10 May, 2017

Gone Fishing for Sankaras:
A Second 30 day Vipassana.

Meditating on my second day, I commented to myself that I am amazed that here I am again sitting my second 30 day Vipassana, all the while starting all over again with anapana to start to build a concentrated mind. This is where one will go part by part through the body in an effort to expose deep hidden complexes after 10 days carefully redirecting the mind to just below the nose(anapana or mindfulness of breathing). This is done once you have Sila(the 5 precepts) in place in order not to lay more Sankaras( conditioned formations) down in their place as fast as exposed.

I do remember in 2012 an older fellow meditator was recalling his 45 day Vipassana, and I had never even thought about doing longer than 10 days, but this obviously planted a fruitful seed within me. At this retreat 30-day were combined with a 45-day meditators, and they had to stay on after we left. 45-day goal is set in my head within 2 years, and my teacher said do a few more 30-days, then perhaps.

I experienced a huge Sankara on my 20th day over an normal interview, when I felt dismissed by the teacher in an effort for him to move on to the next person, and this set off an internal alarm. I am not normal with a huge brain loss, and need more time to process and talk, and even meditate with the teacher. This, of course, screwed up all the concentration I had, but did not stop me from meditating, or make me feel the need to walk it off. I asked the teacher how is it best to restart, instead of laying it all out why anger arose and he replied that to watch the palms and soles of the feet, since more sensitive to fine feeling. This allowed me to get back in the flow as anger subsided in about 4 days. This may seem like I was rolling in anger for a long time, but in effect I was mostly unfocused in my meditations and never really discouraged about it. Knowing from years of meditating that there is really no bad meditations, maybe just not so productive. I don't really ask for anything in life to help with my disability, and even stopped telling people on the phone or in person why I speak so weird.

There were many sankara moments, some pronounced and some not, but all in all I was able to stay put and live through them, mimicking how you are supposed to sit: Never moving, never scratching or fidgeting observing body sensations. This showed that the body/mind has learned a few lessons in equanimity, but not enough to be cocky or even appear to be rolling in peace...now. Although people have remarked I look better and more relaxed.

I did see some progress this time where the first 4 days I could stop the mind by re-focusing on the breath and even more relaxed than the past when things fell apart. I could actually feel the mind dumping things, in a way that you could feel more mentally sane on quite a few days. It feels like being more empty, so it may be not having to worry about mundane householders life! This is an experiential path and all based on each one's own sankara's.

So, I am fully aware that this is lifetime of work, and that my partner I love wants to take full credit for the changes he has seen in me so far. This is with his own experience of Sila(morality) and Buddha's teaching that have worked for him that he has tried to pass on to me. I just need my nose rubbed harder on the ground with Vipassana to flip the mind over to passenger mode in order to more compassionate and

kind. I may never see the same results as others with the frustrations I have with my brain injury caused confusion and speech disability, but so far I have seen some small fruits that I am happy with enough to continue this path and never feel discouraged. With the path, I can see my passing all too soon, which presses me to stay put instead of jumping to the next thing in an effort happiness ...out there...where it never really existed in the first place.

23 February, 2017

Who am I?
Self-inquiry with Ramana Maharshi

I don't suppose that one would be interested in the above video, without some meditation experience, or some life-changing event like mine. Not that I am special... it just helped to put some things in the proper perspective or let other mundane things fall away. Very, very slowly.... since the personality/mind will always throw up a red flag, “What about me?”

I recommend the book by Micheal James, Happiness and The Art of Being that goes into great depth.

02 February, 2017

Be Triggerless, Be Free — Massaro

With all that is going on with society today, it might be too soon to mention that one can rest in a mind free of worries, fears, or questions. Rest for at least a few minutes a day, and with more experience it will grow. With wisdom, and the experience of “falling down” many times in life, one wants to know fully what this mind of ours is really doing in an effort to create a version of hell, especially tooled to our own failings. A perfect example of this is playing out as we speak with the new U.S. Administration.

Bentinho Massaro here in this clip might help to understand this easier:
"Spiritual growth is more like not believing in suffering purely by knowing it is based in non-reality"...a comment posted.

20 January, 2017

Most Important Time
to the 'Be The Change' Is Today

When you are on the path, there comes a time when you have to show what you are made of. If you really did change and learn from past mistakes. Now is the time, to be light in the face of darkness, to help others struggling with negativity, to show love and caring. More now... than ever before, because now you know you will die too soon, and the misery you would normally have shared with others, is the hell everyone talks about. Hell is not out there to be experienced in the future, is is right here within our being. Smile, share love and concern for others, help anyway you can....today and from this day on.

