Spirit Rock Retreat 2008, Day 4

9-24-08
11:30 AM

Notes from Lama Tsultrim’s talk

Feeding Your Demons
You let go of your end in a tug of war. “When you let go of your end in a tug of war, there is no more war.”

Demon: anything keeping us from being in the true nature of mind. What’s draining my energy right now? Depression, self-hatred, anger, a relationship issue? (“As tempting as that is, “they” are not the demon. Our reaction to them is the demon.”)

Needs are underneath the wants. Ex: wanting to eat ice cream all the time. Need is to feel safe.

We practiced the meditation. I worked with my demon depression, which it turns out is also fear & loneliness. It was a very profound experience. I look forward to incorporating this & the Prajna Paramita practice into my life.

Notes, Con’t.

Fighting the demons makes them more powerful. This idea of feeding them was developed by an 11th Century woman. [Machig Lapdron] (Though Buddha didn’t feed [the demon] Mara, he didn’t fight him, either.)

4:35 PM
Notes from group interview with Debra [Chamberlin-Taylor]

Discursive thinking may be felt as a tug. Note the tug and return to the present moment. If the tug keeps returning, there are options: feed the demon, look directly at the thought. These sensations (doubt, interruptions) are common right before a breakthrough moment – like how Mara redoubled his efforts right before the Buddha awakened.

Thoughts on the deficient feminine from a fellow yogi: it’s the shadow. It’s the whining, nagging, fussing we see ourselves do & want to stop, and see other women do & want to make them stop. At the same time, men are meeting their own shadows.

From another yogi, on the pre-dawn Prajna Paramita practice (that I skipped due to arthritis and cold): “if every woman on the planet greeted her day like this, I can’t imagine what we can’t heal.”

From another yogi: drawn to the power of the female. She said, “I see what my sister sitting right next to me is going through. Wow!” I like the “sister” reference, whereas until this week, I never liked it. Isn’t that interesting…?

Acronyms from the same yogi:
Divine Sacred Feminine = D.S.F. (Debra reminded us that this is a poetic term, not a technical one.)
deficient feminine = d.f.

Debra: female is the embodiment, male is the transcendent. We need full balance, as represented by Prajna Paramita. Prajna Paramita practice is perennial truth in a feminine form.

6:15 PM
Today has been a day of stillness. I returned to the bookstore largely because I enjoy its ambiance. It’s a pleasant break in a day of hard training. I found a gift for my friend Christine: a quartz crystal mala. It has good feminine energy. She can treat it as jewelry, too, if she wishes. I also found a few things I’d been wanting for myself at ridiculously low prices. The best part: coming & going I met a herd of deer. I had a chat with one of the does on my way out. Her body relaxed and her tail stopped twitching as I assured her, “I’m an herbivore, myself.”

I need to talk to Zen Master Bob about how to incorporate these teachings into my practice.

9:28 PM
We did outdoor Prajna Paramita practice at sunset. I need a warmer shawl. I hadn’t planned to buy one, but I may have to in order to participate fully. Rationalization? I don’t think so. I’d much rather buy more books & jewelry than a shawl! I’ll sleep on it.

I had some meditation periods today that went so smoothly, I couldn’t believe it when time was up. I also had a kensho moment at the end of tonight’s Prajna Paramita practice. When I dissolved the goddess, I dissolved, too. There was nothing left but emptiness, and yet “I” was aware of the emptiness & aware that it contained everything. It lasted a while, even after “I” became aware of “myself” again.

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