24 March, 2016

The Great Undoing

One of the most significant outcomes of pursing a long retreat meditation path for me has been the gradual undoing of each firmly held idea I had of who or what I thought I was. I started slow, in a temple setting that provided 20 minutes before a teaching, and after a couple years did a 4 day with the same temple gang. Although there was a lot of teaching, and talking and in a casual setting, it pushed me to go further. Now, I am on for a 30 day Vipassana in April this year, after a five year foundation of 10-day Vipassanas. Here is a 6 minute film of the pagoda with cells. So with this practice, I quietly did my own ego busting, at first unknowingly. I had no indention to achieve awakening, but it had been shown to me by a monk's embodied presence, who ordained me in 2009. That there is some kind of internal wisdom one has, knowing that you can't return to the old way of existing, seeking distractions that draws your being to go sit again. The first spark was my brain injury, but it can be any life occurrence that shakes your foundation just enough to look closer.

It was slow, unraveling the stories I had of myself based on life circumstances alternating that with feeling compassion for family and wanting to fix them at first. It was a way of avoiding of really looking at myself. Of course with these ideas came tears in these sits while I was undoing my ideas and any wishes. Seeing anger arise in body sensations and finding its roots. Finally, losing the concept of control of what I thought I had, besides how you react. I can’t change anything outside of myself. 

This did leave me very raw when I returned. My heart was wide open after I grieved the past ideas and experiences, unable to seal it all back in. Who was I? …a man of purely of delusions carrying a heavy load of anger?  Just a few years ago, I had no hope that I would be living with my partner of 15 years, separated by an ocean, although his presence in my life was crucial for desiring some change, some more maturation. I also had it firmly planted in my mind that the most I wanted from life is not to die as a miserable old man wearing a mask of all the disappointments and none of the beauty. As I have stated before enlightenment for me, is the action of letting go…becoming lighter. Letting go that can only happen when you sit alone in a cell in darkness. It is kind of like having your hand in front of your face like a mirror, bouncing back all your bullshit. Looking ugly, you then slowly detach yourself from it in some ways. There is really only you….undoing hopefully arriving back to the place where we began. When I look in a mirror in the morning while shaving, now all I see is the mirror...not me.

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