I have to say that there are days when I am just at loose ends. I start out with the best of intentions around creativity, productivity and the like and then for one reason or another, things go south. Today, the landslide started with a phone call at noon time…the rest of the day was backlit by sadness and confusion.
Tonight, I stay for meditation after hatha practice. Sitting on my cushion, the tears come…nameless really…just a diffuse and profound sense of loss. Yesterday, I finished reading The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. I was overcome with grief at the end…it is an enduring look at rightgeousness, religion, belief, relationships, nature, the earth, indigenous people and so much more…this, too, I’m sure contributed to my being at loose ends.
Coming home, I think about Pema Chodron, an American Buddhist nun and student of Chogyan Trungpa, the Tibetan meditation master. At times like this, I tend to gravitate to “the practice”…searching for some tried and true method of balance and centering. As you may remember, I love instructions and cryptic advice from great spiritual beings…
In her book, The Places That Scare You, Pema Chodron has an Appendix of Practices. It includes The Mind-Training Slogans of Atisha. Perfect. Here are a few of my favorites:
Point Six: Disciplines of Mind Training
23. Always abide by the three basic principles.
24. Change your attitude, but remain natural.
25. Don’t talk about injured limbs.
26. Don’t ponder others.
27. Work with the greatest defilements first.
28. Abandon any hope of fruition.
29. Abandon poisonous food.
30. Don’t be so predictable.
31. Don’t malign others.
32. Don’t wait in ambush.
33. Don’t bring things to painful point.
34. Don’t transfer the ox’s load to the cow.
35. Don’t try to be the fastest.
36. Don’t act with a twist.
37. Don’t make gods into demons.
38. Don’t seek others’ pain as the limbs of your own happiness.