“When you suffer you should suffer. When you feel good you should feel good. Sometimes you should be a crying Buddha. And sometimes you should be a very happy Buddha.”
~ Shunryu Suzuki
Buddhas in the garden at 金閣寺 Kinkakuji Zen temple Kyoto Japan 2014
So fellow travelers, a creative tribemate recently posted this quote.
Shunryu Suzuki was required reading in a comparative religions class I took in college. Zen Buddhism’s emphasis on acceptance of what is has always been both it’s most compelling and most challenging dynamic for me.
Accepting what is when one is happy or at peace comes far easier than accepting what is when one is suffering or sad.
Yet I know it is resistance to pain or sadness, the struggle to be other than what is which intensifies and prolongs suffering.
During the years I endured migraine headaches, I learned a meditation technique which allowed me to find an empty, pain free “space” within the headache. I was never able to maintain it for more than a few minutes at a time, but those few minutes often provided essential relief when I most needed it. To get there I had to sit with the pain.
As the school year is drawing (thankfully) to a close I am begining to reflect on it’s chaos and realized I needed to “sit with the pain” so I gave myself a day of being with the full range of feelings embedded in the past eight months. In essence I stopped struggling to be anything other than frustrated, angry, disappointed, confused, sad and tired. This allowed awareness to shine through the darkness.
Fountain in Nikko, Japan 2014
Suddenly it was clear so many changes had happened in such rapid succession I never had time to recenter before the next onslaught. In essence I have been in “survival mode” for eight long months. Even the reset function of both winter and spring breaks had been offset by situations which blindsided our whole team within days of returning from each school break.
Maintaining confidentiality protocol I’ll refrain from specifics. From a mindfulness perspective the details themselves are irrelevant. Response is more relevant than details. The difference between mindful response and mindless reaction is crucial to establishing Inner Equilibrium. Becoming aware of how difficult it has been to stay in response rather than reaction mode it is clear I have some adjustments to make going forward.
Just the thought of going forward makes me a happier Buddha.
Rest then go forward
Step out on the mindful path
Buddha heart within
Jizo, Buddha of lost souls. Japanese Gardens, Portland Oregon 2014
Walk gently on the path my friends and may peace bless your journey.