Partings

Plaque at Throssel

The last car tail light
disappears from view.
Guests all gone.
Waves and goodbyes
all done and said.

Walking with twin
girls this afternoon.
Four years a piece.
With their dad we
visited Iain.

Why did he die?
they ask.
Where is he now?
Will I die?
Oh look a squirrel!

This week-end has been buzzing with activity with many guests, the youngest just 6 months. We celebrated the Buddha’s Birthday this morning. Happy Birthday Buddhas! Thank you girls (and dad) for walking and talking about important things today.

Perseverance

Courage is
being scared to death,
but saddling up anyway.

~John Wayne

Hat tip to Willow Tree Counselling for the above quote. There is a wealth of well written articles on this site the most recent one Counselling Ruptures: Crisis or Opportunity? could well be applied to any relationship which has been ‘ruptured’. Wonderful stuff.

Yes, maintaining a relationship invariably involves perseverance especially when things slip sideways. However there’s two chaps in China who are getting a lot of attention who seem to have things worked out pretty well. One is blind and the other has no arms. Together they have planted 10,000 trees! Now THAT is perseverance.

Thanks to Michael in Canada for the link to the tree planters. Now I am practicing perseverance with my web hosting company. Or perhaps it is that they are persevering with my requests to fix a problem I’m currently having!

Like The Sun

Ten whole days of silence here on Jademountains which has not been matched by ten days of quietude! Defined as a state of peace and quiet. However now and then there are moments, deliberately extended to five or ten minutes, when I pause for reflection. Then a sense of quietude overtakes the imperative to keep moving on to the next thing, what ever that might be. So, busy times with much demand on my energy. Not a complaint or an excuse simply an explanation of why I’ve been silent on Jade.

And in my next breath I have to say that quietude is not lost in the cut and thrust of daily living, just lost sight of, and perhaps that is how it must be. Just as it is with the sun. When it ‘comes out’, as it has done recently, we appreciate it all the more for it having been obscured by clouds.

This week-end I’ve been part of the team of monks introducing a group of people to our practice during an Introductory Retreat. It is inspiring to have contact with people fresh and eager to learn about meditation and bringing that into daily living when they return to their homes and work.

It is so easy to lose sight of ones original intention and excitement at discovering a direction to ones life, as was the case for me, when I came on my first Intro. Retreat. Oh and sometimes a retreat has a slow fuse. Years might pass before one knows the impact of having a meditation practice has on life and its direction.

This post is for those who have been here in the Northumberland Moors for the week-end. May your going on in life be fulfilling and your time here inspirational.

Damascene Moments

Look towards Keswick, Lakeland.
Look towards Keswick, Lakeland.

A moment of insight, a flash of understanding, the clouds part and one sees which way to go. Be that a move in a career, a decision to study a particular subject. Or seeing into the way things are in a most fundamental way, sometimes in a very personal and intimate way.  These are Damascene moment, life changing moments. They do not come in ones either since all through life, my experience anyway, there are many such moments.

Sadly however Damascene moments quite often remain hidden, buried inside. Even flashes of insight one could label ‘spiritual’ go underground for lack of context to place one’s fresh new Truth in.  Or, as in my case, the moment was thought to be one thing when it was something very different! Read on!

A girl of around 5 or 6 in the woods of Sussex. Alone. Suddenly, or so it seemed, the world went dark. The birds stopped singing and there was an air of lingering mystical stillness. After awhile the world returned to normal and she now had a profound secret. Yes, I’d witness the end of the world, and it’s return! Not something to spread around obviously. Obviously a total eclipse of the sun but what did I know about such things at the time.

Only years later did the truth of the moment dawn on me having lived with a background thought that I had a secret. I’d buried it deeply enough to have forgotten I’d witnessed the end of the world.

For those who carry a personal secret, knowingly or unknowingly. Or a secret which they may not divulge without serious consequences.

Comportment vs. Deportment

A Buddha conveys stillness. While sitting and while walking.
A Buddha conveys stillness. While sitting, walking  and laying down.

Some years ago I attended a ceremony at a Christian church. My very dear second cousin was being ‘installed’ as the new incumbent of a parish near Liverpool. It was her first ‘posting’ and I was excited for her. As with the ceremonies during this week in the monastery, when people formally commitment to their chosen path, so too with other religions. There are processions!

This week I’ve been directly involved in a couple of the processions,  walking with dignity is the order of the day. That’s another way of describing walking meditation by the way.  On such occasions it is important to  pay attention to ones deportment since how one appears helps to convey the inner solemnity (and profundity) of the occasion. And how one moves or ‘carries oneself’ invariably shows something of ones inner attitude of mind. But it is dangerous, and poor Buddhism, to evaluate (if one needs to) a person by how they appear. How does it go? Don’t judge a book by its’ cover.

At the beginning of my cousin’s ceremony the bishop, bedecked in his formal attire,  along with church elders and assembled dignitaries, ambled down the aisle! The image of him remains clear in my minds eye. Even now! And yet while I observed his ungainly movements he, at the same time, conveyed an air of authority, gentleness, compassion and kindness. And of being a free thinker too! During his speech to the gathered congregation my impression was borne out by his words.

Comportment is more than mere display (as might be the case with stiff deportment). It is an unconscious outward expression of one’s inner being. By considering someone’s comportment you may guess at their self-esteem, their consideration for others and their mental and spiritual well-being. The above taken from here.

Practice Within The Order of Buddhist Contemplatives