Bardo and Boredom in Paradise.
I'm reading several books right now that are thoroughly changing my life. Two of these books are "The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying" by Sogyal Rinpoche and "Nourishing the Teacher" by Danny Arguetty. I have been having a really really tough time these past 4 weeks and these two books have helped to guide me to my higher self. And since my life is an *open book*, I figured that I'd share with all of you the teachings I've absorbed from these and the journey that they have sent me on...
"We can divide our whole of existence into four realities: life, dying and death, after-death, and rebirth. These are the four BARDOS (the natural bardo of this life, the painful bardo of dying, the luminous bardo of dharmata, and the karmic bardo of becoming).
"Bardo" is a Tibetan word that simply means a 'transition' or a gap between the completion of one situation and the onset of another. "Bar" means 'in between' and "do" means 'suspended' or 'thrown'."
Well, right now I feel like I'm in a bardo...a transition, between my former life and my new life; my life with my Dad, and my life without my Dad; my life as a girl, and now my life as a woman. But I haven't quite figured out my new life, the life without my Dad, the life as a woman....I still feel as if I'm in this confusing, disorienting, stressful-at-times transition period. Sigoyal Rinpoche continues, "One of the central characteristics of the bardos is that they are periods of deep uncertainty." Ugh, yeah, you could say that again!
"Bardo is: a continuous, unnerving oscillation between clarity and confusion, bewilderment and insight, certainty and uncertainty, sanity and insanity.
This constant uncertainty may make everything seem bleak and almost hopeless; but if you look more deeply at it, you will see that it's very nature creates gaps, spaces in which profound chances and opportunities for transformation are continuously flowing- if, that is, they can be seen and seized.
...every moment of our experience is a bardo, as each thought and each emotion arises out of, and dies back into, the essence of the mind. It is in moments of strong change and transition especially that the true sky-like, primordial nature of our mind will have a chance to manifest.
The bardo teachings tell us that there are moments when the mind is far freer than usual, moments far more powerful than others, which carry a far stronger karmic charge and implication.
***Pain, grief, loss and ceaseless frustration of every kind are there for a real and dramatic purpose: to wake us up, to enable and almost to force us to break out of the cycle of samsara and so release our imprisoned splendor."
The message: do not miss the opportunity that this life offers us to transform ourselves! Times of uncertainty seem overwhelming, but if you sit with them you will notice a gap of stillness that you can rest into and use as an opportunity for positive change.
So, I'm in a bardo, and my mind is free from past experiences- creating an opportunity to become the best person I can be and want to be. So I have seen this, and now I'm ready to seize it. But holy shit, what to do? How to seize? Well thankfully Danny Arguetty offered up some amazing advice in his book "Nourishing the Teacher" about how to bring skillfulness into action so that we can create the world we want to live in:
"Yoga invites us into deeper contemplation of the ways in which we lead our lives, it asks us to consider how we can traverse our path in the most effective and skillful ways.
The first step in this endeavor towards being adept at the way we live our lives is identifying what it is we most desire for our own sense of well-being and for the well-being of the world. Having wants is an intricate part of human nature that can ultimately be a doorway to fulfillment and happiness in our lives when approached mindfully. It is up to us to align our words, thoughts, feelings, and actions with this desire once a direction becomes clear. In this way we begin to craft an environment of support for what we are attempting to accomplish.
Through the inquiry of our thoughts and feelings, we can reflect on how much we value each desire that arises in our lives. Establishing a hierarchy of importance for all of our many wants is essential for determining where to first direct our energies.
(Here the author gives a personal example of desires, including finding a graphic design job, locating a house in LA, exploring intimacy and making new friends).
When we get real about what is required to fulfill a particular aspiration, we can attain clear perspective and open to the idea of shifting our hierarchy of value if need be.
In the course of our lives, we encounter instances that feel deeply right and moments when what we say, feel, think and do fully echo our intention. When we can move into life with more skillfulness in our actions, we gain greater access to stores of inherent fullness. Doors open up that may have otherwise remained shut, and we summon deep belief in ourselves and trust in the support of outside forces to bolster us in our journey. The endeavor of skillfulness in action is not an easy one, as often our words, feelings and thoughts are not fully in line with one another. It might be that we feel and communicate what we want, but are afraid to initiate the actions needed to accomplish our goal. Alternatively, it could be that we are striving in the direction of our innermost calling, only to have our inner dialog constantly berating and contradicting our external efforts.
With intention and courage, I align my words, feelings, thoughts and actions.
I turn into the waves of doubt and willfully pursue my dreams.
I awaken my mind, feel my heart, and speak my truth."
Today I was having a total meltdown...
What am I doing with my life? What do I want? What am I doing in Sri Lanka? I'm so bored. I should head north. I should stay here. I should go to arugum bay. I should go home. I'm hungry, I'm not hungry. It's so hot here. I hate it here. I love it here! I want to be a badass yoga teacher. I want to be an inspirational blogger. I want to start an import/export business. I want to be a Mom. I want to be a wife. I love being single. I'm fat. I'm beautiful. I'm so happy I could explode! Ah I just want to cry right now. ...are you stressed out from reading this yet? Because I was stressed out thinking it! So I decided to read- because that usually calms me down. And boom: bardo. I totally identified with what I was reading. And then double boom: Danny Arguetty giving me the tools to help facilitate the desires that I have. So I sat down and brought skillfulness into action and made a list of all my desires. And then I prioritized them. I got rid of the ones that I actually didn't really desire after all. Finally, I started another list of what is needed to make the list of desires come to life.
Boom. I'm powerful and amazing.
Boom : everybody has freak outs. But don't worry about it, when in doubt- make a list about it. Troublesome transition periods are actually an amazing opportunity for growth- so don't let them get you down.
I'll leave you with some wise words from Sigoyal Rinpoche:
"The natural bardo of this life spans the whole of our lifetime between birth and death. It's teachings make clear to us why this bardo is such a precious opportunity, what it really means to be human being, and what is the most important and only truly essential thing for us to do with the gift of this human life."