I got back from US Festival and visits with various family a few days ago.
One of the many highlights of Gen-la Dekyong's teachings on the life of Buddha Shakyamuni was a way for us to test our renunciation: Are we surprised or even shocked when something goes wrong? Do we really understand that the nature of samsara is constant suffering? If we do, then anything negative, strange or unexpected that happens should be considered normal, par for the course. You can consider the U.S. presidential race as one example.
I knew that test told me I still had work to do, especially when I got my latest tumor marker number. After just 2 treatments of the immunotherapy drug Opdivo before the trip, it had gone down 100 points. I was also looking better - according to various folks, including my oncologist - and feeling better, with a bit more energy. So I'll admit I was very surprised at yesterday's result, where my marker went up 200+ points.
I'm not there yet for renunciation, but not discouraged either. As Gen Rigpa told us in his Introduction Friday night, we should be like a toddler who falls when trying to walk but keeps getting up and trying again.
R & I thought we had a green light to go to Summer Festival, via Iceland, but the light is now back at yellow.
Please make prayers that I - and everyone else with the wish - can be at Manjushri KMC to receive the transmission of the Oral Instructions of Mahamudra.
In Eight Steps to Happiness Geshe-la says "'Self' and 'other' are relative terms, rather like 'this mountain' and 'that mountain ... 'This' and 'that' therefore depend upon our point of reference. This is also true of self and other. By climbing down the mountain of self, it is possible to ascend the mountain of other, and thereby cherish others as much as we presently cherish ourself."