Friday, December 31, 2010

Playful Humility

Today, the calendar year comes to an end.

This is no longer my New Year's. I have become too familiar with other traditions to see the end of this calendar as the end of my year. Naturally, fall feels most the end of the year for me, but according to the Tibetan Buddhist Calendar, my "calendar of faith" it comes in the beginning of March, which also feels pretty right. February is what we call "Mamo" season - a time when the tough stuff gets toughest, which is especially true to my experience having lived in Wisconsin my whole life. That's what is my real New Year's, now, in practice.

That having been said, for some reason New Year's Eve can be hard for me - I have always thought it was because of a pressure to perform - to enjoy parties, kind of like Halloween and St. Patty's Day, which don't trigger me but which I also mostly avoid. Maybe it's because it's the end of a tough time - the natural grieving period of the end-of-year holidays.

But this year I feel a slight change. A release in pressure, a chance to take it easy, and a desire to turn over to a new calendar. This quote was in my box today, from a weekly service sent out from a Shambhala teacher, and it hit the right chord (to join the mailing list or see the blog, click here).

PLAYFUL HUMILITY Humility in the Shambhala tradition involves playfulness, or a sense of humour. In many religious traditions, you feel humble because of a fear of punishment, pain, and sin. In the Shambhala world, you feel full of it. You feel healthy and good. In fact, you feel proud. Therefore, you feel humble. That’s one of the Shambhala contradictions, or we could say, dichotomies. Real humility is genuineness.
-Chogyam Trunpga Adopted from "Discipline in the Four Seasons," in GREAT EASTERN SUN: The Wisdom of Shambhala, page 63.

I hear that. I feel that. A humility that comes not because one is humiliated or trying to be "not humiliated (ie puffed up pride)" but a sense of wonder, of awe, and of course, of humor.

Here's to 2011, whatever you are, and my increasing sense of humble awareness, which, as it increases, I work to be even more humble about. There's nothing like the Dharma to be both awfully profound and ass-kickingly ironic at the same time.

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