Saturday, December 11, 2010

Two Men Have Gone With Their Whims

What an interesting synchronicity that within two weeks, two major sources of male energy seem to have fled from this being called mickeypamo.
One, is a former lover of decades ago . . . when I was about 19, 20, and he was about 35. As professional ballet dancers, we performed and toured together with a dance company in New York City c. 1971 to 1973. A connection spanning some 38 years. We managed to connect somehow online a couple of years ago. Yet, the past few days, I've been thinking "that's the last I'll hear of him," as I imagine him running to the hills . . . because of mistaken semantics.
And if he asked me, I would tell him that "the love of a 20-year-old is different from that of a 58-year-old Buddhist woman. Love at 20 is not love, but only egotistical grasping for self-pleasure (and of course, many other things). Love for this Buddhist woman is in the growing desire for the other's Happiness." That's what I would say.
The other, an intense and driven author in Topanga Canyon, in all his Ariesian ways, came in like a blast on the web, into my life, like a devourer, saying, saying, saying some of our recent and quite incredible synchronicities occurring between us like magic, which was and is and will be absolutely so. Yet, the arrogance of my pressing myself too hard as a teacher . . . then, one teaching too many, and he was gone. Also in a semantics-like way. Such as the difference between multi-tasking and giving your presence to someone %100.
In both these cases, I have spoken my truth in my language, which is not anyone else's responsibility to learn. I guess I'm not in a monastery.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Seen and the Seer are One

If that is so, my mother is me, and I am my mother, and I am that altar, and I am its arrangement, and I am this bed and this mattress I feel under me is me and the tree I see out the window is me drinking up the cold fall rain in Cincinnati. A much-needed rain since the beginning of this summer's drought. Even the buckeye trees didn't have their pop pop popping period of time when their heavy fruity nuts would drop, and every squirrel would be running hither and yon trying to keep up with the deluge of the upcoming winter's sustenance. Now the little guys are eating all they can find. I don't think they have food stored for the long winter. Some may die, others may survive, skinny, next spring. 

So, 900 Haitians with cholera are me . . . that has been established. I'm unable to help that part of myself, nor the parts of myself swarming with mourning Iraqis and Afghans. I'm hidden away here, trying to heal myself so maybe I can help those women in Africa who are helping other women form coalitions of labor, profitable businesses for themselves; whose husbands often beat them for joining one of these groups called "Javala". Oxfam let me know that. Oxfam let me know that the woman part of me is rallying together to become more than the sum of these parts. All parts must be cared for equally or life will continue to degrade across the planet. Take care.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Sad, Relatively Unknown News of Tibetan Buddhists' Infighting

Several of my friends have approached me with eagerness to say, "The Dalai Lama is coming to Cincinnati! Are you going?" I remain neutral and answer that H.H. the Dalai Lama has requested that anyone from my lineage, not attend his teachings. "What! Why?"
Because of a hundreds-of-years-old conflict concerning a certain Dharma protector (protecting the words and knowledge of the teachings of the Buddha) named Dorje Shugden. Many years ago, H.H. the Dalai Lama—a wonderful man who has done much for the world—wrote praises and poems revering Dorje Shugden. Then he changed his mind, and announced that Dorje Shugden is a demon. He asked that anyone revering Dorje Shugden (as my teachers do, and as I do), not come to his teachings.
Many negative events occurred following this pronouncement, which have come close to violence and death in the Tibetan Community. Nonetheless, these people without a land of their own, are divided against each other.
The saddest event came about by way of an order given by H.H. the Dalai Lama, that my teachers' home monastery in Southern India, Gaden Shartse Monastery housing and feeding and schooling thousands of monks, was to send all the monks revering Dorje Shugden onto the streets: no food or shelter was to be given to them. This action left hundreds of monks and nuns homeless.
The Mongolian, American and Tibetan support for these outcasts enabled them to build an entirely new monastery, also in Southern India, which had its formal opening in 2008(?). There is a Dorje Shugden Society to be found on a website.
This news is vastly unexposed, yet my teachers have been denied entrance to H.H. the Dalai Lama's teachings anywhere; one of my special teachers was in the middle of a crowd of hecklers coming close to violence, so much so, that the police had to put my teacher and his fellow monks on a bus to protect them.
I try not to get depressed or disillusioned about this, because the words of the Buddha are pure and good, just as the words of the Catholic faith are merciful. Yet look at what is happening in the Catholic Church with its many child-molesting priests. Are there similarities here? Humanity means human frailty, and H.H. the Dalai Lama is no exception. I wish him a long life, happiness and prosperity. And I will continue my Dharma practice with joyous effort.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Dream Themes: Clothes and Cages

Night after night, dreams of lost clothes, clothes that slip off me and are lost, searches for something to cover my nakedness (despite preferring it) because of a nod to society's demands of the shame of the human body . . . a contradiction as men pump iron and women wheel furiously in front of cable TV in Sports Clubs . . . the perfect body striven for. We absorb both the shame of bodily exposure and the pride of rippled and muscular abdomens, et al. As I think of it now, I've given in to society's strictures to the detriment of revealing my authentic being, this naked Truth. Spiritual growth is blocked in fear of others' reprimands.

And last night, enrolling in a school where I learned nothing . . . fun-loving teens crowding the halls all the time . . . no memory of a single class.
Rooms are filthy with dust, cluttered with trash, disorganized messes of objects, toys perhaps. I spend a good deal of time trying to clean and order one room, but there is just too much to do everywhere to make it a better place.

