Category Archives: Overcome Difficulties

‘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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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!

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Memory Lost


A first for me on Saturday while walking up in the snow near Grasemere. Crampons! Wild looking devices and clearly they can do damage to both self and other when out of control. Not surprised to hear wearing them or not, needing them or not is a matter of debate when approaching snow. Perhaps that’s because they are ‘work’ to fix  onto the boot. Who knows. We watched a group making their way up to Fairfield, one chap used crampons a couple of others traction devices (mini spikes) and the majority stayed with ‘raw boot’!

I am reminded of being in Edmonton over ten years ago now. Snow, the sound of snow as boot lowers and raises. The quality of sound with varied ones according to the quality of snow and the temperature too. Do those memories sew my life together to make it a continuing story? Or are they simply snap shots stored away. A thread of a person moving through life. Yes, obviously. And in another sense she of five days ago, has died.

I’m thinking particularly about those who are suffering from memory loss, short-term memory loss which is so distressing and dimmed long-term memory too. I see on the face of those I visit the deep anguish in them as they struggle with, or give up on, their encounter with the outside world. Why is it you have come? she said. Are you giving a lecture here? Why are you here? No answer will satisfy because it’s forgotten instantly.

Errm, this reads a bit ‘random’. Happens to the best of us. Merit to those with random thoughts who are no longer able to string their life together. At all.

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Smiling Broadly Above Edinburgh

Portobello and beyond

Arthur’s Seat is the main mountain in Edinburgh, Scotland which form most of Holyrood Park, described by Robert Louis Stevenson as “a hill for magnitude, a mountain in virtue of its bold design”.[1] It is situated just to the east of the city centre, about 1 mile (1.6 km) to the east of Edinburgh Castle. The hill rises above the city to a height of 250.5 m (822 ft), provides excellent panoramic views of the city and beyond, is relatively easy to climb, and is popular for hillwalking.

With a brisk wind blowing and brilliant views all around we walked up to the top of Arthur’s Seat late afternoon on Monday. (Thanks to my hosts for the walk, meals, bed, roof and good company.) An article in the latest Eugene Buddhist Priory Newsletter helped me turn the corner and move out of natural shyness of being seen, close up, on screen A Bit More about “Welcome”. To find it scroll down and on the way you may recognize the photograph of a Buddha statue amidst fallen trees.

I’ve found it hard, since mid November, to accept the deserter in the front row. Dentistry is a wonderful art and I’m grateful for the replacement tooth. But never mind the teeth thing, what stands out this evening is the gift of freely appearing. Just that.

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2 – When Faith Seems Thin

Read and be inspired. Here is a remarkable and brave, not to mention cool-headed, woman. Mary Dohey an Air Canada flight attendant who in 1971, in the face of overwhelming danger appeased the hijacker (talked to him) and as a consequence saved the lives of passengers and crew. She was the first living person to receive the award Cross of Valour, Canada’s highest award for bravery, for her conduct during the hijacking.

At the risk of losing her life, Dohey declined an offer of a safe release from an Air Canada DC8 to remain with her fellow crew members and pacify hijacker Paul Cini, on flight 812 from Calgary, Alberta on November 12, 1971. During eight hours of terror, the hijacker, with a black hood over his head, was armed with a shotgun and two bundles of dynamite. Mary had to hold on to the wires of the dynamite and not let them touch.[2] Cini threatened to take the lives[clarification needed] of the crew and all the passengers on board the airplane. Although continually threatened with the gun, Miss Dohey spoke to the aggressor and succeeded in discouraging him from undertaking violent measures which would have killed many people. When the aircraft was diverted and landed in Great Falls, Montana, she was able to persuade the hijacker to allow all the passengers and part of the crew, including herself, to disembark.[1] With absolutely no assurance that she would come out of the ordeal alive and because of her concern for the welfare of the remaining crew members, Mary Dohey turned down the offer of release. The hijacker wanted $1.5 million.[3] The plane landed and the demands were passed over. There was only $50,000[1] in that briefcase unknown to the hijacker. Mary continued to appease the hijacker until the drama was brought to an end.

Wikipedia
Another hat tip to Rev. Master Koten for the link. The early 1970’s saw a number of plane hijackings. I remember the time well since I was flying back from Australia when there was a hijacking – thankfully not on the flight I was on. Can’t help but wonder what my response would have been had it been my flight.

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