Well as you might guess (the 3 of you my friends whom i know are following this blog) i definitely had and still have SADD this time of year. I hate January and February d/t the lack of sunlight, cold and i turn older, even though this winter has been pretty mild in the upper third of the Appalachians.
Now i am not a Christian, though i do respect Jesus as a great teacher and avatar of G_d (Paul, and everything before and after Jesus Sermon on the Mount, you can pitch, from the old testament to the power of the church to murder) but i like Johnny Cash’s attitude in these songs, especially the ones he wrote towards the end of his life. He was going to die with some guilty but no great regrets, and he felt forgiven, and he was going to die with his head high and faith strong and middle finger up if anyone got in the way of his path to Redemption. Christian mythos Can be a template in which one can deal with the sufferings one’s self and others endure in this world. In fact when i look at a cross with Jesus crucified on it i see it as a symbol of how we are nailed in place in Malkuth in this body, in our karma, in the land and DNA and circumstances we have been thrown into, and those deep ruts we have made for ourselves. The message of the Crucified Jesus are that he arose from the dead and ascended into Heaven, in other words he overcame his cage of Malkuth and pulled himself up either by his own bootstraps (known as self power in eastern systems) or with help from a projected image and energy field of G_d (known as other power),
Ultimately i am a Zen and Dzogchen type, which is self power. But my late friend and importer of Nepalese Tibetan thankas, rupas and ritual items, Charles O’Hara, told me that after decades of practice he believed that the path of Other Power was “easier” and worked just as well as the path of Self Power. I miss Charles. He was a little hidden Bodhitsattva who was a monk in China at one of the mountains filled with caves of acolytes for a thousand years, and he had a shrine that had an almost life sized Buddha statue, and he lived and slept on a simple mat in front of that shrine with his little TV and chain smoking. But he gave us empowerment into some Sariputra relics he had from when the Brits opened that stupa at the end of the 19th century, and it was powerful. And for me after decades of practice myself i think he is correct. At this time i use both techniques from Phowa and Chod to praying to Mary Dolorosa and Amida Buddha and Babaluaye. It all works. There are many ways up the same mountain we are all climbing, from hiking to cable car to “beam me up Jesus and Tara”.