I want to get out of the crowd, pay the dormitory rent to a strict and stocky principal. She asks for cash. I tell her I have check or credit card. So I'm digging through my overpacked disorganized bag for the credit card, and at first think I've found it, but it's a stack of pictures of my son from childhood to manhood I always carry with me. I find the card, planning to pay the rent, then get on a train and GET OUT. Go. Travel. Let go of all that's holding me from learning, growing. Wander to find the Truth.

As I contemplate last night's dream, the cage of a place where I learn nothing and pay for it, distracted by numerous other chattering beings, the old desire to escape emerges. "Wherever you go, you take yourself with you." The school is the chaos of samsara where precious human lifetime is wasted in play and delusions. Graduation adds no happiness, but the delusion of arrogance of being better than others.
Here, too, I want to run, get away, be alone, grow alone, teach and heal myself.

When I wake, my mind is agitated, overloaded with negative dreams, night after night. I watch my breath for a long time, only the breath, only the breath . . . and decide that running is useless. The Truth is in watching my breath, my hand, feeling this body move . . . Mindfulness.

Authentic being, the Truth is not to be found by escape from the circumstances one is in. Authentic being and Truth is under the crust, the armor of all my delusions. It is everywhere, if I could only see, no matter where I am geographically . . . a work in progress I yam.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A prophetic dream of the deepening suffering and schism that is to come (after George Orwell’s 1984)

In the year 2065, when my son, a Staff Sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps is 84 years old—if he is still alive, and I wish him a long long life—and when I will have left this work of mickey to go on to greater responsibility, the United States will control the world. The Bible Belt will be the “axis mundi” and the only remaining resources of pure air, pure water and pure food will be piped in, as Mother Earth is sucked dry and left rotting outside a colossal tube of arched plexiglas spanning higher than Mt. Meru and enclosing the several former states. Light and air and green trees, running waters, abundant food, flowers and peace inside—dark gritty smog, ashes, rot, rubbish and skeletons picked clean, hungry ghosts emaciated, outside the bubble . . . all over the earth it is like this, except in that swathing white belt on the former North American continent.

White and worthy Christian children play in piles of warm sand, their clothes clean and ever new, colorful, novel, with pockets and nooks filled daily with bubblegum and surprises by mothers lounging poolside, or continuously sipping cocktails in swirling jacuzzis on wooden decks jutting out from huge mansions. Their men know their place better than any and stride fearlessly over massive grasses of golf courses. If they had been able to chain the sun and halt its democratic dance of day and night, these virile intellects would have done so long ago after cleverly imprisoning all other earthly resources indefinitely, though most old war chiefs continue to ponder this strategic necessity so as to bring the ancient ball of fire permanently into homeland service for the security of these deservingly-blessed and royal few.

Dark noses, dark faces, dark and dirty palms, dark sky, dark groans of hunger, lean to the plexiglas perimeter. Rotting flesh of death stinks the air to palpable dank. Flesh has long since been consumed by starving hoards who, despite bleak prospects, continue to mate and propagate. Copulation remains the only small pleasure, yet soon they might be eating each other for whatever final drop of pleasure and relief from suffering that might bring. There is no telling who is black, white, brown, red or yellow outside the dome of the privileged blessed . . . all outside are sooty black with the ashes of death; all inside are creamy white in the blissful American tunnel of this good life.

And this is the making of her own mind. There is no stopping it. She withdraws her mind, relaxes back, and the whole scene becomes an “emanation of the wisdom of voidness and bliss.”• And so she feels blissful at the vision. Everything is happening just as it should. “By means of this development of wisdom, the entire earth and all space become filled with clouds of offering . . . ”• All the objects of her six senses become opportunities to experience bliss and emptiness. Visualizing the horror of earth’s certain demise in this way, she dreams of flying. Her mind falls back upon pillows of soft feathers. She exhales, and the sufferers disintegrate to pure light. The privileged become no less, all in a moment in her mind.

• • from The Lama Chöpa:
Offerings to the Spiritual Master:
The Method of the Profound Path, Inseparably in Bliss-Voidness, of Offering to the Guru and Assembly
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Friday, September 10, 2010

Oh! There Goes My Ego!

Last week in the early morning, I fell off a ladder. My mother had been distressed, had a bad night sleeping on the sofa, closing a bat into her bedroom. Now the little guy was sleeping peacefully against the topmost point of an exposed brick wall in her Victorian-ceilinged bedroom. A large wooden trunk with metal buckles and edges kept me from getting close to the wall with a plastic bowl and plate to scoop him out the window. Mom peered fearfully through the door, saying "Don't climb up there! There's nothing to hold on to!" Ah! There went my Ego! I would show her how fearless and physically superior I was in my (former) balance as a dancer. I climbed about 9 feet up, to the second-to-the-top step, and leaned. KAWAM! Down I went, gouging my back on the metal buckle, landing on my kadushy, and sat there saying a simple "Sh_t!"

Now I don't curse, being the perfect Tibetan Buddhist practitioner that I am. I lay down for a couple of minutes. She saw I was ok, patched up my back, and headed off to Oxford for the day. I walked slowly up the stairs to my apartment, lay on my bed with an ice pack on my back.
As time went on, clearly I wasn't as ok as I'd told Mom. I called my doc and asked her if I should come see her or go to the emergency room. Doc said right away to go to Christ Hospital (for the second time, second fall of this year). My neighbor/girlfriend kindly took me. No broken bones, but big beautiful green and blue bruises and scrapes.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized I simply wasn't listening to my Higher Self, Inner Guidance, God, Allah, Universe, et al. I do know, intellectually, that the longer one sweeps a lesson under the rug, the louder the Universe yells. So here I am, Mack-truck-rammed . . . I think I finally get it. 

