Category Archives: Falls Between the Cracks

Soaring In The Wind – Together With Friends

A walkers cake.
A walkers cake.

Because mountains are high and broad, the way of riding the clouds is always reached in the mountains; the inconceivable power of soaring in the wind comes freely from the mountains” (Eihei Dogen – Mountains and Waters Sutra)

After the solitude of the early morning on Sunday, sitting on the doorstep observing the neighbour’s garden came a companionable walk in the Lake District. There must have been about 15 sangha members and friends striding up towards this minor mountain chatting as we went.

Not to the top!
Not to the top!

It was a lovely morning. The sun shining with not a hint of a threat of rain and it remained that way for our eight mile hike. Some fairly vertical sections but nothing that required a scramble or offering much in the way of exposure. (Meaning no need to hang onto rocks for dear life, lifting and placing feet while keeping impermanence in mind!)

At a certain point there was a choice to make a side trip to stand atop the hill (Mellbreak). I’m not that interesting to gain the tops of mountains so I reclined on the grass and enjoyed the view from where I was. The others came back eventually and in the dim distance I heard, Do you think we should wake up Rev. Mugo? It’s sooo relaxing in the mountains. We lunched and walked onwards.

With bows of thanks to Jenny who’s 60th birthday we celebrated on returning to the valley floor. Splendid cake, with strawberries and cream and good company. Jenny has been leading Green Mountains Walkers from its inception. Now the baton has been passed on to another able leader.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Ebook On Leadership

Kind Leadership: A free ebook on how to make a difference in your organisation.

There is often an assumption that leadership involves being authoritarian and bossy. This assumption is based on the belief that this is the most effective way of obtaining good results. It is possible to achieve results this way but this is often at the cost of worker stress, absenteeism and low morale. This book show how being kind is a more effective form of leadership, one that can obtain excellent outcomes and good sustainability.
From Kind Leadership

I’ve not read this book cover-to-cover, however what I’ve seen has me wanting to read the whole thing properly. And my intentions to talk about the Ten Decisions from the start of The Scripture of Brahma’s Net have fallen by the wayside as I’ve direct myself these past days to preparing to travel.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Interfaith Relationships

…you cannot accurately determine anything about someone’s beliefs based on their religious label. And I have to say even when two people share the same label, say Buddhist, and practice within the same tradition, one can’t really know what the other person believes in or even practices! For example, a room full of people meditating, all from the same tradition, may each have completely different ideas about it… Only a problem when those ideas come between people. That is nowhere more so than when families are made up of two or more faith traditions.

The following is, I believe, a quote from a book called Being Both. It’s about interfaith families.

Whether or not two people have the same religious or nonreligious label, they are never going to share identical beliefs, practices, culture, family history. Both partners could be Reform Jews and one could be an atheist, the other a mystic. Or both partners could be secular humanists, and one loves to celebrate a huge Christmas and the other, not so much. Or both partners could be Protestant, but one sees Jesus as the Messiah and the other sees Jesus as more of a teacher or rabbi or even as a metaphor. What we teach children in interfaith community religious education is that you cannot accurately determine anything about someone’s beliefs based on their religious label.

From a thoughtful post, All Relationships are “Interfaith”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Worry Before Dawn

I wake at dawn. Sometimes to worry but most often to simply be awake. It is a special time of peace before rising up to greet the day with all the activities that follow thick and fast and one after the other. The word Uhtcear came to my notice this evening via a couple of websites and the idea caught my fancy. UHTCEARE (n.) Pronounced- oot-key-are-a. It’s an Old English word meaning ‘lying awake before dawn and worrying’. I hope you are not one to suffer thus.

The fact that there is a specific word for predawn worrying sessions is fascinating but the predicament is no joke of course. As a child my first thought on waking, and this is really sad, was What have I got to dread today? It was usually a visit to the dentist, Five more days until the dentist…. Early days of monastic training had me jumping out of bed at the sound of the wake-up bell without a second thought. Rarely did I wake before the bell so my early morning thought dissolved, never to return. Not in that form anyway.

If you are one who appreciates verse try – An ode to uhtceare! With a hat tip to Mark Forsyth’s book – The Horologicon

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

And So To Sleep – To Dream

Where do we go when we close our eyes with the intention to sleep? What’s actually happening when we dream? What ARE dreams? Good questions and no doubt there are very many answers floating about. But what about sleep? I’m aware that there are many people who for one reason or another do not get enough sleep and/or the right kind of sleep to sustain them. And indeed racking up a sleep deficit over time can be a major source of stress and eventually weakened health. Fortunately I’m one who can generally pass from being wake to sleeping with relative ease.

Early on I was told that meditation continues while we are asleep. To aid this the instruction is to put ones mind into the mind of meditation. In other words to quieten down, remain present in body and mind and bring the wondering/wandering mind back to just being there. Time and time again. Trouble is the day is more often than not filled with events which come flooding back if there was something unsettling that happened. Perhaps something with an emotional charge sending echos back into ones past. In no time the mind can become very much awake and sleep a very long time coming as a consequence.

Here is an extract from a book about sleep and dreaming titled The Twenty Four Hour Mind by Rosalind Cartwright. The author talks about the function of dreams which is of particular interest in terms of meditation – which is as has been said already, a 24 hour business.

I (the author) propose that when some disturbing waking experience is reactivated in sleep and carried forward into REM, where it is matched by similarity in feeling to earlier memories, a network of older associations is stimulated and is displayed as a sequence of compound images that we experience as dreams. This melding of new and old memory fragments modifies the network of emotional self-defining memories, and thus updates the organizational picture we hold of ‘who I am and what is good for me and what is not.’ In this way, dreaming diffuses the emotional charge of the event and so prepares the sleeper to wake ready to see things in a more positive light, to make a fresh start. This does not always happen over a single night; sometimes a big reorganization of the emotional perspective of our self-concept must be made — from wife to widow or married to single, say, and this may take many nights. Taken from a review of the above book titled: The Science of Sleep: Dreaming, Depression, and How REM Sleep Regulates Negative Emotions found on Brain Pickings.

In the spirit of intending to continue meditation through the night I’ve made it a habit to deliberately visualize my day from that moment backwards until waking. Some days are easier to go back through than others and that’s very much conditioned by my relationship to what’s happened. Some times my mind repeatedly drifts off and at other times I can travel back with relative ease. I just see chunks of the day as they come to me rather than try to see everything in detail. Intending to accept and let go of the days events during this pre-sleep review transforms sleep into a spiritual practice. That’s the intent anyway.

And so now to bed, to sleep – to dream.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email