Friday, November 20, 2009

Nothing to Have

Last night was the annual Human Rights Watch Awards dinner at the Fairmont, in San Francisco. One of the highlight of the evening is the auction at the end. Prad was highest bidder for first item, a photo showing woman at decrepit maternity clinic in India. Proceeds to go to HRW Emergency Fund. I watched Prad as he raised his hand repeatedly as the bids kept coming. And I also watched myself, as I blurted out "You're crazy!". Prad's ease with the parting of his money, and my reluctance, made for an interesting teaching moment.

Over the last few days, I have had this automatic thought, "Nothing to Have". A spontaneous mantra, almost, that's taking more and more space in my mind, including this morning, during sitting. Breathing with ease. Body releasing into now. And mind repeating "Nothing to Have". A blissful state. Liking the peacefulness, and wanting it to last. Liking, wanting. Stomach interrupts, with tightness. Attention now drawn to constriction. Each breath, making room for the noose around stomach, and for feeling every bit of it. Noose moves up to head. Hmmm . . . this feels like yesterday. Headache again, and nausea. Left shoulder tense. Jaws clenching. Whole upper body's holding on, tensing onto itself.

"Nothing to Have". Certainly not money, and security. And also, other more subtle possessions, such as feeling of peace during this morning sitting. I like this quote from Joseph Goldstein, in "Voices of Insight": The Great Renunciation is really the renunciation of the paradigm of "having" as our deepest value.

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