27 December, 2013

A New Skin Stretched on the Skeleton

I recently dreamed of my passing from a previous life, seemingly making concrete my connection to my partner as a young boy when I did not know him. Saying good-bye in dream like form not as I am now.  It was not really dying in the dream, just alluding to it, so there was no fear or panic. It was intriguing, which then prompts me to think about upon awakening about our desire to find meaning in our life. This dream may have come out of our talks about our connection, seeing his photo as a young boy or just purely wishing it so. 

On further examination it seems to me that there is really no meaning to our life, it is all a fabrication of my over-active mind. Thus trying to live a virtuous life, is really just a way of simplifying life, wiping half of the complications brought on without living this way. Living with virtue may seem selfish at times....we still want something. But it does bring about more connection with others and the world, so in the other way, you end up feeling less like the “boy in the plastic bubble.” This might freeing you up to serve others. It has been said in many books that service is one clear path to liberation. Liberating what? The self-concern whipped up by the “me” who projects himself as separate? Most people who have children would just say, “duh!” because this is a natural product of such a life. I chose this route when society gave me no other option. It thankfully has been changing rapidly in the last ten years, with gay marriage and parenting. 

If I put aside any choice I may have had as far as direction when you consider the universe directs every possible combination of life. Then it puts me back into not finding any meaning, but relaxing into what is here, right now, however it or life manifests. Relaxing is not something I do easily when things are difficult, but it points us directly back to that imaginary “me” that perceives this all.

Looking back, I was forced to relax when my brain injury happened in the hospital. I had no choice, zipping through life as though I was invincible to a complete dead stop. It is weird to think you consider yourself lucky to have a brain injury which exhausts you so much that you have to relax in a fog of unknowing. That fog, should be exactly the same as the “What is” that one should naturally arrive at for real happiness. A wild ride on the way there, at least, but way smarter than running looking for meaning in life.

20 December, 2013

All That's Left

Aware of my partner sleeping beside me, he morphed into the dream along with the fan’s breeze and the slight chill it made.  Blurring into this vignette... I was consulting an old friend from my past, who came out of my partner's body, about the wisdom we learned have so far. There were jokes and seriousness, and then our conversation slipped into a story, of us running with others along a dry-river bed. The others with us were a cross section of humanity, every race and age. It was a hurried pace, had a seriousness to it, but without panic. And we were rushing to our respective spots up an old water drainage hill that was covered in black oil. Where we each had our own spots were we could slip into cracks to our underground pods of safety.  Kind of like a dust devil we would spin ourselves in. That is, before the huge black hulk of a hill broke away from the valley floor and slid upward on our way to a new galaxy and a new planet to our surprise.

While running with others, we had brought the only thing we could take with us, the wisdom and knowledge that caring for others, is really all that we have that has any value. We made sure each other had slipped into our underground places with this knowledge in an orderly fashion before it left Earth to take us to a new home. Then the room with a faint glow, and dusty aura slipped back, awareness of the fan’s noise and the early morning birds singing…

I awoke at 4 am groggy, to my partner's showering once his awareness of having crashed earlier… exhausted and unwashed had rose him again to shower and brush his teeth, just so that he could hug me in appreciation for putting up with his mood the previous day. Then we slipped back into a loving slumber.

10 December, 2013

Dreams Vs. Reality

I have had two successive nights of dreams about meditation. It appeared to my mind as a separate existence, a refined and peaceful place marked as beyond a huge beautifully carved teak divider. In the dream, I marked each time I sat in invisible gel I painted on the divider. I marveled at how as it dried, it disappeared. It probably points to that fact that even with all the years, my practice has not fully manifested in daily life. Not in a bad way. I don’t appear to others as supremely relaxed, much in part to the difficulties processing that my brain injury has affected me. Of course, I am markedly better than I was 10 years ago, and life is a process where one is never done. A few people have noticed changes and it particular my partner. These dreams don’t smack of desires unfulfilled but more a sign of how the brain has divided my meditation experience vs. day-to-day living. I can hope that these two will merge closer, perhaps at the moment of death. So be it.

Then, last night, my third night I had dreams about people close to me that died young, and they came back to make jokes with me about my older body versus when they knew me. It was pleasant and welcoming sign of getting closer to existing like them.  It never appeared as a nightmare, and they were very friendly and fun dreams. I even woke with the desire to call them. When people young die close to you and often faster than expected(20 and 30’s) you scramble to figure out your own existence masking your hurt at the time. I had fortified myself to appear stronger than what was felt internally. These things come out as you meditate, often in a good way….a natural cry of release of all you held back. This is not happening now but did the first couple years of long retreats. Now, anything I would have held back in the past is felt immediately and reacted upon. For those that don’t meditate you don’t become helpless, you instead, become freer.

06 December, 2013

A Burmese Points to More Work

I was climbing halfway up the Mahazedi stupa and looking up I can see smiling kids running around just under the Bell shaped rim. I start to engage the kids, then I heard a young man above them say, “You look like a woman.” He was perched up high looking down at me. I didn’t respond, did not look him the eye, plus I never let in stop me in my tracks. I figured out he was with the older group who pimped the smaller kids to charm the tourists out of money climbing the stupa in Bago. It was just a straight man’s call of dominance where I guess he felt some weakness. He had no intention to escalate his hatred. Hanging out on a stupa with a good view makes sense, but not when one figures out the real motive. Reaching the top of the stairs I look to the right and see a monk meditating while facing the stupa, and I continue to engage the younger boys, and look around while enjoying the view especially of the huge reclining Buddha looking very rested in the green in the distance.

I was hurt, his words kept replaying in my mind, and now I think I should thank him for this pointer of where I am still attached to me and mine. If he said them in Burmese I would have never known. I felt stupid for letting this continue and it was the only hassle, I had the whole five days in Myanmar. I had a great taxi driver I found in Yangon that drove me to most sites in Bago who was a great person.  Everybody I met those five days were great from kids to adults and I spent an hour talking to random strangers different nights while photographing night scenes. I felt welcomed, and never threatened. Then I began to see the hole that still remained even with all my meditation. I still had expectations to inspire people, to be included.... even with my injury. And I did with my communication and kindness with my taxi driver.

This hole also included the separation I feel by still not able to communicate well in spite of all the work I have done to date. As the sun set on the way home in the cab, I fell asleep exhausted from trying to ignore the words earlier. When I awoke, the driver and I discussed getting some Indian food, and he would not join me, because he had to eat with his wife when he got home. I offered to be dropped off to eat, but he insisted on waiting... to take me back to the hotel. A kind and generous man who I will hire again when I return with my partner. He drove me to a good place that served fast, and I hurriedly woofed it down so he could get home faster.  I still felt enough energy to walk after a quick shower and go shoot scenes that night(some you see here), ending with a rickshaw ride home by a handsome Burmese who patiently waited for me to finish a conversation I had with a local, by looking in my direction, to insure he had one last fare for the evening.

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