Category Archives: Overcome Difficulties

The Indestructible You

When all around is falling trees
to run?
to hide?
to freeze to the spot?

Life threatening
circumstances?
RUN! HIDE! STOP STILL!
Obviously

Within fear
there is that
Which cannot
be destroyed

The photograph was sent to me by a friend in Oregon.
I wanted to share a photo with you which is my reminder to remain still. I had 3 large trees hit my roof in December during a particularly harsh ice storm (they’re saying the worst in 50 years) and after they were removed from the house, my back yard was pretty much demolished. And yet here’s Buddha, sitting still in the middle of it!

Yes, Buddha images have a way of reminding the beholder of immovability and by extension indestructibility. And it isn’t just because a Buddha statue isn’t going to physically move anyway! They seem to reflect back a Truth about ourselves which lies just below everyday consciousness. There are many ways to talk about this however talk will not make it real. Even sitting still physically oneself,  in formal meditation, most likely will not confirm this truth in your own mind. Although it can be confirmed for those who are in hugely vulnerable circumstances. (More on that another time.)

What does bring this deeper truth to the surface is AFTER  pulling through something which you thought would destroy you. Grief can be like that. Unbelievable physical or mental pain can be like that. And having your home nearly destroyed can be like that. My correspondent wrote: Of course, I am also grateful for my many years of Buddhist practice, which has helped me to deal with the stress of the consequences of the storm and the continuing wintry weather we’re having.

I’d like to say that the The indestructible You is ever-present, in all circumstances,  you don’t need to manufacture or conjure up something more than you are already. I’m reminded of when I was walking (scrambling) along Sharp Edge with my walking companion, back in the glory days of late summer. Reflecting on the climb he remarked I didn’t appear that scared. I was! But somehow I was able to remain reasonably composed in the midst of testing physical circumstances. Call it survival instinct, call it what you like.

Up there on an arm of Blencathra  that which is ever-present PROVED  present. That’s the case too for the ordinary every-day of the very ordinary week – we just don’t notice. Which is just as well.

One Man’s Quest to Change the Way We Die

This is an article about a triple amputee. Who became a doctor and pioneered an approach to dying which is all about living to the full. I especially like his debunking of…..how should I put this? Nope, read the whole article and see what you think.

The following comes right at the start of Dr. Miller”s story when he was coming to terms with having just had his third limb amputated. His left arm.

It wasn’t that Miller was suddenly enlightened; internally, he was in turmoil. But in retrospect, he credits himself with doing one thing right: He saw a good way to look at his situation and committed to faking that perspective, hoping that his genuine self might eventually catch up. Miller refused, for example, to let himself believe that his life was extra difficult now, only uniquely difficult, as all lives are. He resolved to think of his suffering as simply a “variation on a theme we all deal with — to be human is really hard,” he says. His life had never felt easy, even as a privileged, able-bodied suburban boy with two adoring parents, but he never felt entitled to any angst; he saw unhappiness as an illegitimate intrusion into the carefree reality he was supposed to inhabit. And don’t we all do that, he realized. Don’t we all treat suffering as a disruption to existence, instead of an inevitable part of it? He wondered what would happen if you could “reincorporate your version of reality, of normalcy, to accommodate suffering.” As a disabled person, he was getting all kinds of signals that he was different and separated from everyone else. But he worked hard to see himself as merely sitting somewhere on a continuum between the man on his deathbed and the woman who misplaced her car keys, to let his accident heighten his connectedness to others, instead of isolating him. This was the only way, he thought, to keep from hating his injuries and, by extension, himself.

Read the whole article.

Thoughts Into The New Year

Pondering the past
Pondering the past

That’s IT!
No more of this
Looking back through
2016’s murk.

Pundits say
gone, (not forgotten)
deceptions winning smiles
2016’s ‘antics’.

I say:
let go the dualities
For or Against
2016’s legacy?

That said:
A moment to remember
those who hurt,
hunger, suffer.
And cry out.

That said:
Listen, hear, act.
Together let us create
a flourishing year.
Along the Median Way.

And do our part to tackle sufferings cause.
At the very least that.

Goodby Kind Friend – The Bear The Cat

For those who have loved and lost a dear cat friend.

My cat The Bear died yesterday morning. I’m pretty sure I know the exact moment he died because at about 2.40am I woke with a full body jolt that felt like a benevolently intended electric shock and my house felt very different to how it had ever felt before. A few hours later, as the lazy winter sun was finally beginning to rise over the line of bare trees overlooking my house, I went downstairs and found him on his side in the hallway, lifeless. I wrapped him in the towel I’d been recently using to dry him after cleaning his increasingly matted fur, and buried him in the garden.

Tim Cox blog

A dear friend, Angie, sent me the link to this post and said, You might be interested to read what Tom Cox wrote when his old puss died as it is very moving. Quite long though so when you get time! It’s about the best account of the death of a companion animal I’ve ever read. I thought at first it was her voice and story, it could have been. However as I read on, drawn in, I realized it wasn’t mainly because the back story didn’t fit what I knew of her. Writing books….you could do that Angie….

This post stands in memory of all those animal friends we have buried after many years of companionship. I’m remembering Petrushka dog and Max cat both late of Shasta Abbey.

Sitting In The Midst

Thank you all for leaving comments pointing to the sections of the video I linked to in my last post. So grateful we now have some time markers to go to although listening/watching the whole things is good too. That gravel voice is attractive in a certain kind of way. Here at 9.16 mins into the video Cohen voices what many of us know about. Namely the intensity of energy that floods ones body and mind while sitting zazen/meditation.  Sometimes refered to as sitting in the midst a fire. Obviously not an actual fire. PLEASE! Later, around the 11.00 mins meditation is mentioned again.

Things arise that are very disturbing and there’s no way around it… you have to sit in the very bonfire of that distress and you sit there until you’re burned away.


What he says does indeed reach the heart. In gassho, Matthew
Thanks to Matthew for this quote. We met, briefly, at Throssel where we, along with many others. remembered Rev. Master Jiyu. The 20th anniversary of her death November 6th 1996. Also thanks to Nigel for his poem, yet to be published here. The video seems to have hit the spot.
altar-for-rev-m-jiyu