Intervention - 3
"Bowing deeply to those wise elders who came from the past to help us in the present. My heart is heavy from your recent departures, yet joyous to have received your profound blessings. May your teachings continue to shower us with blessings."
Once while receiving teachings at the Vajrayana Foundation in Santa Cruz, California, the teacher Lama Tarchin Rinpoche, made a provocative statement that pushed me into a state of questioning, and contemplation.. As I remember his statement, he said:
"In space there is plenty of room, and in the mind, there is plenty of space."
Rinpoche continued the teaching to his captive audience, with his rare and much loved humor , wit, and profound insight.
But even now, I continue to contemplate this sentence during my day to day reflections, and use it as a means to adjust what would otherwise be a confined and limited thought process to problem solving.
In relation to this. thoughts often arise about my more immediate circumstances, my family, friends, and frustrations with daily challenges. Though, iff I am honest with myself, I have to admit how fortunate my circumstances have been. My reflections take me to my Uncle Robert, who was the family Elder and teacher, with his loving kindness to me and everyone. When he died, it felt like each of our hearts had stopped beating, yet our memories of him would get our hearts to beating again.
My Auntie, Ivy Salome, was a gardener, not a regular one with hasty planting and unconcious digging. No, she would carefully move any insect or worm out of the way of harm, and did the same for each family member. And she was a fabulous cook. I had the priviledge of sharing a bedroom with her until I was married. In the evening or early in the morning she would share historical stories of her parents, that even my mom didn't know, because she was still young when their parents died. So my aunt was like the family Griot.
My mother was a great story teller and could really dance. Her body danced, and so did her precognitive and clairvoyant abilities. Dance for everyone in the family was a means of coping, and expressing our joy at holiday gathering. These were my spacial holiday experienes in my family. We never talked much about God, but we were encouraged at all costs to be good. There was always a sence of religious responsibility, perhaps influenced by the past influence of my grandfather Moses, who was an African Methodist Episcopal minister, and my Aunts' membership in the Church of Christian Scientist. Thus they were my example of what goodness meant.
Then again, one hasn't filled their space properly if they only have one sided experiences, and so there were my siblings, the twins, and the challenges to finding space in my mind for loving kindness. My brother was the teaser, and being the only boy, he got away with it too. My mother adored him, and he my mother. My sister and I were not easy companions, to say the least. After many years of contemplation on the reasons we had such a tumultuous relationship, I decided it was because I was the unexpected newcomer into a situation where each of my siblings could have one parent all to themselves before I changed their space. My experience with my siblings, I know now, was the stimulus to finding sufficient space in my mind to cope, and forgive. When I reflect on my sister now, I only smile while remembering how her laughter stimulated joyful laughted in others. But as for my brothers' teasing, I only remember, period. He continues to be a distant, but loving companion even today.
Of course, Tarchin Rinpoches' statement has a much deeper meaning, beyond the experiences I am sharing, but each person starts where they are and expands or contracts their understanding accordingly. I did both for quite a while. Today, I am grateful for the gifts and the adversities of my early experiences, because they molded me into the dancer I have become. To be a good life dancer, one uses the depths of their inner experiences in outer special expressions. It was because of my hunger to understand the difference between openness to possibilities vs confining myself in my own minds' thinking, that frustrations sought another way.
So I literally chose Modern Dance as my tool to break free of my confined frustrations, and when the choreography was right and ripened, I met THE LORD OF THE DANCE, aka H.E. Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche, who both challenged my thinking, and with his wisdom scapel, opened my mind enough to recognize my own spacious dance within Buddhist teachings, which I discovered later, was actually always within me from the beginningless beginning. His encouragement to "just keep going", have been my support through adversities, and remind me that I still have much more to learn and space to discover.
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"DANCER of innate compassion within the spacious expanse of the nature of phenomena, you manifest as one who holds intrinsic awareness of profound meanings. Endowed with a vast range of flawless and holy qualities. Glorious Lama, may you feet stand firmly."
(Long Life prayer written by HH Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche for HE Namkha Drimed Rinpoche)