Friday, February 22
I was listening to Keep Breathing by Ingrid Michaelson while I began typing this entry. This song was the haunting climax to last season’s finale of Grey’s Anatomy (when Christina arrives in her apartment and Burke has moved out and all she can do is take off the tight wedding dress that’s literally strangling her). All we can do is keep breathing…
Then my playlist went straight to Who Knew by Pink. So, naturally, I got up and started dancing! This is kind of an angry woman’s song. Not kind of. It is. Or maybe a scorned woman’s lament. A.D.D.-blogger-in-me needs to mention I love her anjou pear green dress in the video. Gosh, in light of her recent statement about her separation with her husband of two years, this song must really strike a chord with her. She’s way cooler than her now ex, anyway. And that’s the end of my pop culture commentary for this entry.
On a totally diverging and deeper note, I attended an enlightening workshop this evening on Tibetan Buddhism, which continues to lead me to a reverent place of heart and mind, teaching me to let go of pain, anger “bad energy” as the teacher put it, within, and to just be happy and grateful for all of the blessings in my life. Okay, so I am a very basic student of Tibetan Buddhism, if I may seriously call myself that. But I am not ready to depart from my Catholic faith – at this point in my life, I do not want to foresaken my Christain roots. I love my faith and find deep peace and spiritual meaning in it. It certainly sustains me. But… I am interested in the philosophical practices and teachings of Tibetan Buddhism. From the most basic principals, Tibetan Buddhism, unlike Christianity and most other religions, doesn’t get tangled up in politics, nor does it manipulate people to have a fear-based relationship with God; rather, it instructs right from wrong without politicking and it establishes a very open relationship with God through nature. It’s a very peaceful religion. And how many Buddhists do you see murdering, raping, child molesting, shooting up heroin, setting up meth labs, paying for prostitiutes, and waging war? This, alone, makes Buddhism a very powerful instrument of faith and worship, no, it’s less about worship and more about practice.
I am curious to learn more.
The workshop I attended was sponsored by New Renaissance Book Store. It was actually an evening talk with Younge Khachab Rinpoche, who spoke about the fundamental concepts in Tibetan Buddhism: Sutra, Tantra and Dzogchen. Younge Khachab Rinpoche was engaging and had a very warm way about him, a sunny laugh and a gentle disposition. He spoke eloquently about topics like dharma and meditation and the work it takes to be a student of Tibetan Buddhism.
He will be around for a weekend retreat at The Crystal Temple in North Portland, broken down into four sessions. I would like to try to get at least one of the sessions. Younge Khachab Rinpoche will expand on what the subjects he introduced tonight, and, ultimately, will make himself available and return to the Portland area oftento deepen the teachings for his students. My question – do I wish to become a pupil? There is desire to create a Portland Sangha (community) for learning and meditation. Is this something for me?
After his generous talk, Younge Khachab Rinpoche looked straight at me and asked me my name. I timidly approached him, clearly unaware of the proper customs, and told him my name. At first he repeated Clea. I gently corrected him and said Leah. He repeated my name a couple of times while rocking or bowing forward. I thanked him for the evening. He did not reach out to anyone else, but a gentleman then quickly approached him and bantered off questions. I backed up, realizing something special had happened. It was a kind of spiritual connection. I felt like he could see right through me, not exposed in vulnerablility, but it felt more like he had been expecting me.
I plan to get to bed at a decent hour in the event that I decide to attend tomorrow’s session(s). I won’t make it up to the Fisher Poets annual festival in Astoria this weekend, sadly. Meantime, while I was at New Renaissance this evening, I picked up a new Nawang Khechog (Tibet musician and composer) CD collaboration with R. Carlos Nakai (Native American flutist) called Winds of Devotion. I have been listening to their other collaborative CD, Music as Medicine, every night at bedtime to fall asleep, and I truly believe it has helped to irradicate my sinus problems. I have been congestion free for a few weeks now. It’s amazing. My life literally changed over night – I feel so healthy and well!
I also picked up a copy of Stages of Meditation by the Dalai Lama which includes his teachings on how to meditate; I got the book Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living by Pema Chodron, described as “an indispensible handbook for cultivating fearlessness and awakening a compassionate heart”; and finally, I picked up The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself by Michael A. Singer, a book designed to help you transform your relationship with yourself and the world around you.
These aren’t self help books, but are guides toward enlightenment and compassion, a track I have been on all my life, I think, but I’m much, much more aware of my personal need to study and practice this. I am also dedicating at least an hour a day toward spiritual reading. I decided these are wonderful gifts to myself.