Here’s a short teaching from Khandro Rinpoche on what the effects of genuine practice looks like. I found this through the website A clear and empty mind, one of my favorite blogs on Buddhism and a constant source of inspiration.
The longer I’m on the path, the more I appreciate this kind of grounded, simple, and penetrating reminder. And the more I aspire to embody the kind of sincere change that is the mark of a good practitioner. Why? Because it leads to happiness. And it opens the door to the possibility of being of benefit to others- true benefit, without conditions or preconceptions imposed by my own ego.
I’m so grateful for everything I encounter.
I haven’t posted much lately but things have been humming and bubbling all the while. I made it out to Florida and for the longest while we’ve been there, attending to Yolie’s mother and dealing with the aftermath of Yolie’s brother’s death, and taking care of Kaleb, and generally doing stuff that is difficult and unpleasant in a place we’d rather not be in. Staying in an RV park for a month is a special kind of hell for us. Especially one where we’re backed up to the railroad tracks and trains pass day and night, shaking our rig and shattering the quiet. Of course, with a four year old in the trailer there is not much quiet to shatter.
Anyway, there’s a lot to complain about in our situation. Yolie lost her brother. Her mother’s situation is precarious and uncertain and likely to just grow moreso. Our new full-time childcare situation isn’t one we signed up for, and the reason for it is also harrowing and gut-wrenching and unbearable. Our dream of life on the road seems to have twisted and shifted into a kind of ugly and difficult endurance contest. The days of wine and roses, of languid sunsets on the beach sipping martinis are evaporating like the morning dew.
We’re encountering wonders and miracles and joyous events left and right that we’d absolutely never have experienced if not for where we are and what we’re doing. Almost every day we bump into someone or something that enriches us, leaves us astounded with its beauty or strangeness or utility. Synchronicity and coincidence abound. Afnd for me, I am face to face with a skillful and demanding teacher 24 hours a day- my grandson. He forces me to be fully present, fully mindful, fully attentive- and the second my attention wanders, the second my awareness fades, the very instant that I allow for my own ego needs, he turns my world upside down. And the only way forward is to recenter, to wake up, to attend, to let go.
It is a wonderful and horrific gift.
It’s wonderful because it works, it is just what I’ve asked for, and it’s a hundred percent reliable. It’s horrific for the same reasons. But I’m happy that I’m smart enough to ask for and sincerely want that which my ego finds impossible to deal with. It isn’t easy, but it is effective.
At least, I hope so. You’ll have to be the judge of that.
Right now we’re living in kind of a dream world. We’re in Tallahassee and visiting with Mrs. Moon and her lovely crew. I’m pretty sure everyone who reads here knows her and follows her, so you probably already know through her blog what we’ve been up to. Amazing h0me-cooked meals, exciting alligator filled swamp boat rides, trips to the Jr. Museum, and fresh eggs from her chickens, and long talks and hugs, and the joy and happiness of a deep and abiding friendship.
Her man Glen is acting as our swashbuckling, white-horse-riding, dragon-vanquishing Knight. Our poor Sportsmobile van turns out to have not been the perfect tow vehicle for us- too many miles and too much worry about how long she can hold out. We needed a new tow vehicle and I figured we’d buy one while we were here in Florida- but I had no luck at all on my own. I couldn’t get a truck to save my life- everything was either way, way, way out of my price range, or way, way, way too old and crappy.
And then Glen stepped in and saved the day. Turns out finding great vehicles and putting them together with folks who really need them is his dang business! In just a day or two he found the perfect truck for us, exactly what I wanted, even better than what I wanted, and for less that my top dollar! He put the whole deal together for us, inspected the truck, verified its bona fides, and drove a hard bargin with the owner to get it for us at under the asking price- all things that the Dishwasher is terrible at! Left to my own devices, I am pretty awesome at picking out an unsuitable vehicle and overpaying for it and missing a thousand obvious defects and ignoring any warning bells that are going off.
So, Glen saved my ass. Thank you, sir!
And Kaleb is getting to hang out with Mary’s grandkids, Owen and Gibson. Gibson and Kaleb have established their own inviolable world and it seems no one else exists outside of it for them. They’re thick as thieves.
Mary’s family is just what you’d expect. Kind and happy and easy-going, generous, thrifty, brave, handsome and beautiful, strong and good looking and everyone is far above average in every way. I’ve never felt so at home.
A great blessing!
So, a few more days in Lloyd securing the purchase of our new truck, and trying to sell the van, and dealing with registration and all the paperwork for all of this buying and selling. And hopefully when we depart Lloyd we’ll have a brand new truck, two Florida registered and insured vehicles, the truck and the Airstream, and we’ll be ready for the next phase in our wild, wild life.
Thank you, Universe.
May you be happy, may you be at peace, may you be free from suffering and the cause of suffering.
May your fondest wishes come true.