15 November, 2014

Pick an Emotion!

There are many times that I found myself with anger arisen over a particular unwanted thing happening. I guess the body has some energy that needs to be released and it is often very unskillful. With a little bit of wisdom, I can see the anger, but I notice my ego will quickly find a new angle to access a different emotion all based on the original incident. Feeling like an unlocked backdoor, it is at first... enticing. At least now after seeing this happen again and again, my awareness is slowly stopping these forays into sideline emotions. I am now trying to ease the original displeasure with noting what is happening and with the awareness of breath and where it might take me... which is always away from peace. This might help— with a monkey mind you can flip between now and future outcome (i.e. often more trouble than the original complaint). I can usually access humor when I repeat to myself, Pick an emotion, and just run with it. Seeing it spinning out of control, trying to hold tight to your original emotion and how fast it can move quickly in the opposite direction of peace. At times, I have to beeline to the cushion, to just sit and observe... if at home. I certainly do not carry a cushion with the words embroidered on it, In Case of Anger, but at least this will give you all some idea of my intention.

I know intellectually why anger can be easily accessed for me, but outlining why would only put this further from your own experiences. It can be used with sadness and depression, if this is what you have frequent flier miles in. Those two often appear when one has anger towards yourself. Whatever emotion, just watch what you are doing, even if you can’t stop it immediately… the awareness of how much further you cast peace out of your range will be enlightening.    

03 November, 2014

Is it Possible in this Lifetime?


To awaken?

One of the questions I've asked myself and have determined given my brain injury and the difficulty life presents to me. That it is probably not possible. I'm not defeated, meanwhile, I try to maintain a good intention. Thinking after coming from a week of service at Vipassana, recently. Which was a great way to integrate daily living and interacting with others, while doing meditation 3 times a day. I was able to observe myself constantly and reflect on misdoings.

I found this poem to be appropriate:

by Tony Hoagland courtesy of Sun Magazine

With the help of Zen,
my old friend Jack
dissolved his disagreements
with the world,
purified his quarrels,

shushed his ego,
stopped biting back
when bitten,
and gradually had
no opinions
other than wise ones.

And so our friendship
lost its bones and meatiness,
because it is clear to
me that I
am not going to humanly

but will be
forever benighted
by shadow and abrasion.
I will keep eating my experience
with a certain
indigestion and
shitting out opinions
to the end.

Goodbye, my friend, goodbye, I say
quietly to myself
like a character
in some science-fiction novel
as I watch the
smooth spaceships of Zen
slip the heavy harness
of the earth
and rise into the weightlessness
of space,

leaving a few
hundred million of us
weeping and holding on
to our stormy weather
and our extended
allegiance to stones.

03 October, 2014

Today's ...The Day

Things happen in our life quite unexpectedly, and often we can recall some aspect of each particular tragedy in slow motion when the dust settles. Getting hung up on one or the other should haves that would have prevented nature. Whether we enjoy them or not, "bad things" will happen, and part of my practice is to be aware of them, during and after they do ...providing you don't die. Today was the day, to fall down unexpectedly. To be alarmed, and then be surprised that I could get up. Watching the unfolding of moods surrounding it all. A really unremarkable trip and fall where my left knee landed squarely on the soft home made treats I carried to the gym to give to friends, nicely cushioning it and hence saving it. It did not help my bruised ego,  but it did help propel thought to reflect on a day, when we get bad news about us or family and friends that we usually are so unprepared for. Not to worry in advance but try to not to be shocked when anything minor to major happens. An awareness based on simple awareness of every moment unfolding without any blame, worry, cause. This will lessen our desire to want to change or control anything. There will be a day, like this day and so many others when death comes knocking at your door quite unexpectedly. And like the man I found surprised and befuddled when he had a stroke while coming home on the bus.

We spend too much time with worries of things, that may never happen, letting them spin out of control in our heads. Ignoring the simple beauty of well-being present always.  Spend your first day with gratitude of others. What people provide you with this very moment, even at it's most minor forms like a smile. Moving on to friends and family because with this appreciation for strangers it makes them seem even more pivotal. Perhaps, you might not have enough money, or enough good health at this moment, but certainly you do have people that are important in your life. Tell them, and stop taking it all... for granted. Today's...the day!

