Friday, July 22, 2011

Metta (Loing Kindness) Meditation at 02!

At 02 Aspen:

We are having a donation based meditation on Wednesday July 27th with the Garden Shartse Tibetan Monks!

Every summer the monks come to Aspen on a tour of the United States to fulfill their mission of helping to spread peace, harmony, compassion, and tolerance through cultural exchange, interfaith dialog, and Buddhist teachings.

The mediation starts at 2pm and is an hour and a half long. It is a "Metta Meditation" which means loving kindness. a $20 donation is recommended.

Hope to see you there!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The day the flag got burried.

Bodhi and Ethan and their friends have a little campsite by Maroon Creek, which got destroyed the other day. I held Bodhi in my arms while he grieved, and he told me the story, with his sunburnt shoulders leaning hot against me. I've been doing a bunch of fiction writing for the last two months, and his experience inspired a little short story.

The tribe daring each other to jump in the cold snowmelt pond.
We walked over the hill a little, the bedraggled line of the three of us, my older brother, a little bit duck footed, skinny like a bean pole, knees bigger than his thighs, JT, our neighbor, and me.

I was in my flip-flops.  My hair had gotten long enough that I could feel it on my shoulders.  My shoulders were sunburned, no shirt, a pair of plaid shorts with a permanent dirt stain on the butt.  JT was trotting along, trying to keep up on his short five year old legs.  He'd helped us dig it out to begin with. 

We had brought some more stuff that we'd found.  I had an eagle feather.  I knew it was an eagle feather.  I went and asked the Dean if it was and he said yeah, and that it was sacred and special and that I should keep it, and that's what had started us heading over here today. 

Along the way J.T. had found a rock that he said was a crystal, but it was really just a rock, but he wanted it to be as special as my eagle feather, so I let him have it.  Ethan, always practical, had brought along a shovel and the little porcelain dish that he has swiped from mom's kitchen that had some of her special rocks in it, but mom was pretty cool that way, you know?  She let us play with her stuff, and sometimes she'd wonder where it was and it would mysteriously reappear. 

Anyway, we climbed up over the big, loose, dirt mound and when we got to the top, there was our flag,
almost just like we'd left it.  It was a long tree branch that we'd pulled out of the river the summer before and tied to the top was a piece of white T-shirt.  It was the best flag we'd had so far. We'd had it out on the raft last year when we'd lived up at the pond.  Now we'd moved across the ranch to another cabin that also had a pond, but this pond had a big fire hose that sprayed into it all day, so didn't have a raft, so the flag has been laying by our front door for most of the summer until we found this magic spot. 

I called it my peaceful place.  The other kids wanted to name it something else like, you know, rad, awesome, gastro launch mech tech site, but it wasn't.  It was my peaceful place and that's what we called it and they just had to deal with it or they couldn't come play there. We had set up rules for it.  They were very clear.  Each one of us had a treasure table.  Mine was made out of a stump.  Ethan and J.T. had big flat rocks that they had polished and swept off really carefully and on each treasure table we had put our most valued possessions.  I had a bone from an elk that I found, a big huge femur, heavy and bleached white. I had some soft, sort of oily-feeling yellow crystals that I had found that I thought were maybe salt, and some feathers.  The flag was planted right by the edge of the mossy minnow pond, marking our territory.

Ethan had a bird's nest at his treasure table.  He was really good at spotting birds. He even knew why kind of bird it was that the nest belonged to.  J.T. had little mounds of dirt.  He didn't really get it.  He was still kind of a baby, but we let him play.  He would put anything on his treasure table and we were constantly trying to tell him, it's not a treasure. It has to be something special.  You can't just pick something up off the ground and dump it on the table.  It needs to be something, you know, it needs to be a treasure, so maybe he treasured his dirt. 

But here's what happened.  Today we walked up to the top of the hill that hid our peaceful place, and all of those things that we had carefully put there were under a huge pile of dirt with giant tractor marks pressed into it.  The top of our flag was showing out of it, but nothing else was there.  Someone had come and dumped truckload after truckload after truckload of dirt there.

Those huge, heavy machines had rolled over our most sacred spot, our campsite, our peaceful place, our treasure tables.  Every single thing was buried, my bone, my feathers, the stump, the rocks, they were turned and buried.  Even a little pond with minnows in it was filled in part way with ugly brown lose dirt.  The flag was sticking out barely, and Ethan looked at it, still, and then walked over, put down his little bowl, picked up the shovel that was still leaning against the tree just outside of the dirt, and began to dig.