I've spent my whole life taking wild risks trying to prove something to someone, to show off, to be the heroine, the fearless, the strongest, the one who would stand out amongst others as THE BEST. It's taken years of calamities, since 2006, for me to confront my "tough" costume and start taking care of myself better. So once again, I've put myself out of commission for helping others. "Little did she even remember that she was a recovering disease-to-pleaser." (See the great book Disease to Please.) I would do anything for anybody even if it broke me in half, and the bottom line is that this is all EGO. With such an afflictive emotion running my game, no wonder I couldn't see who I truly was, what was the truth of all that was around me, no matter how many mantras and practices I did.

I had allowed myself to be dominated by the 8 mundane concerns (which I'd understood intellectually but not experientially . . . what a difference!):

Craving for pleasures of the six senses.
Craving to be free of the unpleasant.
Craving to hear sweet ego - pleasing words or sounds.
Craving to not hear ugly, displeasing words or sounds.
Craving to acquire material things.
Craving to avoid losing or not obtaining material things.
Craving for personal praise and admiration.
Craving to avoid personal slander, blame and criticism.

They are mundane because I can't take any of them with me when I die. They are like TV commercials that interrupt the narrative of the non-judgmental flow of the mind, and the spacious loving of the heart.

OK . . . I get it know, dear Universe. Can ya quit leaning on me now?

Sunday, August 29, 2010


Cool, delicious, light and sweet
Clear, odorless, easy on the throat
And kind to the stomach is the water
Of the eight qualities
—excerpt from Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand

Friday, August 27, 2010

Hell is a place . . . in the mind

Though I've been studying Tibetan Buddhism for nearly 11 years, I decided to start all over with the primary text, Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand. For those of you who have encountered any Buddhism here in the West, you know that there are considered to be 3 types of persons . . . 3 types of persons who have 3 different intentions for this lifetime: the Small Scope person; the Medium Scope person; and the Great Scope person (like Buddha).

To start all over as a Small Scope being, one has to, among other learnings, meditate on each of the hell realms (reserved for the nastiest parts of oneself and what becomes of you if you stay that way).

There are many hells. I've been taking them one each day and meditating on being there. The descriptions sound mythological, yet I know from my previous studies not to take it all so literally. I've been surprised though, at how many of the hell realms have the same qualities as what many people living on earth experience today. (The purpose of meditating on the lower realms is to develop a fear/desire NOT to go there, and hence to Take Refuge under the protection of an Omniscient, Wise, Compassionate being).

So the Small Scope being is preparing for her next lifetime and its improved quality (if you accept the idea of reincarnation, which this writer does).

One of the hell realms is called the Hell of the Uncrossable Torrent, for example. The text reads: "The moving water is mixed with fire; it burns and cooks their bodies as boiling water cooks peas. They experience this suffering for a long time."

Immediately, I thought of BP's oil spill: if you lit a match to the surface of the water, you'd have your Uncrossable Torrent.

I also thought of a friend from Michigan whose family uses well water. Throw a match down the well and it catches fire.

I guess we've all been pretty nasty. Hell is not a determined fate. Nothing is. Free Will is our means of reversing our descent. We can do it. We can choose . . . all over the world . . . to be decent, eh?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Quote from Sufi Tradition

"Overcome any bitterness that may have come because you were not up to the magnitude of the pain that was entrusted to you. Like the mother of the world, who carries the pain of the world in her heart, each of us is part of her heart and therefore endowed with a certain measure of cosmic pain. You are sharing in the totality of that pain. You are called upon to meet it in joy instead of self-pity. The secret: offer your heart as a vehicle to transform cosmic suffering into joy."—excerpted from a quote in Stephen Levine's Who Dies?

Saturday, July 31, 2010

I could die today

[C]ontemplation of the horror of our death is, paradoxically, the tincture of the sweetness of our mortality. . . . Since the terror of death is so overwhelming, we conspire to keep it unconscious." 
—Sam Keen in Foreword of 1997 edition of Denial of Death by Ernest Becker, 1973.

"The prospect of death . . . wonderfully concentrates the mind"—from Preface of Denial of Death by Ernest Becker, 1973

After 10 1/2 years of immersing my life in Tibetan Buddhism here in Cincinnati, Ohio, I have decided to start all over, wipe the slate clean, go back to Buddhism 101. One of the first ideas we are encouraged to contemplate is the preciousness of human existence, the realm where one suffers and one experiences pleasure. Because we have a little taste of each experience, we have the maximum possibility of attaining the purity of our already-existent Buddha nature . . . the Enlightened One, the Awakened One. 

Animals and insects and hungry ghosts (starving people) and all the other realms of existence do not have this opportunity. How can one study and seek truth when you could be eaten by a bigger animal or squashed because your nibbling at dinner could make a person itch? The desperation of seeking food and shelter is a constant among these beings—who are increasing with the massive foreclosures on people's homes as the jobless wander the streets begging for money and being harassed by policeman.

This human realm contains, for some of us, Leisure and Fortune. For some, it is much greater than for others. For myself, having received Social Security Disability since 2001, I have been living just below the poverty level for these years. Yet, I feel that I live better than 99.999% of the world's population. Of course, anything can change in a second, and Leisure and Fortune would no longer be mine.

Years ago, I read Ernest Becker's book, Denial of Death. It was one of those writings that deeply imprinted on my mindstream: that in these United States, we deny the natural process of death, pretend it is not there, try in many cosmetic ways to look younger, to stay immortally young. We are drenched in the cultural media of youth as godly. I, myself, have participated in this.

