This Vastness of Beauty

St. Mary's, Haddington

St. Mary’s, Haddington

(16) 17 June 2013
8:04 am

T. —

It finally happened. All week, I have been meaning to note that I am continually impressed with us that we’ve written everyday. Don’t feel any pressure about that statement. By that, I mean: I am continually impressed with myself that I’ve actually shown up to something this consistently. At least I was the first one to miss a day. And, I don’t have to wait until July to be able to write something incrementally more cohesive. So. Now, on with the post.

Yesterday was a good day. We started off with breakfast and the most recent Game of Thrones. Awesome. What fantastic story lines. I really want to buckle down and read more of these books, but there are just so. many. good. books in my life right now. I am simultaneously amazed and overwhelmed. I just started a new one yesterday: Change Your Mind: a practical guide to Buddhist Meditation by Paramananda. It is fantastic.

Put simply, the art of meditation is the art of being with yourself.

When we come to the practice of meditation we all come with our own unique history. We bring our own particular strengths and weaknesses to our practice. We bring ourselves. This is a way is the key to meditation; a bringing of what is there — ourselves. But what does it mean to bring all of ourselves to the meditation cushion?

So often in our lives we find ourselves playing a role, just showing a part of ourselves. At work you might be the responsible employee, at home the loving parent, with friends the good listener or the witty conversationalist. Rarely do we completely let all our various roles just drop away. But when we sit to meditate we have an opportunity to let all of that go. Our first task is just to experience ourselves, experience whatever is there. We can at last let drop any idea of performing a role. One might feel that one is not a spiritual sort of person or that one is no good at things like meditation. Well, we bring all that sort of thing along as well.

Sometimes [bringing all of ourselves to the meditation cushion] is called riding the dragon. It can be frightening, but it is also invigorating. We bring to feel more fully alive, more ourselves. Dr. Edward Conze, in his A Short History of Buddhism, remarks that it is only in cultures which honour the dragon that Buddhism has flourished. In a way it’s the same for us. We need to learn the dragon’s name, learn to look at the hidden aspects of our own life, and then we will find that the power of the dragon is no longer fearful, but a great energy in our favor.

– Paramananda


I love what you sent me about patterns of habit the other day. Do you get the DailyOM email now? Sometimes one or two will pop up that speak to me so strongly, I’m worried that they’re in my head, reading my life through my eyes. I think they’re spectacular. I was just thinking the other day: who writes for DailyOM? How would one go about finding a place like that to contribute to?


Last night, we were discussing more ideas about apartments to move into. As a joke, I looked at the most expensive realtor site in Edinburgh. They don’t even have flats for rent: only for sale. And as I went to their site, I saw that they have other properties listed around the world. Which led me to finding this gem in Amsterdam. I told Andrew: in another lifetime when we are filthy rich, this is our house. We should make it into a creative studio. You know: When we find 3 million euros somewhere lying around. The 10th picture of the set — I took one look at it and saw my writing space. I could feel the sun and the breeze on my face. The property also has a “fully equipped guest house with kitchenette and bathroom”. So, when fate smiles upon us and we get anywhere near having a place like this, you know where to come and live. It’s like the writers retreat in Scotland set in a castle. I would create a writing retreat in Amsterdam and invite young poets from all over the world. They don’t have to stay in your house though. I’ll put them somewhere else in the main house so you can still have your space.

Now, to find a place in Edinburgh whose smallness can still contain this light, this space, this vastness of beauty. That is the challenge. I’m sure we can match it. The day we move in and unpack, I’ll write a whole post about it.

Goodnight/morning. Sorry again,

P.S. I’m really glad Rachel picked up the ‘Wild’ thread again. I have an email half-written about section 2. And I’m sorry to have dropped the ball. I need to get better at priorities, I think.


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