Sense of ease is so low, sense of hassle so high, effort to treat it all as path… is daunting. Seems contrived, but really I’m just too lazy. I feel like reality is a gang of woodpeckers and I’m a unwilling tree. I blame samsara. I blame SMC. I blame myself most of all, and I realize that all that blame is useless (but I carry on without doing anything useful with that realization).
I had a beautiful weekend with friends. We rented a space in Denver and relaxed, went to Phish concerts, ate yummy food. A lot of ease and joy, space. I was able to meditate a lot, and also hang out, goof off. Perfect. I swung ecstatically in the sunshine, on a swing-set. I had the thought that life is a swing-set. Then a gaggle of geese chased my friend.
Yesterday I made it back to the mountain and declared a full, wonderful, delicious day of rest before heading back to work. It was Labor Day. I had everything set up: home alone, pot of tea, book to read — all afternoon. Pijamas on.
I realized that I had promised to call Heather, who is in Seattle for a few days. I walked down the path to the bathhouse, which has a phone. Phone broken. I walked a bit further down the path to the other bathhouse. Phone broken. I walked back to my cabin cursing under my breath. Why can’t basic shit work up here? It’s like you can never count on anything — especially comfort and ease. From the point of view of the path, this is great, I guess. Expectations are traps. Comfort seeking is futile. Letting go of these in order to expand ones comfort zone is fruitful. That’s buddhism. I’m sick of buddhism. I want to pick up the phone and hear a dial tone. I want running water. I want to live in civilization.
That’s not entirely true. But, dang, I’m feeling pretty cooked.
I met with the chaplain who is on the land and shared my feelings of struggle with her. I told her about my embarrassing states of cranky mind and my little tantrums — which usually only I witness, sometimes Heather. She said it sounds like I’m maturing.
I spoke with a friend-of-SMC and therapist who has been on the land. She used to live here. I told her about all of this, and she said that it sounds like I’m right on track.
Steve Seely said that this isn’t a place that you come to live in order to “get your shit together.” It’s a place that you come to if you have your shit somewhat together, in order to have it all blown apart.
For some reason, this is considered to be good. I used to understand why, at least on an intellectual level.
I wonder if the clouds will part and I will realize the great perfection of all of this. I still believe, on some level, that I am being worked over by a teacher. The classic archetype: Milarepa, Moses, Karate Kid, etc.
I don’t really expect a tidy resolution, but I do think that I’ll realize how I’ve benefitted from all of this throughout the rest of my life.
When I first came here to volunteer, over three years ago, our slogan for the summer was: Abandon all hope of fruition.
Why the f would anybody want to be a buddhist? I say that and yet feel no sense of wavering.
— September 8, 2015
Floral Notes and Bardo: The Creative Chronicles of a Shambhala Mountain Resident is a regular feature on the SMC blog in which a member of our staff/community shares his experience of living as part of Shambhala Mountain Center.
Travis Newbill is a writer, musician, and aspirant on the path of meditation. He currently resides at Shambhala Mountain Center, where he serves in the roles of Marketing Associate and Shambhala Guide — a preliminary teaching position. Follow Travis on twitter: @travisnewbill