Becker's gist, if I remember correctly, is that we all want to be "heroes." From my more aged perspective, I would not deny his theory, but would add that it is a function of ego, ego, ego. And that all relational disputes to the many wars and depravities being committed in the world . . . and  all that is between the microcosm and macrocosm are a result of billions of egos ignoring the certainty of death.

So this is one tiny reason that I am nourished by Buddhism. To begin by contemplating one's death, its certainty, the possibility that my next breath could be my last certainly makes life exquisite, because it could be cut short so easily. As Sam Keen (above) writes, "[C]ontemplation of the horror of our death is, paradoxically, the tincture of the sweetness of our mortality." I have the Leisure to contemplate this, and to experience the slow quiet beauty of a mourning dove pacing through green grass for breakfast.

Buddha Shakyamuni's first teaching after his Great Awakening, was the Four Noble Truths. The first is the Truth of Suffering. If we wish to attain the bliss of Great Compassion for all other conscious beings, and the mysterious Wisdom of a direct experience of Emptiness . . . to Awaken as Buddha Shakyamuni did, we must first look into the face of the great suffering around us, the death, the horror, the wars, the broken families. No more sweeping it under the rug. Wow . . . what an irony! (If you want to know more about the Four Noble Truths, you will find a methodical path to true happiness.)

Becker pointed this out more than 37 years ago. Judith Lief proposes something similar in her Making Friends With Death. What an opportunity we have for bliss in the increasing chaos of a dying planet!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

An American Epidemic

Confusion is . . . confusing—a time of limbo. Too many options, too many desperate people, too many corrections to be tended to. Which way to go? Where to start? Maybe to escape, run, run, run from it all? Or go mad contemplating why, why, why? What to do? Who is your friend? Who is your enemy? Even they change every day. Even they are as confused. 
Watch movies. Watch TV. As Larry McMurtry writes in his Books (of which he has 400,000), the interrupted narrative abounds, most extremely as seen in commercials on TV. Our minds flick like fruit flies from one sweet to another, unable to be still, to follow one story from beginning to uninterrupted end. Internet clicks tangle behind us as we forget why we began a single search. 
What can we name this unexposed epidemic of mental disease? Does it matter? (I know I always feel better when my doctor gives me a name for my ailment, and sends me off with a pile of pills to distract me from the insight of which he or she has none.)
But let's go further, and for convenience's sake, call it Mental Distraction. Is there any American, rich or poor, who does not have this disease? Some even applaud themselves that they can Multi-task. Listen to the commercials while remembering the developing TV narrative while making dinner while making a quick call on one's cell phone so you don't miss the show. 
It took me 48 years to learn that I had this disease. Another 10 has revealed to me the cure: Do one thing at a time with the whole of my breath, body, mind.
The cacophony does not stop. But I get stronger and more able to do One Thing amidst the hurricane of American society.
What would happen if all of us began a revolution against this disease? All of us boycotted Mental Distraction? What would we lose? What would we gain? What treasure is hidden in the silence?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

For Bruce

Breathing Sea

I am nothing
But a breathing sea
Washing in to samsara’s shores
Washing out to the dark and deep
Inhaling a draft of air
Exhaling what turned around
And came back.
What intelligence is this life?
The waves of my inspiration
Move like the sea through this world,
This body,
This suffering shell
That lingers till I wake

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Independence?

Happy Independence from America!
Today I celebrate my independence from the ugliness
of America’s past
declare my disconnection from its rigid spirit,
my independence from its caustic politics,
and claim my ancestry among those who reveled in the woods,
the mountains,
the lakes,
the stones,
the trees
of this magnificent continent.
I am an American.
Among the Chippewa, the Sioux, the Lakota . . . the Micks
from Ireland.
We are of them.
We honor what they honor,
and so,
we are Americans.

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Ritual of Birthdays

Well, now today, in the solar calendar, I am beginning day one of the 58th year in this lifetime. I've always been a late bloomer, a slow reader, etc., but once I get it, I get it deep.
I felt as I woke at 5am, that this coming year was going to be the year of the true realization of my purpose here on Mother Earth before I pass on. I feel strongly that this purpose will, in some specific way, increase my ability to love all (to desire lasting happiness for all), to increase my compassion (wanting to relieve the suffering of another) to that of Great Compassion (or "Bodhichitta", the desire to relieve the suffering of all other sentient ((conscious)) beings), and finally to increase Wisdom ( the "Wisdom of Realizing Emptiness", i.e., the direct experience that this realm is just a dream, to put it crudely . . . and that "I" am like a drop of water in an ocean: flowing together with all of existence, and interdependent with all other drops of water just like "myself", in a mysterious and extremely complicated process of cause and effect . . . like billions of dominoes). I very crudely and intellectually am only beginning to understand this concept (that is not a concept) after more than 10 years of studying and receiving teachings and initiations in Tibetan Buddhism.
To put it more simply, I don't applaud myself on this day; the praise is due to all others who have brought me to this place of leisure and fortune, where I live better than 99.99999% of the world's population. If I had not been nurtured by my mother and father as a vulnerable child and a person experiencing the dire consequences of being unable to conform to the culture into which I was born, how could I have survived to this ripe age? If I did not have the loving bonds with my brothers and sisters and son and daughter-in-law, to whom would I have turned when in need? If I did not have the precious friendships of like-minded people, how would I have learned what real kindness is?
All of them have taught me patience, perseverance, morality, generosity, mental concentration (focus), and wisdom.
It boggles my mind that I am being celebrated, toasted to, given gifts, thought of, when all of them, as well as all of the creatures of the earth and the fruits of the earth, brought me to this current prosperity and well-being which has allowed me to develop my chosen spirituality, hence giving me the slimmest chance of attaining the Ultimate: true lasting happiness. How can I ever repay such kindness? The irony of such a day seems to me now, an odd practice, yet, because I love them all, I will humbly respect and participate in the ritual. Yet, in my heart, I toast them all with a bubbly glass of pure water and luscious lime.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Robert Bly . . . excerpted from Matthew Fox’s The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine

