Friday, December 22, 2017

Kelwa and Rewriting

Tonight was one of the last classes at the old 3 Jewels space in the East Village before the dharma center moves into its new space on the Lower East Side. We've been having monthly meetings on HOW TO GET THE GOOD LIFE. Venerable Lobsang Chunzom went through the kelwa of rewriting our story.

KELWA is Tibetan for 'the virtue to see things purely' or just the 'goodness to see.' Kelwa is a spiritual IQ. Last night at 3 Jewels, the topic was rewriting past stories I tell myself in order to change the future. My mind tells stories all the time: about myself and others. I run these stories on a loop about me, who I am, who other people are, how I feel about them. So my mom (good), Trump (bad), a person on the street (indifferent). Each story has an explanation and emotion attached that's like a cocoon that grows the next moment, plop out, and then crawls into the next cocoon, and this story keeps growing and re-enforcing itself with each cocoon. Indian sage Master Kamalashila said that in order to change a story in the future, you have to actually go back into the past, look at the cocoon. I need KELWA to even look at a so-called good boss, or a bad job, or a wonderful mom, or an evil uncle and catch myself telling 'the story' that's going to 'cocoon' itself and grow into the next moment. Realizing that everything I'm experiencing is a story doesn't make it untrue. In fact it's the only thing the mind can really do well: tell stories that create the world. But having kelwa to see that blankness of the story (and it's 100% potential) does mean it can be changed.

After class I caught up with two old friends. I came back to Williamsburg and immediately had two incredible encounters with new friends, as well as colleagues reaching out to me via text and phone. I drifted off to sleep on these pleasant stories, but I know where they came from, and how to make them more powerful and lasting. Kelwa.

Master Kamalashila used the metaphor of the substance used to make a caterpillar cocoon. Every action is like crawling inside a cocoon and then having it birth into the butterfly that resulted from the action, only to go back into another cocoon, and on and on and on. The cocoon lacquer gives me a sense of continuity to my life.

Each moment is a chance to shift the cocoon before the next ripening. My vision of me has progressed over time in these billions of cocoon-like moments in my life. Even though the 'me' right now is completely different from the 'me' 20 years ago I recognize a sense of continuity. At least that's the story I tell myself. 

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