woman meditating

What I Learned from My Last Study Group

I participated in a study group on the book Crazy Wisdom by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche.  It is the holy story of Padmasambhava, the giant saint-figure who brought Buddhism from India to the relatively rough-hewn 8th Century Tibet.  In the opening chapters we find Padmasambhava born as a young child, appearing suddenly in this grown form sitting on a giant lotus flower in a lake in Afghanistan.  That’s how he comes into the world as we know it.

This symbol of naivete and innocence is associated with his understanding of things as they are.  This is a very beginning form of Padmasambhava’s development.  There are more stages to come, but this idea of things as they are as a cornerstone of his wisdom, and the first step for him becoming the miraculous and almost omnipotent figure we supposedly follow and certainly supplicate today, bears a pause and a listen.

Things as they are.  The idea itself is naive and innocent.  Innocent of the idea of divergent perspectives, a concept so central to the modern way of thinking that we hesitate to accept such a fundamental concept as its opposite.  Pre-concept really, if you want to get technical about it.  TATA.  It reminds me of the story of the 3 umpires.

Three umpires are sitting in a bar.  The first umpire says, “Yup, there’s balls and there’s strikes, and I call ‘em as they is.”

Second umpire demurs. “Yea, there’s balls and there’s strikes, and I call ‘em as I see ‘em.”

Third umpire says, “Yes indeed.  There are balls and there are strikes, but they ain’t nothin’ till I call ‘em.”

Padmasambhava in this first incarnation is the first umpire.

In my meditation practice this comes through as the balancing act between letting what is, be, and holding to your aspiration for the meditation session.  The gentle stepping on the gas of the one or the other.  The ikebanic cutting and snipping and allowing and shaping, of stopping your thoughts, but not stopping your thoughts, of creating the space to tune your awareness to your heart.  Through discipline and subtle corrective balancing, to slow down, to stop everything for a minute and see how things are for you right now.

That is what meditation means to me.  For all you scoffers and whatnot.

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