31 October, 2008
I had one small cup of coffee on Wednesday at 4pm while rushing around. Then later I had a visit and a great talk with a friend about what is important in life later at 9pm. I went sleep at midnight only to wake up at 4am, for whatever reason. I tried to force myself to sleep only to realize that was pointless. I then tried to meditate upright in bed for 5 minutes, when I came the realization that I can’t change nature. I then got up turned on the computer, put on soft Indian Buddhist chants, made some herbal tea, and just figured I would make the best of this. Aren’t most problems really how you see them? Things change for whatever reason and you will drive yourself crazy trying to again make your way. Of course this the go with the flow idea, but it is a much more a real conscious effort to watch how you treat every situation in life...constantly observing. I looked back this week to a meeting with an older friend who constantly complains, almost to the point of each word that comes out of her mouth. I first thought well maybe I should distance myself from her to keep me from joining her in negative speech. Then on further reflection, I thought she might in my life for a reason, as a constant reminder of what I should avoid in myself. They are never directed at me anyway, so why take them personally? Perhaps by example I can help her and if not her…so many others.
The photos I took when I felt lonely, but instead of getting down I got out and again tried to show the beauty that is right outside your small world. But I am helping build my partner's future, a creative process just like my photography. I worked hard this week getting a huge album of photos of our last trip to my partner's mother and mailing it off. I know how Mom's are, they need to know their kids are happy!
29 October, 2008
Who will we be this coming Halloween? Something scary or comical? A joke now, perhaps temporary, and we fall back into the comfort of our lives filled with worry, self-doubts and frustrations. A real lack of peace that we strive for when we eat our favorite meal or your partner says you look great and they love you. Oh sure, we be happy when we enjoy our friends and work hard, but inside our head is a little voice that reminds us that things are not always are they are supposed to be. That is, if we don’t use our ability to watch our mind when we meditate. And then turn around when we awake and use the real peace we found there to make better choices to eliminate minor frustration or anger. Just watch how often we are displeased with common occurrences when driving or just doing normal things like shopping. I am only speaking from my own experience. I am not really sure where we got the idea that everything has to be our way, and if not we are going to get upset and make a stink. I came home and a potted plant outside my house was shattered and most likely by the school kids who wait for the bus and sit on my house wall. It was broken and done and getting upset about it will not magically repair it or justify why my stupid pot is broken? I just decided to move the plant to a spot by the school, because what will a silly jade plant matter when I am close to death in old age? NaDa, you only worry about those that love you and the short time you spent with them. So lets get busy and work on how we see our life and the world, right? I write this even to remind myself what to do because even in the short 4 years I have been practicing and meditating I have seen great progress.
25 October, 2008
I find that my sense of what I consider the world expands with my learning Buddha Dharma. In other words, my world expanded much beyond what I would have normally considered important to me. You know attractive people, and things I desired or care about before. It started just after traumatic brain injury when the natural evolution healing process caused me to look at everything in life. Assign importance to things, and change perspective on other things I would have in the past tossed aside. One important huge mental shift was seeing that others suffer, and sometimes much more than you in the present moment. Of course it meant having to stop comparing yourself to people much more beautiful and better off. This mental shift was instrumental in my healing process, and it did come to me like in a light bulb moment. I had to put aside my self-pity, which was so easy to fall into when ever I encountered exhaustion and still does now, but rarely. This is not to say that I was careless about our world as I was still active politically and socially, in the past. But now I see and feel more people I care about who I see and perhaps encounter in life. My actual caring circle expanded nearly doubling. I find myself talking to others when I think I can be of some help to them. I am not perfect, but I try to engage others when appropriate. I saw a new person at yoga that I could tell was struggling with the flexibility. He was a huge man, in both muscles and size. I told him you have to relax your ideas of being able to do it all right now, rest and relax and it will also help you dealing with life. Perfect the poses that come natural to you. Then I told him that before I even did yoga I used to sit on the floor and work on the stretches. Then when I started which was nine years ago and I still cannot do a lot of complex ones. I said it is great for getting your mind ready for meditation and will save your life in ways you never would have thought. My discussion with him included a note about how far I have come, from limping to my present good balance. And with my speech disability that gave it some real gravity to him. He said thank you and he was worried about his blood pressure so maybe I helped launch him in a new way of thinking.
