24 February, 2015

Sharing your Misery

Certainly, I like so many others… I suffer. Sure, I have real good excuse, a brain injury with a speech disability, combined with being gay. One of the problems, I had in the past was sharing my misery with others. Not completely wiped out, but with constant awareness I have managed to keep a handle on it. I think it has come a lot easier now that I finally married my partner of 13 years, and our long separation has ended. Frustration is a communicable disease. Also, if I get enough sleep, which us brain injured lucky winners need to have to keep the good parts working to their full advantage.

Sharing misery can slip out in even a casual greeting, first contact with others, and it doesn’t necessary have to be a vocalized action and come from not being present with others in a positive way. With my brain injury, if I am involved with anything else, from a simple door opening to signing in with a code, then any interruption is felt as interference to task at hand. Often people don’t know how severely this affects brain injured people, but my point in not to make another excuse. This is perhaps a way to doubly make sure to present a smiling face even when the brain is saying, “what’s this?” I figure if I re-condition the brain, whenever I am aware, by smiling, joking positively…or even stopping what I am doing to engage even when inconvenient or disruptive.

Many times in the past, I have shared my misery in a negative joking comment, never knowing I was leaving a black cloud around me thus creating more misery. I have often made fun of fake positive people to the point of stirring the “shit.” I, of course learned this, but that is not an excuse at my age. But, it may come to this extreme measure to change the brain. And it finally produced an example yesterday, when I spoke to a fellow yogi going to class who had never heard me speak. She was amazed I do what I do, because what she has seen or felt of me was always positive. I have also seen wisdom teachers who say that if we always see what is wrong with the world that we can’t change, we become more of the problem than the solution. We will also attract negative, more than positive people.

I am very fortunate to have a smiling partner who could see my intentions even when I was not always positive in nature. He inspires me to change, too by not allowing me to maintain any negativity.  Now a joke with us, as my moods, are fast to exit, because the mind-body knows that to maintain creates...yes, more misery. With my meditation too, I have seen what well-worn paths in the brain drive me to deviate from positive. “Don't go there, fool!,” I remind myself. In my case with aphasia, it may be doubly hard, but this never takes into consideration the many difficulties others face in their lives. Which leads me to compassion for others, while having compassion for one self. I want to experience a beautiful world, which in so many ways I have, and now want to share with others in a smiling, positive manner…even when it may seem fake, once in awhile to me.

02 February, 2015

A Near Death Re-Examination

It has many years since my near death experience, and it’s now going 12 years of a spiritual path of slow change and with this I have some insights. As I recalled in my first post on this blog, I now know it wasn’t really “me” who left my body: feeling no pain, sensing no worries, and no connection with my life in my body…it was my consciousness or awareness. That is why there was no pain and no memory of life connected to my body as it tried to merge into universal consciousness or love. This was the “light source” seen as a target to move towards, often feels like warm hands beckoning you closer to the light. So this gives me the idea that “we” will all meet again, in our awareness upon death, but without any of investment in our respective personalities. If I settle down a little more into awareness with daily practice, I can start letting go and the wisdom eases in my being, naturally. A little doing is involved in the form of bringing myself constantly back to awareness, when my personality/ego notices and makes a move to be seen. We know after a years in our personality we know where this leads us. Into past or future, two imaginary places far from presence.

14 January, 2015

Ungobackable: Drinking Alcohol

After coming back from a fun road trip with my partner showing him the southwest desert one thing stood out from the trip beyond the normal beauty and good times with family. That is the firm commitment of not drinking alcohol that I took up, 3 years ago. There were many times when he had a glass of wine, wine which I like so much, I could easily have said yes, and no one would say anything. I would smell his glass, to enjoy the bouquet, but would and could say, “No, thanks.” I could also see where any alcohol infers that one is not comfortable with life… as it is. And my own personal observation that “wrong speech” is easier to slip into when one is relaxed with alcohol, in my case. The added benefit of a clear mind in the morning, and less sinus! I feel I need to convey that alcohol has never really been a problem with me, except the usual early 20’s party phase of life. Alcoholism has been someone else’s problem, but has been the spice element that leaded to a difficult childhood in my case. Certainly, this has been a factor who has stayed my friend, but this would happen anyway as friends fall away naturally as you mature as with any wisdom path. I am firmly grounded in my intention, and it doesn’t feel like a sacrifice, thus saving me money and headaches while providing an easy entrance to meditation with more time freed up to do so. It also becomes obvious with practice and time that the precepts aren't just rules, but more of a way to direct one AWAY from more suffering. A wisdom intention becomes stronger, I have a clearer direction, finally. 

