using the arrow buttons.
by clicking on the page.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider when zoomed-in.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field, and select "This Issue" or "All Issues"
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
displays sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays a slider of thumbnails. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse the full archive.
about your subscription?
Lions Roar : January 2010
43 SHAMBHALA SUN JANUARY 2010 would float up out of the black lagoon of uncertainty, words that didn’t seem like the sort of thing I could have thought up. And if nothing floated up, I could sit there. The important thing wasn’t having the right answer; it was keeping company with a friend when neither of us knew where the journey was headed. That was a deeper meeting than I had planned for. 6. The True Life Is In Between Winning and Losing Contradiction is the fully human place to be. The illegal im- migrant can’t go home because she won’t get back into the country if she does. The Republican mayor of a small city who speaks out against illegal immigration gives her a job. We don’t have to pretend not to have our opinions. Mostly we would rather be rich than poor, but also, it isn’t usually terrible to have lost our money. We can have a life in between those rather uninteresting discoveries. In between is where hu- mans always are—that’s what we have to welcome, a story with an uncertain ending. And this condition is interesting if you inhabit it; it’s alive. If I’m facing something that I don’t know how to do, the not knowing is what is true and the resources I have, deeply ignorant as I am, will have to be enough. I have an amusing memory of being in between. I was on a trawler steaming up the coast toward Townsville in North Queensland, Australia, with a storm starting to come in. It wasn’t bad yet; it was three-quarters of a gale but increasing. Visibility was good. We were rolling a lot but then we always did with a sea running. We were loaded with prawns and we thought we were rich, rich. So you can see the way the mind swings around: it’s good we have prawns, it’s bad the storm is coming, it’s good the storm isn’t here yet, it’s bad we are nowhere near port—the whole human story. We came upon another boat in the fleet. He’d taken a wave over the stern and his cockpit had filled and wasn’t draining. The boat was down more at the stern than was really desirable with weather coming in. He was trying to bail but his stern was low enough that water kept washing in. He could prob- ably solve the problem by throwing his catch overboard but, hell, he wasn’t going to do that. He had pawned his guitar and slipped out of port at night ahead of the bailiffs; he wasn’t go- ing to surrender those prawns. He was alone, without a deck- hand, and there was some discussion on the radio whether I would swim over to his boat to help out. I wasn’t that thrilled at the prospect. Although the water was warm, which was positive, there were sharks, which was probably a negative. But perhaps they weren’t tiger sharks, a positive if true. Also, from his point of view, if I came on board, would he have to pay me a share? And would his boat—he was clearly overloaded— sink anyway? The situation looked pretty sketchy. He beached his trawler on a sandbar, where through some peculiarity the wave action wasn’t so bad. He was grounded and trying to pump out his cockpit, and it came to me— everybody was completely, deliriously happy. Will he lose his boat? Are there really sharks? Should I swim over? How much will we get for our catch? How far over will we go over on this roll? Everybody was as interested as it is possible to be, as interested as angels would be, watching over the pretty Earth. We were delighted to be there wallowing along with our very own predicament. It was funny and it was also a moment of insight—the Buddhist word is prajna, the wisdom that cuts through delusions and leads to a natural appreciation and compassion. Not only can we be happy in our difficulties; if we really truly notice, we are happy already. 7. If You Have Nothing—Give It Away It rained in the night and I thought I was the rain. When I woke I had many things to do, but I lay there and listened. It was an eternal moment. And when I got up I saw the drops on the deck in the dawn and watched them. The child of the house where I was staying woke up and ran downstairs and jumped into my arms. We kept watching the rain. Nothing else was happening and it was enough. All of history is here now, whatever we are doing. Our minds think we are the rain, and then that we are the little boy, jump- ing; our minds think we are each other. It’s not so hard to give ourselves completely to the world in this way. And when dif- ficulty visits us, perhaps we will see more clearly that we can look after each other, and that if we have little, we can be more generous than we were when we thought we had a lot. Helping each other might be more fun than guarding our loot. In Buddhism that is called the bodhisattva path, in which we want everyone to share in the joy of understanding. This path comes from losing things more than from gaining things. If you lose everything, you may also be lucky enough to lose who you thought you were, along with any fear and despair that goes with that identity. It might be that what we have to learn is to play in the world like someone who really did run away to join the circus when she thought about it as a child. We are part of something vast, and generosity is an effortless consequence of discovering that. We give away, in our turn, what we have discovered and what we have been given. It’s important not to discount the idea that in a crisis, you might be having the time of your life. ♦ For more on Wisdom for Difficult Times, go to our special section at www.shambhalasun.com. And see our new Shambhala Sun anthology, In the Face of Fear: Buddhist Wisdom for Challenging Times, available now from Shambhala Publications. pHOTO(LEFT)©ISTOCkpHOTO.COM/MARkWRAGG,pHOTO(RIGHT)©ERIC1513/DREAMSTIME.COM