“There is evidence from many cultures that an opening toward spirituality arrives around fifteen or sixteen. What happens? In India the outer world ‘responds.’ So to speak. A child in an Indian village or city sees on the street constant religious processions. . . . A kind of madness of religious feeling helps the adolescent whose spiritual chakra has just opened feel at home.
            But in our culture, the adolescent does not see ecstatic religious singers on the street. What he or she does see is posters advertising sexual energy. . . . The spiritual opening, having received almost no response, closes again. ‘Something marvelous is about to happen.’ But it doesn’t. . . . What arrives is disappointment. . . . Adolescents in all societies, we suspect, feel the disappointed emptiness; but in our culture, it’s as if adolescents are sold this emptiness.”

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Yet Another Blank Slate

The child, the innocent, pure slate wiped clean, unresistant, unjudging, completely soft and malleable in body and spirit—becomes whomever or whatever rubs against her or him, become a being completely molded by others who give her or him shelter, food, comfort, touch, pain—any encounter with any influence, object, energy that presses upon her or him, until . . . reaching the aggregate of discrimination, of self-awareness, of the personal power of free will.
Most of us choose to continue to believe we “are” who we have been molded to be. And as layer upon layer of these beliefs accumulate, the stronger the affirmation of this surrounds us. We belong to the power of these beliefs, we become these beliefs. Sometimes they are virtuous; sometimes they are non-virtuous, yet how does a child know the difference? What is the absolute truth of this difference? What kind of effort and courage does it take for a former child to step out of the innocently-imposed dictation of who she was at the beginning—that pure, clean slate of a mind?
These thoughts came to this former infant, nearly 58 years later, after a dream of a four-year-old suicide bomber telling her “Allah” had something to tell him. She did not try to save this child; she threw him down the hall outside her hotel room, yelling “Suicide bomber! Suicide bomber! The little boy!” Then she left the hotel, got on a bicycle and followed the man who had sent the boy. The man held a tall metal cylinder like a barrel of oil on the back of his bike. He turned to go the opposite way, passed her, so she turned and followed him; he turned again and she turned, so that they completed a circle. She stopped, dismounted, went up to him and pushed him, told him she knew he had sent the boy, then she yelled “Suicide bomber! Police!”
Then the bomb went off in the hotel she had come from. She saw rolls of smoke pour from the upper floor of the hotel. She heard the death scream of the child as he was exploded, ripped apart.
She chooses now to think of the pure child he was, as we all have been, and still are. She chooses to think of her mother, angry; her old friend, angry, as children dressed by others all their lives. She chooses to think of Maggie, herself, her Tibetan Buddhist monk teachers as dressed by others all their lives, their caretakers themselves dressed by others all their lives. Child soldiers all of them. Martinets, if you wish. Like the grass, helpless to the wind, all are blown hither and thither by outside forces, the skill of free will laying waste inside us, unused, forgotten, convinced by ourselves to be repressed, stagnating—an evil to assert. Some of us grow to 58 allowing these external entities to determine our entire life purpose, our reason for being on this earth, in this body, place, time.
She once, recently, was given a dream gift of wisdom and affirmation. She doesn’t know who or what was the giver. It could have been yet another “external” entity permeating the boundaries of her dreaming skull. It could have been her own buried free will, crying out desperately, “Whatever brought you here on Earth, your presence here is invaluable.”
She had received other dream gifts like the one above, and as mysteriously generated:
1) She sits naked, cross-legged, covered to her waist in a pile of empty cigarette boxes. “You’ll always have what you need, but you’ll never be satisfied.”
2) “Love is the crowning glory of understanding.”
3) “Act as One” . . . and so on.
If one ascribes to a linear way of thinking—that we are born, we age, we die, and them, poof, we don’t exist—the infant state is truly unknowing and innocent of her or his potential to choose, to discriminate, to determine one’s unique path, because there will be nothing else but a black non-existence.
If one ascribes to a cyclical way of thinking—that we are born with the molding and shaping and influences of many past existences whose residues we have temporarily forgotten—the experience of the infant is the same . . . innocent unknowing, pure, ignorance of one’s potential. So what does it matter? Perhaps she has the chance to remember those past influences and learning.
Perhaps as she ages she is capable of realizing that pure, uncluttered, passive, ignorant child blown by the wind, bending every way to each powerful force. Perhaps she is capable of seeing this ignorant purity in each being she encounters. Ah! The forgiveness and tolerance it gives her even as she is assaulted by other aging children inadvertently shaped to perpetuate her or his ignorance—just as she was shaped.
No one is to blame. We all participate in this endless process, whether we believe we have one life or many.
She supposes the opposite of free will is obedience—to society, to a corporation, to a person, to a dogma, to an idea, to predetermined fate, etc.
She recently dreamed of a biological female relative, of this lifetime, who confessed fully, in front of her and another very loving couple (a man and woman who themselves were sharing loving, touching, making non-lustful gestures to both Maggie and her biological relative). The relative confessed trustingly “O, I want to make love with my father so much. I wish I had been born as a wild woman to him, and that we could make love all the time.”
The loving man and loving woman immediately halted their gentle expressions to Maggie and her relative; they literally froze. Both backed away from Maggie and her relative, the man claiming he needed to go to his room of contemplation, of meditation, turning his brown knit sweatered back on them. The woman left to go out of the place where Maggie and the relative lived.
She said to her relative, “Sometimes, Dora, we have to keep such things to ourselves, because others may be offended; others may have a completely different set of beliefs about what is right and wrong.”
So, for her, that brought up the question of what was truly, inherently right or wrong, virtuous or non-virtuous. Was morality only a learned set of values, environmentally imprinted on the mindstream of the passive, innocent child? Are we born already corrupted, in “original sin”? Or are we born pure and stainless, originally with the innate potential to choose between an absolute and universal set of ideas about right and wrong?
Is the best “morality” or set of ethics to become happy and help others become happy, to release ourselves from suffering, and not to cause others to suffer? Or is “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” the best “morality”? Are we born knowing one or the other set of values naturally as an absolute immutable truth? Or are they both imposed upon us, the passive, wind-blown blades of grass?
Some societies condone incest. Some societies condone polygamy. Is the guilt and shame and remorse and regret felt by a child soldier of Uganda, having been trained to kill, steal, plunder and rape, felt only when that child is taken from his or her original culture to a culture with different values? Are these painful feelings born only out of being shunned and judged by the new culture into which she or he is relocated? Had she or he grown to old age in the original culture, would she or he ever feel shame or regret about these seemingly horrific acts?
The child, the indiscriminate innocence, spontaneous response to love, to threat, pure instinct-driven upon emerging from the womb.
Victim to her/his indiscrimination.
A tiny blade of grass, tossed by the wind, urged by the earth, pulled upward by the sun, pelted by the rain.
Helpless, but for free will.
There are other ways. We must find other ways of sustaining the purity, the independent, innate cleanliness of the infant’s being, till she or he awakens to realization of her freedom to determine her choices, her path.
Possibly, we must only love, nurture, nourish, protect the tiny being—from the wind, the rain, the burning sun, the bitter cold—allowing those very elements that sustain life across the threshold of the child’s experience in their corresponding gentleness: pure air, pure water, comforting warmth, refreshing coolness stabilizing soft earth under her tiny feet, hands that embrace such secure sensations
She begins to experiment with her choices to explore, one step, then another. She sees and experiences a new perspective on the truth of where she is and who she is within the “where,” while the impartial, unconditionally-loving caretaker provides protection, gives her a wide girth to wander and explore on her own. She is accepted and respected for every choice she makes. She falls. She learns to get up. She learns her own limitations without restriction or interference, yet with simple protection. She rises and is helped to return to balance by her mindful attentive protectors.
Yet how can this come about when we, the naturally-designated protectors are so wounded, and imprinted and scratched and scuffed and beaten into submission to others’ ideas from past times, when we too were pure and uncluttered? Our blank cleanliness was disrespected, made worthless, shredded to useless bits, blown and scattered to the wind like the body of a four-year-old suicide bomber.
We, who spend the better part of our lives searching to patch together the flung bits of our whole being. How can we, with this desperation, ever come close to preventing this devastation from recurring to the child coming after us, when we have never had that experience of impartial, unconditional love, acceptance and respect ourselves?
We simply don’t know how to do this for the child, except in moments of guessing and moments of spontaneous love that fizzle out quickly because we never learned how to sustain our own inner conviction about these qualities so necessary for cohesion of a whole being who grows and blossoms.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Sioux Prayer

