Reader comment on Tenzin Palmo's passage ...

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    On Oct 18, 2009 Somik Raha wrote:

    I really liked the metaphor of holding something lightly versus tightly, and wondered whether this was about internal attitudes or external manifestations. Handshakes are what we often engage in, and whenever I've had a light handshake with someone, it is because I'm not in the moment, thinking about the next thing I'd like to do. But when I am totally in the moment, my handshakes are tight and firm, as is my resolve to connect. Therefore, I don't think this metaphor is about external manifestations. Rather, it is about being light internally, so I have everything at my disposal to pour into the moment. In order to be able to keep pouring myself into each moment, I will also need to get over the fear of not having enough to pour in later. That fear would make me hold back.

    I also loved the monkey story and felt there was another dimension to it. Tenzin talks about the troubles of craving, but I feel the same holds when there is aversion. So, if I have put in my hand in the coconut, and I sense fear of the hunters approaching, instead of collapsing my hand, I'd spread it and try desperately to pull it out. That would only harm me and be unsuccessful.

    Finally, a story where my hand got stuck in the coconut. Last week, I was involved in helping organize a talk on campus. As we were looking at the space, there were several decisions to be made. In particular, we had one room where I thought we could have a 45 minute meditation, and an adjoining room where we could do the talk. My friend Michael who has a great intuition about spaces was with me, and he suggested instead that we look at both adjoining spaces as one, and not as two. Then, the meditation and the talk could be in the same room, while the adjoining room had wide enough doors to become an overflow or extension space. The idea was brilliant! We could accommodate 100 people with this arrangement. As we started thinking what to do next, I suggested that overflow column in the adjoining room (which was as wide as the doors) be demarcated by folded tables. Michael pointed out that people wouldn't be on the other side of the column because all would be interested in seeing the speaker. I agreed. Then I suggested another blockade elsewhere and Michael helped me see better. Finally, I realized my hand was stuck in the coconut. I was holding on tightly to an aversion of chaos. I needed to relax. So, I found myself telling Michael, "You are the boss and I will follow."

    We then entered a deeper co-created space, where a lot of brainstorming happened on what to do with two smaller rooms in the same space which were at our disposal. A great outcome of that brainstorming was that we ended up with an art room (for community art) and a gift room (where people could take and leave gifts behind).


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