..: Seat of My Pants :..

Friday, November 25, 2005

Ease in, ease in

There's a lot to be said for saying OK as things come along.

Miss a train home? Just say OK another will come along. Computer crash at work? Just say OK and realize that you can still breath and eat and drink and laugh and all the things that have nothing to do with computers. Get blisters the size of TWOONIES on your heels from handmade boots you just bought from Fluevog for $250? Just say OK and grit your teeth through a day or two and they won't hurt anymore. This is it. This is how to live your life. I really think so. Seems trite, but 'bend like a reed in the wind' is a tremendous maxim for a good quality of life. How? How the fark can you do this? Doesn't it mean ignoring others around you? In a sense, yes. I think of it as centering, pointing inwards. I run internal diagnostics so often that its become my character. How do my hands feel after falling asleep with them under my head? How does my gait feel walking uphill and can I improve and streamline it so its smoother and less stressful on my heel-strikes? Can I stand the bathwater that hot and is that good for me? I just snapped at someone and don't know why - what's the best way to resolve it and apologize? How do I feel about the conflict of Israeli agression and Palestinian extremism (Can I work beside nice Jewish people and yet detest the Israeli State? Can I have overwhelming sympathy for the Palestinian cause and yet utterly reject suicide bombings?). These sorts of diagnoses.

I once stood on a broken road in the small Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan and could just pick out a tiny clutch of white-washed walls clinging to a cliff-side. Literally, there were clinging there. It was that day's destination for a hike; I and my mate Ron and my father, the three of us. We set off and a couple of hours into the hike were beat like old leeks. It didn't help that air really starts to thin out at 3,000 metres. But I realized that the journey had become a parable of Buddhist doctrine (as with any religion, its aspects may be realized in the minutest of daily details): the goal is always easy to see, but the journey there fraught with challenge. We eventually reached Taktsang, or The Tiger's Nest, monastery. And after a few minutes were granted an interview with a Guru there. He sat in a small room on the floor, his robes and girth spreading out around him like dark red water. He had a salt-and-pepper topknot and a large gold earring. He didn't say much - we spoke no Bhutanese and he no English. After a short while he snuck into a wry grin and tucked gently at his ear and then pointed to me and my earring. The grin became and quiet laugh and then he subsided back into himself. The 'interview' was over. Perhaps I read too much into that return hike and the first meeting I ever had with a guru (another, more lively one, came later at another monastery, but with a head lama), but I was thunderstruck by the gift of perception I was given that day. While that four-month trip to Bhutan was pivotal in my spiritual life, the photography I came to realize I could take, and my emotional stability, that day in particular will stay with me the rest of my life. After the 'interview' we spent some time in the monastery's library looking at buddhist scriptures and being gently guided by a helpful Bhutanese acolyte. The monastery burned down, off the cliff, several years later and I understand it has been rebuilt. It is the spiritual location of the reception of Buddhism in the Bhutan. The Guru PahdmaSambahva flew to that spot from Tibet on the back of a great flying tiger and brought the idea of enlightenment through meditation and rebirth fo that part of the Himalaya. I recall a large statue of him astride the tiger just inside the monastery's gates. I suppose that went in the fire and wonder if its been replaced? OK I say, its the idea of Buddhism that matters and not the physicality.


  • Incredible, thanks for the thoughts.

    By Blogger traceybean, at 8:25 PM  

  • (feeling unworthy to comment after reading) Very evocative writing; I felt I was trekking along with you there.


    By Blogger Cynic with Flair, at 11:48 PM  

  • Hey Tim.
    You struck a chord with all of us with your last post. I feel like you've set the day's attitude for me (don't want to presume more than a day). Exquisite thoughts and your pic repeats it. The attention to the smallest point of focus being the most important.
    Thank you.

    By Blogger gardengirl63, at 8:41 AM  

  • Hey boyo, beautiful. Sounds like you had quite an inner day. They're good, hm? Replenish the soul. Love.

    By Blogger Jen, at 11:50 PM  

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