Monday, March 23, 2009

The Wheel of Life

The world is a crazy place these seems out of control, and beyond our control. The media tells of global economies failing, volcanoes erupting, climate changes, wars, civilian casualties, unimaginable hardships in Africa, overpopulation, starvation, inequity of resources and wealth, even inequities between our fellow humans - how can we change it? How can we help? What can we do? It overwhelms the mind. Some even talk about the end of the world...

Yet somehow, our situation is not unique, and the world has been crazy before. Circumstances always exist outside of ourselves, sometimes we say they are "good", and sometimes "bad", but really they are just circumstances. An alignment of the stars may be responsible, but what can we do about that? Life is full of drama, and worries, and purpose, and hope. We struggle against an unknown enemy just to survive here, as we have done since our human brain became big enough to recognize itself. Yet, what is really so different between now and then? Yesterday and today? We are endlessly caught in the web of duality, of comparison, of preference. Rich and poor, black and white, night and day, us and them, war and peace, happy and sad, right and wrong - its overwhelming to have that kind of choice every moment of every day.

What is constant here? Where is the solid ground? How can we focus? Whether you are running a country or a household, whether you live in a cave or on the streets, whether you have family or are alone, whether the volcano erupts or not, the sun still sets EVERY night. Everyone can step outside of the box and see or feel that time of twilight, when the light goes soft, and the colors awaken. It is the same in Garapan, and Los Angeles, and Varanasi, and Lhasa, and Cuzco, and Narita. The traffic, the television, the harvest, the election, the monsoon, the war, are all external, and these externalities have been running for eons, and it would seem we do not control them.

We are here now, wondering what to do, when all we really can do is to live - eat a warm meal, smell some flowers, gaze at the clouds, watch the sunset, help a neighbor, feed someone. No matter what we believe in - these are constants. When we stop worrying about the external, we focus on living. Escape the virtual reality - for it is not real. See through the great ponzi scheme that floats around us. Embrace this life, and re-discover what we came here to discover. We can turn off the tv, and the world wide web, and walk out of any doorway, and become the same. Money does not matter in that place, nor does race, nor does hunger. That place is united, not dual, and it feels like home. In that place there is peace, there is warmth, there is food, there is comfort from the storm. The beauty is that we can go there anytime we want, because there is always right here, just behind the sunset, just out the door, always in our hearts.

Tibetans paint the wheel of life on every gompa. That symbol expresses these ideas in a one complete, complex picture. It represents this ever turning world, and how beings evolve and move through it towards liberation. This wheel of life is constantly spinning, its centripetal force keeps us in it. We all find ourselves in different places, different situations, different distractions. When we know that the grass is not greener, and that there is nowhere to GET to, we gain the strength to let go, be ourselves, and get down to our business. Let the wheel keep on spinning - it always has, always will and always does. Things always happen, and life goes on spinning. Step back, take a deep breath, and enjoy it wherever you are.

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