Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Venus, Jupiter, or Mars?

When I lived in London in the sixties I worked in an office on the thirteenth floor of New Zealand House in the Haymarket. Just a short distance away was the Queen’s Theatre. At the time there was a musical playing there called ‘Stop the World I Want To Get Off!’ starring Anthony Newley, I seem to remember. The title was memorable for many reasons, one of which is because I really empathised with it and so often in my life I wanted the world to pause for a moment or two while I got off for a while― or maybe even permanently― depending on the circumstances at the time. Or maybe I could search for another planet which would provide me with the happy, carefree existence I was seeking, seeing as this one was failing heavily on that score. Many years later I encountered Buddhism for the first time (in 1986) and, of course, came across something called ‘meditation’. In fact, one of the first teachings I ever heard was an audio tape of Sogyal Rinpoche who was translating a teaching of Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche. I can still remember that one of the questions asked was “What is mind?” Up until that point in time I had never really thought about my mind at all. Like most people my main focus was outwards rather than inwards. It really stopped me in my tracks and forced me to look inwards at this mind of mine which I had taken for granted for so long and had never ever ‘looked’ at. This really was quite a turning point in my life (in more ways than one!), especially as soon after that tape I met Rinpoche for the first time and became much more familiar with meditation and other Buddhist practices. Now I was no longer looking for another planet to move to as this one seemed much more promising than before. It was as if I was seeing the world in a different light, in a way that had not been possible before. And all it took was to turn my mind inwardly and look .....

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