Tonight, I took part in a reading at Sisters Consignment Couture in Sonoma, California. We read short sections of memoir about sisters, or people close enough that we consider them our sisters. David shared how his father turned malevolent when he drank, and thrashed his wife–frightening him and his three sisters. Catherine’s sister died five years ago of lung cancer, and she so clearly depicted walking with her sister towards her death, and the loss she still feels today. Joelle wrote about the night she was taken home abruptly from a slumber party because her sister, Wendy, had died in a car accident. Laura described unreasonable and thoughtless behavior of a Mother Superior when she and her sister were little. I read a short piece where my best friend and I spontaneously created a ceremony at the Ronald McDonald House at Stanford Hospital to honorably dispose of my wedding ring from a previous marriage.
The common thread that expresses oneness amidst the seeming disparity of experience and stories was so obvious–our compassion and love for family and friends, the exquisite rawness of our shared human experience. The mind notices differences, a skill that we require for many activities. We can make use of the able mind and know it is not the largest truth. The deeper heart recognizes with undeniable clarity that life is not-two.
©Amrita Skye Blaine, 2013
A favorite Longchenpa quote: (Old Man Basking in the Sun
(Treasury of Natural Perfection, translated by Keith Dowman, pg. 248)
Longchenpa Rabjampa lived from 1308-1363
“So stay right here, you lucky people,
let go and be happy in the natural state.
Leave your complicated life and everyday confusion
and in a place of solitude, doing nothing, watch the nature of the mind.”
…So lucky because I have the opportunity to turn and watch the mind. My life allows that: peaceful surroundings, remarkable companionship, abundant food and water, the time to be quiet.
What a blessing.
It is lush, late June in southern Ohio, and the moist scent of freshly mown grass abounds. I am thirteen years old, serious for my age. With Baron, my German shepherd pup by my side, my fingers dawdle in the grass–feeling the crisp edges–then the soft blanket of it all. I watch the cloud formations, searching for animal shapes. There, finally, a puffy white elephant! Triumphant, I add it to my mental tally.
Then, a distinct feeling floods my body that all of this—the dog I had begged for, my freedom from school for three whole months, animal clouds—all of this is not enough. Who and what am I? What is the purpose of my life? Although I have no language to describe what or how I know, I know that I know there is more. More, and deeper.
© Skye Blaine, 2011