Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Reflections on black swan

recently saw the movie Black Swan--kind of a must-see for a ballet
enthusiast like me. It was really interesting to observe myself
watching the movie, which was not only a story about a dancer but a
deep psychological portrait about becoming a woman and discovering
your sexuality and your dark side. I was brought up with very little
in ways of scary movies, kind of always kept away from those because I
used to have a lot of nightmares. For that reason I was not sure
whether I would be able to cope with the horror-aspect of this movie.

It was here that I found another opportunity to bring my practice into
my daily life. As I saw all the blood and suffering, I reminded myself
that it was empty, and actually it really inspired and vividified (I
just made that word up ;-) my visualizations of the wrathful
deities. Because wrathful deities are just another aspect of
reality--they are the forceful energies that are behind strong
emotions like aggression. They show us that we don't have to actually
destroy ourselves or others when aggression arises, as the character
in Black Swan does, but instead we can transform this emotion to rise
above ourselves. Indeed, to become a powerful black swan, yet without
its maliciousness. I think these visualizations are one of the amazing
tools that Tibetan Buddhism has to deal with emotions and use them in
very creative ways.

It also occurred to me that I am so lucky to have the teachings. If
only the main character in Black Swan would have had a way to train
her mind--for it is the case that all fear and anxiety come from an
untamed mind. And she is so consumed by anxiety...

Finally, the movie powerfully shows how we create the world with our
minds, as the Buddha also said in the dhammapada (we are what we
think// all that we arises with our thoughts// with our thoughts we
make the world). The movie often left me wondering whether what I was
looking at what "reality" or just a delusion of the protagonist. But
of course reality does not exist, and everything we and others see is
to some extent a delusion. It's just that some may be more delusory
than others... And importantly, some are more painful than others.

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