May 27th, 2012

Change

Sometimes it feels as though the only thing that ever happens here is adaptation to constant change.  It’s a well-used and completely apt joke that everything at the ashram changes.  Once a change was announced a week before it was to happen.  Naturally, nothing changed at all; that kind of advance foresight being sure to change a half dozen or so times before a decision finally settles.  The way large decisions are made at the ashram are, as it has been pointed out, a lot like how some native American cultures would make decisions.  Councils are held, ideas brainstormed and talked about for even years sometimes, the conversation can go around – seemingly or literally – in circles for ages.  Then suddenly, something happens.  The decision is made and it Happens.  Quick. It’s pretty fun and keeps me on my toes.

The person in charge of accommodations keeps changing.  It used to be someone for quite some time which then switched suddenly and unexpectedly due to unforeseen circumstances.  The person replacing them came in and is now away for a week.  The person replacing *that person* took a weekend course and was therefore stepping down this weekend.  Yup, life at the ashram.  This element of constant change is somehow folded into my reality and I find myself unexpectedly expecting it.  I can’t get locked into something.  Here’s where the paradox comes in, though, because I *do* get locked into things.  I make these assumptions that change will be constant even while a part of my mind rests contentedly on an illusionary permanence. 

In some way I just assumed that the person stepping into the role of holding accommodations, taking care of ensuring rooms were cleaned and organized as guests arrive and depart, was still here despite it being clear that there were three replacements holding that space.  In this way I feel as though my mind has divisions it creates for itself.  One part knew not to rely on any information and to accept whatever it was that was coming up.  Another part found some sort of peace in thinking a particular person had it under control.  That part was placated and yet still able to be uprooted and rest on the next change that came around.  Perhaps that’s what I’m learning most of all: to remain settled in the myriad of changes that constantly flow my way.  It’s as if my settled state can come quickly and easily; one sharp adjustment taking only a short time before that feeling of peace remains, that feeling of peace that truly underlies all things.  I’m edging my way into understand this more and more deeply.

Surrender

We had a reflection class on surrender the other day.  Asking ourselves to update our version of what the concept means right now and how that is relevant to the now.  During a Divine Light Invocation I had a flash of an outline of a figure standing in a stream.  That’s what surrender means to me right now: an entity full of space – holding no attachments, preconceived ideas, or assumptions – free to exist in the flow of life surrendering to the present moment.  It was a neat exploration.

I’ve been letting go lately in a way that I’ve never experienced before.  It’s been over a month since an evening I sat dumbstruck at my desk, realizing I’d forgotten to do a weekly task that takes about an hour.  It was two minutes to supper.  I had been stretching myself too thin, trying to do it all and therefore letting things slip that didn’t forcefully makes themselves known; like the weekly bank deposit.  I coordinated with my lovely karma yogi accountant who comes in after dinner and completes the process from her end.  She was quick to adapt and support, knowing how much I had happening and that I truly can’t do it all.  The next morning I made some changes in my schedule and things have been going pretty well.

Still I find myself needing to let go.  My practice over the past six months or so has been to do.  Tasks would come up in meetings and I’d volunteer for them, someone was needed to organize something and I’d be there.  I was stretching my preconceived ideas of what it means to act in this world.  I’ve been learning about myself that I can do.  In fact, I’ve been getting so good at it that I have still been finding myself in a position where I need to let things go.  In a meeting this week we decided on something that needed to happen and I instinctually said I could do it and then came right back with the realization that no, I would let someone else take it on.  I was quite proud of myself for recognizing my limits.  This is a new place for me to be in and I’m navigating it as gracefully as I can.  It’s quite empowering to be in the situation of learning how to let things go.  Naturally, maintaining all that I continue to hold gets continually refined as I offer what I can the best I am able.

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3 thoughts on “May 27th, 2012

  1. Anybody interested in a Quote by Nichiren–“Worthy persons deserve to be called so because they are not carried away by the eight winds: prosperity, decline, disgrace, honor, praise, censure, suffering, and pleasure. They are neither elated by prosperity nor grieved by decline. The heavenly gods will surely protect one who is unbending before the eight winds.”

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  2. Change happens quickly. Today I thought I had bad luck because somebody broke my car window during the night but Jim came home late from work because he was in a vehicle accident. His truck looks awful. A 3/4 ton truck driver didn’t see him and crashed the side/back of Jim’s little truck. Jim is getting over his flu and feels better today.

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  3. Writing from Nichiren–
    “How sad is this lot of ours, that all who are born must perish! Though one may live to a great age, in the end one cannot escape this impermanence. In this world of ours, life lasts a hundred years or so at most. When we stop to think of it, it is a mere dream within a dream. Even in the heaven where there is neither thought nor no thought, where life lasts eighty thousand years, no one escapes the law of mutability, and in the heaven of the thirty-three gods, too, where life lasts a thousand years, it is swept away at last by the winds of change and decay. How much sadder, then, is the lot of the human beings living on this land of Jambudvipa, (the entire world) whose life is more fleeting than the dew, more fragile than the plantain leaf, more insubstantial than bubbles or foam! Like the moon reflected in the water, one is not even certain whether one exists or not; like the dew on the grass, one may vanish at any moment.

    Anyone who grasps this principle should know that it is of utmost importance to take thought for the existence to come.”

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