A bike of delight done out in crochet, Cockermouth, Cumbria
Small space for small people with brisk (AKA slide) escape route
Living willow hut for children.
Yes I was out and about yesterday on a trip to charming Cockermouth to attend a half day retreat at the Friends Meeting House. As I sat in meditation with the group a retreat location from years ago came to mind. It was particular to say the least! Set at the end of a swimming pool in a conservatory where we all got blasted by the heat of the sun! That was rural Leicestershire around the late 1990’s. No particular reason for this to come to mind at this time.
Then we all got up and joined in a circle to have tea and for me to do a talk. And lo! A late arrival, a woman, smiled at me and I smiled back. We knew each other. From the retreat in Leicestershire! Such strange coincidences happen don’t they. And regularly for me of late.
We talked about the importance of having a place in ones living space to ‘land’ for moments of repose between activities. Then we went out into the garden of the Friends Meeting House and found the two child shelters. Children appreciate small spaces, small enough to house their size and to play in. Later a woman told me her place to sit is in her greenhouse.
The bicycle just HAD to be photographed! I’m wondering if anybody actually rides it around town.
On Field of Merit website and on our Facebook page we have been talking about spiritual merit. If this is something you don’t understand or simply think it is petitioning prayer by another name I’d suggest you take a look around and see that sincere daily life practice within the Buddhist Precepts and transferring merit are not two different practices. Or you might conclude otherwise. However I’d encourage keeping an open mind on this one.
Here is the finishing paragraph of a recent post on Field of Merit site.
….when we ask for merit to be given to a partcular person who is suffering, we are not making any judgment as to what the outcome should be. The purpose of offering merit is to support the person to accept difficult circumstances, to live, sometimes to die, skilfully within them, and for the compassion of the universe to find expression.
You might also want to take a look at an article first published in Shambhala Sun called She who hears the cries of the world. It’s a review of a book about Guanyin, known in our order as Kanzeon or Avalokitesvara.
Imagine my delight when the postman knocked on the door
bringing this lovely book of poems by A.A.Milne. A gift.
A couple of weeks ago when visiting sangha in Norwich I was shown a piece of university work done by a daughter studying architecture. It was beautifully produced and very much a limited edition unfortunately because it was a book I’d love to pick up and read again. I’ve probably not quite got the description correct however I remember it to be about small spaces used for solitary contemplation, allotment sheds featured.
It was an inspired project full of incredibly useful references. One was to the A.A. Milne poem Halfway Down. I’m not at the bottom and not at the top; So this is the stair where I always stop. And in the second stanza, And all sorts of funny thoughts run round in my head: It isn’t really anywhere! It’s somewhere else instead!’
A theme I have been visiting is the importance of having a place, a chair perhaps, where one is between activities. Somewhere to land, stop, be still, pause before moving on. Somewhere which is somewhere else. One of the things about traveling, especially long distance on trains or ‘planes’ is the quality of being suspended between what was and what is to be with no possibility of being anywhere else. Forced by circumstances to quietly sit, look out of the window, allowing thoughts to flow by with absolutely no pressure to DO anything than be there.
Very many thanks kind donor for the book, it brought a yelp of joy to brighten up an otherwise dull grey morning. And to the young woman whose work I so enjoyed.
I can’t leave without mention of another poem from the book which my father loved to read me. Bad Sir Brian Botany. I loved how outrageously BAD he was and then his karmic comeuppance when villagers took his battleaxe and round him with ironical salutes.