A dear friend, David, forwarded this to me from another friend of his:

A letter from Chief Arvol Looking Horse
(Present Chief and Keeper of the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe of the Lakota, Dakota, Nakota Nation of the Sioux)
Gulf Coast Oil Spill - Sioux Prayer Request

****** A Great Urgency ******
To All Nations

My Relatives,
Time has come to speak to the hearts of our Nations and their Leaders. I ask you this from the bottom of my heart, to come together from the Spirit of your Nations in prayer.

We, from the heart of Turtle Island, have a great message for the World; we are guided to speak from all the White Animals showing their sacred color, which have been signs for us to pray for the sacred life of all things. As I am sending this message to you, many Animal Nations are being threatened, those that swim, those that crawl, those that fly, and the plant Nations, eventually all will be affect from the oil disaster in the Gulf.

The dangers we are faced with at this time are not of spirit. The catastrophe that has happened with the oil spill which looks like the bleeding of Grandmother Earth, is made by human mistakes, mistakes that we cannot afford to continue to make.

I asked, as Spiritual Leaders, that we join together, united in prayer with the whole of our Global Communities. My concern is these serious issues will continue to worsen, as a domino effect that our Ancestors have warned us of in their Prophecies.

I know in my heart there are millions of people that feel our united prayers for the sake of our Grandmother Earth are long overdue. I believe we as Spiritual people must gather ourselves and focus our thoughts and prayers to allow the healing of the many wounds that have been inflicted on the Earth. As we honor the Cycle of Life, let us call for Prayer circles globally to assist in healing Grandmother Earth (our Unc'I Maka).

We ask for prayers that the oil spill, this bleeding, will stop. That the winds stay calm to assist in the work. Pray for the people to be guided in repairing this mistake, and that we may also seek to live in harmony, as we make the choice to change the destructive path we are on.

As we pray, we will fully understand that we are all connected. And that what we create can have lasting effects on all life.

