A Successful Life

It is all very well to talk about taking life as it comes and living one day at a time but life isn’t that simple. Or so it certainly seems. In this one day there is a need, for me right now, to make arrangements for future days. I’m currently organizing my schedule for the next two or three months – on the road again! At least I’ll remain within Britain.

Some days are filled with forward planning and some filled with living out those plans. Driving here, driving there. Navigating. Preparing mentally and practically. Yet other days meander like a slow moving river, seemingly aimless yet going somewhere obviously. There is a saying from Zen Master Dogen, I think, which goes every day is a good day. Are any of the described days NOT good days? What goes towards a GOOD day? In this post a chap is pondering on having a successful life and then contrasts that with what an ideal day might comprise of. He concludes thus:

I often sacrifice the practices and routines that bestow daily life with value in order to achieve majestic, overarching goals that may or may not truly bring any quotient of contentment. Most shocking was the realization that there was nothing keeping me from living an ideal day tomorrow. There was no barrier in the way except myself. My curse was my own obsessive-compulsive drive to ideologically displace my present self in a conceptually “successful” future, at the cost of living the life I truly want to live right now.

One of the very many blessing of my life is the constant call to return. To return to what’s before me. Sometimes caught in the midst of activities over long however that internal bell just can’t be ignored. The inner prompting to stop, redirect, move on, eat a meal, sit.

There is a structure, or template, that most have to the day, if only the fact of getting up, eating meals, retiring to bed again. However the drive to complete a project, to finalise arrangements, to finish the garment one is knitting etc. can so often drown out the sound of the internal bell calling us to the next thing.

I remind myself that there is no rush to the projected finish line. And even death, so often thought of as the ultimate end, is not that. Just another step, just passing through a flapping door…onwards. Not something one can plan for, nor wish for, nor be afraid of either.

(Don’t) Have To….

Sheep with hair extensions – just for fun.

Have to laugh?
Have to cry?
Might die
Might not.

Chemo Therapy

My thoughts
Gratitude bowing.

For those who are currently dealing with cancer who are known, and loved, by me and those who are unknown, and loved too.

Calling For Help – Remembering And Forgetting

The Trebus Project aims to capture the memories and insights of people with dementia before their words are lost to history.

Our archive of over 200 carefully assembled stories includes everything from an eyewitness account of the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia to a unique hangover cure. Many of the storytellers talk openly or in metaphor about their dementia and the problems it has caused. Although the archive is of great importance to academics and researchers, it is also hugely entertaining. Despite the stories being told in trying circumstances, they are often full of life and extremely funny.

This is John’s Story….

I think the trouble is that I’ve been made to sit in this chair day after day. I’m made to sit in it so much with nothing to occupy my mind that I drop off to sleep… I drift in and out of consciousness. It’s like torture. I think for some reason that this chair is conducive to the inputting of hallucinations. The noise is present in all of my environments for the last two years so I’m quite accustomed to noise that would disturb other people… shouting and cries and so on… but what I don’t like is that the call bell itself is so unreliable… I can ring the bell for hours and nobody comes… I’m not sure it works. I’m sure they would come if they heard it… wouldn’t they? Maybe they don’t know that I’m still here… we should give them the benefit of the doubt… they might think that I’m already dead.John’s Story.

Can you imagine?
when you call for help
if they think you
are dead!

Thanks to Julius for the links.

Field Of Intention

….the way the Buddha taught meditation was to release the mind from its tendency to get thrown by circumstances (conditions/stimulus) – not to ignore or annihilate the field that forms around us. (How can we?) His encouragement was to keep inclining the mind towards more skillful intentions, until eventually the clinging that generates a sense of self is eased out of occupying the organizing centre. That is, as we find our axis, say through the steady and calming energy of breathing in and out, we gradually widen the awareness to include the whole body, and sense the breath energy through that entire field. This ‘bodily formation’ then holds itself, and the sense of holding it, of me being the centre, can relax. There still is a sense of centre, but it’s the quality of composure, of single aim and intent called ‘one-pointedness’ (ekaggat?). Through contemplating and clearing that of tension, defense, ambition, conceit and all the rest, this centre lets go of location and self-centred purpose. It holds a pure field, a field of benefit. By staying connected to that pure and strong intention, the sense of unruffled ease covers whatever it contacts. And that definitely changes the ‘feel’ of the world around and within you: you’re not getting organized by confusion, reactivity and deluded views, the heart is untroubled and you can respond with wisdom to what comes up.

Reflections: Ajahn Sucitto – Field of Merit.

This says succinctly what I was trying to explain while standing in the rain by Lake Windermere the other evening to somebody who practices a different yet deeply connected discipline.

This is for you Avi, with deepest gratitude.

The Four Agreements

I was sitting talking with a group of people this evening and somebody mentioned The Four Agreements which I found interesting. They seem to be applicable as a common agreement between those working or studying or living together. Applicable in life generally, especially in secular settings.

All of the text below has been copied from this website. Thank you.

The following is an overview of the meaning of each of The Four Agreements, based on the writings of don Miguel Ruiz.

Be Impeccable with Your Word
Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

Impeccable means “without sin” and a sin is something you do or believe that goes against yourself. It means not speaking against yourself, to yourself or to others. It means not rejecting yourself. To be impeccable means to take responsibility for yourself, to not participate in “the blame game.”

Regarding the word, the rules of “action-reaction” apply. What you put out energetically will return to you. Proper use of the word creates proper use of energy, putting out love and gratitude perpetuates the same in the universe. The converse is also true.

Impeccability starts at home. Be impeccable with yourself and that will reflect in your life and your relationships with others. This agreement can help change thousands of other agreements, especially ones that create fear instead of love.

Don’t Take Anything Personally
Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

We take things personally when we agree with what others have said. If we didn’t agree, the things that others say would not affect us emotionally. If we did not care about what others think about us, their words or behavior could not affect us.

Even if someone yells at you, gossips about you, harms you or yours, it still is not about you! Their actions and words are based on what they believe in their personal dream.

Our personal “Book of Law” and belief system makes us feel safe. When people have beliefs that are different from our own, we get scared, defend ourselves, and impose our point of view on others. If someone gets angry with us it is because our belief system is challenging their belief system and they get scared. They need to defend their point of view. Why become angry, create conflict, and expend energy arguing when you are aware of this?

Don’t Make Assumptions

Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

When we make assumptions it is because we believe we know what others are thinking and feeling. We believe we know their point of view, their dream. We forget that our beliefs are just our point of view based on our belief system and personal experiences and have nothing to do with what others think and feel.

We make the assumption that everybody judges us, abuses us, victimizes us, and blames us the way we do ourselves. As a result we reject ourselves before others have the chance to reject us. When we think this way, it becomes difficult to be ourselves in the world.

Take action and be clear to others about what you want or do not want; do not gossip and make assumptions about things others tell you. Respect other points of view and avoid arguing just to be right. Respect yourself and be honest with yourself. Stop expecting the people around you to know what is in your head.

Always Do Your Best

Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.

Doing your best means enjoying the action without expecting a reward. The pleasure comes from doing what you like in life and having fun, not from how much you get paid. Enjoy the path traveled and the destination will take care of itself.

Living in the moment and releasing the past helps us to do the best we can in the moment. It allows us to be fully alive right now, enjoying what is present, not worrying about the past or the future.

Have patience with yourself. Take action. Practice forgiveness. If you do your best always, transformation will happen as a matter of course.