Category Archives: Daily Life

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.

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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.

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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.

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‘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.

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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.

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