A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post called Without Hope which confused a lot of people, I hope this clears it up.
“Hope and fear come from feeling that we lack something; they come from a sense of poverty. We can’t simply relax with ourselves. We hold on to hope, and hope robs us of the present moment.” Pema Chodron
And to simplify: “Hope and fear are both phantoms that arise from thinking of the self. When we don’t see the self as self, what do we have to fear?” Lao Tzu
The Buddha said that we all have monkey minds, with dozens of monkeys all clamoring for attention. Fear and anxiety are very loud monkeys, pointing out all the things we should be wary of and everything that could go wrong.
Daniel B. Smith, author of the book Monkey Mind writes: “Admit the anxiety as an essential part of yourself and in exchange that anxiety will be converted into energy, unstable but manageable. Stop with the self-flagellating and become yourself, with scars and tics.”
In other words, everybody’s got something to hide, except for me and my monkeys.
“As long as you imagine yourself to be something tangible and solid, a thing among things, you seem short-lived and vulnerable, and of course you will feel anxious to survive. But when you know yourself to be beyond space and time you will be afraid no longer.” Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
“Fear is not real. The only place that fear can exist is in our thoughts of the future. It is a product of our imagination, causing us to fear things that do not at present and may not ever exist. That is near insanity. Do not misunderstand me, danger is very real but fear is a choice.” Cypher Raige
Maitri is translated in a lot of ways, maybe most commonly as love, but the way Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche translated it was unconditional friendliness, and in particular unconditional friendliness to oneself.
I passed this sign today on the window of a store in downtown Lancaster city. As far as I can tell it’s a normal store selling cigarettes and Snapple among other things. But for some reason they do not want people to sit or stand.
Could their very unconditional unfriendliness be because in order to buy something people have to stand in the store, or do they make an exception for that? I wonder if their customers have a time limit, or do they run the place like the Soup Nazi where you go in, state your order and leave?
I was taking a photo and asked a man walking by if he would stand in front of the sign that said no standing. Maybe it was the police car a hundred yards away or maybe it was the bad karma of the place, but he said: “I ain’t standing nowhere for nobody.” Alrighty then.
Suzy Kassem, author of Rise Up and Salute the Sun once said: “To really change the world, we have to help people change the way they see things.” And as Trungpa Rinpoche always said, “Good luck, sweetheart.”
Reading, Pennsylvania is a beautiful place to visit, during the day. Around 3:00 this morning I decided to go see the Pagoda all lit up and take some photos. I was hesitant, possibly a little scared about going there alone at that time but I went anyway.
I headed up the steep, curvy road to the top and was pre-visualizing the composition (you’re supposed to do that). What I hadn’t pre-visualized was the twenty five, let’s say derelicts, let’s say, behaving badly.
I got out to look around and suddenly they all began to leave. One guy looked at me and said; “Yo you snitched!” I didn’t answer because I wanted to see if he was going to shoot me, but he didn’t, obviously. So far so good I thought, now I have the whole place to myself.
Then thirty seconds after I got my tripod set up two cop cars pulled in with lights flashing. “Parks closed-these people don’t know how to behave-it happens every night,” one announced. I considered arguing with him but the last time I fought the law the law won.
I asked if I could just take a few photos, he sighed and said to make it quick in his best Joe Friday voice. Then I told him that I wanted to climb up the path to get a better view and he just laughed.
Luckily I got a decent shot, and luckily the cops came when they did because I really wanted the gang in the photo for foreground interest, although that probably would have ended badly.
The lessons I took from this are to go to the places that scare you, except for the Reading Pagoda alone in the middle of the night. And to bracket, even with angry cops waiting for you to finish and go home.