I’m looking forward to visiting the temple this week. I have been so focused on painting during a residential course, it will be good to connect with the Buddha in the peace, beauty and energy of the temple.
Have I had a dharma glimpse? Not really, I have been doing very basic stuff like remembering to be my own friend and to love myself and then allowing myself to simply be without having to make any ‘announcements’ while I was with the group of strangers on the painting course.
No one noticed.
I simply allowed myself to drop a barrier of criticism towards them and towards me, I quietly sat without judgement, allowing me to be me and them to be them and for a while there a heavy weight lifted and I knew I was safe, I knew I was loved by the divine, by Buddha and by me. Was that a dharma glimpse? It felt like it to me, a slight shift, a door opened, a moment of grace perhaps.
That happened on day 3 of the course, day one was caution, day two was having a lot to say and many questions to ask and day 3 was the experiment in letting the guards drop, accepting we are all foolish beings and letting the gentler way be my guide.
LIke I said this is basic stuff, so often spoken about and acknowledged, but to feel it while in an entirely secular environment with a group of people I had known for one or two days was a new experience for me.
If you asked me to choose one word I’m trying to focus on in my meditations these days, I would probably say “gratitude”. It’s something that’s very difficult to grasp in everyday routine as we get stressed and frustrated with so many things in the outside world, and quite frequently also with ourselves. It’s only human to give in to judgement and jealousy, never being happy with what we have in life. Yet gratitude is all I feel when I go on my walking meditations on Malvern Hills and on the Ceredigion Coastal Path in Aberystwyth.
I am grateful to see the beauty and the vast green spaces around. I grew up in a very different place, heavily polluted, heavily congested and heavily overpopulated. I feel blessed to be here and breathe the fresh air, no matter the weather.
I am grateful to be able to practice Dharma and have the blessings and support of the Teachers.
I am grateful for the music in my life and the inspiration it gives me. I am blessed to be able to share this positive energy with other people sometimes as I’m learning to play harp and write music.
I am grateful for all the people who support me and are simply kind to me, accepting me as I am. I am blessed to love and be loved.
Just over a year ago, in November 2020, I was walking my friend’s dog on the common at the bottom of Thirlstane Road. The weather was unsettled with rain showers and the clouds were moving quite rapidly in the wind. As they did so a crescent moon appeared and disappeared, and sunlight periodically shone from the west. When it did so rainbows appeared, apparently close to the railway line. My immediate feeling was one of enchantment and I was moved to attempt to sketch an outline of the scene on returning home (see attached).
Here is a short poem composed as another attempt to describe this non-dual experience of nature:
Wind and showers a’blowing Dusk approaching. Who’d imagine A world so chaotic. Muddy paths, other hounds Straining at the leash. Trains crossing on the tracks Bound for Timbuktu? Somehow outer universe And inner subjectivity match In a magical moment Of oneness with Nature