April 22, 2013

Crack Your Cocoon.

It’s spring. Well, most places.

Likely you are cleaning your home…how about your head?

Chogyam Trunpga Rinpoche came up with a powerful modern metaphor for the cluttered state of mind that human beings have experienced for a long, long time:


From Great Eastern Sun, here is a description of Cocoon and beginning to taste some liberation:

In cocoon there is no idea of light at all, until we experience some longing for openness. When we begin to examine that comfortable darkness—look at it, smell it, feel it—we find it is claustrophobic. As soon as we begin to sense the possibility of fresh air, we realize that our arms and legs are being restricted. We want to stretch out and walk, dance even jump. We realize that there is an alternative to cocoon; we discover that we could be free from that trap. With that longing for fresh air, for a breeze of delight, we open our eyes and we begin to look for an alternative environment for our cocoon. And to our surprise, we begin to see light, even though it may be hazy at first. The tearing of the cocoon begins at that point…when we look back to the cocoon and see the suffering that takes place in the world of the coward, that inspires us to go forward in our journey of warriorship.

Sounds a bit like end of winter and beginning of spring, doesn’t it?

This sensation of getting a whiff can be exciting. Maybe you’ve already done some shell-cracking.

Let’s assume you have, since you are reading elephant journal, which I will say without arrogance: your reading this points to your natural curiosity.

Curiosity is key to penetrating the Cocoon.

All aspects of mindfulness encourage you to be gentle.

Let’s face it: we all have cocoons. We all have our neurosis, issues, complexes. Any part of you that says yours are worse than anyone else’s isn’t your friend.

Instead of being ashamed of the ways we hide, we can take the power out of them by recognizing them as: Hiding. Not protecting. Not resting. But hiding.

Certainly there is time for fallowness, for winter—even in the tropics there are seasonal cycles.

So the idea is not to push when its hardest—mid-depression, for instance—but to explore when you already have some space, when you can feel a bit of that fresh air. There’s a tiny crack? What happens if you gently open it just a bit more? Then a tiny bit more? Too much?

Ok. You can always go back.

Find activities that break up your habits, especially physical action. Moving your body in nature, in the wind, outside, preferably. Feel how the season is changing right under your nose, and know that you change, too, even when you don’t want to.

You don’t have to poke holes in your cocoon: life will do that for you.

How? By changing. Why? Because the actual nature of mind is a clear spring day: fertile, open, clear.

Full of potential. Ready to burst.

That’s your real mind, the one you are hiding from inside that cocoon; that’s your mind you taste when you slip your nose through an occasional crack.

Let’s face it: it takes a long time to leave the cocoon. A path. Many lifetimes likely, to leave it behind.

But you may as well start now, while the change of seasons is encouraging you to step out—of your home, of your head—and be present.


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Ed: Bryonie Wise



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