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Lions Roar : September 2012
irregular and earthy. It holds that beauty lies in the patina of age and in the changes that come with use. It’s in the cracks, the worn spot—in the green corrosion of bronze, the pattern of moss on a stone. The Japanese take pleasure in mistakes and imperfections. In the West, no one more than Rem- brandt took such pleasure in painting old people. He painted them from the time he was twenty until the month before he died. Young people didn’t interest him as models, probably because a young face, even if beautiful, does not have the mark of life upon it. Age spots, wrinkled hands, the lifetime you can see in an older per- son’s eyes—these fascinated him more than untested beauty. Rembrandt’s most riveting portraits were of himself in old age. He was able to look in the mirror with a transparent honesty, to reach into his own soul and reflect to us the human condition in such a way that, when we gaze at his self-portraits, we ourselves can feel our lives more honestly and also ten- derly. The presence he conveys serves to bring us present too. Day by day, tiny specks of us float away. No matter which exercise or diet regimen we follow, no matter which self-help guru or meditation practice we follow, nothing will dispel the reality that we are not built to last. Death is our supreme limitation, the final proof that perfection was never meant to be part of the human experience. A hundred years from now, there will be all new people. Sooner rather than later, we shall not be here: no eyes, no nose, no ears, no tongue, no mind. No you or me. Gone, and who knows where, if anywhere. Yet knowing the extent of our limita- tion, feeling our soon-not-to-be-here- ness in our bones, is the best condition we can have for waking up to the miracle that we are here now. That is the brilliance of the human design plan; the built-in “defect” is the very thing that can spur us to drink down the full draught as it comes to us. Better to taste this gritty, imperfect life we have than to defer it to some more perfect future that will never come. ♦ SHAMBHALA MOUNTAIN CENTER RETREAT. EXPLORE. ENGAGE. For more information about our year-round programs, visit our website. Inquire about financial aid. Dreaming the Soul Back Home Robert Moss August 24 - 26 Integrating Yoga and Buddhist Practice Michael Stone August 31 - September 2 Running with the Mind of Meditation Jon Pratt & Mary Kibiloski August 31 - September 3 Sustainable Business: Growing a Good Idea from Fear to Fruition Joshua Onysko September 14 - 16 Healing the Heart and Mind: Mindfulness for Health Caregivers Michael Baime & Karen Bowles September 20 - 24 Mindful Leader Retreat: How Leaders can Savor the Joy and Handle the Pain of Personal and Professional Challenges Jerome T. Murphy & Janet Solyntjes September 21 - 23 Lost and Found in our Brave New World: A Leadership Retreat Meg Wheatley & Jerry Granelli September 28 - 30 Red Feather Lakes | Colorado PROGRAMHIGHLIGHTS|SHAMBHALAMOUNTAIN.ORG|888.788.7221 SHAMBHALA SUN SEPTEMBER 2012 25