Moment of Sensitivity – Repose

Everybody has ‘their moments’
I’m having
So the answer is
to recognize
those moments.

Moments of sensitivity
of action
and then

Thanks all for your comments. This is my response.

Grasping the Wheel – Life Changing

1gate in the wall
The following is part of an email responding to somebody talking about a decision he had made and how he had come to see a level to making decisions that goes deeper than the nuts and bolts level. A spiritual level.

There is a power, or it is empowering, on all levels to make a decision…. What’s behind making decisions is hard to put into words isn’t it. There’s a complexity. There is the decision that ‘comes to you’ which is invariably coupled with practical considerations. Then there is the decision which is predominately about grasping the wheel of ones life and in the process somewhat disregarding practical implications too. I think decisions are a mixture of both. Sometimes there is more of one than the other in the mix but really the thing is to make a move if that’s what’s running through ones blood. No argument about that.

Good fortune good friend.

Listening for The Bell

Uh! There goes the bell for meditation. Better run. That’s the thing about living in community, there’s structure to the day. There’s a schedule of activities which the community follows and formal meditation is very much on the list. But just how much time is enough time to be sitting in formal meditation each day? People ask that question when they are about to leave after an introductory retreat. And people continue to ask that question, after years of practice. Is spending more time sitting better than less time?

Uh! There goes the bell at the end of meditation! That’s the thing about living in community, the bell is always ringing signalling the end of one activity and the start of another. My dad said he couldn’t live in the monastery, Too much like the army! he said. Too much regimentation, too much imposed discipline I’d imagine. What he and probably most people don’t see or understand is that you don’t stop sitting when the bell rings at the end of the formal meditation period.

Uh! There goes that bell again! It is the one that rings silently, an inner prompting, calling me to the next thing – to get to bed.

Being a Contemplative?

Through my twenties I knew I would end up being a contemplative. How I knew that I’ve not a clue, I just knew. And here I am many years later a member of a religious order, the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives. Who would have thought that possible considering I was not at all keen on ‘organised religion’, back then. As the years went by I waited for the right time to come when I’d know where to go to BE a contemplative. I’d imagined I’d need to go to India. And more importantly I was waiting for a clearer idea of what being a contemplative involved. As happens in life the right time did come, after many twists and turns. My understanding of what a contemplative life is/means has evolved although, to be honest, I rarely think about it.

A chance meeting and a certain set of circumstances came together to lead me towards this tiny corner of Buddhism and this tiny organization. As the years have passed since I first came to Throssel in the late 1970’s I’ve found myself grateful. That’s for having found Zen, for being able to practice as a monastic and for the huge impact that has made on my life. But the question this evening is, What is being a contemplative?. An interesting thought. What marks out the life of a contemplative?

At the moment I am spending some weeks in the monastery in Northumberland, Throssel Hole Buddhist Abbey. Tonight I joined a small group of younger monks for an informal tea. They were kind. It’s so nice to have you here Rev. Mugo. Blush. You don’t say much however you always seem to be listening!  Double blush! (I checked later and nobody remembers say that!) Well if that is what being a contemplative is, I’m happy with that.

A last thought:  what comes in through the ears and the other senses comes in when the doors and windows are open. You don’t need to go out hunting. That’s the best of it.

And you don’t need to be a monastic or a member of an organized religion to listen either. 

Look Up – Look Down

Muddy puddle
Muddy puddle

What a difference ones viewpoint can make. Looking down and the world is full of muddy puddles. Especially so lately with the onset of autumn rains. However there in the puddle is reflected the blue sky above.

Steps going up through woodland
Steps going up through woodland

Stepping stones leading up through the woods into the light but it easy to miss ones footing where the steps are not lit by the sun.

Navigate the Way with safety and in faith.

I’m in Northumberland where I will remain for the next three weeks.