Friday, July 02, 2010


Last night, before meditation at the Shambhala Center, I finally did one of the practices I was given at the 10-day retreat I did a week or so ago. I hadn't made space for it at home yet, and we had the supplies at the center, so since I was a bit early for setting up, I settled in and did it.

A practice I had done again and again for a week in a tent full of 100 people became, for me, intensely concentrated with just me alone in the silence of my local center's shrine room. In just 10 minutes of practicing, a LOT changed, shifted and I felt completely opened.

After meditation and cleaning up, I went home to do ordinary household things with Dylan - mow the lawn, weed, water our fruit plants/trees (strawberry plants, raspberry bushes, pear tree), etc. It was a cool evening, few mosquitoes, and the yard felt utterly alive to me. I slept heavily, fed by the hard work, though it took me awhile to go down, so entranced with the perfect evening air.

After the cats woke me at 5am, I went back to sleep and had this dream:
The Sakyong, Jamgon Mipham Rinpoche, who's the main teacher in Shambhala, was staying in our house. Even in the dream I thought of a story Diana Mukpo told us at the retreat - that she and Chogyam Trungpa (Mipham's father and former head of Shambhala) used to drop by their senior students' houses without warning for dinner, to see if they were uplifting their lives for everyone, including themselves, all the time. So here he was, in our house, currently without a bathroom sink, with tumbleweeds of cat hair and dust rolling around, and dirty dishes in the sink. I was mortified, but also so glad he was in my house. I went to a talk and saw him speak there, but then went home early and stayed up late cleaning. When he came back he seemed happy but said nothing about the difference in the house.

The important thing is that *I* felt it. When I told Dylan about the dream, about the stories of dropping in on their students, he looked mortified. "Too much work," he noted, and I tried to explain again - this isn't some outside standard, this is making your home as good as you want it to truly be as often as you can so that you can be your best - most alert, most rested, most supported. He got it, then. The Sakyong appeared in my dream not to bless me, not because I am special, but to remind me that I can be as prepared for myself, as honoring of myself, as for him. That I want to be. That there is no difference between me and him.

So I cleaned up my office today, put the shrine together with new supplies, and everything somehow found its place that had seemed homeless before. Putting together the books and texts from the retreat, a photo of the Sakyong fell out of my bag and landed face up on the floor. A slight smile, eyes directly looking at me, he reflected my own state - cleanliness is next to godliness, yes, but not some external god. Our own internal god, our own internal basic goodness, beyond good and bad, can land and open best in an uncluttered space.

The practice opened me up to this, I know that for certain. It, ironically, instead of taking me back to the retreat, brought me more here - into my home, into my life, into my "stuff" (of literal and metaphorical meaning). It's about time - as the retreat becomes more of a dream in my mind, a memory, the past, I don't want the teachings and their effect on me to fade. Last night was a reminder of how quickly it can all come back, and then some.

Here's to tasting just enough of the dream to sharpen up reality.


  1. Wow, that's so powerful! Thanks for sharing. When I got home, I cleaned my room and spruced up my shrine as well. Also been doing lungta practice every morning, which I think helps too. Your post is such a great reminder about how our personal spaces reflect our mind, and how helpful it is to work with "external" stuff as a way of actually shifting the internal.

  2. Such a yummy post. Thank you.

  3. Thanks, both. And Becky - inspiring that you do it every morning!