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.

08 September, 2016

Mooji Meditation:
Faceless, Deathless and Ever-Fresh

I know many people have a hard time sitting down to meditate, and feel that Mooji does many a heart-felt and realized guided meditations like this. Please take time, to pull yourself away from the net and other distractions. I know when I feel alone on my path his guided meditations help me. 

For those who want to get down to the actual meditation it starts at 4:50.


31 August, 2016

MANTRA - Sounds into Silence Documentary

“We all connect on a deep level that’s beyond personality, beyond nationality, beyond language” 


“MANTRA – Sounds into Silence is a film about the growing phenomenon of Mantra music and *Kirtan. Many of us who know this practice will have made the experience of its deeply healing and soothing effects. As the popularity of this ancient Indian tradition rises in the west, more and more people are discovering the joys and the feelings of inner peace that this music movement is bringing to them. Now we want to explore this new musical phenomenon further by making this film and sharing what we find with you and also with people who are not familiar with mantras and chanting. Through revealing interviews with the artists, who have sparked off this new musical movement, we will find out what inspired them on their paths and how this influenced their music which is reaching out to so many people. Then we will learn about the music’s transformative effects through those people whose lives have been transformed by the practice.”

18 August, 2016

Anger, the Greatest Imperfection

Anger came rolling in with a too little sleep and too much on my plate, even though I have been meditating one hour in the morning and one hour in the evening. Perhaps there is no excuse for anger, but it comes with a brain injury like mine, especially when I don’t nap in the afternoons. It is funny that now when I do nap I fall directly into no dreams sleep and wake up naturally half-hour later. Ironically, the same day this happened, I got an interesting email with a article from Anadi on negativity, titled Purification and Transparent Imperfection. With some hope he says, “If the emotion is not too deeply embedded, there is a good chance of it being dissolved.” But we know when we share our anger, there are many repercussions to follow with those we love. I will go next month to serve a 20-day Vipassana, to work up close and personal on my triggers and learn to stop it in its track with greater awareness or at least diffuse it. I married the right person to not allow anger to be a part of our relationship.

14 July, 2016

You Are Determining Your Reality — Mooji

“When you make I a person, you welcome all the family. I will bring all the cousins, the aunties and the drunk friends.” 

For those meditators, you might like this better, an article by Anadi, Meditation: The State of Intimacy. 
Some experiential wisdom from me: If the choice or is reading about or watching a video on wisdom and meditation ....go for the meditation because life is short and soon one might be unable to sit down with yourself because the body or the mind will put up a fight.

More Wisdom from Ajahn Passano along the same lines:
Directing Attention in a Skillful Way 
April 2005

Learning how to meditate—how to develop the mind—is learning how to direct attention in a skillful way. Whatever we direct our attention toward becomes our reality. If we like, we can direct attention to all the chaos in the world or to the chaos of our own personal dramas. But we don’t have to do that. We can instead direct our minds to contemplate our experiences as merely form, feeling, perception, mental formations, and consciousness. We can direct our attention in other skillful ways as well—toward objects that soothe the mind and conduce to peace and clarity. It’s simple: We can incline the mind toward what is wholesome or what is troublesome. The choice we make is up to each one of us.

25 June, 2016

When a Feeling Dictates Mood

This is real quick post, based on today's experience. I woke up early to sit at dawn for an hour, and then went back to sleep to enjoy the clearing of worries usually a by-product of meditation. I woke naturally at 9:30 and began to clean house, and later, when having a cup of coffee began a upheaval of thoughts based upon a rising headache(a very rare occurrence, usually). Realizing that all things are impermanent, based on the style of meditation I do. I tried to ignore the pain and do more errands outside of home and later came back. It produced unease with no particular focus, and I began to read a new book that came in the mail, but within 40 minutes I needed to nap. It could be based on my brain injury(I often plow over my aphasia, based on my partner not letting me use this as any excuse for bad behavior), or subtle body reactions to the coffee. Then, it became very apparent to me, that I could actually see that the simple body unease as the its reaction to negative ideas I might have been recirculating. Doing Vipassana sits at home twice a day uncovers deeply rooted delusions and reminds you not put them back in. I examined what may have been the root, and it was the fact that was unhappy about some travel plans I made in the past under duress. So, your feeling state is always up to you, regardless of what happens. 

