You’re Not Basically Messed Up

“When the Buddha sat down to meditate under the Bodhi Tree 2,600 years ago, he didn’t sit down to come up with a master plan to make himself different. He acknowledged that he was suffering and knew that he wanted to do something about that. He engaged in a simple meditation practice to begin to look at that suffering. The more he looked the more he realized that at his core, he wasn’t basically messed up, he was basically good. He was basically awake. And he was not alone. We are, too. Our wakefulness is indestructible. It is like a diamond in a heap of dust. It is always there. We just need to discover it.” Lodro Rinzler

As a seeker I fear I spend too much time looking at my faults and weaknesses as I try to improve myself. I notice the people around me, who I think are such incredible beings, picking themselves apart in a similar way. When we seek, we can get lost in the details, in the deconstruction. We may forget that the reason we started to seek in the first place is because we wanted to live happier lives. We don’t need to grab our internal jack hammer and sweat away as we break it all down, what a misery! We make it hard, when it is actually easy, because, as Rinzler says, we are basically good, not basically messed up.

I invite you to rediscover yourself in joy, in laughter, in time with friends, in blissful daydreaming. I invite you to discover your basic goodness.

Gazing at Mnt. Shasta... I felt peace

Gazing at Mnt. Shasta… I felt peace

Heartbreak On Halloween

Halloween Magic

Halloween Magic

I love Halloween, the excuse to play dress up, use a glue gun, become someone else, to create, to craft, to get together with friends, to be silly, to interact, and watch from behind masks…the imagination and transformation… I love it.

Today I will share a story from four years ago, when a particular Halloween taught me that sometimes the most incredible things can happen despite the muck that may be going on outside, in your head, or in your heart.

October 29th and the train crawls towards NYC while outside the snow is beginning to fall. I am sitting on my hands to keep them warm because the heat isn’t working in the car. I have a book I can’t read because my mind is unwilling to consume fantasy or knowledge at the current moment. I stare at the snow melting into the Hudson river, willing it to show me the meaning of life, or the meaning of anything.
I walk the streets of Queens as the sleet, snow and ice mixture soaks through my clothes and melts down my face. She opens the door, pulls me into a hug and exclaims into my shoulder “I have been waiting for you to get here.” She has tears in her eyes as she pulls away and I feel the full weight of her sadness as I recognize my own heartbreak in hers. How everything aches when a relationship ends. Bursts of anger float in with regret and longing somehow balanced out unevenly with shreds of hope for the next and the future. I congratulate her on not hiding under the bed.
As is common practice at the end of a relationship, the focus is back on the self and to be your own best possible version of that. So we go to yoga before getting drunk.
We are going to the MTV Halloween party, or are supposed to be going to it. The freak fall snowstorm dropping down on our heads threatens to deter us from our plans. After lying in Shavasana, the yoga teacher exclaims “Whatever you were supposed to do tonight, go ahead and do it, put a garbage bag on over your head and go out and live your lives.” We use the advice to help us through our costume undertakings and it motivates us to stay the course. A dying of hair, wrapping in duck tape, glue gun, bobby pinning, face paint, whiskey drinking bonanza. She has an electrical cord wrapped around her head and her junk drawer costume keeps dropping things, but she looks amazing. I manage to stuff myself in a unitard. We will have difficulty when we have to use the bathroom later that nigh but we are all set. There is a calm after the frenzy of getting ready which leaves us staring at each other asking “now what?” as we wait for the car. Neither one of us can sit down comfortably.
We give the password at the door and the tequila drinks starts to pour. Freaks, bananas, zombies, skeletons, sexy Raggedy Anne’s, and half naked half costumes fill the spaces. There is something magical about Halloween. A bunch of strangers mixing together and everyone dressed up as somebody else. It is easier to put yourself out there when you are not yourself, random costumes give reason to interact with randoms. A coming together and new interest lights up the city. There is dancing and running, talking, yelling, more drinking, candy, kissing, hugging, no tears, joy, laughter, new friends and lots and lots of fun. We stay out all night unaware of anything but the present and our altered consciousness. We are happy.
So when in doubt my friends, no matter where you are in life or what the weather is doing, take the advice of a very wise yogi:
Put a garbage bag on your head and live your life.