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 factored into a difficult childhood in my case. Certainly, this has factored into who has stayed my friend, but this would happen anyway 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.    

03 November, 2014

Is it Possible in this Lifetime?

video

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:

Upward
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
improve

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
behind,
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!
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