Thursday, August 27, 2009
A fortress of solitude.
I was up at 5:30 this morning, feeling great and refreshed. Somehow sleeping six hours instead of eight is more invigorating. Of course by three in the afternoon it'll feel as if someone stuck a beer tap into my back and all my energy drains out. But I have a devious plan for recharging. Its called the nap...
I had hoped to get my morning practice in early but distractions--the dogs wanting out, the cats demanding to be fed even though there's food in their dish *but it's not fresh!* they complain. There's leftover dishes in the sink and the house smells old and funky. I long to go outside in the early morning and sit but that's a big no. Aint gonna happen. The mosquitoes bombarded me as soon as I stepped off the front porch and no amount of citrinella candles would put them off. I often wonder what the have to eat if they can't get Buddhist.
And my brother comes by with my bedspread and a big can of coffee and a smile, which is always welcome. He gets to spend time with his grandson today. I do enjoy his company. He had coffee, I had iced water and offered him breakfast (which is the cherokee thing to do; when someone comes to your house you feed them)and he declined saying he was too nervous to eat. We pour over the day's minutae while watching Jerico. He has doctors appointments, a phone call to the electric company to let them know his power is out...again...my offer to have him put his perishables in our freezer, and if the lights aren't on by the time he gets home I'll cook for all of us. And I share my day, my practice, my shastras, my writing and housework, all which seems to demand being done right now this very instant, although the vista of the day stretches out toward the horizon.
I know its still a distraction, albeit a pleasant one. I got 20 minutes in on my morning practice, which is better than nothing at all. But still. Oh if I just had a cave of my own.
But there are times...oh there are times when a cave in the Ouichita (pronounced wash-it-tah) mountainst is very appealing. I very much liked the story of Tenzen Palmo, who spent 12 years in a cave in the Himalayas. Sometimes, I almost envied her. But not too much, not really. I do like human contact. Especially from one human currently snoring away in our bed :D
Buddha could leave house and hearth to search after enlightenment, but I can't. I have to seek for it here. Which doesnt matter, the search is internal not external. Enlightenment can happen anytime providing the internal causes and conditions are present, even while carrying buckets of water.
Besides, there's bears in them caves up in the Ouichitas. And I'm scared of yo-na, and rightfully so, those damned things can chew your head off. And then there's the prospect of disturbing the nuhehi which will leave you addled for the rest of your life.
Do I believe in Cherokee demons and gods? Ummm...I don't hold to beliefs, but I am open to the possibility.
So I have to define my own fortress of solitude. JW knows and understands and never distracts me for my practice. In fact, he's often the one to say, 'its 11 am, time to go do your due...' and I will happily scamper into my office where I keep my shrine and meditate. For me it's not a chore, it's a joy to do. but there are other distractions, both pleasant and not so much that do (try at least, I do put up a good fight) to make me leave the comfort of my fortress when I really rather would not.
And when distractions come, there's also the sensation of annoyance that comes with being denied a moment of meditation. I could let this flower into full blown rage, but I don't. I have learned to let it go.
I watched Good Morning Veitnam not too long ago.
It's one of my favorite Robin William's films (We won't even talk about the Bicentennial Man) and one of the most striking scenes...that had the most impact on me as a practitioner was the scene where several Theravadan monks were sitting alongside the statue of a Buddha. In the distance you can hear gunfire. These monks were not distracted. They could practice, in the middle of a warzone, meditating, staying focused without once flinching or looking up to see what was going on.
I know it's just a film but that scene was something I'd like to strive for. The detachment that comes with practice. Not to be disengaged, but detached, loving but being able to let go. To hear the gunshots and shouting in the street, and letting it go too, to continue on the path. It may seem foolish to some, after all, it'd be more sensible to hike up your skirts and run but still. I'd love to get to the point of least distraction.
I'm up to doing 12 Tibetan prostrations per practice session. There was a time, not too long ago, when I couldn't even do one. My goal is to be able to do 108 by this time next year.
peak flow 400
lunch beef soup
dinner pork and steamed veggies