Today I walked up to the manzanita, junipers, and red rocks of the Amitabha Stupa and Peace Park in Sedona, Arizona. I had been here once before, in 2007. Such a beautiful and sacred place. 💚
They estimate that, in the 15 years since the stupas were built, nearly a million people have come to circumambulate (walk around) the two stupas to offer prayers for well-being and peace for our world. Millions and millions of prayers.
Inside the big stupa is a relic of the Buddha, and underneath it, buried deep in the ground are weapons of war. The giant, holy stupa with the Buddha’s relic inside sits on top of the buried weapons to pacify war, suppress violence, and bring peace.
Who is Tara?
Nearby sits the Tara stupa. White Tara, who purifies and brings long life, is a sister aspect to beloved Green Tara, the female buddha of compassion and Buddha activity—the wisdom of already accomplished action!
Green Tara is also the enlightened aspect of the (green) Buddha family called the Karma family. When Karma-family energy is not enlightened and clear—when it instead appears as an encumbered emotion—it is the energy of busy, busy, go, go workaholism that does not rest. It is overwork, lack of self-care, addiction to doing, and FOMO (fear of missing out). Many of us struggles with encumbered Karma-family energy!
Prayers to release my encumbered pattern of no rest!
Today, I went to the stupas with the wish to release my decades-long pattern of overwork, particularly the late-night “vatta” (air element) pattern of being busy, busy in my efforts to get “just one more thing” done on the computer before resting and sleep. I felt ready. (I’ve been working up to this for a long time.)
As I walked around the stupa, round and round, I blew the energies of my encumbered pattern into a little red stone. So many flashes of memories arose in my mind as little visions as I prayerfully walked. I thought of many jobs and projects and activist activities, of volunteering and relationships and spiritual practices in my life. So much dedication!! And delusion. 😦
As I walked with the Buddhas today
As I walked with the Buddhas today, I felt how—even thought not always wise (omg, understatement!)—how much LOVE and DEVOTION and CARE I have given along with all my over-efforting over the years. Even though I have so often stumbled forward overtired, underfed, overextended, and out of balance, I must honor that at least, for the most part, it’s all been with good intentions. 💚
And with so much self-compassion, tenderness, and respect, I also acknowledge that much of my striving and struggling has arisen from fear. . . fear that I must do more, that what I’m doing somehow isn’t enough, that I will lose my [home/job/friend/fill-in-blank] if I don’t keep going beyond my capacity and abilities. Oh, tender little self!
I offered my little red stone to the Buddhas.
It is safe to rest.
It is safe to rest.
While I prayed today, I received a message that was so incredibly helpful and kind.
It is this: IT IS SAFE TO REST.
That’s it! That’s it! Oh my goodness! Always there has been the fear that it’s not safe to rest . . . that I must do more, or my job is not safe, OR I must give more or my friendship is not safe, OR I must strive faster or I won’t survive. WOW. (And who is this “I” anyway?)
Today, from the Buddha and Tara, I hear, “It is safe to rest.” It’s alright. It’s OK.
There is wisdom in rest.
So much wisdom in rest.
Eons of wisdom in the presence of rest.
Breathing in, rest, breathing out, offer, breathing in, rest, breathing out, offer.
So often the aspiration (of Dharma): “Work tirelessly for the benefit of all sentient beings,” is heard by my (karma-family neurotic) self, and has been taken to mean,”Work without ceasing, serve without stopping, keep going beyond human endurance for the good of the world . . . because there is so much to be done, because there is so much suffering to ease. . . ” and yet today, a different meaning arises:
The wisdom of rest
“Work tirelessly” ALSO means work tirelessly, without tired, without exhaustion, without creating more harm and suffering. To work with rest! the wisdom of rest. So much rest. To step into the world awake and alive, well-fed, and well-rested, and (only) from that place be able to truly work “tirelessly” for the benefit of all sentient beings.
To rest is also sacred work
To rest is also sacred work. Inhaling is sacred work. To wash and dress and feed the tender animal of the body housing the seed of “buddha-nature within” is sacred work too. To care for the Bodhisattva-to-be is sacred work. No act of true compassion is wasted! It is alright to take care of one’s own needs for food, sleep, rest, replenishment. This is wisdom too. This is sacred work. This is sacred wisdom. It is safe to rest.
To wash and dress and feed the tender animal of the body housing the seed of “buddha-nature within” is sacred work too.
Green Tara protects from fear
Green Tara has many super powers. One of her great gifts is that she protects sentient beings from fear. She is the wind element. Wind and quick-acting compassion! The wisdom of already accomplished action! Green Tara works tirelessly for the benefit of all sentient beings. She works tirelessly. She is not tired or bearing fear. She is fearless! And tireless! She is awake. (BTW, She is not awake because she stayed up into the wee hours answering work emails, no! Tara is awake because she rests in the totality of ultimate reality and the spaciousness of our luminous world beyond delusion.)
Tara is awake because she rests in the totality of ultimate reality and the spaciousness of our luminous world beyond delusion.
It is safe to rest.
May all beings know the wisdom and care of deep rest.
May all being be free from fear and delusion.
May all beings feel/experience/know that we are not separate from each other, and that all are deeply loved.
May all beings extend rest and care and food and safety to everyone in our world, until all beings are rested, cared for, fed, housed, welcomed, loved, and safe!
May all beings be safe.
May all beings truly love one another and our Earth.
May all beings who are—in this very moment—residing in the night hours (unless they are nocturnal animals 🙂) rest deeply and sleep well tonight. And may we all dream into being a world where all are loved, where heart/mind sanity prevails everywhere, and where our leaders are wise and compassionate and kind 💚, and where social and ecological justice reigns, and love rains, and there is soft rain, and we all safely rest.
It is safe to rest.
Sweet dreams to you.