Mumblings & Musings July 2010
Welcome to Mumblings and Musings
This is my sporadically regular newsletter in which I let you know about the things that I'm either mumbling or musing about. I also let you know what's happening here at Summerhill Ranch, our home in the Central Coast of California. I'm delighted that you are receiving my newsletter and hope that you enjoy it.
"Don't you just want to
hug these little guys!"
Report from Summerhill Ranch
We have two new chicks. They are so cute! I know that you are NEVER—and I mean NEVER—supposed to kiss a chicken (because of avian flu, mites, etc, etc.) but honestly, they are so endearing that it's so hard not to want to kiss these darling little peepers. (Okay, I admit that did it once. I just couldn't help myself. Maybe I need to go to some kind of support group for recovering chicken-kissers.) Anyway, the chicks are the big news here.
Here are pictures of the two darlings
Here below is what I am musing about today:
SPIT ON THE BUDDHA
Someone recently wrote to me and said that for many years various spiritual teachers told her that she was meant to be a healer. The weight of feeling that she was destined to be a healer (and then not being one) made her feel like she was a constant failure. She then had a breakthrough and heard these words, as if from above: "I love you for who you are. You do not need to do anything. What you do does not mean anything before my Love. Just do whatever you love to do"
These words changed her life. I especially like the statement, "Just do whatever you love to do."
This e-mail made me think about something that is called "spit on the Buddha" that I'd like to share with you.
A very long time ago, I lived in a Zen Buddhist. I sat on a hard pillow, facing a wall for up to 16 hours a day, trying to still my mind. The whole idea was to get enlightened (which never happened to me.) The Zen master said that enlightenment happens in an instant, but after more than two years, that instant never came.
The Zen Master also told me that I had to learn to "spit on the Buddha". This was horrifying to me. What a terrible idea! I moved into the monastery because I loved the gentle compassion that I thought that Buddhism embraced. The Buddha was the embodiment of perfection, who would want to spit on him? It was only years after I left the monastery that I understood what the Zen master was trying to tell me (and maybe why I never had even a teeny enlightenment experience).
As long as we think that the "so-called Buddha" (in the form of a friend, teacher, parent, spiritual teacher or guru) has all the answers--and we don't have our own answers for our lives--we are restricted. Spitting on the Buddha means to release the "shoulds" in life that came from someone else. It means to listen to your own inner voice.
I've had a lot of "shoulds" in my own life. For example, I used to be a vegetarian because I was told that you couldn't be spiritual if you ate meat. (But I didn't eat sprouts because a teacher told me that I would be killing a live consciousness if I did so). I was extremely careful with food combining because another teacher was adamant about it. And I didn't eat wheat, dairy, or have salt, sugar or alcohol because a spiritual teacher told me not to. And most of my food was raw . . . well except for sprouts (because I didn't want to kill them). I didn't eat after 4pm because a teacher told me that was bad for the system. As you can imagine my meals became more and more restricted over time.
Additionally, during those years, I didn't wear anything but natural fibers (no polyester, etc.) because a spiritual teacher told me this was bad. I only wore the upper chakra colors because this same guru told me that the lower chakra colors were negative.
I also thought I had to meditate everyday or I would have a lousy day. A guru told me that sex was only for having children, so if I ever had sex with my husband (and wasn't trying to get pregnant) I felt wildly guilty. I also felt guilty if I had any so-called negative thoughts, because I was told that I needed to always think positive thoughts.
Meditating on a daily bases, eating a vegetarian diet, and thinking positive thoughts all sound great, but my entire life was defined by what I thought I should do and who I should be. This is incredibly restricting. One day it became all too much and, I said, "That's it! I'm done!"
It was great. In an instant, I released all the rules and all my "shoulds". I wore black, ate after 4pm, didn't meditate, drank alcohol, wore polyester, had sex just for fun, and lived according to the dictates of my soul. The vitality and joy that filled my being was palpable . . . and remarkably, I became healthier and felt more spiritual as a result.
For me the key is joy. Now days, I eat mostly vegetarian food, and I enjoy meditation, but I do these things because they give me pleasure rather than feeling that I have to do them. I now understand what the Zen master was trying to tell me. There comes a time in life when you have to "spit on the Buddha" and listen to the whispers of your soul . . . and your life will be much more fulfilling as a result. (And you might even get enlightened.)
Clouds at Summerhill Ranch