Meditation Merit Candle, Still Alight

Thinking of a woman driving south this am to visit elderly father in hospital. Go safely.

Tend one’s Own Garden

Voltaire he said in Candide "tending one’s own garden" is not only a private activity but also productive.

With thanks to Annette for the quote. As she says, and I paraphrase, this may not solve our troubled world however it gives some quiet space to think and reflect.

And the ‘garden’, our life lived is a Bodhsattvas playground. Endless opportunities to stretch out a hand, open one’s mind.

Looking Up?

Elf Cups

Now is the time to look up. Literally. Not because there are black clouds gathering with threat of rain chasing you off high places for shelter lower down. For many good reasons rising eyes from the ground and above the horizontal is advised. While, of course, glancing down, to step safely.

Walking with eyes down cast. Sitting with eyes down cast. Standing looking into a ‘device’ all have an impact both mentally and physically. And this morning as I prepare for a walk around Stocks Reservour in the Bowland Forest I’m thinking of ‘aiming up’. Meaning I’ll be raising my eyes above the level of the horizon, frequently. Not just because there are birds and wild fowl buzzing about. butterfly’s too. All interesting to be marveled at.

Nope its because raising my eyes is ‘uplifting’. Who would have thought it only takes look up to uplift oneself. Nothing more required. Well except for also remembering not to fly off (mentally) into the treetops and leave the rest of me behind, dangling unknowingly nowhere in particular. Better stay back with that which is the rest of me!

No thrills, no spills.

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.

Of Gravity and Light – Poem

Of Gravity and Light

What we need most, we learn from the menial tasks:
the novice raking sand in Buddhist texts,
or sweeping leaves, his hands chilled to the bone,
while understanding hovers out of reach;
the changeling in a folk tale, chopping logs,
poised at the dizzy edge of transformation;

and everything they do is gravity:
swaying above the darkness of the well
to haul the bucket in; guiding the broom;
finding the body’s kinship with the earth
beneath their feet, the lattice of a world
where nothing turns or stands outside the whole;

and when the insight comes, they carry on
with what’s at hand: the gravel path; the fire;
knowing the soul is no more difficult
than water, or the fig tree by the well
that stood for decades, barren and inert,
till every branch was answered in the stars.
John Burnside

Helps to read this several times. Enjoy and thank you to Mark for forward the poem on to me. Mark, if you have a photo which I can add to this post that would be great.

Practice Within The Order of Buddhist Contemplatives