So let us unite spiritually, All Nations, All Faiths, One Prayer. Along with this immediate effort, I also ask to please remember June 21st, World Peace and Prayer Day/Honoring Sacred Sites day. Whether it is a natural site, a temple, a church, a synagogue or just your own sacred space, let us make a prayer for all life, for good decision making by our Nations, for our children's future and well-being, and the generations to come.

Onipikte (that we shall live),
Chief Arvol Looking Horse
19th generation Keeper of the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Season Finale! Part 6 of Lost Children of Militarized America

My precious Christopher,
A good rich life is possible, one filled with love and sweet animals, birds, fresh air and sunshine, delicious food, pure water to drink and swim in, mountains to wander over and around, children who don’t know the meaning of the word “hate,” flowers and trees and grass and ocean waves and shells and rocks and friends and comfortable beds where husband and wife hold each other at night . . . this is how I will imagine you in my meditations and dreams.
When your mind is at peace, your world will be at peace. Keep going, Chris, don’t give up your vision. I’ve known all along that you have a pure and secret intention in joining the Marines that you don’t have to justify to anyone, not even your mother, only to yourself. Be strong in your conviction; speak strongly and compassionately from your awakened heart. Nothing can go wrong if you speak from your heart. Goodness and awareness always overcome delusion and ignorance. You may not be able to stop the war in Iraq, or to save the people remaining after the tsunami, but you do have the power to transcend your own suffering and have a taste of real happiness. And if you are happy and at peace, others around you will bask in your glow and you will be helping them by your simple presence. This is why you were born to this American military life, out of such a womb as mine.
from your watching loving mother

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Lost Children of Militarized America: Part 5

One has been told that each of one’s hands has a current of energy flowing through it. The left palm receives this flow and the right one sends the flow coming from this body one apparently inhabits for this peculiar human experience of a lifetime.
According to one Japanese Reiki master, when the left hand receives purely and without obstacle or blockage one’s female energy is working to her full potential. She allows herself to be completely penetrated by all impending forces. Likewise with one’s male energy in that when he sends forth a clear unbroken river of life force, a healthy male action is at work in the world.
Both palms are gently joined as if in prayer—like a positive and negative circuit connecting. The right hand sends forth just enough current into the left hand so that she is not trampled and bent back by being overwhelmed. And yet she has strength to hold her own. Her beautiful restraint is nothing without a tiny seed of maleness undergirding her. She allows his surging life force into her, yet counters and supports him with just enough strength and lean to keep him from tumbling into nothingness.
And he has a seed of femaleness in him that fosters this gentle restraint. And when those palms come to equipoise flush to one another, there is only one river flowing through this body, and it nourishes and inspires and energizes the entire realm. No dams. No fences. No blocked arteries. No clogs in the system of life in one’s body.
As with the microcosm of one’s body, so too with the macrocosm of this suffering realm, the planet Earth. If good male energy is strong, protective, embracing, defining, logical, pragmatic, reasonable, then good female energy is amorphous, creative, spacious, undefined, unconditionally accepting and nurturing. The constructive collaboration of these two essences of life is a universal law of nature fulfilled to its finest potential. So say the Buddhists. So say the Japanese Reiki practitioners, the acupuncture therapists, the yoga teachers, the Native Americans, the monks, the nuns, the lamas, et. al. These millions of beings also agree that the domination of one essence over the other just as surely leads to suffering, death and destruction. And if this is truly a natural law by which we all must abide to have even the slimmest hope for ultimate happiness, it seems a logical assertion that this is a viable perspective by which to view the disequilibrium of the planet Earth in the year 2008, with an aim to correct her imbalance. We do this with all humility, recognizing our egalitarian status within the realms of all living things.
So every morning, one checks the status of one’s male and female energies, the condition of the little boy and the little girl tumbling around one’s inner playground. As with oneself, so with the world, and surely one can do nothing to save anyone until she has freed herself from pain. She cannot balance the world, she can only balance herself . . . just yet. So, better to put one’s attention to inner tinkering. And the sometimes recalcitrant spirit embodied in a lotus crystal pendulum quivers, hangs dully, or meanders weakly back and forth in a straight line over each palm, and very often tells her she’s utter confusion and impotence made manifest. But when she writes, or meditates, or contemplates well, or dreams a teaching dream, or sobs quietly resting her cheek on the heart of a loving man, the lotus crystal sings in proper circles on each upturned hand.

My loving Mother,
Your last letter was wonderful Mom. I intend to re-read it immediately after finishing this letter to you. My time here on the Island draws to a close Mom, and my thoughts have turned back to seeing my family and being with my loved ones again.
I cannot put into words all of the experiences that I have had here, and even if I tried there would not be enough paper on this Island. When I see you, I will do my best to tell you everything that I can.
I am still hoping that you will be able to come to graduation. Beth has all of the information about it so contact her a.s.a.p. Do you think Nancy will attend?
I’m going to cut this short Mom because my thoughts are completely scattered. I’ll see you soon.
Love Always,

