Sunday, March 10, 2019

daylight savings time???

Today is the day that we in this corner of the world shift, is it to or from (I can never keep it straight), daylight savings time.  During a meditation I was attending, I began to think - the sun rises and sets, the moon appears and recedes, the season follow their well worn paths.  And we find ways to build structures, concepts, that we overlay upon these natural and organic processes.  We assign numerical values called seconds, minutes, hours, months, years, etc.  We designate daylight savings time and standard time.  Then we build further structural concepts, "I hate getting up early," or "I love the morning hours."  "It's important to be punctual," or "I always try to arrive fashionably late."  These thoughts then become the springboard for further stories, interpretations, and emotion.  And the concept building goes on and on.

How like the mind.  We think certain thoughts, we experience various emotions, and we find ourselves building concepts, "I am having these thoughts, these emotions."  "These thoughts or emotions are good or bad."  "I am good or bad for having these thoughts or emotions."  When in fact, just like the sun, the moon, the seasons, thought and emotion are simply phenomena arising and falling away.  Certainly, like the presence of the sun or the turning of the seasons, it is good to be aware of these psychophysical phenomena, to respond to the current status of things.  And also to see that these ways of engagement are just concepts and not necessarily real in an absolute sense.

Concepts, even what is written here, all in some sense make-believe.  Real and illusory at the same time.

Now I gotta go.  I'm running late!!!  :-)

Thursday, February 28, 2019

a true human being

Maybe it’s because it’s Spring and for some this time of year marks the return of baseball. But a couple of weeks back I dreamt of my first baseball coach, Bill Favero. Bill was the oldest brother of my best friend Craig Favero (a great first name, don’t you think?). I played for Bill for 3 or 4 years and he coached us to the county championship one of those years. Our teams were called the Mighty Mites and the Falcons.


Bill was a person who lived with polio and was confined completely to a wheelchair. He also only had the use of his right arm. But he still pitched batting practice and hit fielding practice. When hitting fielding practice he would toss the ball up in the air, pick up the bat which was resting against his wheelchair, hit the ball to the fielder, and by the time the ball was fielded he would have returned the bat to the side of his chair, slipped his hand into his baseball glove which was resting on his lap and sat ready to receive the ball when it was eventually thrown to him.



I often had the true privilege of pushing him several blocks to practice and back. Outside of my family, his was the first real role model and teacher in my life. Not only did he show me a lot about overcoming adversity, his did so with absolute grace, and with such natural kindness, respect, and humility - traits I could still learn lot about from him (particularly the humility).



In the dream I’m cruising around with another friend of mine from days gone by, Doug Rowe. We happen to drive by Bill and he’s playing ball with a bunch of kids in his driveway. I just have to pull over and say hello. He’s able to stand while leaning on his chair, something he could do in so-called 'real life', and after saying hello we simply hug each other with great love for a long, long time. During the entire encounter we hadn't said a word to each other. As Doug and I are about to leave I say to Bill, “Well I guess we’ve said all we needed to say.”

As I contemplated this dream, the possibility came to mind that it was about embracing my own 'adversities,' and those of others in my limited perception of them, with kindness, respect, humility, and with love, whether the adversities be physical, mental, or emotional. Sometimes so hard to do. So hard to be one's own best friend, or hold oneself like one would hold a baby bird just fallen out of the nest. And yet, and so, so meaningful. And that perhaps my biggest disability, my most challenging adversity, is that of not being ready yet to embrace in this way.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

sometimes

sometimes I struggle with the difference between being right and either thinking I'm right or needing to be right...

sometimes I struggle with the difference between being being authentic and either using authenticity as a means to an end or using authenticity as a weapon...

sometimes I struggle with the difference between being unconditionally loving and either recognizing a person as judgmental or judging a person for being judgmental...

Thursday, January 31, 2019

interconnected stories...

It is said that there is a tribal people who choose their shamans prior to their births. These individuals are born and raised in dark caves, cared for lovingly by the community, and trained for their roles as shamans. Part of their care and their training is that people come in and describe for them what the world outside is like. They describe what a tree looks like, a river, the colour green, the sun, the wind, the rain, the moon, a mouse, a leaf, a flower, a grain of sand, a towering cliff. The initiate is eventually ready to assume their role in society. So as not to blind them in the brightness of the day, they are in a thoughtful and loving way introduced to the outside world. When they finally see what the world really looks like, the disparity between the conceptual descriptions of reality and the indescribably stunning beauty of reality itself forever changes the shaman's perspective of life and engagement in it.  

quotes from astronauts describing what it's like to see earth from space
Don L. Lind, “It brought tears to my eyes.”

