Buddha dharma Magazine jumped into my hands recently at chapters and spoke to me. I have been cycling through depression and having one of my predictable down times. But because I am so driven to dispel the tension with trivial things, there is a struggle that could provide a narrative plot for an animation feature film when I can no longer force myself to chase dust, or line up the red cups together.
Gay Hendricks talks in The Big Leap about using time to stay in the genius zone. He asks how much of your day, of your energy is expended in petty, easy for you, repetitive tasks. When I am in a down cycle those mind numbing uninspired actions seem as likely as the actions of a super hero.
When I picked up Pema Khondro Rinpoche’s article, I was at a stage where I was in a Netflix addiction cycle while eyeing the waving dust webs on the ceiling at times. My meals of rice crackers and sauerkraut probably did nothing to awaken my body. But Meh!
Pem Khandro tells the reader in You’re Ready Enough that where you are now is where you begin. The purpose of life is to take action, to live in a manner that benefits others.
During this down period this time, I have devoted myself to sharing information about Standing Rock. It has taken me out of my self and helped me to focus on others who need protection. I have felt the call to act as a guardian to those who fight for the earth by my reposting information on social media.
Pem Khandro tells us that, “When we act from the depths of being, the action themselves arise organically from our ultimate nature. Imbued with presence, we can show up and help our world.”
We are reminded that when we transcend a “mind poison” we become available for a greater purpose.
The mind poison that infects me at times is the mind of scarcity and the mind of comparison.
“He was published. She stood on a stage and got an award. Why am I making no progress”, my ego mind torments me.
In the Dzogchen teachings it is revealed, “that each of us possesses the same beginningless buddhanature. It is hidden from us by the mind-set that clings so tightly to self-concepts.”
Every day I return to meditation practice to ask the question,” Who am I today?”
My body has a message. My emotions have a message. My ego has a thousand nattering messages. And behind it all the spirit keeps gently bringing the self back to release.
Today, I released grief I did not know was there. I did not ask why. I did not ask how. I did not ask when. I quietly said, “I release grief.”
The struggle is always there while we live. “Am I believing I am worthy to be of service to others? Am I believing my actions help to relieve the suffering of others? Am I believing that this “self” is all that I am?”
There is never a map. There is never a clear sense of knowing where the journey is leading. But sometimes one can stop and look back and feel satisfied.
Even in that time of illusion and conflict, I stayed with intention.
Pema Khandro reminds us:….”(if) we aim as high as our sights allow, then the aspiration itself will be fulfilling. We will find contentment in the clarity and energy of our enlightened intention itself.”
So the answer to Gay Hendricks is “Yes” we can devote 90% of our lives to our genius self because the genius lies in the intention to become more truly who we are. The intention is to go beyond the definitions of self, of “me now”. The resistance is a part of the journey. The ego is the partner on the journey. But we are willing to do our best just as we are now. We set out each day, each hour, each breath.
Pema Khandro ends with:
Our world needs us now. Other beings need our best efforts. The purpose of our life it to wake up, show up and heed the call.
Can you hear it?