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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.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

End of Summer

The Great Retreat goes along. A few people are still building on a small scale. Some gutters need to go up. A porch is being finished. The care takers deliver materials as needed. Some electrical work is being done. Some burned out batteries from Solar voltaic systems being replaced. The retreatants are learning about how to care for and not over burden their systems. I feel like it will be this way up into the winter. This first year is all fine tuning the cabin life style. Once they don't have to think about maintaining their homes they can sink deeper into meditation, I would think. The campground is quiet. The two guys that live there are seasoned desert dwellers. I think there is a visitor from Israel there. The three couples that live in the homes up there seem well. I have a wish that before the retreat is over, a way to pay them a small stipend is discovered. A stipend for eight care takers.
In the evenings and early mornings it is turning cool in the desert. I sleep under the covers now. It is such a relief. Living in Southern Arizona has helped me understand the sun as a merciless destroyer/creator god. I get it. Sometimes I will go out to my car in a tank top to get something and within those thirty seconds of sun on skin I feel something akin to pain. The sun is starting to cook my skin. We had a little rain last night which was heaven. My man Johneo came by for a day as well. We made some food, caught up and played music. To say it was good to see him is an understatement. When our evening was over I went home and observed how much better I felt. I was so happy I spent the rest of the evening listening to recordings of Geshe Michael teaching ACI classes back in NYC. Friends, I have not really touched the written or recorded teachings of my lineage since late winter. A couple of weeks ago I walked by my meditation cushion in my room and flipped it off. I meant it. Sit on yourself, A-hole!" That has been my attitude toward study and meditation. I am in full rebellion. I fight it on every front like a spoiled teenager in full hormonal defiance. My buddy Steve was telling me recently when he first noticed that I was pissed off. It was near the end of the retreat valley building project. We talked about it then. I didn't have what I wanted. I was poor. I still depended on my parents. I couldn't afford to fix my own car. The women I liked were choosing other guys. And I was mad about it. Apparently I have stayed mad on a low burn. Observing myself interacting with others in this state over the last nine months has been very eye opening. I have not been fun or very kind or very open hearted. My apologies to all those around me. I see that my poverty and obligations that bind me to the house in Bowie have acted as a sort of hot box for exposing a lot of crap that lay dormant beneath three years of intense dharma study and magic close to my Lamas at Diamond Mountain. Avoiding personal problems by hiding behind a "spiritual practice" is a major problem. It defuses the power of the practice and never touches the very real mis-perceptions about yourself that hold you back in life. The "you" in that sentence is really "Me". A teacher that I greatly admire once said something like "You have to have a healthy ego before you can break it apart." Thank god DMU terms ended and the Lamas either went into retreat or moved far away. It is the kindest sort of teaching for the long term student. For me, it has accelerated my mental afflictions to a degree I have never experienced. Without all the good projects and the presence of the Teacher, which is very special, the student really see whats going on inside. Have I made progress? What is progress? Do I still care? Retreat also serves this function which is why it is so valuable.
An interesting thing about this last nine months of misery (oh alas poor me) is that the moments where I do love others, friends and family, are much more intense. The letters I get, the short visits, are like food. Manna from heaven. I understand that now as well. It is a sensation of bodily nourishment and health. The prana (chi,energy,spirit) moves up, the heart opens and relaxes and the presence of possibilities emerge from a previously "flat" reality. I could have all the things I want. Why do I not create them. The raw material is right there. It's astounding how much I am my own worst enemy. Who said "I have seen the enemy, and it is I" ? Was that Pogo, that little cartoon cat?


Blogger Jerry said...

My buddy Jerry (ex-owner of DM) has 320 acres to the North (next to the area you guys bladed for parking.You could do what you do(Build cabins) for people that would like to be near DM but own their own property.His contact info is on a big sign on the way in.The land is going for 600 an acre.

September 13, 2011 11:20 AM  
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