Ruminating On Rumi

As you start to walk out on the way, the way appears.

~ M. Rumi

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Revisiting Pigasus

Time, perhaps, to briefly review why this blog is called "The Pigasus Project". 
Born May 21, 2011
Died May 30, 2011
"She Hung Around A Short While"

Annually, in May, we, at Zenwest, offer to the public, adults and children alike,  a celebration of Buddha's birthday.  Fun for the whole family, it features story telling by our Abbot Eshu Oshu on the birth of the historical Buddha, a chanting ceremony which involves pouring tea over the baby Buddha statue, music, baked treats and, for the kids, a piñata. (Check on-line at if you want to find out more about this event.)

In 2011, I was assigned the art project of creating the piñata and thus, the idea of Pigasus was born. Nobody liked the concept of filling it with assorted veggies wrapped in colourful tinfoil, toothbrushes, dental floss and the like. So candy it was. The tradition of wacking a piñata seems a wee bit brutal. "I will beat you until you give me sweetness." But, perhaps, it's a metaphor for the transient nature of all things.  

As surely as Pigasus was to be born from newsprint, glue, paint and goodies so to was Pigasus to perish. The Pigasus Project grew larger for me as I began to see it more as a symbol of our existence, in a punny way, as the Pig-As-Us. Since I more often play with words then I do art supplies, The Pigasus Project Blog was birthed. The blog limps along, some times fully engaged, other times in a kind of hibernation. 

Pigasus herself, created, birthed and lovingly annihilated in a very short span became the impetus of the story of an on-going inward journey and exploration. We are all the pig, not to denigrate the innate intelligence of the sometimes pink mammal, but our behaviour is often piggy. We seem to live in a culture where more is best, more stuff, more ideas, more thoughts. We struggle with letting go while clinging to that which we believe to be "good"; we also are adverse, push away that which we label as bad.  That too can be stuff, ideas, thoughts, beliefs, people. You name it, we often make relationship in one of two ways craving (clinging) and aversion. 

Take me for example, I seem to suffer from a narrative that is infused with struggling with depression and anxiety (which I want to push away) or feeling connected, peaceful, at one (which I would love to embrace forever).  Sometimes I am balanced, other times, I am not. 

This journey of making relationship is often in a state of flux.  After all, every thing comes and every thing goes. Both simple and also not so simple, it is cultivating an understanding from experience of the impermanence of ALL things. How do we do this? Look around. Be present. On the grander scale, all planets, all universes, all galaxies are born and die, all civilizations rise and fall, some ideas take root and flourish and then falter and disappear or become the compost for other ideas. All beings become form, live and then eventually die and nourish, in many senses of the word, the next generation of the living.

So it goes. It is inarguable. The proof is right before our very eyes. Indeed we are the very "Eyes Of The World". 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Dancing With Perfection

Thinking. Thinking. Thinking about this dance we have with perfection in our culture.  Seems to me we put a lot of stock into doing things perfectly.  It could be anything. I have always thought that just because I don't know something it only means one thing, I don't know.  It doesn't make one less than, in any sense of the word, by level of intelligence, by understanding of cultural differences, by manners, by you-name-it any kind of skill.

Perfection thinly disguises the mores of a shame based culture.  We all make mistakes. With compassion for each other and self, in every mistake there lingers the possibility to manifest something greater. Each mistake offers the chance of choice and change.

The "holy grail" of perfection is wholly unattainable. Any master will tell you there is always the opportunity to sink deeper into a learning, to experience from a different perspective. Freshness of experience and understanding comes from the "beginner's mind" not from the mind of know-it-all.

I will never forget a time, in my late teens, I, as many teens not only felt a sense of invincibility but we also believed we knew everything (especially more then our parents). Whenever, my papa would offer me a thought or a different perspective my stock answer was, "I know."  Finally, one day he said that if I continued to say I know to everything that was presented, people would stop sharing new things with me. This stopped me mid-sentence; how true this simple observation. I still struggle with those two little words that can shut down true understanding.  Now, more frequently, I am inclined to say nothing. Now I believe that the more I think I know the less I know I know.

I think the pleasure is in the practice. When I find the joy in the discovery of new interests and skills, I am inclined to continue to explore. This place of "beginner's mind" is in the present moment, in the reward of an ever evolving engagement with curiosity. Perhaps, this is "the investigation of the fundamental nature of self."

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Note To Self & Bonus Haiku

I struggle.  I suffer.  I suffer with struggling. I struggle with suffering.

And then I look up in the night the brighter stars are popping out, a crescent moon floats like a cradle. This vastness and here I am, small and insignificant suffering with I don't really know what.  It's not a sense of doom, a knowing of mortality.

I suspect as a sensitive individual awash in a sea of suffering, I am many times swept under by the current. I bob up, gasp for a deep calming breath.

I affirm this over and over, that at this moment all is okay.  The past has passed; the future never comes.  The only moment is this one, here now. But knowing and deep, down in the gut, in the core of being "knowing" are very different. The getting there is never going to happen. It's the being here with whatever is is the practice.  And, it IS a practice.

Invite the "I" to take a backseat sometimes, be gentle with self, laugh at self, be okay with what is because after all that is what is. (Be okay with how many times the word "is" is used in a sentence.)

...and maybe, just maybe, I may offer and accept service to others. After all, we are all in this together.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Ramble On

Well, here it is. Time has passed since I last blogged. Can't say I haven't been thinking about it. A lot. Somehow, writing notes, half completing posts but never finishing. As if there ever is a finishing line.

Everything so transitional. What is written!  What my thoughts are about what is written!  And perhaps underneath it all, this sense that it isn't good enough, that the words don't really say what is in my heart. Sometimes the writing is hard words that are trying to convey a sadness, a disappointment, a why haven't we learned to be kinder, more loving to one another. (How can I write softer words to convey horrors?)

We all have experienced loneliness, a feeling of alienation, perhaps even a sense of purposelessness. We may wallow in self pity. Then, at other times, puff up in a righteous, egoic entitlement. This is the course of life, this and that and then the other.  If it can be felt, we as humans can feel it.  If it can be worded, we word it. If it can be done, we do it. If it can be thought, we think of it.

What is the meaning of all this? Perhaps, as I have written in past, life itself is the meaning of life. The game of life wobbles between what we define as success and what we define as failure.  The definition becomes more important than the experience. The "reward" becomes the thing. When we hold that reward it becomes pale and unsubstantial. When we breathe our last breath,as far as I know, no one has wished for more stuff.  But we don't live our lives this way. I think of the word wisdom as comprised of two words, wise-dumb. We become wiser because of our mistakes, because we have fallen down and picked ourselves up again.

It is the rambling that, upon looking back, shows us that the way is not straight and narrow. And although many, many things happen in our lives that seem unfair and unjust. Ultimately, we do have the choice of how to respond.

Over and over and over.