being scared to death,
but saddling up anyway.
Hat tip to Willow Tree Counselling for the above quote. There is a wealth of well written articles on this site the most recent one Counselling Ruptures: Crisis or Opportunity? could well be applied to any relationship which has been ‘ruptured’. Wonderful stuff.
Thanks to Michael in Canada for the link to the tree planters. Now I am practicing perseverance with my web hosting company. Or perhaps it is that they are persevering with my requests to fix a problem I’m currently having!
Ten whole days of silence here on Jademountains which has not been matched by ten days of quietude! Defined as a state of peace and quiet. However now and then there are moments, deliberately extended to five or ten minutes, when I pause for reflection. Then a sense of quietude overtakes the imperative to keep moving on to the next thing, what ever that might be. So, busy times with much demand on my energy. Not a complaint or an excuse simply an explanation of why I’ve been silent on Jade.
And in my next breath I have to say that quietude is not lost in the cut and thrust of daily living, just lost sight of, and perhaps that is how it must be. Just as it is with the sun. When it ‘comes out’, as it has done recently, we appreciate it all the more for it having been obscured by clouds.
This week-end I’ve been part of the team of monks introducing a group of people to our practice during an Introductory Retreat. It is inspiring to have contact with people fresh and eager to learn about meditation and bringing that into daily living when they return to their homes and work.
It is so easy to lose sight of ones original intention and excitement at discovering a direction to ones life, as was the case for me, when I came on my first Intro. Retreat. Oh and sometimes a retreat has a slow fuse. Years might pass before one knows the impact of having a meditation practice has on life and its direction.
This post is for those who have been here in the Northumberland Moors for the week-end. May your going on in life be fulfilling and your time here inspirational.
A moment of insight, a flash of understanding, the clouds part and one sees which way to go. Be that a move in a career, a decision to study a particular subject. Or seeing into the way things are in a most fundamental way, sometimes in a very personal and intimate way. These are Damascene moment, life changing moments. They do not come in ones either since all through life, my experience anyway, there are many such moments.
Sadly however Damascene moments quite often remain hidden, buried inside. Even flashes of insight one could label ‘spiritual’ go underground for lack of context to place one’s fresh new Truth in. Or, as in my case, the moment was thought to be one thing when it was something very different! Read on!
A girl of around 5 or 6 in the woods of Sussex. Alone. Suddenly, or so it seemed, the world went dark. The birds stopped singing and there was an air of lingering mystical stillness. After awhile the world returned to normal and she now had a profound secret. Yes, I’d witness the end of the world, and it’s return! Not something to spread around obviously. Obviously a total eclipse of the sun but what did I know about such things at the time.
Only years later did the truth of the moment dawn on me having lived with a background thought that I had a secret. I’d buried it deeply enough to have forgotten I’d witnessed the end of the world.
For those who carry a personal secret, knowingly or unknowingly. Or a secret which they may not divulge without serious consequences.
Some years ago I attended a ceremony at a Christian church. My very dear second cousin was being ‘installed’ as the new incumbent of a parish near Liverpool. It was her first ‘posting’ and I was excited for her. As with the ceremonies during this week in the monastery, when people formally commitment to their chosen path, so too with other religions. There are processions!
This week I’ve been directly involved in a couple of the processions, walking with dignity is the order of the day. That’s another way of describing walking meditation by the way. On such occasions it is important to pay attention to ones deportment since how one appears helps to convey the inner solemnity (and profundity) of the occasion. And how one moves or ‘carries oneself’ invariably shows something of ones inner attitude of mind. But it is dangerous, and poor Buddhism, to evaluate (if one needs to) a person by how they appear. How does it go? Don’t judge a book by its’ cover.
At the beginning of my cousin’s ceremony the bishop, bedecked in his formal attire, along with church elders and assembled dignitaries, ambleddown the aisle! The image of him remains clear in my minds eye. Even now! And yet while I observed his ungainly movements he, at the same time, conveyed an air of authority, gentleness, compassion and kindness. And of being a free thinker too! During his speech to the gathered congregation my impression was borne out by his words.
Comportment is more than mere display (as might be the case with stiff deportment). It is an unconscious outward expression of one’s inner being. By considering someone’s comportment you may guess at their self-esteem, their consideration for others and their mental and spiritual well-being. The above taken from here.
The following story of a Catholic nun, who has a huge on-line presence, is interesting in that her motivation for engaging in social media and website development was inspired by her religious vow. An early adopter too with a website developed in the 1990s then going on to produce podcasts and videos in 2004 for her monastery with no walls. Physically located in Herefordshire.
Sister Catherine’s writing is imbued with humour and wisdom. And she is clearly engaged with issues of the day setting them in the context of her faith and understanding as a Christian. I just nipped over to iBenedictines and her three posts written over Easter speak clearly and compassionately. The following is taken from a recent Telegraph newspaper article.
“….Sister Catherine has taken on external clients, developing websites for computers and smartphones on a professional basis. But, although nowadays her skills are a source of financial support for the monastery, there was a religious motivation for developing them: “The Rule of St Benedict [guidance for monks and nuns in the Benedictine order, written by the saint in the 6th century] is very keen on what it calls ‘hospitality’; that is, welcoming people to the monastery and giving them a taste of what cloistered life is like,” she explains. “And we thought the internet is a brilliant way of doing that.”
I think… you’ll find that practically every monastery in the country [now] has an internet presence with all the bells and whistles.”
I love the above sentence found towards the end of the article. Many bells being rung here at Throssel this week during the ceremonies for Jukai. No whistles though!
In a few days Jademountains.net (formally Movingmountains and before that Jade mountains – started in 2003) will be ten years old. In 2005 when I flew from Vancouver to Japan my motivation for starting to post regularly was to share my Pilgramage with the lay and monastic sangha of my religious order. Few people can make a spiritual journey or to ‘journey’ as I do and sharing practice and passing on the teachings is my basic religious aspiration. I continue here because….I can’t bring myself to stop! It would be like stopping talking! All too easy to think of sound and silence as being opposites, which they are not.
It is my dear Dharma Sister Rev. Master Meiten’s 89th birthday today. Time for celebration, and admiration too.