divThe more I meditate, working with my mind, the more I see change happening. Along with this awareness it feels like I understand these changes. What caused me to be angry? Why am I sad? How come I’m this happy?
Today I was thinking about the constant state of change our universe is in and how each change leads directly to the next, interconnecting it all. This is exactly the same way I think when painting or drawing. I make a line and the next one is a reaction to it. It goes smaller than that even, as I’m drawing the line the next movement of my hand is referencing the previous movement. Now this may seem just a statement of the obvious, but it goes deeper.
Taking a step back from your painting is a form of meditation. It allows you to consider what is present before you. When I first began painting I never stood back from my work (a common novice’s mistake). Small errors (if its realism you’re going for) will occur and if they go uncorrected will shift the entire painting. This is just like a math problem with multiple components, one wrong calculation and the whole thing spirals out of control. Often caught up in the act of drawing, face close to the paper = BAD, subtleties are missed. This translates over to life. If you are not aware of the damage you are doing to yourself it makes it very hard to correct them.
Imagine your mind as a canvas and ‘reality’ as the paint. Each moment alive the paint is being applied. Say someone bumps your arm and it appears your painting is ruined. You may get pretty pissed at first, until you realize that it can be worked with. Maybe you really like the accidental stroke after, or you just take a rag and wipe the paint off. If people spend time with their mind, working with it, becoming friends with it, and not fighting against it, they can begin to realize their full potential. If you’re fighting with a painting you get frustrated and sloppy. Your paint begins to get muddy, strokes careless, and the purpose of the painting is lost in a wave of anger. Like meditating, taking a step back can reveal a whole slew of things. Being patient and collected will uncover many possible solutions.
These things are incredibly difficult to do. But if you work a little bit each day with your mind you will become more calm and collected. You begin to realize how fast and frequently things are changing, but it becomes more O.K. than before. The results of such practice can be seen throughout our world. Right now I’m listening to Yngwie Malmsteen is playing more notes on his guitar in a minute than there are cars in all the UWM parking garages COMBINED. Barack Obama won an election amidst a gale of rapid changes. Google went from a dorm room to a billion dollar company in less than a decade. These people have been able to achieve these feats through a deep focus. If they had let minor slip ups slow them down they would not be where they are because as we all know there are LOTS of slip ups in life.
I realize this is getting to be an extraordinarily long post, but I want to close with the initial thought that sparked all of this. I’m not going to be specific. Since life is a painting, its course can be altered at anytime. Anything you want to change in your life can be changed and there is no reason not to begin that change immediately. A little bit each day can move mountains. The Shambalah Budhist Sakyong Mipham calls this the 10% rule. My upstairs neighbor has been laid off and is back in the game. In short I can’t live where I’m at anymore, not when guns and a gang related coke dealer who frequently suggests partnership are present. This is a change I have to make, but it doesn’t seem possible. My land lord is a slumlord who treats us a money producing objects. How could I ever recommend this place to a sublet? It seems to me doing that would be worse than staying here. Nothing serious has happened in my half of the house, but the potential is certainly there. Angry/abusive intoxicated weapon wielding drug dealers are not the best neighbors. Currently the situation is looking pretty fucking dismal, but after writing all the paragraphs above it would be wrong of me to say there isn’t a way out. There is. I hope I find it quick.
I really hope that this guy is able to mix up some new paints and start with a fresh palette because like oil painting life’s pigments get EVERYWHERE. A five year old kid should not have to suffer from his father’s sickening turpentine spills.