Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Good news!?


The Lion's Roar is the fearless proclamation that any state of mind, including the emotions, is a workable situation, a reminder in the practice of mediation. We realize that chaotic situations must not be rejected. Nor should we regard them as regressive, as a return to confusion. We must respect whatever happens in our state of mind. Chaos should be regarded as extremely good news.
Chogyam Trungpa

When I open my my little Dharma book, I often return to the passage above and every time I reread it, that last line makes me smile or even laugh out loud. He could have said that there is something to value even in chaos or that it has much to teach us . But to say that it is extremely good news just seems to tickle my funny bone every single time. Good news? Yeah, right. Considering chaos good news is just so Buddhist.

But wait a minute. It was the apostle Paul who said that all things work together for good for those that love God. And then there's this poem by Macrina Wiederkehr, a Benedictine, that enters my thoughts frequently,

Lord, I beg you for a storm tonight,
the wildest that you own!
Oh let your winds awaken me
And shake me to the bone.
Lord, do not calm these seas tonight
just be present in the storm.
Sweep across my desert places
and leave them moist with you.
Disturb me with a storm tonight
so I'll be born anew.

Maybe one day I will be brave enough to actually pray that prayer rather than just read it.

In the meantime, I am going to be on the look out for some extremely good news in my life today. I hope you find some, too. (Wishing you some nice little chaos?)

Hey! Look at this nice little piece of good news that I found behind my son's bedroom door!

I swear. That's really what it looked like.


14 comments:

Beth Knight said...

Rebecca - this is the BEST !!! post ... You are such a great blogger and you are becoming SO BUDDHIST ! ... I love all the awareness and thought provoking words you nudge us into considering along with you. In the "chaos" are you and the kids on time for things or late? ... I remember this being an issue sometimes. So, I have to share this quote by Wm. Shakespeare: "Better to be 3 hrs early than 1 minute late..." Sounds pretty Buddhist for an English Author ! LOL!

Jennifer said...

A nice smile to begin the day. Thank you Rebecca.

I think children, at least my child reminds me that order vs chaos is most certainly within the eye of the beholder.

Sulwyn said...

If chaos is good news I must have more than my fair share of it in the last six months! But I love your words about it, and the lovely quotes, both the buddhist thinking and the poem. The whole thing has a smile on my face and the wheels turning in my brain...

Roy said...

I see life in this photo. I will take that anytime over a well organized room without life in it. Like Elvis' cordoned off master bedroom at Graceland when I visited. "A home is not a home..."

At the same time, it reminds me of images of devastation after the Haiti earthquake and the need to reach out.

Can't the inhale be sort of a chaotic event, creating rearrangement of and causing the reordering of atoms and molecules within and outside the body, and the exhale as "ahhhhh", a calm after the storm?

"The Big Bang is still going on. Enjoy being banged around for a little while more." -Monkheart

Rebecca Johnson said...

Hi Beth, We are generally on-time and they are getting better all of the time. I give us lots of hints and warnings about getting ready. The chaos is somewhat "contained" at this stage of the parenting game. The picture of Tim's room just cracks us all up. I'm sure that someone must think that I pulled those drawers open and threw some things around a little. I didn't. : ) Today, I am meditating on the chaos that is happening in Haiti and the practice of witnessing the suffering of others without turning away. Thanks for reading.

Love...

Rebecca Johnson said...

My daughter is particularly creative and she does that in the midst of chaos. But, she feels the need to reign it in some times and get things back in order. I just close doors! : )

Love...

Rebecca Johnson said...

Yes, there is life there! Of a sort. Who knows what is growing underneath things? : )

It seems to me that the exhale is more chaotic, more space for the molecules to move around in. I think of the inhale and all of those molecules being directed around my body, "put in their correct places" to provide me life and energy.

Today I am smiling at my own "banging around" and sorrowing with the same thing happening in haiti.

Love....

The Pollinatrix said...

I can't help but think of the meaning of "gospel" as "good news," which of course makes me contemplate the idea of Jesus as chaos-bringer. Which he kind of was. And is.

And this leads me then to think about the connection between paradox and chaos, which brings me right back to Negative Capability as the answer to chaos. Not the solution, as in "fixing it," but the answer.

Thank you for this stimulating post!

Nichol said...

This blog made me smile and thinking about our phone conversation and this blog made me smile even more. Ok so I guess i will just look at my life right now as ''good news'' yup. i will start that tomorrow!
ps...LOVE the picture!

Rebecca Johnson said...

Polli, Yes, I think that Jesus called himself a chaos bringer didn't he? Can't think of the exact quote right now. Can you?

Have I heard this term "negative capability" in your writing before? I keep looking and looking at it, but it's feeling a little bit like a Zen koan. Please tell me more about it if you have a little moment.

Love...

Rebecca Johnson said...

Nichol, I am so glad that it made you smile rather than feeling burdensome. It is so funny that this picture makes me laugh whenever I look at it, but when I look at the real thing i just GROAN. : / It makes Tim laugh, too. : )

Love you....

The Pollinatrix said...

Something about not bringing peace but a sword, maybe? Or when he says he's come to divide families?

I refer to Negative Capability a lot on my blog. It's what I try to live by. The poet Keats came up with it: "The ability to rest in mysteries, uncertainties, and doubts without any irritable reaching after fact or reason." I talked about this a bit during the violence/compassion posts.

lucy said...

chaos as really good news?!?! oh my. when i read macrina's poem, i thought of a conversation i had yesterday with a fellow (original) oklahoman. we were both bemoaning the lack of thunderstorms and tornadoes in the pacific northwest. somehow i think that love of thundering rain and calm in the storm fits in here somewhere.

and your son's room... this morning i opened the door to my daughter's room and was shocked to see her CLEAN version greatly resembles your photo.

Rebecca Johnson said...

Lucy, We don't have thunderstorms here either and oh, I miss them. Once in a great while it will thunder and it is quite eerie. I am very drawn to that poem of Macrina's and can often see how I stood in the midst of the storm after the fact and how good it felt. Really, to have things washed away and to rally my energy and my resources and to begin again with renewed confidence can be such a grace.

I LOVE that my kid has a "normal" teenage room! (I just hope that nothing starts growing in there.)

Love....