Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Critical Devotion: A Second Letter from Miriam on Shambhala

Dear reader,

I have wondered if there was another letter in me. The first letter, and the following piece came out like a birth and afterbirth - I wrote them quickly, while still in the full pain feeling strength of the beginning of the situation. Since then, I have noticed my feelings dulling a bit, not because the situation has gotten less intense, but because my need to feel so deeply has modulated itself. Not to mention the fact that more complex emotions and thoughts are layering on top of each other now.

But then a student told me how helpful the first letter was - in fact, she and other remote Shambhalians (those without centers near them) had used it as basis for a conversation about what is happening, and others wrote their own letters after reading mine. I realized I do have some things to say, but mostly I have confusion to report.

Why should I report confusion? Because if I do it clearly, others will possibly see their own confusion mixed in mine. And, even more likely, others - or even I - will see the wisdom mixed in the confusion, because that is how wisdom and confusion roll. So here is a mix of experience, emotion, and thought, offered to you in order to help you find some resonance and consolation, clarity, and direction. Please take what you can and leave what you can't; it's not offered as debate, really, more as a sense of what a leader/teacher in Shambhala is thinking and feeling about all of this.

In a conversation with a meditation student this morning, she offered that this situation is like a muddy river - which is an analogy we use a lot in meditation instruction in Shambhala. Our minds often seem more like muddy rivers, but when we sit, the true nature of the water begins to reveal itself: clear, so long as we let the mud not disappear but settle into place. This situation won't settle for awhile - we are going to be in a muddy river a long time it seems, but that doesn't mean we can't work with our minds. In some ways, that's the main thing we can do now.

If you haven't read the first letter, please do. Respect the time and effort I put into writing these and see the context. May they all be of benefit.

1. War Zone/Apocalypse
A couple of weeks ago, a senior teacher told me I am now living in a sort of war zone. I blinked. What on earth could he mean? He explained how it was for him, when he lived through CTR's death and also the awful incidents around the death of VROT. The situation was constantly changing, with very little predictability. Important people would suddenly drop power or be put out of power, and news hit like bombs, blowing apart communities. Infighting, confusion, mass chaos. Ergo, war zone.

A few days later, without my repeating that line, an Acharya I was speaking to repeated the same thing. Clearly there was some resonance here, as these two teachers don't even know each other.

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Where I Am

(This is a further exploration - this time more felt sense - of what is "going on right now in Shambhala." See this previous blog post for the details/what is going on, and resources/links. I think this likely stands on its own as writing, but context can help. "Where I Am" is a default prompt from Saundra Goldman's #continuouspractice community.)

Revised image:
Sandstorm by Linda Mead (shared with me, and given permission to me by the artist,
because she thought of this piece she made previously while reading this writing). 
I am in the desert. I thought this was an oasis, a placed beyond place, a respite from all the loss, the losses of all these years. Fear kept me here, in this mirage, convinced of that "What you see is what you get."