These photos are from the light of my life, my partner who constantly reminds me to be positive and to smile even when things are difficult, as they often are.
Difficulties will not stop, but a difficult mind can.

23 December, 2016

Survival not a Negation

Recently my Mom expressed some displeasure over the fact I don’t celebrate Christmas. I do give gifts for the family, but pretty much have abandoned all the rest of the trappings. This came about first by childhood traumas around the holiday and a two years preceding that, back then, when I got a total kick in teeth rejection from a new Christian youth group I had joined when I told one guy that I was gay. This all formulated a survival instinct by dissing all religions as exclusionary and hateful, so not a negation of my mother or her life. She held the power of love even when things made no sense, and left this to me.  It wasn’t like religion was forced on us, but some circumstances in my life besides that of being gay I had to toughen up to get past them and survive.  Not a wholly unique experience, but it was of course tailor made for my awakening and settling down to meditation and the Buddha’s teachings leading to more compassion. Learning to have compassion for myself, first and then develop it for others. Surviving was at times excruciating painful, producing tons of doubts and sarcasm about life.

Meditating later in life became a way of dissolving many of my delusions. The icing on the cake for surviving (written especially for younger gays) was meeting my husband who has further taught me naturally Buddha’s teachings with his own experience along the way. He also has remarked that few people when they are older… change, but that I have, of course with his love and inspiration. Combined with some powerful intention built out of suffering the outcomes of my former self. Use your mistakes to further your growth on the path, for they are so designed to allow you to fail and find the need to change. Fall down, get up, dust yourself off...and proceed.

20 November, 2016

Whatever Comes...Goes

A month ago, I wrote a long piece outlining my path as a gay man in hopes it would inspire others on the path. I realized after writing nearly three quarters of my life’s story that it was unique enough, not to inspire but to look more like a car wreck of twisted metal as one speeds down the freeway. So, in a way, the reader would not be able to see how the odds and ends added up to a need for wisdom in life by dragging them through my mud.
Most of the wisdom I have acquired is simply done when I transcend the mind full of worries, pre-conceived ideas, and a lot of anger. In my case, the daily sitting of two hours a day helps to see the anger and sadness built up that would normally surface at odd times usually unrelated to the actual circumstances. Transcending in the sense that you see what your mind is doing instead of reacting to things as they happen. Two hours per day, one hour at 5am and another around 7pm may seem like a lot, but one needs less sleep when you deal with things in the present moment.
The morning is hard one, to rise out of sleep, but it allows one to unload dream traumas, and thus makes the hour afterward when you crawl back in bed... very sound and void of worries. The evening sit disassembles the day’s toils and misunderstandings, which can happen for me with others, since I have a speech disability. The payoffs are not immediate, unless you have subtle recognition, but can be more pronounced after a year. I want to encourage the reader to sit even if it is only if for 10 minutes a day, and feel free to find someone who resonates wisdom for you.

09 October, 2016

Karma Exposed when Serving

I recently served a 20 day Vipassana course, and it quickly became obvious..under the work load and meditating three separate hours a day…that my karma dictates a sense of abandonment from others that don’t do the same amount of work as I. Before I arrived I had asked for a position running the dishwasher, but when a non-english speaking person came later he was given the job, and I was switched to dining room “manager,” even though it was pretty much a solo position. Which under the circumstances I fully understood, but walking an average of 7 miles a day and working non-stop with a brain injury produced sankaras to rise fast, when a few people were resting or meditating more while I worked with a brain injury. Now, I am not saying everyone else slacked, because several busy people would help me out, but I not quite fully understand internally, why I should just accept the ones who do less. That is my karma. But with a few people who would jump in to help me, also inspired me to work hard for a week in my spare time... not meditating...

but filling the side of a cement walkway that could collapse by trucks driving over it. I shoveled a lot of dirt and rocks, to pack it in and it came out pretty good. So, anger was used constructively about the few who would not help me. Of course, right now you all are laughing at me, when I could have just napped and let go of any ideas I had, but this is me. So, this path is long, and it might take me a lifetime to let go of things, but I am committed. I was lucky to have fun people to help, and two great assistant teachers who shared many of their funny stories of their own path and they knew me. I still refuse to lay around and feel sorry for myself which has led me to greater healing, yet many have no idea of the difficulties I experience.
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