I'm no expert practitioner, but it seems that my renewed focus on Dream Yoga is working. Extending Practice into the borderland of mind states that emerge in and out of dreams has been rewarding. It's nice to be able to sleep on the job.
In the Dream State, I did -- and I was.
Grief is rarely that easy, but thankfully, it's become easier over the years. I've had lots of help. I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to attend retreats with two contemporary American Buddhist masters of a "good cry": Stephen Levine and Joanna Macy. Although the focus of their work is different (Levine serves in the field of death and dying. Macy empowers ecological activists), each of these gifted Teachers gets to the Heart of the Matter with incredible grace, insight and skill. Through periods of silent meditation, guided meditations, talks, and experiential exercises, they each have the ability to skillfully guide their retreat participants toward an experience of the Open Heart of Awareness. True spiritual elders (Macy is 85. Levine, 77), they each are able to bring the essence of the Teachings out of the Sutra books and into real, lived experiences. Through their being and the gatherings they create, they each bring the limitless energy of love, compassion and forgiveness to Life.
|Stephen Levine |
July 17, 1937 - January 17, 2016
Conditioned to hold our own pain and the pain of the world at arm's length, encouraged to keep a stiff upper lip, we aren't able to turn towards Life and Death wholeheartedly. We hadn't made the time to turn towards ourselves and one another with a compassionate embrace and a loving kiss.
Macy, like Levine, the Heart Work she offers supports us to melt the armor that our conditioning has created to shield ourselves from the more painful realities of Life as it is. At the risk of seeming
ridiculous, I think that the future of the planet may very well hinge on
our individual and collective ability to have a good cry.*
Although it takes courage and commitment, we come to see that through opening our hearts to the pain, a natural healing takes place. In facing the reality of the human condition, our shared plight on this planet, we unleash the enormous energy of our deep caring. There, we connect with the One Love that resides deeply within and beyond us. Taking heart from the beauty and courage that is our True Nature, we can then join with others to act to address the ongoing destruction of our planet -- hopefully, before it is too late.
Engaged Buddhist, drawing on the Shambala Prophecy she learned from her
Tibetan Buddhist teacher Dugu Choegyal Rinpoche, the teachings and practices that Joanna Macy
presents are those of empowerment. Throughout her life of environmental activism, she has pointed the way towards becoming active bodhisattvas, individuals committed to our collective liberation from the systems of oppressive ignorance that blind and bind us. Using the
non-violent weapons of insight and compassion to dispel the beliefs and behaviors that
fuel the human misery, warfare, and the environmental devastation of our
times, she guides us to act to save our world. As I had done with Thich Nhat Hanh and others, I shared the Bodhisattva Vows with Joanna Macy during that retreat. Years later, I still recite these vows most every day.
One Love. One Heart.
|People's Climate March, NYC 2014|
Each day, I recite the Bodhisattva Vows. I acknowledge the utter impossibility of saving all sentient (beings are numberless, after all). Yet, like many others throughout space and time, I vow to do exactly that.
All our loved ones, all the myriad plant and animal species that share this planet with us humanoids, and Mother Earth herself, are crying out to us at this precarious moment in the history of the planet. It's a time to get our act together -- individually and collectively. I can't think of anything better to do.
How about you?
of the Final Couch Talk he and Ondrea posted
* If you didn't recognize it, the phrase I used is from Che Guevara. In 1965, he wrote "At the risk of seeming ridiculous, let me say that the true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love."
I basically agree with Che's statement and respect his courage, integrity and sacrifice. I just wonder what may have happened if he would have lived in a different age and had a "good cry." What would have happened if he chosen Gandhi's non-violent resistance, instead, to confront the injustice he saw?