Saturday, May 30, 2009

Not Quite Creatively Renewed

I spent a lot of today's workshop telling myself that I don't have to go back tomorrow. It felt like geometry class, measuring with a little piece of paper in units of 8, 4, 2, and 1, re-learning how to use a compass, ruler, pencil, and eraser. There was nothing freehand about drawing the structure for the Compassion Mandala. Having to get it precise didn't feel very compassionate to a dyslexic like me. It seemed like a fine line between obsessionalism, tedium, and meditation, with the emphasis on tedium.

As we broke for lunch, Lobsang told us he spent ten years learning what he had just showed us in two hours. Some things can't be condensed that much.

I had spent time with other monks from from the Gaden Shartse Monastery in South India, Lobsang Tsultrim's home, when they were here in 2005. (My photo above, taken at the local internet cafe, is from that time.)

The strange chanting with horns and cymbals, bells and drum, filled the garden of the Center for Creative Renewal for a special program. Tulku Lobsang Jinpa Rinpoche, an elder with big ears and glasses with yellowish tinted lenses, was the head teacher. I sat in the second row, almost center, but slightly to his left. There was a healing and purification ritual, followed by lecturing and more lecturing. The repetition was boring. My seat grew harder. My mind wandered. Blah, blah. I wondered when it would be over.

Suddenly he was talking about meditation. I started to pay attention. Listening to the translator I realized he was guiding us in a short one, without actually saying so. I did as he said. And then I focussed/unfocussed on the Rinpoche and whoever/whatever he had become at that point. It was dusk. The moon was almost full, and had been rising and getting brighter and brighter in the darkening sky. Rinpoche seemed to be looking in my direction. He was looking at me. I felt as if he was addressing me. I started listening to him. I let the sounds of the Tibetan language wash over me. The message was coming through without translation. The translator’s voice was like a distant addendum to the real event.

The tears flowed and kept flowing, meeting under my chin and wetting my neck. Something got planted/transmitted directly. (Oh yeah, I remembered later. That happened last time I was around these guys too, the White Tara Initiation time. Not the kind of thing you can really talk about...)

Then I heard the translator say something about how to end meditation, “so you are free to do other things.” I appreciated the help, since we were in so deep that it was important to remember how to end. Or to end. I looked up and we were both smiling - by then it was so dark that his teeth shone like a Chesire cat.

So - it is good to remind myself that if I endure the boredom, the repetition, and desire to flee, that something might actually happen (or not). I think I will go back tomorrow... Besides, that is when we will finally add color to our Compassion Mandalas.

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