"four practices are the best of methods"
This is the slogan I pulled today. So I look it up as it is one that is not easily remembered by me in 'Start Where You Are' by Pema Chodron.
The first practice is to accumulate merit - that is to be willing to give, willing to open, willing not to hold back. Harder than it looks. I know when I can do it that the world is very hospitable. It means not to shield, to hide, to cocoon. Be willing to meet the world with my sad and tender heart. OK!
The second practice is to confess evil actions. This has four (the Buddhists love lists more than me even!) parts:
3) Remedial action
The third practice is to feed the ghosts. This means to make a relationship with oneself, especially the unsavoury parts of oneself - for me it would be my anger and my defensive reaction to being crowded for instance. Of course, there are lots more but that is between me and me.
The fourth practice is to offer to the protectors. The protectors are sometimes characterized as wrathful figures that are about to wake us up from our lah-dih-dah routines. They will not buy our trip no matter how we gussy it up. They ain't having it. They are around to protect us from our unkindness, harshness, petty-mindedness etc... I might be caught in my trip - 'oh poor me, everyone is being mean to me so I have to fight back' when I hear one of my protectors shout "NO!" and I remember that this is just my trip.
So the upshot of all this is that the slogan of today tells me to lean into my unwanted circumstance, befriend my emotions and wake up - all this crap on the path IS the path and it will take me straight to enlightenment or if you like it not so glitzy - to waking up and smelling the real coffee or the good poop that grows brilliant sweet mama squash.
OK - faithful readers - that is me reporting in before I go on my yearly ONE day vacation out to stay with my best friend Kerol at the cottage in Green Bay where we will walk on the beach, play several games of scrabble, go to the 2nd hand store for deals, talk a lot and do it all a few more times tomorrow. I will be there about 24 hours and believe me it will be a complete vacation!