Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Blessings like water

As I think I may have admitted here before, my husband and I are fans of the TV show, 2 1/2 men. And there's something Charlie Sheen's character says from time to time when whatever woman he's with at the moment has blurted out some huge statement of love, or of disappointment with him: he shrugs his shoulders in apology and says "I got nothin'."

...which is how I was feeling before I walked into that diner yesterday. It wasn't that I was empty; I was just... blank. So it was a delight to read this passage in Chogyam Trungpa's book, Dharma Art this morning:

"Usually people don't like to show their initial blankness. Particularly people who are highly trained or have studied too much or have become too involved with the professional world would like to hide that blankness. But that blankness is the basic ground.

Genuine inspiration is not particularly dramatic. It's very ordinary. It comes from settling down in your environment and accepting situations as natural. Out of that you begin to realize that you can dance with them. So inspiration comes from acceptance rather than from having a sudden flash of good gimmick coming up in your mind. Natural inspiration is simply having something somewhere that you can relate with, so it has a sense of stableness and solidity. Inspiration has two parts: openness, and clear vision. Both are based on the notion of original mind, traditionally known as buddha mind, which is blank, nonterritorial, noncompetitive, and open."

Which I think explains why I was so incredibly pleased with yesterday's images: I didn't go to the diner expecting to shoot. I went to the diner out of acceptance; out of openness to the moment. I wouldn't get to blog that morning because my husband was around the house and clearly uncomfortable. We couldn't call the chiropractor because they weren't open yet. Why not turn the unexpected together time into a breakfast out -- something we rarely do -- and just relax, feed ourselves, and enjoy each other?

Trungpa says that openness is an important by-product of a regular meditation practice. "Once the practice of meditation is developed and you begin to see yourself clearly, then you also begin to see your environment clearly. ...The sitting practice of meditation allows a sense of solidness and a sense of slowness and the possibility of watching one's mind operating all the time. Out of that, a sense of expansion slowly begins to develop, and, at the same time, the awareness that you have been missing a lot of things in your life. You have been too busy to look for them or see them or appreciate them. So as you begin to meditate, you become more perceptive. Your mind becomes clearer and clearer, like an immaculate microscope lens."

My usually controlling self had taken a back seat and was just going with the flow -- and suddenly the flow was feeding me on lots of different levels, giving me exactly what I needed for that particular moment. Because I was open, centered, in the moment, blank, I was able to see all the gifts; an incredible blessing. I had gone beyond trust, not-trust, hope, and not-hope to this kind of flat, quiet, unexpectant space. And in the end the blessings poured out like water.


Maureen said...

All those voices you described the other day? Once they calmed down and you regained your mind's eye, you created some particularly swell photos. I just love these.

I could imagine a show of the diner photos in the diner itself - maybe bring in a few more people to see what they've been missing.

Maureen said...

I just came across this. You might find it of interest.

drw@bainbridge.net said...

Great ideas, both -- thanks! I'll check out the beliefnet piece; haven't been to that site in a while...