Homage to Pema Chodron

March 28, 2014  •  130 Comments

homage to Pema Chodron, ink on paper, 5.5"x8.5", 2014homage to Pema Chodron, ink on paper, 5.5"x8.5", 2014 Its a challenge living on this earth. If you stop to look at the nature of these challenges, it can be overwhelming. Paralyzing even. But it doesn't have to be. And what is the alternative? To ignore this reality. This fate that we all share. We tend to go about our lives in this way. Ignoring the bottom line. Always trying to have a ground to exist on. Even though that ground is removed from the bottoms of our feet, flinging us into nothingness, we set back to build it again and again. What if there is no real ground? What if the true reality that we exist in, but hide from is in opposition to how we live? What will our experience be then? What is the sensibility in living a life where you live lives of separation, being one thing at home among family/friends, and another when at the workplace involved in obligations of labor that are meaningless? Meaningless in the sense of fullfillment. The American psychologisit Rollo May, "Many people feel they are powerless to do anything effective with their lives. It takes courage to break out of the settled mold, but most find conformity more comfortable. This is why the opposite of courage in our society is not cowardice, it's conformity." What does it take to get us to live? To live with the awareness of the world as it is that we all live in? To live wholesome existences, that are respectful of the world and accepting of its unseeing laws? Our lives become the deepest concentrations that aim to live so distant from the eternal source of our existence. We stray from our natural selves and get lost in the world at large. Things make sense for periods of time, but then they are shaken up. We attach so externally in beliefs and ideas that will bring us some type of security, any type of security. Whether religious, emotional, financial, and on and on. And these investments that we value in lasting forever, are met with the reality of change and we find ourselves lost. But its in this place of desperation, that the opportunity to begin can occur. To ask the questions that lead to a life of purpose in finding those answers that only our existential experience of seeing the reality of the universe, and taking the leap into it can find. Many of us in our hearts desire a life so wonderfully different than the one we bound ourselves to. And taking that first step is the scariest thing. But maybe what is at the root of this hesitation is relative to us all. Perhaps the fear of death, perhaps something else. But to begin at such a place as this, could possibly transform from the root, the core to above sending ripples that send currency into the will of our being to step thru all that holds us back. To arrive back at the beginning point of it all, becoming who we already were but deviated so far from at some point in our development.

      The above is a morning reflection, written in the manner of automatic writing more or less. It is not an issue of being correct or incorrect. Rather, looking. At one's self, and relating to the world. If anything, trying. That is all that we can do anyways. Is try. Whose to say anyways whether another is right or wrong. I find it more beneficial to work on one's own experience, rather than being so concerned with that of others in this way, Let the fruit of the existential experience alone be the measure in the discerning of what works and what doesn't, what makes sense to one and what does not. I find more and more inspiration from various sources in the understanding towards this existential path. One of those recent ones I keep coming back to, or I find coming to myself is Buddhism. There are many levels to this school of thought. The teacher, writer, Pema Chodron for example, I find inspiring in how her story is a detailed description of my words above in how one is living a lifestyle of convention that is typical in its forgetfulness of the deeper nature of being, but when it was shaken up the drive became to asking those questions that only the world beyond the 'self' can answer. She was in her second marriage in her mid thirties, when her husband stated he was going to divorce her to be with his mistress. Chodron would discover that he accumulated a number of mistresses over the years, and she was devastated of course by this and the foresight of divorce and having children I am sure as well. She was traumatized with overwhelming feelings that were hard for to manage. The ground had disappeared from under her feet, and so began the desperate search to get any type of ground back. Chodron dabbled in various schools of psychology, spirituality, etc. and it was an article by the Tibetan Rinpoche Chogyam Trungpa that would hold the potential for this ground that she would soon dedicate her life to eventually for the years to follow up to the present. The article was on 'Working with Negativity". In it Chogyam described the paradox of how negativity can be a powerful energy, that can lead to one's transformation for the better. And how the 'negative, negativity' is the experience of negativity that should be avoided, in how one conjures up ideas of blaming others, or seeing one's self as a victim, etc. This is the essence of what draws me to buddhism in how it has one working with what is available to one at all times. One's self, and the world one lives in. My understanding of culture has led me to it's opposite, in that it's constructs condition and influence the distancing with reality,  though portraying the image of what reality is.  And its when the reality pulls the ground from under, that we experience the emptiness of its eternal space. Let this piece be of even the smallest homage inspired by Chodron of the constant reminder we all need in a world of forgetfulness, to live each moment possible with awareness. To see the paradox of the world in how what we think is good for us tends to be bad for us, and vice versa. And to rise above both into the unconditional experience of the present moment of each passing second and be here with it all. "Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final."- Rainer Maria Rilke

            The following words, written into the drawing, are those of Chodron's from her book "When Things Fall Apart"... "The difference between theism and non-theism is not whether one does or does not believe in God. It is an issue that applies to everyone, including both Buddhists and non-Buddhists.Theism is a deep-seated conviction that there is some hand to hold: if we just do the right things, someone will appreciate us and take care of us. It means thinking there is always going to be a babysitter available when we need one. We all are inclined to abdicate our responsibilities and delegate our authority to something outside ourselves. Non-theism is relaxing with the ambiguity and uncertainty of the present moment without reaching for anything to protect ourselves. We sometimes think that dharma is something outside of ourselves, something to believe in, something to measure up to. However, dharma isn't a belief; it isn't a dogma.
It is total appreciation of impermanence and change. The teachings disintegrate when we try to grasp them. We have to experience them without hope. Many brave and compassionate people have experience them and taught them. The message is fearless; dharma was never meant to be a belief that we blindly follow. Dharma gives us nothing to hold on to at all. Non-theism is finally realizing that there is no baby sitter that you can count on. You just get a good one and then he or she is gone. Non-theism is realizing that it's not just babysitters that come and go. The whole of life is like that. This is the truth, and the truth is inconvenient…
Relaxing with the present moment, relaxing with
hopelessness, relaxing with death, not resisting the fact that things end, that things pass, that
things have no lasting substance, that everything is changing all the time, that is the basic message"


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