Laurie Anderson -- performance artist, meditator, and wife of Lou Reed -- wrote an extraordinarily beautiful description in this week's Rolling Stone of her husband's death. The couple were students of YongeMingurRinpocheand had studied Buddhist teachings on how to prepare for death -- and how to live when one spouse has a terminal illness.
What follows is something I wrote this morning for myself to bring some context to this anniversary of my sobriety. Afterwards I thought to post it here to give it at least some life outside of my brain and computer. May this post and the intention set herein bring benefit.
I am subject to aging, have not gone beyond aging. I am subject to illness, have not gone beyond illness. I am subject to death, have not gone beyond death. I will grow different, separate from all that is dear and appealing to me. I am the owner of my actions (kamma), heir to my actions, born of my actions, related through my actions, and have my actions as my arbitrator. Whatever I do, for good or for evil, to that will I fall heir.
I'd like to start by inviting you to have an experience. You can read this to yourself, and then try it, but better yet, have someone read it to you, or read it to your friend:
Close your eyes and feel the heart of your being. Take some deep breaths. Move down from your head to your heart.
Your heart is tender warm and open. You feel so curious about yourself and the world outside of you. The warmth of your heart radiates as love in all directions, and the world you experience mirrors back that love.
Eat, a Brooklyn restaurant in Greenpoint, has been offering a silent, prix fixe menu on Sundays at 8pm since August. They serve four courses, and talking is forbidden by customers and staff until after the meal is completed. The food is locavore, organic, with seasonal and locally grown vegetables.
For many of us, good posture during meditation practice is elusive. We may start our session with the best of intentions but by the end, we can’t wait for the meditation bell to rescue us from back pain. This post is meant to look at and address the samsaric circle of "good posture.”
Traditional meditation texts sometimes describe the unmeditated state as "monkey mind." But for the last week I've been sitting with my new kitten, and I feel like I'm seeing my mind manifested. The kitten is all over the place -- chasing a piece of paper, disappearing under the shrine, jumping sideways, kneading the mat, settling into one posture and resting.
The day after watching my paternal grandmother die, I started cooking. A lot. After losing both of my grandmothers in the span of a few months this summer, it was the only thing I could think to do. It was the only thing that comforted me. Apparently, when I grieve, I cook.
The mind’s natural instinct is to think, weave webs, build edifices, poke and prod and coax and scream. Some of that mental noise is helpful in making sense of the millions of stimuli that bombard you every day. The mind is always planning and plotting and reacting and proacting. It wants to understand all the things that happen to you and happened to you and might happen to you. It wants to fill in the blanks even when all you want is some peace and quiet. So it writes stories.