The monks from the Drepung Gomang Monastery were visiting and led our half day retreat. There was only a small amount of meditation practice, but we were fortunate to be able to receive teachings on meditation, the life of the Buddha, and The Four Noble Truths.
I needed my attention brought back to Buddhism. Lately I've been feeling terrible. Crazy, and in need of help.
As I sat and listened to the loud horns, the clanging bells, I surrendered. I push away Tibetan Buddhism because of its mysticism. Its talk of ghosts and the ceremony that means nothing to the western me. But as the horn blasted into my ears, the ghost in me was moved away. The cobwebs cleared. And I just listened. And I sat.
There are ghosts all around me. Hungry ones. Ghosts that make it impossible for me to see the world as it really is. Ghosts that take me away from the ones I love. Ghosts that fill my heart with panic.
Yesterday, I was blessed to sit on a cushion in the heat. Fortunate that the path led me to retreat, where I sat in the heat to listen to a Tibetan monk teach the simple and confusing Dharma. Fortunate that the horn and prayers swept my thoughts away and I was left sitting. Sitting and listening.
This morning as I played with my daughter, we looked at each other in the mirror. She said, "whole family, Ramona and mama." Our cheeks pressed together, our smiles bright. And my smile matched hers. It matched in its reach, its happiness real and not manufactured.