"What are you doing?" I asked, anger flooding everything. It seemed pointless, hopeless.

"I'm digging up what we can recover. Its all under here."

"Its GONE, Ethan. Those assholes dumped dirt over everything everything that meant anything to me."

Ethan didn't even look. He had the flag halfway out. "You never know, Bodhi, we might find it all if we just start digging. It won't help us find the stuff to cry about it. If you want to have your stuff back, start digging."

"You sound like mom!" I yelled at him. It wasn't his fault, but I needed to be angry at someone. "I want our SPOT BACK! I want my HOME BACK!" I screamed. And then I sat down, suddenly tired. Tired from the job ahead, moving all that dirt to find a tiny feather, tired from the anger, which was draining out of my toes, being replaced with disbelief.

It had been the perfect place, and it was out of sight, but it was close enough to the house that we could hear mom ring the bell when it was time to come home.  It was across the road, so that we felt really like big kids, you know?  We had been allowed to cross the road to find our spot and those fuckers, man. 

I can't even believe it and I felt it coming up in me and it wasn't anger so much as just total disbelief.  I felt as though that huge machine had driven over my home; that I had come home one day and that my house was flat and that this embossed mark of this huge, metal monster had left its footprints all over what was most precious to me, my sanctuary, my space. 

I really didn't care whether I cried in front of the other kids or not, because I felt my heart breaking and being squeezed. It seemed impossible, it was shocking, surprising, unreal.  I felt sick.  I felt sad.  I felt  I felt robbed.  I felt like I couldn't trust anybody.  How could the Dean have let this happen?  He's the one that taught me to find a bow, to find a soft piece of willow and bend it and split it and tie a piece of grass between it and make a bow that really works.  He had taught me that I could eat the whole dandelion, including the flower.

How in the world had he let - I mean what had, had he been driving this monster?  Had he been driving this machine?  Tell me please that the Dean was not a part of this.  I couldn't believe it.  I decided not to believe it.  It must have been while he was gone.  His workers came and they didn't see our flag, which was clearly planted on top of this place that was very special to us.

They must not have seen (but how could they not) our careful place, the piece of the place that was mine, the log we sat in and pulled the moss off of, the place where you could cool your feet, how could they not have?

I sat down and cried.  The tears spilled out of my eyes, hot and wet and angry on my cheeks.  I grieved for the loss of this place that had meant so, so much to me, and was now wadded up like tissue paper.  It was the first time that I ever felt loss or death or grief, and I knew then, that it wouldn't be the last.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Free Meditation Classes all Summer!

All levels invited, first timers welcome!

Click Here!

At the T Lazy 7 Ranch five minutes from Aspen
Sunday 8 - 9 am
Tuesday 8 - 9:30 am

At O2 Yoga Studio on Main St. in Aspen
Wed 5:30 - 6pm

Class schedule good through August 23, 2011

Classes are donation based and open to everyone. There is no “fee”. Even so, please pre-register by clicking the button in the side bar so we have an idea of how many folks will be coming!

Classes will meet on the lawn by the massage studio (cabin 11) and will be in different locations all over the ranch every week, so please be timely and wear shoes appropriate for walking over uneven ground. Please dress in layers as it can range from quite chilly to very warm in the mountains in the morning.

In case of rain, we will meet inside Cabin #11 (my home and office) for meditation.

I look forward to sitting with you!

The Technique

Vipassana, which means to see things as they really are, is one of India's most ancient techniques of meditation. It was rediscovered by Gotama Buddha more than 2500 years ago and was taught by him as a universal remedy for universal ills, i.e., an Art Of Living.

This non-sectarian technique aims for the total eradication of mental impurities and the resultant highest happiness of full liberation. Healing, not merely the curing of diseases, but the essential healing of human suffering, is its purpose.

Vipassana is a way of self-transformation through self-observation. It focuses on the deep interconnection between mind and body, which can be experienced directly by disciplined attention to the physical sensations that form the life of the body, and that continuously interconnect and condition the life of the mind. It is this observation-based, self-exploratory journey to the common root of mind and body that dissolves mental impurity, resulting in a balanced mind full of love and compassion.
The scientific laws that operate one's thoughts, feelings, judgements and sensations become clear. Through direct experience, the nature of how one grows or regresses, how one produces suffering or frees oneself from suffering is understood. Life becomes characterized by increased awareness, non-delusion, self-control and peace.