empty of any nature of their own. Because this is true she then dedicated the act of giving to a higher cause. I forget just what. Regardless, it stuck with me. I've done it twice in the last couple of days. I realize that in the four years of intense dharma study with, for me, the best Lama's in all the worlds combined, I haven't given with the three spheres really engaged. I can't recall anyway. This is the second such small/large realization I've had in this vein in the last three months. The last three months of Suck. Yes, they sucked. It's better now. I should say the months were fine, it was my head and heart that sucked. I've realized that I haven't put the full force of my understanding of emptiness behind my dedications. Perhaps it just wasn't there, the understanding. But in the midst of lonely Bowie, friends all gone, Lama's all gone, work practically all gone, I finally had nothing else to take refuge in. I had to take refuge in emptiness, or try to. These dedications are saving my life. To actually feel that it is true that things have no nature of their own is a rare thing, I think. I'm not saying I have it. I've come closer to it in the last few months then I ever had during terms and conditions at Diamond Mountain. But to think that it took my Lamas three years of teaching the same thing over and over again to me to get it into my heart so it could come out a few times now makes them all the more precious to me.
The mind is a formidable enemy. My laziness and broken hearted-ness have derailed my practice since the Great Retreat began. Before I could blame exhaustion from building cabins in the retreat valley. It was a good excuse for almost two years. I fight daily to live up to the vision my teachers have of me. I know at the very root of my being that they truly do believe in me. It was communicated in a pure and unmistakable way. I saw it in their patience. I saw it in their eyes, so clear I didn't want to believe it, too much. I heard it in their words. Sometimes they spoke to me as gentle and caring as my mother, or as fierce. I felt it when they held my hands. I felt it when they stayed up till two in the morning just to teach me when they were already tired. I wish you could feel it. Every movement and word of the Lama is like a special gift to you. The things they touch become precious. Their love is so pure, it at once raised the bar for what Love is and opened my eyes to the people in my life who really Love me. Like my parents. Something about familiarity and family led me to take them for granted.
I don't know how I planted the seeds to see these people in my life. I know that since the moment their physical presence left my day to day I have struggled. I am surprised at how hard hearted and angry I have become. I am not as kind to others as I could be. I purposely do not let them in or reach out to them. I used the word broken hearted earlier. This phrase just came to me a couple of days ago. I display classic symptoms. "I will never love again" I say as I stare out the window at the rain. I throw my accordion to the street below. The letters are cast into the river. The cigarette burns into the night.
I am pulling myself out of this scenario. It's good to write about it here. Writing has always helped me think. If you have someone in your life, a lover, a teacher, friend, parent, or Lama do something for them as soon as you can. Your life can change in an instant. You don't know how long you have with them. Go outside and pick up my accordion. Play them a song. Sing them lines from my letters, the words that the water didn't erase. Dance for them with your broken heart. Make your life an alter to Love and then give it away.

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