06 June, 2016

Everything Falls into Place on the Path — 30 Days

In five short years of doing Vipassana, both serving and sitting …I finally sat a 30-day quicker than I thought. This was after hearing of one by a fellow after we sat a 10-day together in 2012. I guess he just planted a seed in me, and after seeing some gradual changes it arrived almost at my feet in April. It was more like the path chose me instead of the other way around. By the time most people sit a 30-day, they are firmly locked on Vipassana path, but as a Bhikkhuni(who ordained after 3 of the 10-day vipassanas) told me, it is as good as any other as long as it works for you. I am thinking I should stop trying to explain my path, and just sit the 2 hours a day, and continue to serve and sit. It has enabled me to evolve in relationship to become less of the problem when things are difficult, which can happen in any relationship. Time is short, and bouncing around trying to find a path that suits all of your changing needs will leave you empty upon your death. For those that don't know one is training the mind to accept all impermanence with equanimity which brings true happiness.

When I arrived 4 days earlier for my 30 day, to meet the trust that helps to run my center and to later do service work to prep for the course in a last minute chaos.. which is fine, but with my aphasia some residuals can carry for days. On day 3 during my interview with the teacher, he mistakenly attributed it to not sitting enough in preparation for the course(requirements at least 2 years, 2 hours a day). Instead of correcting him on my disability, I knew I would settle and did so in a day, and he was witness to it. Also with disability and total numbness on left side, I was still able to scan that part of my body accessing internal sensations like blood flow and pain in joints, not governed by sensory nerves on the surface of my body which is severely lacking. I can still cut myself on my left side of body, unaware of any pain... even today. For those with a normal body, don't freak...a mind/body can adapt to injury and have a meaningful life!

It was good to be able to sit with Assistant Teachers and older wiser sangha members who all sat in front of me in the hall during the evening sits. We were on our own to sit in the Pagoda cells, Dhamma Hall, or our rooms, and usually by 4:20 am after a thermos of tea, I was parked in my cell. Later in the course, when knees were hurting, I would sit in a chair until the chanting started in the Dhamma Hall, and move quietly to the floor. I was very honored to see Dhamma workers serving the whole course who have not sat a 30-day, so they get 3 hours a day, and usually have to bust their butts to get it all done since being short staffed. With their hard work they get more merit and faster wisdom in my opinion when utilizing dhamma in action in day-to-day life.

I quickly had to drop any concerns with my partner and home life duties in order to get on with accessing deeper sankaras, whether thought based or sensation based. I saw reoccurring thought patterns creating more misery than solving anything at all.What was remarkable to me was the length of the course allowed one to see rising and passing of anger, sadness, doubt, and even happiness with clear distinct breaks of nothingness when the body brought up even deeper held delusions. It, for me, did seem to be an arduous process overall. On Day 23, in the morning sit after breakfast anger came again, I went for my usual walk around between that first sit and second sit after breakfast, running the anger through my mind as a sign as to whether this was the right path for me, which means doubt was following ever so closely. I saw it so clearly, that I found myself laughing and relaxing even further. It was anger in its shortest form of about two hours, and I wasn’t even sure if based on thoughts or body sensations. It did not really matter, but the wisdom held in the “back-forty” of the mind just directed me to continue sitting, never attempting to run away. As stated by Geonka, "Through continued practice of Vipassana, the habit pattern of the mind to react with anger is changed." Right about then is when gratitude for Buddha and his teachings, and others that have helped me on the path were recollected. As I have told friends and fellow sitters that “gratitude tears” were the only ones shed in the whole 30-days. One could see several points where if one was not fully committed to this path, and of not sound mind could crack on past sufferings recounted. I do believe that even but having the minimum requirements for such a serious sit, that one would have burned off any gross delusions much like I have done. I did not totally experience Bhavana, but was being cultivated (the cessation of suffering) which then leads one to Nibbana, but let things happen at their own time, not expecting or demanding. Never disappointed or depressed about the whole experience and in fact was kind of surprised when we could talk again that seemed too fast. I write this to encourage others with serious brain injury, that this can help tremendously although not a quick fix. I use no drugs, nor alcohol and even stopped taking other the counter allergy pills. One does not do Vipassana to run away, but rather to look closely at one's own self-created misery. I know my family has no real idea of what I do or the path, but hopefully they will experience a change in me that I feel.

I am most certainly not a Buddha but am experiencing a lighter and lighter self, an enlightenment of sorts. There has been many payoffs on this path, but it can be subtle at times, but reaffirming enough to keep one meditating. I will, of course, serve more and plan on a 45 day within 2 years, and would definitely sit a 30 day again. It was relaxing in a way, not having a cell phone, internet, etc. ending any self-importance we carry, and when you return you find out that life carries on without you just fine. That alone allows one to concentrate on training the mind to see craving and aversion clearly and thus bringing more equanimity. That same equanimity I used to think was just boredom with all life has to offer, good and bad, since as I was firmly hooked on passion. It really was just wisdom, before I was aware.
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