23 December, 2014

Help Buddhist Nuns — Plant Seeds of Metta

A Colorful Start to the Holidays by parking that moving van.

Happy Holidays! I can tell you from the moment I had met one of the Buddhist Nuns, it helped bring my practice down out of my brain to my heart. Female wisdom should be encouraged and now here is your chance to help then settle down and carry their original vision forward. Their Foundation is buying a rural piece of property, which will end up costing almost the same as what their were paying in rent each month. Even more help with the deposit or their monthly living costs will make this seem like it was meant to happen... Seamless dhamma. I know personally, when I saw their new rental property(same as what will end up buying), I felt it was a great match.  I even hear their neighbors warmly welcomed them, and want them to stay. Dhammaseed and their website have many of their dhamma talks by them. Be inspired and let a dana offering warm your holidays.
Help Support www.Saranaloka.org

15 December, 2014

The Burp on Presence, Ego

The ego wound it’s way back in after my injury that far outpaced my physical healing. It is probably a necessary ingredient for self-preservation and a sign that my “I/ego” was firmly engaged in survival mode. This helped carry me through difficult times when I really did not cognize what was going on in the first month with my severe brain injury. No one took the time to tell me what exactly happened until almost a month after. Without knowing how damaged one is you constantly do things with the soul motivation to get out of the hospital, while collapsing in exhaustion from doing just simple tasks. Physical therapy staff used make me exercise like walking the halls with I.V.’s & tubes still attached, and then make me do a written test often much to my dismay without first a nap. I could not eat, so I could not talk, either. Part of the sarcastic me thinks it was to bill hours, rather then see what progress was made. So, that alone would incite displeasure enhancing the speedy return of ego, with the thoughts of, I don’t want to do this!

Looking back, I wish I could have stuck with an earlier impression I felt that had of myself just existing in presence that seemed to come about with an unclear outcome of who or what I was. With such a severe injury, what is the rush to get me back to work, even though I was young? Surely, some of you will say it was in my best interest, to reignite damaged neurons and thus speed up healing, but who needs total return of ego? The ego will also inform you of how you don’t fit in the world once you are disabled. Not to make an excuse, as I also get feedback that I inspire people. This is pointed out time and time again in daily interactions, but that, too just reinforces the role ego plays in existence. Ahhh, now, who really needs to write this?

25 November, 2014

Patience Finds You

City of Peace, June posts 2552(2009)
As a still recovering impatient person, I started to recall the other day, a particular momentous occasion in my life. That was a result of patience over a long, long time. The development of my partnership with a foreigner over time, dealing with separation gain and again with a long term goal of marriage carried over 13 years. The marriage happened this year, and I am now enjoying the fruits of year of patience. It did not start with patience but instead ended with it. I see it now in a clear light that a patience lesson is learned sometime in your life whether you like or not. One will begin to look funny being impatient with things that really matter, especially as you age. Patiently unfolding, you can ride along with it(it's the process, dear), inspiring you to re-examine other neglected aspects of your life. Wisdom will become a natural organic plus, once one stops running away to alcohol, food, entertainment( the usual — doing things to be doing them to escape your mind or thoughts). 
Teacher's appreciation, June posts 2552(2009)
In my particular case, I complained about life's unfairness, blamed others and spread misery in the forms of negative comments and attitude. Certainly, there were glimpses of wisdom enough to start on a path of change, in the middle of this chaos. Having a positive core of being to not push everyone of the way in the process, which was my first hint of wisdom. I never wanted to be pathetic with my brain injury, started out with selfish intentions to heal, slowly picking up the pieces, beginning to give back as I healed. Realizing that the real healing was not really medically, but more spiritually. And that's where patience comes in as an important part of wisdom while finding your own spiritual path. Learning to drop what doesn't work and laughing at your mistakes along the way. Never forgetting what does work, and constantly coming back to it, instead of skipping on to something new, thus defeating the patience you have cultivated in the first place. 

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.    
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