Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Cool Versus Cold

Miniature Train show, January 2012, Discovery World, Milwaukee WI
One of my favorite quotes about Buddhism is - many of my favorite quotes, truthfully, are - from Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. In True Perception, the Path of Dharma Art, he says: "Usually people think that if you lose everything - your ambition, your self-centeredness, your integrity and dignities - you will become a vegetable, a jellyfish. But it's not so. Instead you are suspended in space. It is quite titillating!"

He's referring to the fear that some have about losing ego - that if they let go of their ego enough, which in theory is what we are doing in meditation/Buddhist practices, that they will lose what makes them interesting. He is saying quite the opposite happens - though it may not sound any more appealing, the floating in space he is describing is the ultimate liberation. Instead of being trapped inside ourselves, we are floating around ourselves, and our sense of self is expanded, greatly. On one level. On another level, he's saying things I can only barely begin to intellectually describe.

It's cold in Wisconsin. The snow has settled in and the sun is out - it's bright, brighter than LA, which I was in last week. But what that means here is that it is cold. There's no melted snow, no puddles - a bright, direct, warming sun on a chilly day. This flat expanse of nothing happening, wide open fields of white, this is Wisconsin winter to me and I was missing it - though it didn't actually happen until I came back, anyway. I need all this bold cold open space, somehow, to balance out the rest of the year.

In LA, it's cool. People in LA were saying it's cold, but of course, I think it was just cool. Mind you, though, I got chillier there than here because of my idea of what LA was going to be like in winter - you know, the kind of place you'd go in winter. Though the forecasts said 70's I was more prepared for 80's. By the end, I was leaving all my skirts at home and wearing leggings under my long pants and sweaters and a fleece. Somehow I felt *chillier* there than here.

It never ceases to amaze me how complicated this relative world is - this world we construct, making ourselves out of bits and pieces of experience and expectation. When I get a taste, just a tiny taste, of life without this kind of anticipation, I do feel a liberation. And it's scary as shit. So it's no wonder I back down, like so many others. Carefully count my limbs. Shiver in my not-quite-right clothes. I'd rather suffer and seem to be sure, than be unsure and warm enough. We are funny, us humans.

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