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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.

Monday, January 09, 2012

The New Year

This new year, 2012, marks the end of my one year care taking commitment. I didn't know how I'd feel, of course. Part of my nature is to not expect much or just be happy with whatever are the results of my efforts. So I was surprised by the positive changes I am experiencing at the start of this new year. Positive is kind of a flat word, actually.
I remember talking to one of my friends in the Fall. I told her that the last nine months were easily the worst in my life. I meant it. I had been more mentally afflicted, lonely, angry, poor, confused and jaded then I could ever remember being. The other day, I was walking around Bowie and I think I said to myself "Best year ever." In light of how I feel now, I have done some real spiritual revisionism. I think it is the combined three years of study and cabin construction combined with one year of service to the great retreat that laid the ground work for how I feel now. And how do I feel? It's hard to write about but I'll just wing it for a bit.
My world has expanded past it's previous boundaries. Through the example of my teachers I have seen what a truly healthy and happy person can be like in the world. It is not something impossible to achieve. The key to the whole thing really is development of love and compassion for others, as well as oneself. The approach isn't particularly the intellectual property of any religion, although most of them have that sort of training inherent within their scriptures. I've met people who come across it naturally as well. I have also received help from more people in the last year then at any other time in my life, excluding all the help my parents have given me since birth. Strangers have treated me like family.
I've seen the best and worst I can do and so there is a comfort with myself I haven't had before. To say I am comfortable with even my own hypocrisy is not exactly right but I can say that hypocrisy is no longer such a stranger at the diner table, neither is gratitude. I think that the depth to which I am over come with gratitude is most remarkable. It is such a beautiful and uplifting emotion. I really had not had much experience with it until this last year.
There's more that I will save for another time. As far as the retreat goes, we have been going in every other week for a while now and I'm sure it will become the norm. We'll deliver groceries every two weeks leaving them lots of time to get real quiet and concentrate. We continue to get many care packages for both the people in retreat and care takers. It has been very touching to see how much people care for us out here. The skies over Bowie and Willcox have been very special lately. Last night was the full moon and I was in Willcox around sunset. I was watching hundreds of geese honk and fly south west. Wave after wave of them in V formation. The mountains were purple, the sky was pastel orange and blue and yellow. The moon came over Dos Cabesas peak and stole the whole show. It was huge and pillars of light seemed to extend straight up and down from it. In that moment I wanted very much for the geese to live. To never be harmed by humans. They have enough to fight against in the natural world. To harm them or their disappearing habitat felt like an attempt to wipe out another human culture, like the native Americans or the Tibetans or the rain Forrest natives. Modern people have enough already. We have enough to buy, to eat. We have enough land to build on or plant on. We don't need anymore. We need to take care of the ones who have less and less each year. If they can't make it, it will just be a matter of time until we don't make it. This year the geese made it back to Willcox and the moon came out and the sky went wild with color and honking. There was a power there that cared not about us and made small all that we humans do in this world and at the same time invited us into it's rhythm. I don't know. It was overwhelming but it was real.

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