Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Without Thorns

I dreamed that all access points to someone very dear to me, were blocked by thorny stems such as this one:

What to do when dear one is not well, and there seems to be no other recourse but to just be present and not react? I have been trying to stay calm and not give into worries. I have been meditating. I have looked up to wise ones for guidance, teachers such as the Tibetan master, Tulku Thondup:
"Any situation can be a source of growth. This is difficult, but it is a teaching, a training, a blessing. And so you should try to use it as much as you can. You should feel very fortunate for what you have; feel gratitude for all the blessings of your life. See them. Feel them. Then this whole situation becomes a healing process. Why worry? Whatever we do for each other and for others will be an improvement, will be a healing for life . . .
Remember, we can reframe our attitude toward pain. It can even be good, because whenever you are in pain, you know you are burning past bad karmas. When problems come to you, try not to see them as negative. They are a part of life, like day and night, day and night. It's not day, day, day. Use negative situations positively, and they can all become a helpful source of benefit-even if they are painful. Pain is the most powerful tool of meditation. In the human plane there is so much turmoil, and that means this is a place for practice. Use the problems in life as incentives for growth; then, they become a blessing, not a curse. Human life is so blessed. We are so blessed because we know of so many ways to deal with these challenges.  Our experiences are always teaching us. You can be tortured or worshiped or peaceful - all in one life . . .
So problems remind us to practice. And the most important thing is to prepare for our death. All of our practices, especially meditation, are a preparation for death. So you end up turning life into practice-that is what we want to do. With meditation, you develop peace and strength; if you have strength, you have peace. True strength is when someone is calm, peaceful, without worries. Acknowledge the peacefulness in yourself-see it, feel it, believe in it. By cultivating a positive quality like peace, compassion, or any other quality, you use the power of belief to enhance that quality in you. These positive qualities are always present. You realize them by recollection, by remembering, by waking up.
~ in Olivia Ames Hoblitzelle, 10,000 Joys and 10,000 Sorrows
Sitting, I find I still have a long way to go towards the kind of peace suggested by Tulku Thondup. Past the worries, the tightness in the throat, the butterflies in the stomach, the sadness in the heart, and the weariness, deep aversion lies, and a strong wish for the whole situation to go away. Aversion, thorns . . . The meaning behind my earlier dream finally becomes clear. I cannot change dear one's mental state. I can change the way I feel about it however. Moving from a place of hate and resistance, to a new vantage point of love, compassion, and acceptance. Thorns taken out, with warm understanding. 


  1. "Acknowledge the peacefulness in yourself-see it, feel it, believe in it."

    This is what has happened today in sitting meditation. Later there was a difficult sitation with a loved one, perceived..

    May (y)our days be filled with peaceful steps and & your nights with restful sleep.

    Thank you, Marguerite

  2. Doris, thank you so much for gift of your spiritual friendship. I so much value our parallel journeys :)

  3. Marguerite,

    Thank you for your practice, and for sharing it with all of us.

    I am reminded of this verse, from the Denkoroku (Transmitting the Light). This comes from the very first case, the story of Shakyamuni's enlightenment:

    A splendid branch issues from the old plum tree;
    At the same time, obstructing thorns flourish everywhere.

  4. Thank you Maia. Such a beautiful image. Thorns come with the territory, and we just have to acknowledge them, with increasingly greater degree of clarity. Only then, can we start smelling and seeing the roses!