With Hello, There's Goodbye

Created Tue, Jan 24, 2017 by
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I left Karme Choling – a Shambhala retreat center in northern Vermont – after working there for almost three years.

Driving away on that snowy December morning, I felt surprised. My car was so quiet. I was alone, leaving my community and stepping out. My heart ached and I allowed the tears to roll down my cheeks as I drove up the hill.

The roads were terrible that morning – almost completely snow-covered. As I headed south, I recalled a conversation from earlier that morning.

“Well, what is Ekajati saying with this storm?” I ask.

“What isn’t she saying?” my friend replies.

(Ekajati is a protectress of the Buddhist teachings.)

What is Ekajati saying, I ask myself, both hands tightly gripping the wheel as I drive ahead cautiously. I sit in the deep silence, feeling my breathing. She tells me continue on, prepared, with my toolbox.

I’ve spent the past three years cultivating my toolbox. There are many, probably seemingly corny facets, I could name. However, the one that is the foundation for the rest of my toolbox is very clearly an open heart and mind. Tibetans don’t differentiate between the two – ask where the mind is and they’ll point to their heart.

And it is with this very open heart-mind that I am experiencing all of these goodbyes. Goodbye friend, goodbye family, goodbye pups, goodbye home, goodbye, goodbye. With each parting this heart softens, flexes and aches and aches some more. With each I remind myself to pause, breath and simply feel the profundity and preciousness of my humanness and to allow this experience to fill me and then equally allow it to naturally dissolve.

I have just turned thirty-two years old and have traveled to what seems to be the very end of Nova Scotia. My friends are having children, advancing their careers, buying homes. I have packed up my long-johns and dharma and have decided to experience monastic life for the next ten months.

What does it mean to be content?
To be okay simply with all of these little deaths
Occurring momentarily – almost too quickly
To touch in some wider spectrum
Of rise and fall,
Of beginningless beginning and endless end
A snapshot, a briefness tasted with the heart –
A blend of too sad, too tender, too bitter
To fully open to,
To fully relish with the tongue –
To allow the salt of the universe
To impress upon, to burn our primordial wounds

Originally published on Lucas’s blog, Torch of Meditation.

Lucas Kovacevich has lived in many curious places and has had many curious means to his livelihood. His deep interests in growing food, Buddhism and meditation led him to spend the past three years living and working at Karmê Chöling, where he cultivated practice, study and the soil. He recently left Karmê Chöling to live at Gampo Abbey as a temporary monastic, further cultivating his intrigue in living a contemplative life in touch with how the teachings allow us to live fully in all of our humanness.


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