Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Tranquility Corner

In our bedroom we have a couple of dressing table sorts of things instead of dressers. These have small drawers--one has 4 drawers on either side and one has just one column of drawers. The wardrobe also has a couple of large drawers at the bottom. Bill uses these wardrobe drawers and the smaller dressing table, while I use the drawers in the larger dressing table. In one corner on top of my dressing table I have arranged some stuff that is meaningful to me in various ways. I see this corner all the time--as I am dressing, when I come into the bedroom to get or put away my rucksack or some other thing, and all I have to do is look up when I am sitting in bed reading or stitching and there it is. I find it comforting and peaceful to rest my eyes there and to be reminded of a few things.

The photo was taken by a friend, Laurie, back in the US. She made it into a card and sent it to me. We liked it so much we framed it. I find the basic psychology of Buddhist teachings to be very commonsensical and helpful. They are a sort of guidebook for life that works well for me and I can go back to them in moments of stress, unhappiness, discontent, or feelings of ill-being. I also remember them as I go through each day. Simply put, there are the Four Noble Truths:
1) Everyone suffers sometimes
2) Often this suffering comes about because we want things to be different than they are--we cannot deal with reality and crave something different, whether that is material or something else
3) There is a way to lessen this suffering
4) That way is the Noble Eightfold Path, which includes things like right view, right action, right intention, etc. This is also known as The Middle Way.

I like the fact that Buddha here is sitting quietly in the snow. Now that I rarely see snow anymore, I find this image comforting. The fact that the image was created and sent to me by a friend far away reminds me that I am lucky enough to have many friends in different parts of the world.

The small vase was given to me by Bill, who found it in the "clearance" section of the charity shop. This causes me to remember both his thoughtfulness and care towards me and the fact that there is more than enough stuff in the world and we should use that before acquiring new things.

The doily was made by me years ago during a time of difficult transition in my life. It is a reminder that everything is impermanent, suffering included. It also makes me grateful for my creativity, not only because I can make cool stuff, but also because that creativity allows me to build a life that fits me instead of trying to fit myself into a more conventional lifestyle which would not suit me at all.

The driftwood, shell, stones, and pottery shards all came from various beaches here. The driftwood and pottery shards once had jagged edges but these have been smoothed by time and being tossed around on the waves. The stones, shell, and driftwood bring to mind my connection with this earth. How varied these things are! Even the stones (I have had a thing about stones since I was a kid) are so different from one another. Colours, shapes, textures, markings--all are different, just like people. In spite of their differences, though, they are all stones and all a part of this planet that we share.

I am also mindful that the fact that I have these particular bits is completely random. They happened to wash up on a part of the shoreline that was accessible to me one day while I was walking along and they caught my eye. On a different day I would have noticed something else. So it is with stuff that happens to us sometimes. Stuff happens and what we do in response to the stuff that happens is what creates our life.

Finally, the small pottery shards are examples of someone's creativity. They were once part of  larger vessels which broke apart somehow and the pieces were scattered. I do not know whether they were someone's prized possessions, but if they were, I hope they did not cling to them, but could let them go lightly. I also do not know how far these little shards traveled to end up on beaches in Moville near the northern tip of this little island, but it just goes to show how connected things are. Some people somewhere once had these piece of pottery in their homes--possibly far apart-- and now they are together in mine.

This little corner is a sort of shorthand for me. When I look at it I feel a little bit more tranquil and at peace. And I smile.

1 comment:

Laurie Graves said...

How very moving to mentioned in this post and to have my picture of snowy Buddha featured. Many, many thanks! I, too, am drawn to Buddhism, which of course is why we have the statue of the Buddha. Also, I really liked your summation of the philosophy. I am going to copy it in my journal, where I can refer to it from time to time.