What the Buddha wants
Long ago I imagined living and working at a retreat on unspoiled land, far from the city, yet accessible enough for people to come here for workshops. I imagined that the land itself would be like a teacher. I imagined becoming native to this place, intimate with the animals and plants that lived here; as comfortable leaning on a rock in the silence of the night, far away from signs of our present century, as I would be in my own bed.
I imagined creating a sanctuary, where those who might not otherwise do so, could venture away from their challenging work in the city to renew themselves, revaluate, contextualize what they did. I imagined it in a single moment; and I knew it would be so.
The winter sun warms the ground, still wet from rain. The scrub-jays and jack-rabbits I watch from the window are not concerned with the global economy, or climate change. The new grass turns the landscape green. Two days ago we ended a retreat. Sometimes people come from as far away as Europe or Australia.
The Buddha and the Law of Attraction?
Meditation doesn’t necessarily make you a better person, or even better at what you do. Meditation is simply the power to direct the focus of your attention. How and where you direct your attention will determine the outcome of your meditation. Whether it makes you a better person, or more skilled at what you do, is entirely up to you.
Let’s say that everything begins with dreaming and imagining. Your attention moves you toward what you have already dreamed and imagined for yourself. What you take to be brand new, is often just a variation of your old themes. Then, once in a while, what seems to be the same old story, turns out to be an entirely new one.
You discover clues for understanding and living your unique and amazing life among the fragments of ancient dreams, or in the whispering of a yet-to-be-discovered one.
The Buddha spoke of intention as being central to every moment of our experience. Intention is at the beginning of every thought, every word, every action. No one knows where intention comes from. Even brain scientists are unclear about how the initial impulse of thought begins. Let’s call it a dream. Yet out of that dream there will always be choices for you to make.
You will naturally direct your attention to what you value — to what is important in your life. Learning continues forever, if you want it to … as you marvel at the way the world dreams back at you.
Some people say that we are like fishermen caught in our own nets. Some say that meditation makes things clearer, some say it just colors the dream with new colors.
We watch the geese fly overhead each year, south in November, north in February. The pond in front of our window is visited by bobcats, deer, blue heron, and red-tailed hawks. People sit there sometimes during silent retreats, re-visioning their lives perhaps.
Our dream is one we share with countless others. We draw into us what we already see. Yet no one can describe the rich patterns that are made there.