Response from Sanders to our letter174

We  are being tested, the wife and I and the testing grounds are multi-dimensional. Firstly, our  bodies, hearts, lungs and mind’s are being tested along with our patience and self-control.  Our emotions are  tested as we find that we can be thrown about in mood and spirit, into depressive-ness or dashed upon the cliffs of expectations and hopes as easily as the wind shifts direction.  Our sense of place and safety in this world is being tested and we are required to address the meaning of “home” and to find “home” within.

Our faith and our practices of Vipassana Buddhism is being tested – in short every level of our body/mind/heart energies are under stress, under siege and embattled.

I have the neighbor from hell issue serving as the backdrop for all the above and much of the below and the impact of  “Mr. & Mrs. Fuck You” behavior’s offers ample and daily opportunity for  serving up heaping helpings of content in the form of – worry, fear, anger, revenge, helplessness, endlessness – like being sucked into a vortex constantly churning and at some point to survive maybe, my mind shifts gears and I stop remembering that it was ever any other way…. a bit like a Dementor’s kiss I suppose.

And then a moment appears and all that mental clutter drops away and I see that I have been blind and now I can see and its amazing and it’s grace and there is ease of mind and openness of heart – a peaceful easy feeling of being alive – and suddenly the world looks fresh and new. And in that newness, that sudden awaken-ness there is space from which our deepest intuitive voices / urging s might make themselves known….and then the churning starts up again and its a challenge simply stay present to what is truly occurring in any moment

But things are getting better even though the behavior remains unchanged.  New bonds of friendship are being forged, new alliances forming, more possibilities emerging and new understandings and realizations of our deeply shared tender, wise, and compassionate human hearts; and the tests and lessons continue….

This past Christmas, I was in Albuquerque and it was cold, snowing blizzard like conditions and  I was driving a nice warm car cross town to meet my wife and sister in law for lunch. As I pulled up to a light I saw a young woman on the median holding a sign and the impulse to give her a few bucks hit and for a moment by-passed all thought and the impulse went straight to my heart like an arrow.  One foot on the brake a free hand reaching for my wallet, not a doubt in the world  and then a thought broke into my head – an old thought pattern story of never having enough of never being enough and instantly my hand froze…the wallet slipped, the light changed, and the moment to be generous to another human being was lost.  I learned a lesson and I don’t do that anymore but I guess I haven’t learned what the lesson my neighbor is trying to teach me is – except maybe how to use a swift sword….

I see that when people become aware of another’s need that a great desire to reach out and help ease the burden of the other also arises I see that this urge of generosity exists at some level in all of us and how easy it is to ignore, overlook, set aside or start to act upon the impulse to give and suddenly find yourself gripped by fear or self-doubt, or some other belief that constricts the heart, choking off its natural instinct to comfort.  I’ve learned its important – critical even – to act on the impulses of goodness and compassion for another living being of giving and receiving….when the clear and pure hearted presence of a friend so moved offers to share what they have – freely – one has to understand as Dumbledore explained to Harry that some magic just works that way.