Alan Shepard, “I cried.”

Yuri Gagarin, "Circling the Earth in my orbital spaceship, I marveled at the beauty of our planet,"

Mike Massimino  “I thought at one point, if you could be up in heaven, this is how you would see the planet. And then I dwelled on that and said, no, it’s more beautiful than that. This is what heaven must look like. I think of our planet as a paradise.

Edward Gibson, “You see how diminutive your life and concerns are compared to other things In the universe … The result is that you enjoy the life that is before you … It allows you to have inner peace.”

Edgar Mitchell, “It occurred when looking at Earth and seeing this blue-and-white planet floating there, and knowing it was orbiting the Sun, seeing that Sun, seeing it set in the background of the very deep black and velvety cosmos, seeing - rather, knowing for sure - that there was a purposefullness of flow, of energy, of time, of space in the cosmos - that it was beyond man's rational ability to understand, that suddenly there was a nonrational way of understanding that had been beyond my previous experience.”



"Imagine."  John Lennon



It is said that long ago in the heavenly abode of the great god Indra, an artisan crafted a wonderful net.  At each node or knot in the net, this artisan wove in a priceless gem.  The net is infinite in dimension, the gems more numerous and precious than the stars in the night sky.  The surface of each gem is so polished that, when looked at closely, one can see the reflections of all the other gems.  And because the gems are part of this beautiful net, whatever touches one gem, whether kind or cruel, effects every other gem.  It is also said that each being, including you and me, is one of these gems.  

Karen Nyberg, “Every single part of the Earth reacts with every other part...  [Seeing the planet from above] makes you realize that...”

Sandra Magnus, "It is all connected, it is all interdependent," 

Russell “Rusty” Schweikart, “When you go around the Earth in an hour and a half, you begin to recognize that your identity is with that whole thing.”

Ron Garan: “When we look down at the earth from space, we see this amazing, indescribably beautiful planet. It looks like a living, breathing organism. But it also, at the same time, looks extremely fragile …”



"And the world will be as one."  John Lennon


It is said that some monks went to the Buddha with the intent of going off on their own to spend the rainy season.  The Buddha gave them his consent.  Eventually they found what they thought was a suitable place in the forest and made their camp.  But the local forest spirits were disturbed by the presence of the newly arrived monks, became unwelcoming to them, and were in fact antagonistic.  These spirits created all sorts of odd and frightening sounds and disgusting smells.  The sounds and odours caused the monks much distress, bringing illness and creating fear, anxiety within their hearts, and irritability with each other.  The Buddha, sensing their discontent, went to them, and seeing how the interference was caused by the forest spirits, provided a remedy.  He taught them loving-kindness meditation, basically training them to extend positive thoughts of happiness, peace, and well being toward themselves and all sentient beings, sewing threads of life affirmation into to fabric of life.  (A very simple version of this is, "may all beings be happy, may all beings be peaceful, may all beings be liberated.") The monks practiced this meditation great sincerity and purity of heart/mind.. The spirits felt the lovingkindness emanating from the monks and slowly but surely the fearful sounds and disgusting odours, the anxiety and fear among the monks subsided.  The forest spirits came to respect and welcome the monks and feel connected with them as family.  

Edgar Mitchell, “You develop an instant global consciousness, a people orientation

Cosmonaut Boris Volynov, described the experience as a re-shaping of the psyche that made him "more full of life, softer [...] and more kind and patient,"

Edgar Mitchell,  “On the return trip home, gazing through 240,000 miles of space toward the stars and the planet from which I had come, I suddenly experienced the universe as intelligent, loving, harmonious.”

Samantha Cristoforetti,  “You’ve got this planet beneath you, and a lot of what you see, especially during the day, does not necessarily point to a human presence. If you look at it on a geologic timescale, it’s almost like we are this flimsy presence, and we really have to stick together as a human family.”



"No need for greed or hunger."  John Lennon


Wednesday, January 23, 2019

return

tonight
the howl of agony
and the song of ecstasy 
return to a common source
becoming simply 
a single call of being

Oh, Nityananda 
please help me to traverse these waters 
again and again 
that I may find my way
again and again
to this tranquil 
for now other 
shore

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.