November 28, 2009: Day 22 of Circuit
Last night, the backdrop for my afternoon coffee and sunshine lounge was some of the most specular scenery I have ever witnessed. The mountains at the Annapurna Base Camp left a magical imprint on my mind.
In stark contrast, tonight I am at one of the most strangely grim and homely little guesthouses of the whole trek, in the village of Bamboo. The air is cold and my automatic mind is probably just labeling all things unpleasant right now. I was told they had hot showers, but when I tried all I got was a luke warm trickle. So now I’m shivering madly, desperately trying to get warm inside my sleeping bag.
I’ve got candles, books and a Snickers bar, though, so I guess I have everything I need.
Speaking of books, Irati gave me the The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying the other day. I’ve begun reading it and am finding that it is packed with a much wisdom. It’s basically a comprehensive framework of the Buddhist faith. I’ve also been reading Dalai Lama’s Open Heart, and together they are opening my eyes to some fascinating truths.
We are all wearing the blindfold. Our sensory apparatus deceives us and our habititually misguided thinking mechanisms tell us things that just aren’t true. But we’re not inclined to believe our tools might be defective.
Mediation is a way to recalibrate the mind. Its fundamental intent is to be aware of everything going on in your mind. There is no stopping a freight train and there is no stopping your crazy mind. But in the silent inquiry of meditation you actually see all these firecrackers thoughts, memories, todos, the should’ve dones,reflexive self-criticism, and garbage, etc. These crazy thoughts go shooting through the mind with extraordinary interlinking complexity and pull your heart this way and that way without you even being aware of it happening. The meditator is then called to become aware that their peace has been shattered, and that their mind is now running wildly again. Upon realizing this, the meditator is called to turn their thoughts once again back into the silent repose of observing their mind. You bring your awareness back to pure perception, back to the present moment. And this is the way we come to learn about our monkey mind and dispel the false perceptions of reality we invent in our mind.
There is another powerful concept that is sinking in. This notion of karma- and the basic fact that doing good things for others is beneficial to our self. Conversely, when we act selfishighly or negatively towards others, we suffer. This truth of karma is obvious and is confirmed deep in our hearts everytime we hold the door for another and see a grateful smile. So easy to do, so easy to make another’s day better, so small is the offering, so large is the effect. Simple acts of kindness. We are all reaching for God– every good act takes us closer, every negative act leads us further.
So, if you are persuing wisdom and the path to higher mind– it begins with being the best person you can be.