Opening and closing

Still on the subject of Chris Corrigan… he writes so eloquently on the themes of opening space. His blog is a real gift. Take a look at his report on a talk by the Dalai Lama. Here’s a snippet:

The Dalai Lama had some very interesting comments about opening and closing energies. In speaking about emotional energy he said that positive energy is opening while negative energy is closing (see his comments starting at about the 45 minute point in the video). “Hatred must find an independent target. Positive emotions are helpful to see a holistic perspective; negative emotions are the opposite ” he said. The lesson here is that in order to exhibit negative emotions you must collapse your world onto a specific target. It is a closing energy that inhibits compassion, inhibits a holistic view of the world, and inhibits the ability to transcend personal issues and problems in order to express compassion.

This fits with my own experience and had an impact on me when I woke up this morning feeling pessimistic and resentful. I realised how closed down I felt and just asked myself, how can I find a way to open up a little? Just in asking the question, I noticed how tightly my jaw was clamped and let it go. And that set in chain a sense of opening up, and my gloom dispersed.

I’d add that I don’t think it’s always right to open and wrong to close… there are certainly situations in which some form of closing down is an appropriate defence. What this posting reminded me about was the virtue of noticing what you’re doing and realising that there is a choice between the two.

I remember a teacher holding his hand out before me in a fist. “This is not a heart,” he said. Then he opened it fully. “And this is not a heart.”. Then he started to move it open-and-closed, to and fro. “This is a heart”.

3 thoughts on “Opening and closing

  1. Chris Corrigan

    “Let’s try an experiment. Pick up a coin. Imagine that it represents the object which you are grasping. Hold it tightly, clutched in your fist and extend your arm, with the palm of your hand facing the ground. Now if you let go or relax your grip, you will lose what you are clinging onto. That’s why you hold on.

    But there’s another possibility. You can let go and yet keep hold of it. With your arm still outstretched, turn your hand over so that it faces the sky. Release your hand and the coin still rests on your open palm. You let go. And the coin is still yours, even with all this space around it.

    So there is a way in which we can accept impermanence and still relish life, at one and the same time, without grasping.”

    — Sogyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, pp. 34-35

  2. 3rd House Party

    Opening and closing

    I just found this on Parking Lot , from a post by John Moore on his blog, Our House : I remember a teacher holding his hand out before me in a fist.

  3. Leslee

    Thoughtful post, John. And I love the Sogyal Rinpoche quote Chris added in the comment. Very nice, helpful image.


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