I’m not sure if it’s a blown fuse or if I’m in that Big Sky state. Wait, isn’t that the catch phrase for Montana? The one for Ontario is “Yours to Discover.” I would like my mind to be like that too. Yours to Discover. But I’m not sure you should wander onto its blue and grey roads because the map is constantly changing. Any bread crumbs you leave would be eaten by the ever-hungry cowbirds and blue jays and you may never find your way out!
In sangha, we listened to Natalie Goldberg’s talk, Wild Mind, from the Upaya dharma podcasts. Highly recommended, if only for the joy of hearing her sing Allen Ginsberg’s dharma song, Gospel Noble Truths. Goldberg asked us to think of the huge sky and then imagine that she climbed a ladder and put a dot on that sky with a black marker. Our mind, she says, contracts down to that dot, losing the vastness of the sky. I know that feeling well. My polka-dotted mind forgets all it has to discover and folds like a drunken universe and that dot – which is really a wormhole – carries me into an alternate universe where everything I do is right, has the outcome I want (the perfect resolution, of course), and I’m once again loved by all who have rejected me (because they see how perfect I really am).
There’s more to Goldberg’s talk. There are teachings about how sorrow can leak out as creativity and about the French writer Collette and about a rabbi in the concentration camps. But this dot, this plopped and splattered ink, is glued to my mind sky. Mine to discover. I know from practice to go to its edge and sense the feeling there. The longing to make a difference, to be seen as making a difference, to be joined in being the difference, runs along one ragged side. Vast undulating calm runs along the other. I want to get some solvent and rub it off, make it transparent so it doesn’t impede the uniform steadiness that carries it.
Oh. Did I just say that?
Thank you for practicing,
PS: Thanks to Barry of Ox Herding for the link to Ginsberg’s awesome rendition of the Gospel Noble Truths!