Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Tax Season

When I lay down to sleep at night, the bed pillows are stacked at the base of a window in the north wall. I don a nightcap rather than draw the curtains. On clear nights, the last light I see before closing my eyes has traveled oh so far (124 and 79 light-years respectively*) through near empty space. Dubhe and Merak are the two stars in the Big Dipper known as 'the pointers' because an imaginary line extended through them leads directly to Polaris, the only star in the sky that doesn't seem to move. 150 years ago, runaway slaves knew these asterisms by another name and would follow the Drinking Gourd north to freedom. In the same way that all 'appearances became text' for Rigdzin Jigme Lingpa, the pointers are an astrophysical sign indicating the world's axis, the space beyond conception, the still point where awareness comes to rest each night, as well as for a moment during the interval after death and prior to the next rebirth.

The winter morning routine begins before dawn at the kitchen table where I share coffee with the ladies before they drive north, not to freedom but to man the trenches on the frontlines of samsara. Here they work as tax preparers and secretaries, serving a public that is too often rude, impatient, uneducated and under the illusion that they are dealing with government employees. Growing evidence of our failing economy appears in the form of customers crowding the office seeking advances on their returns in spite of the 35% interest the banks are charging. Beyond the stress of dealing with the public, down servers and poorly designed software, misunderstandings and disagreements with friends and co-workers can make this time of year a real test of patience and joyful effort for all of us. More evidence of the big squeeze came a few days ago when a twelve mile section of divided highway which had been posted at 65 mph for years was suddenly changed to 55. Thousands of people, many with marginal factory and service industry incomes drive this stretch everyday and have become habituated to the speed as the road was originally constructed as a way to bypass the town. The cops are having a field day preying on the overworked and underpaid.

This situation finds me in the kitchen once again around sundown to jam with the kids at putting together something that will pass for dinner. Our culinary skills are humble but gradually evolving. My last stint as a cook took place over twenty years ago when we lived in Jamaica and Tenkar was pregnant with Isa, our fourth child. Truth be told, I haven't had much practice since then but so far, so good. Isa, Kyema and I have a great time putting our limited talents and knowledge together to prepare something we can all appreciate. Our 'beginner's mind' usually manages to provide a measure of creative variety in spite of the simplicity of the fare. Our specialties are rice and vegies with 'secret' miso sauce, tortillas with fixings, bean soups and pasta.

Long after dark headlights wind their way up the drive,and dakinis emerge out of the darkness greeted by the barking of dogs. Depending on scheduling, they might arrive home together or alone but in any case we immediately head for the comfort of the woodstove to share stories of the days trials and trivia before sitting down with plates of hot food, often followed by a cup of tea and only a few precious hours to share before retiring. This is not the time for anything very demanding. Herb, foot-rubs, some talk of current events; they often do not have the energy to stay awake through an entire movie. This is how it goes during the peak period of tax season.


or whereas the mind works in possibilities, the intuitions work in actualities, and what you intuitively desire, that is possible to you. Whereas what you mentally or "consciously" desire is nine times out of ten impossible; hitch your wagon to a star, or you will just stay where you are.
D.H. Lawrence (1885-1930)

The years in which the light presently perceived was generated by these two distant suns happen to frame the birth [Dubhe] and death [Merak] years of Mr. Lawrence's brief time on earth.


Shambhala2012 said...

I have hitched me to a star..
or rather I have hitched me to the yoke of the plough

see the swastika

Anonymous said...

Just a note.. the revolving U MA around Polaris forming the swastika also looks like the ChiRho sign - you can see the X and the P as it moves around the seasons - see that link. If the Chi Rho sign ( supposed to be the sign of Christ ) is put in the 'wheel' - Dharma wheel ? then it is more explicit as we see the star of Tara in its full movement. The same thing with the movements of the Venus cycle shows the pentacle in the sky.. such wonders if we lift our head to see as above so below :)

Anonymous said...

X P as runes Gifu and Wunjo are joy and the gift .. I would associate that with the whorl of great bliss and swastika on feet ( of Ursa Major - (the leaps of the gazelle on the feet of the bear - Talitha or Tabitha Dorcas ) and the Saltators ( dancers ) of Ursa Minor
Tabitha Talitha Kumi - NRI ..> INRI

Anonymous said...

Ha I don't know why I come up as A Nonny mouse but there we are - cyber baffles !
its Shambhala 2012 and this post has done it again - Ha


Every Yogin has his/ her horse
I tend to use
" Barak Ale "

Shambhala2012 said...

see u in the stable then !

Shambhala2012 said...

Maybe we should look for Kanthaka the buddha's horse ?

Proud Kongpo stallion, matchless in style and elegance,
Black Tibetan horse, lifting high its white socks,
Both racing together on the wide open plains
Aku's Stableboy bear witness
See which is first to pass the flag!

'Bengali peacock, matchless in fine feathered display,
Tibetan vulture, bird-lord with the wide Wings,
Circling high in the empty sky
Snow Mountain Heights bear witness
See which bird has the bird's eye view!

'Blue cuckoo in the tree's upper branches, matchless in song,
Red breasted house cock with deafening cokorico,
Both aroused by the season, stretching their lungs
Old Man of the World bear witness --
See who tells the time correctly!

'Ferocious mountain snow lioness, matchless in pride and
Striped Indian tiger in the Sengdeng jungle,' savage in anger,
Both in the Sengdeng jungle aroused to pitch of cunning fury --
Gomchens and nuns bear witness-
See who truly rules the jungle!

'Palden Stupa abbots and professors of the robe, matchless
And I, Drukpa Kunley of Ralung, relaxing in the stream of events,
All examining our moral performance
Incontestable Truth bear witness --
See who finally gains Buddhahood!'