20 September, 2014

Surrenderfully, Two Stories

When I heard the two words surrenderfully in yoga it made perfect sense and thought I have to use it as the one word it seemed to be. Later, it struck me when prompted by a friend to tell his friend my story why I am like I am, that her first reaction was pity. Then she evoked “God” to bless me which felt like her perception of where she sees herself and me. Then, I detected a felt sense that where the division blossomed was also where the mind closed. If I really sat down and talked to her, I feel that now with her sense of separation, she will never be able to gleam any of the wisdom that branched out of my near death and the sort of resurrection, I experienced. Do we have to follow our own path, tripping along the way, picking yourself up or not? Even though there is no new kind of suffering. It has all happened to someone or is happening right to someone on this great big planet. Perhaps, we don’t learn unless it is tailored individually to our own perception. That is a bit scary, because it signals our doom because we can’t see ourselves as the other and might seal our fate to see the human race(see war cries again in the press). Still it is my own perception, so I drop it and surrenderfully.

A new friend was going on about a new traumatic event that happened when her young neighbor, a single mom overdosed and died leaving her two young kids in limbo and loss. Sure, it was worthy of being upset, but if it weren’t this it would be something else with this friend. It was a pattern of thinking that develops when one feels no control over their own life, seeking outside events to obsess on to avoid your own suffering. I know it first hand too well. So, I used the respect she carried for my partner and I, to get her to sit down for the first time and meditate to a 20-minute guided meditation that I had on my phone. Timing is everything and her mind was so busy that even she wanted a break. We sat down in the gym(of all places) and listened to recording. I used metta(loving kindness) that she would maintain with her eyes closed and remain focused on the words. Which is no small feat for first time meditator, who is also a devout Christian.  I did not open my eyes to check until it was done, so not to throw any guilt feelings her way. When he recording ended, I quietly opened my eyes, noticed her relaxed look, still with eyes closed and waited patiently for her to come back to the room. She had to surrenderfully with the trust she had in me and how she had perceived me in the past. When she did the first thing she said, “This is all a dream!” She was so surprised at how easy it was to change her whole mood and intensity in 20 short minutes.

15 July, 2014

Contemplate Your Suffering

On the day, we married …upon coming home, we got some beautiful orchid leis from one of my close friends that arrived too late to take with us to wear in the wedding. So, I said we need to give them to my neighbor’s young girls, and we trotted over to give the leis to them. We ended up talking for a while, and also to the neighbor next door to them. Who I later find out at that time that they had just found out that their foreign partner of their roommate, who I know, died quite accidently in the hospital. They did not want to spoil our day by telling us. This other neighbor had a nice life planned out with their partner, and all was going quite well, with a business and plans worked on for over 10 years. A life that was unplanned for the tragedy that unfolded.

Lately, my sister during her honeymoon had her husband pass away, and although a very involved story in a developing country….it was never planned. I never thought that I would see that to realize that my suffering was suddenly inconsequential.

I have my partner who is well aware of and speaks often about how much I have changed his life in appreciation at unprompted times. So these latest two stories help to show me that my suffering is old hat. That even though my other siblings reflecting on what transpired in my life and my sister saying that they could have never have survived through similar things if they happened to them. But they forget that far worse has happened to others, and that we have all have this innate will to survive that takes over when things get extremely difficult. Few fall into really giving up, because we know what this means to us both mentally and physically. I really would like to skip the pity train, because it sounds like giving up. Often when I speak I have to get into details so people don’t think I am drunk or a new incident happening right before their eyes. I think that I quantify my existence by my suffering. I seemingly have more which can easily leave me unable to move on or to have compassion(in the way I should have normally) for others. I am aware that others suffer, and see that we often don’t even know unless they broadcast on the news. Suffering is not always news worthy, and can be so regular but points to things we can't control. And some of us can’t bear when it involves many people or a whole family. We shut off. But we enjoy a tragedy story with some silver lining, and I guess it’s the hope that the same thing happens when it befalls us. And that is where they take the idea and run with it for news and/or entertainment. This brings me back to why I am on this path, to look closely at suffering in it's minor forms, so that when it barrels in a grand expression ...I won't necessarily be ready, but will be familiar with what my brain does with it, and how my body reacts to it. Hopefully making suffering a inroad to wisdom, because you can't avoid it.

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