Category Archives: Daily Life

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.

‘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.

In Prison, Or Not. Compassion The Key

Morecambe Bay – tide coming in

I’m visiting (and that’s taken up a lot of my focus recently) an elderly woman who recently moved to a care home on Marine Drive, Morecambe. I have struck it lucky these past couple of weeks with the waters in the Bay almost lapping up against the sea defenses. From her room my fellow Buddhist friend has a view of the Bay with the Lakeland Fells fringing the skyline. There is quite a bit of settling in arranging statues and pictures and treasures so she can be reminded and inspired of her Buddhist affiliations. Too bad she is not able to bend and twist sufficiently to see the view.

She has a single-sheet daily quote calendar beside her bed. When I’m there, if it’s not been done already, I tear off pages to bring it up to date and recycle the paper. Here recycling a quote from Albert Einstein:

A human being is part of the whole called by us “Universe”, a part limited in time and space. They experience themselves, thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to enhance all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.
Albert Einstein

I’d replace “Universe” with “the Great Earth” which in Buddhist terms means Everything, seen and unseen or I guess “the Universe without edges” would work too. Anyway, hope this has inspired you on this long holiday weekend.

All merit goes to those who are not able to bend and twist so well. Either permanently or just at the moment.  Such a condition need not be part of being ‘in prison’ though it may well feel like that. Sorry.

Passing Years? Deeper Living?

I think I’ve reached that point which children do when they are PLEASED to see the number of their birth years rise. So I’m slightly wanting my years of living be a larger number and it doesn’t make sense. No, it isn’t my day today and I’m not telling when that was/is, for security reasons. However I can say I’m living/will be living my 70th year through 2017/18.

I’ve an image in my mind of a measuring stick (once called yard sticks) held horizontally representing ‘a life’. It starts at Zero at one end and somewhere over to the other end, its all over. Thus caught in a time-line with accompanying past stories and future imaginings. The present takes care of itself. Or does it. Now, in my minds eye the yard stick pivots on its axis where time (now) and space (here) intersect. From horizontal time-line with stories and imaginings to vertical where there is an up and a down.

We talk about deepening ones training and that’s often puzzled me as to what exactly that might mean. I do know what it means and as best I can say it is a deeper more three dimensional encounter with existence. The divide between self and others being less distinct somehow. We are not so dependent on past experience, although always influenced by the time line to define who we are.

Talking to a woman yesterday as we hiked in the Grizedale Forest in the Southern Lakes reignited this yardstick metaphor gently pivoting on its axis point. Ever in motion, dynamic AND anchored. We attempted to voice what that anchor was and looked/felt like. A pleasure for hearts to meet and words to give voice to that.

As when a child so when reaching a larger number of years, what one can and cannot do is significant, however that fades into the background. If one lets it.

Mabel Sit!

Ah Mabel. Yesterday a photo call by the milky white waterfall in the aptly named Sourmilk Gill above Grasmere.

I’ve know Mabel since she was a wee pup. She just turned three years March 1st and is as lively as ever and loves the lakes almost as much as I do. Whatever the weather, wetter the better for her.

I’ve traveled this path about four times in the last year and as I walked this time memories swam in and out. In my mind walks jumbled together along with the different companions, the walking conditions, stops to snack etc.

Memory snap-shots all jumbled out of sequence. And it maybe the out-of-sequence nature of memories generally that has me wondering just how much of memory is made up, unconsciously. Imaging, imagining, visualizing events and conversations so as to make sense of the jumble. Brains are brilliant at keeping us safe mentally and emotionally. But not necessarily accurate. As we know to our cost sometimes.

So my thought now is on what my teacher taught us. To remember to think when in contention, ‘I could be wrong’, or alternatively ‘I could be right’! An aid to nurturing humility and confidence, depending. All relative though.

Thanks to friends who tolerate my leaky memory. Wars are made of this! Careers are lost and broken because of this.

Plain outright fibs are another story. Mabel! Did you roll in Fox poo? Who me!