Like Linda Hogan, I am a woman who watches over the worlds. Who assigned me this task? How do I know this about myself? And is the pen mightier than the sword? Mightier than an M-16 rifle? In a world where every culture, without exception represses the great virtue of womanhood, our brothers, fathers and sons are awash in confusion as to their role in the well-being of the planet.
We are in a state of moral incapacity in this country, the United States of America. We have denied the great virtue of Unconditional Love for so long that we are incapable of remembering it and bringing it to bear on the current atmosphere of world holocaust. The Ven. Sogyal Rinpoche says, "If you want to know who you were in the past, look to your present condition. If you want to know who you will be in the future, look to your present actions."
It is up to women to stop this. Most men seem to have forgotten the bliss of unconditional love. It is extremely difficult for any of us to stay pure in this realm of corrupted values. Fear is so thick you can cut it with a knife, and it blinds us all to others' suffering, as it is intended to do. Yet, everything is happening just as it should, and all for good purpose. I believe in the goodness of the universe. I am full of hope always because I understand the path to real happiness is open to anyone who cares to look for it.
If the mind truly creates its own reality, we can create a world of love and understanding and respect and honor for children, for old people, for George Bush and Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney and Condoleeza Rice, for the lost men and boys and lost women and girls that we all are—in a moment, we can create a clean, pure world with sparkling streams of mountain water and birds and trees and fine sunshine warming and healing all of us earthly creatures. We have this freedom to choose what we think and imagine. Our minds are ours to control yet remain an untapped motherlode of power buffeted day and night by illusory dramas. The charnel grounds surrounding us are fields of flowers where the beings of Mother Earth meander in sensual bliss, each of us, beings of light wearing crowns of understanding and wisdom. All this can be had in a moment of our minds. We only need to come home . . . home to the truth of who we really are, and why we are here. If love is the crowning glory of understanding, we can start to forgive ourselves, yet only to turn away from ourselves to understandingly forgive and cherish all others. This is a truth worth living for. This is real and enduring happiness.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Lost Children of Militarized America: Part 4

Dear Mom,
I’m sorry this letter is so late in coming but we have had a busy few weeks here. Let me wish you a slightly belated Mother’s Day and ask now if I can take you to dinner one night in celebration upon my return.
Things here are progressing well. With one or two notable exceptions, the platoon is doing extremely well. We just got done training on the rifle range. I qualified as a “sharpshooter” which is the medium rating. The entire time we were shooting, all I could think of or contemplate was the fact that for some, that very rifle would be used to take another’s life. For me, it was a bit different simply because I will probably never have to fire it in defense or offense [because I’m in front of a computer every day]: for me it is simply a sport that is conducted on the range (for most of the week, I was comparing it to shooting pool).
I had a rather long conversation with our Series Commander, a captain who has taken an interest in me simply because I have my B.A. [in philosophy.] [We talked] about philosophies of killing. It is his contention that when in war, “It is not about political agendas, it is about protecting the Marine to our left and right.” While I must applaud the sentiment somewhat, I also feel that the former cannot be separated from the latter: how can one truly say that political agendas play no part if it is the political that made the protection necessary in the first place?
Being here has, to a great extent, solidified my drive to become a part of the decision-making machine that drives human society.
The two above paragraphs have encapsulated my thoughts over the last two weeks (for there is very little time to think). I hope and pray (yes, pray . . . I am attending Catholic mass each week) that all is well with you Mom. All of my love to you and all those who you love.

My courageous son,
I can feel your troubled heart . . . you have before you the likes of a moral dilemma that has broken many before you and will break other young men and women of your generation after you. Will it break you?
O my love, these are extremely trying and challenging times for you. The existential struggle you are contending with is a microcosm of the macrocosm of this country and its people. What you do, how you behave, what choices you make, matter deeply because, in your position in the U.S. Military that has a choke-hold on the world, you have great power. How one uses such power determines one’s character, degree of dignity and degree of moral discipline.
Yet, I think you are beginning to realize a co-existent powerlessness that potentially pitches you into the throes of paradox. You are impotent and powerful at the same time. You are unable to question the morality of your superiors’ intentions because you are sworn to obey them unswervingly. At the same time, your power rests in your example as a morally dignified critical thinker courageous enough to say no to what you know to be wrong in your heart.
Hitler’s Youth followed his every order . . . how many of them had the courage to question his extermination of the Jews? How many were able to turn their backs on him and walk away with their conscience untainted from the act of mass murder? I imagine there were, out of thousands of young men like you, only as many as you could count on one hand who broke away from the status quo, and they were probably shot in the back as they refused to kill.
I see your dilemma as no less grave. My dear darling one, you have such a difficult task before you and I ache and cry at night and day because of your heavy burden. Here is where I am powerless as a mother to relieve you of any of your current and future suffering. You chose this path and I knew when you chose it that your Highest Self, the Divine in you was guiding you, and I believe that now and forever to be so. That is why I did not panic or try to persuade you not to enter the military which has shaped my entire life since I was growing in my mother’s—your grandmother’s—womb.
Suffering is our friend, not our enemy. Death is our friend, not our enemy. Suffering and Death are our greatest teachers. It is only our Clear Seeing, our Awareness of what is causing the unceasing cycle of suffering, the unceasing cycle of birth, aging, sickness and death, that will enable us to stop going around in circles and getting nowhere but the hell of our mortality. Instead of cleaning up our act in this lifetime, we put it off till the next, or the next, and waste our time by increasing our karmic debt instead of increasing our karmic merit. I wasted 48 years of this lifetime, guzzling alcohol and drugs, greedily eating and grasping and using ten times more than most of the world’s population. I finally understand the depth to which my greed has caused others to suffer.
The quandary you are in is of your own making and yours alone to figure out. Nor can I blame anyone, not my mother or father or sisters or brothers or husbands or son, for my suffering. Neither is anyone else responsible for my happiness, least of all this country’s government, despite giving me the “right to the pursuit of happiness,” (and now I’ve come to believe that any “right” I proclaim to be “mine” is innately a divisive act, increasing hatred in the world.) It is all up to me to relieve my own suffering and find my own happiness without harming others. And so on this basis, I’ve taken up the reins of my life. Only by quieting my mind and beginning to understand why I chose to be in this life is how I experience peace, and love, and sometimes real joy even in the midst of the corruption of war.