Cultivating Equanimity: “Rejoicing in Coconuts of Wakefulness”

“In the garden of gentle sanity, may you be bombarded by coconuts of wakefulness.” -Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche


We can conceptualize a rough draft that appears to steer our life in more specific direction… there is no doubt about it! But, “our plans”, for the way we think our lives “should be”, usually bare limited resemblance to the way things “could be” and, sometimes really are or, how our lives ultimately unfold.

Life: the general or universal condition of human existence:

Sometimes, the most productive thing we can do for our life is simply step outside of who we think we are. This entails getting out of our own heads and loosening what we think we ought to have accomplished “by now” or how we can fill up our personal set of expectations in the form of superficial “to do” lists…


By dropping unnecessary expectation we can free up space, previously held hostage by maintaining a stranglehold on our existence, to acknowledge that we are already in the process of… Evolving!

Living: to maintain or support one’s existence; provide for oneself:

The root of our existence is that amongst all challenge, we are growing through the discomfort and learning to release ourselves from, ourselves and, the confined misinterpretation of what it means to be LIVING! We are not our present circumstances- They are the “things” that are happening around us. And, whatever “they” are, we are still us! We were “us” both before and after the state of our present situation. It is not our aim to be determined by factors of our life but, instead simply remain grounded in who we are and accept that the ground beneath our feet will shift… and the goal is not to cease movement but, rather pursue balance.

If we can just cut through the illusion of being small and reveal the true layers of our existence we can appreciate our own greatness…


Because, no matter where we reside, what language we speak or who we think we are…We are not immune to feeling life and we are not immune to being Ourselves!

We don’t happen to life, life happens to us. And, the way we choose to live is the only true cursor indicating the manner for which we will experience the “Living” of our “life”…

Because, Out of nothing… BANG!
De la nada … ¡Bang!,
À partir de rien … Bang!
Kati ya Hakuna … Bang!

We can shift our entire conception of what it means to be Alive and suddenly… we find ourselves living, in the fullest of ways, amidst palm trees and “Rejoicing in Coconuts of Wakefulness” …


“It is the mark of an educated mind to be bale to entertain a thought without accepting it.” -Aristotle

“The Buddha Walks into a Bar…”, by Lodro Rinzler, was not recommended to me. It came upon me. Typically, I am not one to “buy in” to the commercialism attached to the holiday season. However, this year I found myself panning the aisles of a book store and checking out with a handful of gems. I bought this book for my family and ended up taking it with me on my trip to Guatemala, indulging a few chapters at a time and absorbing it slowly. It is everything it claims to be… “A Guide to Life for a new Generation” and there are definitely more than a few contemplative lessons. Aroused by a Chapter titled: “Rejoicing in Coconuts of Wakefulness” I felt driven to share…

“The garuda soars through his life, never touching the earth. There is grace and courage in his flight. He is the epitome of a being who is able to live without clinging to solid ground. In other words, he is comfortable with feeling groundless.”

“For most of us, this idea seems impossible. There is an inherent paradox in being comfortable with discomfort. It is no surprise that thus far you may have treated feeling groundless as a painful experience, something you want to avoid. Our entire society is based in avoiding the uncomfortable aspects of life. If we follow the garuda’s lead and lean into them, we are taking an unconventional approach. Still, we have explored many set concepts in our journey so far, so it only makes sense to see if we can turn our contemplative mind to uncomfortable situations and see how we can face them fearlessly.”

“We can acknowledge that things change and that death is inevitable, but when it happens to us, and in a big way, we’re often unprepared. It may feel like we are being bombarded, as Trungpa Rinpoche wrote in the poem at the beginning of this chapter. Today, you could be going through your daily routine, your own personal garden of gentle sanity as Trungpa Rinpoche might call it, and then all of a sudden a coconut hits you on the head. A coconut might take the form of a phone call from your father telling you that your mother has been rushed to the hospital. It could be waking up next to your girlfriend and being told that things aren’t working out. It could be walking into the office on Monday and finding out that you are newly unemployed.”

“When a coconut hits us on the head we can curl up in pain, wondering why we have been singled out as the recipient of uncertainty and change. In fact, most of us have spent years honing that specific response. When we see a drastic change in our life, our first reaction is to shut down. Emotionally, we curl up in a ball and hope that change will go pick up on someone else. This is quite foolish, because we know that impermanence is inherent in all of our lives.”

“As an alternative, we can begin training in the example of the garuda by flying headfirst into whatever uncomfortable situations arise. When we get hit by a coconut, our first step should be applying vipashyana to the situation, carefully analyzing where the coconut came from. When we begin to become inquisitive with our pain and groundlessness, we often learn a valuable lesson.”

“By applying an inquisitive mind to your uncomfortable coconut situations, you are doing two things. The first is dropping your set notions of what is going on in the uncomfortable scenario. Thus far we have been talking about not getting hooked by strong emotions. The garuda goes beyond that practice, and does not even get hooked by set notions, which in some sense are the wellspring for strong emotions themselves. By training in not solidifying the way you think things ought to be, you are cutting through years of habitual response mechanisms, and beginning to see your discomfort in a more lucid manner.”

“The second thing you are doing by applying an inquisitive outlook is starting to open up to a wider awareness about the situation. You are wiping the passion, aggression, and ignorance out of your eyes. You have dropped the way “I” think things ought to be. In fact, you are dropping the “I” altogether.”

