Category Archives: Daily Life

Memories Locations

The place changes, the memory fades
The place changes…

It is said that one’s memories from early life remain sharp, clear and vivid. Partly because the first time one does something is so significant in ones growing up. For example ones first proper date, first proper job interview, first car, first time abroad, oh and yes – the first kiss. What is vivid is not only the experience itself but the physical surroundings. That’s how it has been for me. And then there are significant events, life changing events, which have their physical location emblazoned in my mind. This house, in the front room with me standing by the fire-place, letting my parents know I intended to be a monk was such an event. Seeing the windows and remembering I’d helped put them in, earning money from my parents doing up the house to pay my way as a novice at Shasta. That whole six months preparing to leave one life behind and enter another are vivid in my mind’s eye. (Thanks to my good sangha friends for taking the snap.)

You must remember this....
You must remember this….

Again, everything about my first visit to Throssel is vivid, less the physical place and more the monks and what was going on in my mind grappling with conscious self-reflection/meditation, for the first time! Subsequent visits throw up sharper image memories. (And thanks to another good sangha friend for sending this photograph. Taken 1981/2 when I’d already be at Shasta.)

Thinking about it there seems no reason why ones connection to people, places and things along with ones interior need be any less vivid the 20th or 200th time. Then there are those facing death, knowing they have perhaps just a few months to live, do memories and their associated physical locations again become vivid? Many report, in such circumstances, a renewed and welcomed encounter with everything. Not always or all of the time yet the last time would have a certain clarity and meaning wouldn’t it. But what is this all about. Surely we discourage thinking about the past and indeed that is true in the sense of living in or dwelling in the past and missing the shining hour right now. And that’s the point really here, to remember to open oneself to the depth and richness of life. Not with the intention to gather great and memorable experiences like beads on a rosary to tell in the future. More the intention to live full and ripe. Right now.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The ‘Road’ is Home

The infant has it’s own joy because the world is not a mere road but a home, of which it will have more and more as it grows up in wisdom. With our road the gain is at every step, for it is the road and the home in one; it leads us on yet gives us shelter.
Tagore

Thus I read to the elderly, and often confused, monk I’m seeing every day. She smiled at the truth of this. Smiled in recognition.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Well of Suffering, Joy in Living- Video

Although this video is not directly pointing to the recent horrific events in the world however what’s behind it is a wish or intention to offer spiritual merit into the deep well of suffering that we all have been witness to. And are part of.

Traveling (air, land and water), walking, being on pilgrimage is considered to be a merit generating activity. Not in themselves of course. Its the attitude of mind which is open and embracing and generous that makes the difference. Hearts cannot be other than pouring out into the deep well of suffering all around.

Yesterday while walking along Striding Edge towards Helvellyn, the third highest mountain in England, my trusty monastic walking companion took some impromptu video. When he has edited the material down to a decent length I’ll post it. Scrambling along the Edge looks more scary than it actually was although, that said, there were ‘moments’! One can walk along the spine of the ridge which is a bit of a balancing act however for the most part I took the path to one side.

While taking my time, feeling no pressure to rush or be rushed, I found myself deriving great pleasure and along with that gratitude for the rocks as I placed my hands on them. And carefully placed my foot. Feeling the shape, the surface the temperature with my hands and feet finding their surfaces rough, smooth is a joyfulled matter.  As is washing pots and pans or walking across carpet bare foot.

Scrambling along I thought I would share my thoughts with others  using video. Not so much the physicality but more the gratitude that comes from simply being alive. Further to this: to be in a position where the support, of rocks and earth is so full of meaning. Life saving actually, because when up in precarious circumstances (nothing too very precarious by the way) in the high mountains a loss of awareness can have very serious consequences.

So too when walking along city streets. Or going about ones business indoors.

These past weeks have been heart breaking haven’t they. Its been a time of reflection and of offering merit. This post is for all those who have died, are suffering still and have had their lives pulled apart.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Walk For The Wild Side

The mind is an amazing space
An amazing place
wanting to know
Why

She asked,
Why do I
have to
wake up?

No answer to that.

Once again visiting my elderly sangha friend this morning. Soon we were laughing together, moving from questions which have no satisfactory answers to whether or not her Polar Bear (soft toy) has fleas! No your bear does not have fleas! Good grief woman, are you losing your MIND! Even those with dementia can enjoy a laugh. When the joke is kind of heart. We parted having sung a scripture together, she with her arms encircling the bear only waking long enough to say good-by and tell me she loves me.

The tee-shirt? Given away free at the start of the Cross Bay (Morecambe Bay that is) sponsored walk yesterday. High light included wading across the River Kent which was knee-high and running a reasonable current. All merit goes to Dave C’s dad who recently passed. I believe his mind was an ‘interesting’ space towards the end.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

‘Non-Doing’ Meditation?

If our practice is to simply notice natural awareness, a quality of mind that is already present right here and now within every moment, then it is counterproductive to try to make something special happen—even to bring about a meditation state (jhana) or meditative stability. Those practices, so prevalent in Buddhism, draw us toward thinking about a before and an after, pursuing special states of being.

Natural awareness has no before and after; it is already awake. It is already happening. It cannot happen later. There is no special event, other than noticing with increasing depth and intensity what is happening right now. Sometimes natural awareness is also called “ordinary awareness,” emphasizing that it is nothing exotic or special. It is ever-present and ordinary, a constant reality. And yet to witness something this subtle directly is extraordinary and the essence of awakening

Read the full article in Lions Roar
Amen to this.

All merit goes to a dog now in the Southern Lakes being prepared for major surgery to remove a large tumour from her lower jaw. Risky business. And for her devoted care person Gill.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email