Brain Space

“The Heart Sutra is an encapsulated dose of the space that all of training and practice are pointing us toward. You can carry it with you….If things are starting to get too tight, too convincing in their reality, the Heart Sutra can allow us to infuse space into our reality, into our body and mind.” Purify Your Ordinary Bones, Dharma Discourse bu Konrad Ryushin Marchaj Sensei, Mountain Record, Winter 2013/2014

Isn’t this what all of us want, space? It doesn’t matter what kind of resolution a person makes, if they feel claustrophobic and stifled. When you are constantly struggling to move at all, let alone forward, goals lose some of their meaning.

Everyone I know feels overwhelmed. It comes out in different ways with various people, but the bottom line is the same: they’re just trying to survive the demands placed upon them.

The Buddha sometimes referred to himself as the “tathagata”, which translates into something akin to “one thus gone.”

The Heart Sutra talks about being gone, gone, completely gone. Form is emptiness; emptiness is form. To me, part of what it means is to not take one’s perceptions quite so seriously. Things can seem one way and be the opposite in reality. It just depends on what we were expecting to see.

The space needed is between our thoughts. If your heart cannot get a word in edgewise because the mind won’t shut up, misery becomes our constant companion. It follows us everywhere because it is us. We cannot stop our own brain. However, meditation does help to slow it down so thoughts can be examined.

But we can stop taking what it says so seriously. Think of an annoying family member that talks incessantly. You can just sit there and nod and go ahead and do what your heart says anyhow. Such a mind is dull, not sharp. A knife continuously used gets dull quickly. A sharp knife may seldom get used, but when it is, it gets a lot done in a very compact amount of time. It is tough to know how much of what the mind thinks is useful if it never stops.

Insight comes after incubation, which is a period of seeming dormancy. Even the brain needs space or to be given a break sometimes. I want to help people and organizations to build in space for their people so that people can be useful and not burn out. But that means building space into  my own life. I’m getting there.

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About cdhoagpurple

I live in Michigan. I was Greek Orthodox (and previously Protestant), but now am more Buddhist than anything. I am single now (through the till-death-do-you-part clause of the marriage contract). My husband Barry was a good man and celebrated 30 years in AA. I am overly educated, with an MBA. My life felt terminally in-limbo while caring for a sick husband, but I am free now. I see all things as being in transition. Impermanence is the ultimate fact of life. Nothing remains the same, good or bad.

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