January 13, 2005

Lion’s Roar

Today, I felt afraid. It was a distressing experience; I felt angry, upset and dazed. At the time, I noticed the feeling, like an observer. Observing was like giving space to the emotion so that I was able to see its development – the going up and the sucking in and feeling the tears come and my stomach responding with a twisted sensation. It was a very full awareness; I felt it in my head and in my heart and in my stomach and my hands - each shaking, just a little. It was all like a brief storm. When it passed, calmness and a sense of quiet returned. Watching the storm helped me to transcend this trembling feeling, and respect the storm for what it was - energy. The whole while, I noticed a calm place in my center, like the eye of the storm, that was not touched by this fear.

I feel a sense of peace which is about me always, not punctured by events that happen day to day. This peace gently holds me, like a certain knowing that is always there, only to come forward again and again through fearful or distressing circumstances. I have learned that this is the “Lion’s Roar” identified by the Buddha. In the Indian Ashokan artwork, the proclamation of lion’s roar was depicted by a sculpture of four lions looking in the four directions, which symbolizes that you don’t have a back. Every direction is a front; there is all-pervading awareness. Fearlessness comes from facing all directions. We don’t have to take one direction; once we begin to radiate our fearlessness, it is all pervading, radiating in all directions. This panoramic awareness leaves us with nothing to defend.

The notion of the lion’s roar captures for me that steady foundation I feel existing within, unconditional, no matter what happens externally. Chogyam Trungpa says: “Whatever comes up in our state of mind, including powerful emotions, is workable.” This is a combination of tremendous confidence and deep peace in the present moment.


david said...

That you can be the deatched observer and experience this intense emotion at the same time is both a grace and evidence of you meditative work. It has come to me in flashes -- but mostly the observer drowns in the emotion or the observation bleeds the strength from the feeling.

Larry said...

Believe it or not it was considerable consolation to me to learn that you felt "afraid, angry, upset and dazed." I decided long ago that you must be perfect.

Akilesh said...

Who we are at the foundation of our being is that still, silent consciousness within; aware, abiding warmth and intelligence; blissful, self-existing presence.

You touch it and share it with us. Thank you.

isaiah said...

Thank you for sharing this story. It is how we learn from each other- our sharing.

Chogyam Trungpa says: “Whatever comes up in our state of mind, including powerful emotions, is workable.”

This is a mantra we all would be the wiser for hold in our thoughts..."Whatever comes up."

It reminds me of what Rilke had to say in "Letters to a Young Poet," "If only we arrange our life according to that principle which counsels us that we must hold to the difficult, then that which now still seems to us the most alien will become what we most trust and find most faithful."

Thank you for your honesty.

tamingthemind said...

"The whole while, I noticed a calm place in my center which was not touched by this fear"

I love the comfort in that line.

Thanks for sharing.

james said...

Chogyam Trungpa was amazing. I have read several of his books and find his wisdom to be crisp and clear. It is really good for you to be able to look at your anger rise from an objective point of view. That is how the Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh teaches how to deal with anger.

Al said...

the wisdom of:
"and this too..."

Meredith said...

Thank you dear friends, for your comments here. It seems we all want to know that we are not alone in our humanness, that we share basic emotions and experiences with one another. At the same time, we can also share this knowing: we are able to touch and be in that place within us that is beyond fear, beyond anger and trembling. We can trust it. Peace resides here. Whatever comes up is workable. “…and this too…” That still, silent consciousness is at the foundation of our being.

Jon said...

Thank you for sharing your experiences so openly, Meredith. The calm center gives you the ability to enjoy all experience, including that which we tend to wish to avoid. When I was a kid, I couldn't help but think that heaven would be terribly boring.

Thank heaven we're here, through yielding bringing peace into the midst of conflict, spirit into matter, light into darkness.

Marjorie said...

I love the description of your anger -- it is full and real. I have been able to see these things in myself but I've yet to escape them -- I'm aware that I'm making a choice to be swept along with the anger rather than standing aside, but I've yet to really figure out how to stand aside. It seems like it would take a lot of strength.