“Within that wider awareness, untainted by your “me”- tinged glasses, you can clearly perceive the ephemeral nature of your own discomfort. Like all things, the difficult situation, as well as the intense emotions around it, is impermanent. You can find true joy in that discovery. It is liberating to see that the coconut that hit you is not so solid after all. Like all things, it too will pass.”

“Having applied your inquisitive mind to discomfort, you have one more tool for working through it: your open heart, or bodhichitta. The path of the garuda is about leaning in when groundlessness arises, investigating it and seeing it for what it is, and the hardest part, which is embracing it. when difficult situations arise, we have to exercise our open heart further than we normally feel comfortable in order to accommodate them. We have to change our very view about discomfort in order to work through it. WE have to cut through our habitual inclination to shut down and hide from fear, and instead dive right in, allowing our openness to transform it.”

“Discomfort and uncertainty are not new. They have been coming up for every creature since the dawn of time. One of the most common ideas about our universe’s birth is the big bang theory. This is not a “Things started off going as planned and only got more comfortable with time” type of theory. It is the idea that a big explosion took place, and out of that explosion the universe burst into existence. From that time, you can say that big and small explosions have taken place constantly, especially on our particular world, ranging from Hiroshima to the time you bumped into someone on the street and they swore at you. The universe is in a constant state of chaos and change; whether we cringe from it or respond with an open heart is our choice.”

“Through entering into the path of bodhi, of openness, we can transform all mishaps that come into our life into golden opportunities to be fearless. Taking Atisha’s view, we are turning our mind away from considering groundlessness as something to avoid. Instead, we welcome uncertainty because we can use each change in our life as an opportunity to open our heart further. We can look to the coconuts that bombard us as opportunities to wake up to reality. As a result of this shift in view, no matter what comes our way, we can treat each moment as a potential opportunity to cultivate humanity and tenderness.”

“The garuda is fearless and courageous, qualities that remain magnetizing to others. We too can live like the garuda, remaining curious about our life and opening our heart in a vast way, even when things get intense or scary. If we succeed in doing this, we too can be magnetizing. For one thing, everyone wants to be friends with someone who lives life to the fullest.”

“This is what the garuda does in remaining truly openhearted with his world. He lives every moment in the present, making the most of his precious birth. Because he is always open to whatever arises, he is able to see his world clearly. Because he is not hiding from discomfort, he is open to possibility. He magnetizes good circumstances, as well as leans into the bad, because he is open. He is bodhi.”

“In Tibetan, the term ziji describes this particular type of courage. Zi means “shine,” while ji means “splendor,” or “dignity.” In other words, the warrior who addresses their life in a fearless manner literally shines with dignity, and radiates splendor from their being. It is as if they cannont contain the radiance of their own heart. Everyone sees it.”

“Another more succinct way of translating ziji is “brilliant confidence.” You can carry the confidence to relate directly with your life, instead of choosing to live and die in fear. You can be confident in expressing your heart, knowing that whatever wounds others might try to inflict on you are only temporary and impermanent. You can have faith that your bodhichitta can accommodate everything.”

“One way to clearly express confidence is by letting go. The whole path of the garuda is based on this concept. By following the path of the garuda, you are learning to let go of your solid sense of self and loosen your set expectations for the world. You are unhinging the trap of hope and fear, a trap that has held you down for most of your life. Part of unhinging yourself from that trap is leaving behind any deception you might hold about impermanence and death. Even when your life drastically shifts and you are left feeling groundless, you can take the opportunity to shake off that trap and let go into fathomless space. You let go into the realm of the garuda.”

“When you let go of the tight hold you have on your life, you are engaging two trainings. The first training is dropping expectation. You are cutting through years of habitual reactions, ways you have trained yourself to respond to pain, disappointment, and grief. You are actively unraveling the solid sense of “me” that has paralyzed you and prevented you from relating fully to your life.”

“The second training is learning to relax. We spend so much energy trying to constantly protect “me” that we have no idea what will happen if we just drop our shield altogether. What occurs naturally is relaxation. It is like adjusting a radio dial to find a channel: when we correctly tune in, the music comes through clearly. The same can be said for learning to let go of expectation: we naturally tune in to the way things are. Our world expresses itself beautifully, like a symphony of joy and courage that has been designed just for us. Within that space, we can finally chill out.”

“When you stop speeding about in your daily routine and just sit down on the meditation cushion, you are training in being present with the breath. You are learning to tune in to the way things are. If you then apply this principle of opening to your awareness to your everyday activities, you can see the world clearly. You utilize your inquisitive mind to discover the way things truly are. You open your heart to encompass the entire world, both the good and the bad.”

“Within this vast openness you do not cling to those labels, or any opinions or emotions that might be born from set expectations. Your problems are no longer problems; they are opportunities for wakefulness. Coconuts fall on us and we rejoice: Another opportunity to cultivate the big view of the garuda! Another opportunity to cultivate equanimity!” -Lodro Rinzler


One thought on “Cultivating Equanimity: “Rejoicing in Coconuts of Wakefulness””

  1. It is with grace that I read your heart felt companion of commune. You have a gift of sharing truth, complete truth to trigger one’s own awareness.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s