Cloudy Day at Oyster Bay

Dog walks in nature are good.  Crazy puppy can be off leash and risk sticking his nose in gopher holes.  Pupper runs and leaps, skips and jumps.The moment I try to photograph the Peregrine Falcon, he flies from his perch.  The thorned pod reminds me that Autumn is here, and the red berries, that Christmas is on the way.

A friend recently lost her pet.  I said, “when Krishna died I was so brokenhearted.  Like he, and only he knew me the best. Deeper than humanity.”

She said, “Right.  You nailed it.”

Got me to thinking about a favorite poem.

WILD GEESE

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

-Mary Oliver

I love the line, “you only have to let the soft animal of your body/ love what it loves.”

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Mystical Mystery of the Heart Sutra and Letting Go

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I have a mash-up religion. I was raised Catholic, practiced Buddhism and Yoga for many years, and feel connected to spirit, God, The Universe, whatever you call what can’t really name or understand. So I will chant many prayers and mantras to myself, The Hail Mary, the Mantra of Lakshmi, and the Heart Sutra are three of my favorites. I’m not really into the dogma, just the practice.  Just the letting go, feeling safe.

The message of the Heart Sutra mantra is “Gone, gone, all the way gone, over to the other side, enlightenment, Hallelujah.” There are so many translations of it. The essence is that of letting go and finding peace and enlightenment. A mystery:  how we suffer, why we suffer, how we can alleviate suffering, what’s it all for?

One of my favorite Buddhist teachers, Pema Chodron, explains it a lot better than I can. She says it like this:

THE HEART SUTRA

A teaching on the Sutra of the Heart of Transcendent Knowledge

 

It’s in this process of muddling along — it’s in all the falling down — that the courage and the kindness and the compassion and the strength really comes. And the flexible mind.

 

Then he [Rinpoche] goes on and he talks about the mantra. And the mantra is: OM GATE GATE PARAGATE PARASAMGATE BODHI SVAHA.

In other words, a way to practice the profound prajnaparamita is actually to say this mantra — as well as the on-going practice of continually letting go, or letting be, training in a flexible, open,ready mind. But also, one can chant this mantra.

 

By the way, there’s a lot of teaching on the prajnaparamita, and I’m not going to go into all of that. Some of them are very, very long — twenty thousand lines and so forth. But the pith of it, the heart of it, is in this sutra. That’s why it’s called the Heart Sutra because it’s like the pith of all these teachings on prajnaparamita.

 

Then it’s said that the pith, or the heart, of the Heart Sutra is the mantra. That everything that is said in this whole sutra is actually reiterated and encapsulated in the mantra.

Rinpoche’s translation is: OM, GONE (GATE is gone), GONE, (then PARAGATE) GONE BEYOND, (PARASAMGATE) GONE COMPLETELY BEYOND, (BODHI) AWAKE, (SVAHA) SO BE IT. So: OM, GONE, GONE, GONE BEYOND, GONE COMPLETELY BEYOND, AWAKE, SO BE IT.

 

There’s lots of translations of this, and one is: OM, TRANSCENDING, EVER TRANSCENDING, TRANSCENDING EVEN TRANSCENDING, TRANSCENDING EVEN TRANSCENDING OF TRANSCENDING, SUCHNESS, SO BE IT.

 

What is wonderful about this mantra is that it is not a description of some fruition. It’s actually a description of a journey that we are all on. We are all on this journey of going, going, going beyond going even beyond.

No matter where we are, we can move on to the next beyond. Do you see? It’s not a description of: I made it! It’s like this! It’s a description of: OM, groundless, even more groundless, can it get moregroundless than this, Oh my gosh, it’s ultimately groundless, there’s no ground!, and then BODHI could be translated as Aiiiiiiiii….. [or…. Ahhhhhhhhh…] So be it. [laughter]

 

Pema Chodron

from Shambhala.org

Crocheted Mixed-Stitch Stripey Blanket

IMG_2607One thing I love to do to stay cozy in the winter months is crochet.  I’ve been working on a crocheted mixed-stitch blanket ala Little Woollie.  Mine is shown here, with modeling help from Lil’ Pupper who loves crocheted blankets.  He likes to get under them and then stick his nose and teeth through the holes, wrestling and growling like he’s a scary monster.

Anyway, I really like littlewoollie.blogspot.com and was especially enamored with her mixed-stitch stripey blanket.  It’s kind of free form, and you know, I love free-form anything.  I really want to add some Catherine Wheels, but I’ve been feeling lazy and just doing EASY stitches.  I have to say, I think I love lazy-easy more than I love Catherine Wheels.  Well, that’s me, at least that’s me now.  Who knows maybe I’ll feel adventurous and complicated tomorrow.IMG_2299