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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, March 06, 2012

Parable made Real

I had the great fortune to play music with my friend Jarrett while his Lady, Mira, taught yoga at Yo downtown this weekend. I like to do asana but I admit I like playing for yoga classes more. Jarrett and I played guitar and the students sweated. At the end of the class, while the students were in corpse pose, I was looking out the window. I was thinking of a friend who is having a very difficult time lately. I was thinking of all the people that that situation touches. I got a little lost in the pain of the whole thing. Then something amazing happened. I'll preface it with a story.
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.


Blogger lauriepost said...

Matt, I keep meaning to tell you this when I read your blogs-- you write extraordinarily well, like a man skipping a stone across a river. I hope you continue to share your work.

March 08, 2012 12:56 PM  
Blogger Matt Gallup said...

Thanks, Laurie. I was just wondering if people still read this blog. I always hope someone does and feels like they have done something good with their time, which is shorter every day. Sometimes, I love everyone very much and want to communicate with them. I try to write from that place. Thank you so much for commenting. It does mean a lot to me.

March 28, 2012 9:30 PM  

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