Resting…. Resting… 1-2-3

2015 May 25

I had a mindblowingly glorious weekend friends. My dear, beloved teacher, Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche gave teachings in my adopted home of Montreal this past Friday and Saturday. We were all thrilled to have him back on the East Coast!

It was the first time I as able to see him IRL so I was filled with all the emotions. Excitement. Fear. Joy. Panic. Peace. Awe. Goofiness. Dread. Regret. Did I say joy? It was all in there. It’s funny how the mind can get caught up in all of the story lines. Expectations. Fears. And then – poof – the letting go happens and we realize we’re out of the present moment. Only to return. Again. Forget and remember.

Illustration by Relax Adult

Illustration by Noah Harmon

The weekend’s program was on the topic of “Resting the Mind at Ease” which is quite delightful and appropriate given how little at ease my mind has been in the past bit.

Side note: I may start referring to this time as my “grey period.” Just has Picasso had a phase of including blue in all of his works, I was coloring my world with the color tints of “Inescapable Grey,” “Powdery Ennui,” and “Depressed Oystershell.” I think there were many splashes of “Fearful Flax” and a bit of “Anxious Auburn” tossed in there as contrasting colors in life’s big paint swatch. (Thanks Gemma Correll for the artsy inspiration!)

dd98f501097f4d60c90fe3dbae59c2a2I’ve always been blown away by Rinpoche’s teachings – be they from my encounters with them through the Nalandabodhi curriculum, his books, mp3’s or videos. Much of my engagement had been via these channels so to be in the same room, hearing his voice and being surrounded by other members of my sangha was truly a wonderful experience.

Without fail, there were laughs and references to pop culture (Space Invaders, Spiderman and The Transporter were all name dropped during the weekend). I often think maybe this is what attracted me to Rinpoche’s style in the first place. His appreciation of the quirkiness of our Western pop culture filled with the movies, music and TV shows that he loves to indulge in, and on the other hand – the ancient wisdom tradition that he’s studied and practiced for so long. There is that balance and that specific approach that really resonates with me.

Side note number two: I had no idea that Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche loved Spiderman comics.


But I digress…

You know that feeling when you come across the very teachings, a book, a passage or that conversation that you needed right in that moment in the headspace you’re in? Well this weekend was all of that. Resting the Mind at Ease. YES PLEASE!

draperIn his talk, Rinpoche likened meditation to a “trip to the mind spa” where we should go to relax and it really struck a chord with me.  My meditation sessions often are:

  • A tickle fight with my mind.
  • A prize fight with thoughts where some reign victorious and others lay outside of the ring, battered and beaten.
  • A “Twilight Zone” episode where the same repeating thought comes back… and back again.. then gone.. THEN IT’S BACK! Don’t turn around. IT’S STILL THERE!
  • Sleepy time.
  • A period of deep introspection and analytical pursuit. Toss in the Heart Sutra while you’re at it!

What is this relaxation you speak of? It’s been some time since I’ve viewed meditation this way. Granted it’s also been some time that I’ve felt fully relaxed off the cushion as well.

gardenofmind Often I think back to a Shambhala weekend I attended where we were asked why we are still practicing? What is our motivation? What brings us to the cushion? Powerful questions and I remember quite vividly that my motivation first came from a desire to work to rid myself from suffering. The suffering had weakened over time, only to return with a vengeance and now is starting to release its hold on me – or is it my hold on it?

Seeing how when my mind is at ease, it’s easier to help others be at ease and free from suffering brings it all back home. This is why I practice.

Time to do the work – both on and off the cushion. After my grey period, I feel even more purposeful and motivated to be of benefit, live with intention and shoot out some webs of compassion. Pew Pew Pew.



One Response
  1. tmc permalink
    May 25, 2015

    I’m so thrilled this was a good roller-coaster of an experience for you! And I love that you’re able to recount it with respect and humor. I’ve seen people take meeting their teacher entirely too seriously and they miss out on all the fun. You’ve struck the perfect balance.

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