Saturday, December 29, 2018

if I were the most selfish person in the world - gratitude

If I were the most selfish person in the world I would practice more gratitude, because gratitude is its own reward. It's really as simple as that.  If I were the most selfish person in the world I would practice more gratitude, because it works.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

happy everything

It's winter where I live and during this time the sun seems shy and huddles to the south, so bringing some light becomes very important. This is perhaps why so many holidays from this time of year involve invocations of the sun or beckoning for the return of light and of warmth. There is Divali (or Diwali) - the Festival of Lights - and Hanukkah with it's compelling story of the Menorah; Solstice, with it's honouring of the sun and Yule with its burning log; the lights and the dawning of the Son during Christmas and the seven candles or Mishumaa Saba of Kwanzaa, and the various New Years with all their fireworks.

Regardless of traditional leanings or perhaps preferences not to lean, let's fan the embers of our own inner warmth and radiance. And let's all find ways to recognize, appreciate, and stoke the spark of deep value - the unique, true and beautiful flame - that lies within and is intrinsic to each and every one of us. 

As a friend would say during this time of year, “HAPPY EVERYTHING!!!”

Saturday, December 8, 2018

paradox of the heart?

Sometimes when I am really feeling a difficult emotion like sadness or anger or fear (I intentionally don't use the phrase 'negative emotion) I just kind of hunker down and let myself feel the emotion, I use the emotion as an object of meditation.  Instead of meditating on my breath or a mantra, I meditate on the emotion, and where it emerges in my body.  I allow myself to really feel the emotion, to open to it nonjudgmentally and unconditionally (which is a form of unconditional love), and I adopt the meditative posture of 'witnessing' it as fully as I can as it is.  I try to be as tenderly as possible 'with' the emotion fully from this place of nonjudgmental and unconditional witnessing.

I'm learning to do the same thing with those emotions I don't feel are difficult, I guess you could call them 'easy' emotions, like love and joy.  I practice the same meditation of nonjudgmentally and unconditionally feeling it fully from a witnessing place and lovingingly opening to it.

The paradox is that when I do this practice with the easy emotions it opens the heart.  And when I do this practice with the difficult emotions, it opens the heart.  It might not be apparent in the same way as with the easy emotions, but it opens the heart.

I think and feel the heart just wants to be heard.  Not fixed.  Not forced to change.  Not approached with any agenda. In its tears and in its joy, the heart simply wants to be heard.  And held.  And loved.

No paradox in that.  No paradox in love.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

if I were the most selfish person in the world - forgiveness

If I were the most selfish person in the world, I would practice forgiveness.  As Dr. Rina Sircar repeatedly said, "Forgiveness opens the blocks in the heart, it unties whatever knots are found there."  Forgiveness allows the natural, life supporting energies found in the body to flow more freely.  When we are unforgiving, we are always carrying a burden which is not really ours but which we assume.  It brings a constriction to body, mind, and heart.  And this burden, this constriction, weighs us down, wears us out, and brings a toxicity to our lives that has absolutely no value. Life is too short.

I'm not saying it's easy to forgive.  That is why the practice is so important.  Nor am I saying that we need to expose ourselves to the behaviours of others that are detrimental to us or others.  The practice of meditation does not necessarily need to be directed toward a certain person or situation, though that is also available and can be valuable.  The practice of forgiveness is about nurturing this quality within our hearts.

Basically, what I am saying is, as a good friend of mine once said and which has stuck with me ever since, "We have a choice.  We can either be unforgiving or we can be happy."  Yes, forgiveness contributes to a more ongoing experience of happiness and contentment and greater capacity for peace of mind.

Here is a lovely Forgiveness Meditation that Dr. Sircar taught and which has been a great and ongoing friend to me.  I find whenever I feel my heart getting hard, when those blocks and knots in my heart begin to form again, just by saying this simple meditation, by sincerely participating in it three or four times a day for just a handful of days, my heart becomes more free, more soft, more true.

May I be forgiven 
for all my imperfections
and all my wrongdoings 
of thought, speech, and action.
Whatever I have done
intentionally or unintentionally
to hurt or offend others
may I be forgiven for that.

I freely forgive all those who 
knowingly or unknowingly
have cause so much pain, separation, or isolation
within me.

May all beings be forgiven 
for all of their imperfections
and all of their wrong doings
of thought, speech, and action.
Whatever any being has done
to hurt or offend another
whether willingly or unwillingly
may they be forgiven for that.

As you may have noticed, we first practice forgiveness for ourselves.  It all starts 'at home,' within our own lives and hearts and extends outward from there.  It is said that it is very difficult to foster a complete or unfeigned experience of forgiveness of others if we don't have that openness first for ourselves.  This is where so much foundational healing takes place, in the intimate dialogue with and the tender touching of our own hearts.  

So again.  If I were the most selfish person in the world, I would practice forgiveness, because it works.

Monday, December 3, 2018

homage to Ben Pang-Jeng Lo

I was cruising the web last night and discovered that a t'ai chi ch'uan teacher with whom I studied many years ago had passed away at the age of 93. His name is Ben Pang-Jeng Lo and he taught the Yang short form as taught by his teacher, Cheng Man Ching.  Regrettably, I only studied with him for a short time, but even then who he was had a great impact on me and what he taught brought great and countless benefits to my life. He was not only a t'ai chi master, he was also an excellent teacher, who refined five principles or areas of concentration when doing the t'ai ch form, which was  The five principles are relax, separate yin and yang, turn from the waist, keep your hands in a posture called 'beautiful ladies hand,' and keep the body upright.  These principles have been trusted guides in my practice.

For all that he gave me, I simply want to express my deep respect and gratitude to this incredible individual and practitioner.

Here is a picture of Ben which shows the level of artistry he had attained and that I really love.

With great love and respect...

Sunday, November 25, 2018

If I were the most selfish person in the world - the present moment

If I were the most selfish person in the world I would be more in the present moment.  Just one mindful breath relieves me of the automatic pilot thinking, often hovering just above or below consciousness, often pernicious, that can permiate and rule so much of my mental life, often to th edetriment of others and myself (which inevitably leaks out towards others.)   Just the brief moment-to-moment experience of the present redirects the momentum (another word for karma) of my participation in internal and external life, cultivating within me a state of non-harm and therefore of peace of mind.  If I were the most selfish person in the world I would be more in the present moment, because it works. 

Monday, November 19, 2018

a matter of perception

Oh, Nityananda
i pray to be an instrument of your love light and grace
that you rest your hand upon my head
and that this bodymind becomes your hands

as i pray, a musing takes form 
that all beings
each one of us
in unique and seemingly fathomless ways
Is already your instrument 
Is already an expression of your own abiding everpresence in all worlds 
is already an implement of your beneficent benediction

this insight takes tentative hold within
and while seeing how this is so 
i pray 
to be your instrument

but now the prayer has shifted 
i pray to realize that my prayer is already answered 
answered even before the word is uttered

even before the thought has drawn together.