16 October, 2008
I often see the damage that self-hating does to one, looking back at my own history and those of some of my friends. Being gay there are few positive role models as you grow up. Often gays are not able to talk to anyone growing up. By the time we come out the damage to our self image is already done. We might jump on the “critical boat” of finding fault in others to make ourselves feel better. Worse yet, the self doubts that can cripple our pursuits in our career. But at the minimum, we have the nagging feeling that we are just not handsome or smart enough. Later we might mature, after having close relationships where that same self doubts play such a big part showing cracks. I am here to say, stop. One spends precious time spinning in circles when you could be out just enjoying life or perfecting your niche. You can never really be pretty or smart enough for others. Most people operate on an advertised ideal person that absolutely no one can every live up to. If we approach loving our partner with the idea that they will make us happy, when in fact, we can’t even make ourselves happy …we will fail. Work on your mind and love yourself first, even when society in most cases does not. Then proceed with a real relationship not based on demands, but instead honestly wishing them love purely. Love not with the attachment of what you will get out of it…that's wisdom. You will be rewarded with long lasting relationships, even if they might break up. They will stand the test of time, because you are wise and accept the changes that invariably happen.
15 October, 2008
I was out on Sunday, deciding to go out with friends while waiting for my guest to arrive. I did not have a firm time from him, and I was not going to waste a beautiful day waiting around. So I went to Open studios in Marin Headlands by bus which is a hell of a lot cheaper than a car and better for our planet. Walking with my friends to see artist’s studios. I got fascinated by Walter Kitundu both playing and talking about his work and thoughts(see link posted). Stayed there about an hour and lost my friends, but it was all good. It left me with hope, dreams, admiration and it slowed down my fast paced existence. When he talked about watching and photographing birds and that they will let you know what they are doing. He also spoke about how standing or sitting quietly in the park the police were called many times on him. It got so bad, he had to put a sign by him that explained what he was doing. I was outraged and ashamed, but not surprised. Bringing me back to the idea that we are missing so much of what is good in life, by defining life by what we already know or fear. We think that we have it all figured out. In our little “me” world, where we originate the idea that the world happens to us, Defined by what we like or dislike. But if we just it go and view life with equanimity we will be happily surprised at how much less painful it appears to be. I rushed back to dinner with my friend, who in waiting at a bar close to my house, had met the owner of a restaurant. The owner had invited him and me to have dinner at his restaurant. Three hours of eating and drinking wine all on him! I tipped the wait staff and once home wrote a nice Thank you card, an often forgotten courtesy.
"The pursuit of truth and beauty is a sphere of activity in which we are permitted to remain children all our lives"-Albert Einstein
09 October, 2008
I am waiting for a new US government brochure on “Saving for Dummies.” Soon to be followed with a Health and Human Services brochure, "Sharing for Dummies." In a country built on greed and self-cherishing we were never really ready for all this. We are great at saving old stuff, even when we know people go without all over the world. It would be in everybody’s best interest to be more accepting and friendly to your neighbors and people in general. We may not agree on a lot of things, but when you might find yourself asking for a lot more than a cup of sugar. Sooner than you think. Wouldn’t be nice if this turmoil results in more kindness between people. A real dream that I meditate on to help me generate some compassion towards others. Wishing them to be happy. Perhaps, now there might be a backlash on technology, knowing it really entirely depends on the originator. Garbage in, garbage out so as to speak. Who do you trust? Looks good, smells good, but does it feel deep down to be real and from the heart? I am not talking about art and music, but the information that we use to guide our lives and give us as sense of well being, albeit somewhat false. Have we neglected our most important sense, intuition? Shouldn’t we depend on the truth we know in our heart? That all life changes, and that the only we can change is our mind.
04 October, 2008
With the work it takes on my mind, so I don’t end up being a grumpy old man ...I sometimes see my progress. This week one day, I went to yoga and arrived early to meditate a 40 minutes prior to the class starting. I had my eyes closed, so I did not see that my normal teacher was not present, and a substitute started class. This is how I usually come out of meditation, and hearing music I was unfamiliar with I knew it was another teacher. I assumed she was trying to get her IPOD list for class, but it was really what she was playing. The music was not a “death jam, ” but it was still did not go with yoga, actually fighting the relaxing flow normally associated with it. I tried to deal with it as best as possible, but with my brain injury could not figure out what was going on. It was bugging me, so I put on my own IPOD thinking that I could do it visually …but again too much input for my brain. I thought should I tell her the music sucks? I decided I would not, because it is arrogant and most likely someone else would. I looked around at several students that I know to see if they looked unhappy. I stopped doing yoga, and tried to just be still, but I was bothered. My eyes while closed were buzzing, showing me how much anger affects the body. I was doing my best not to get angry, but still? I am not happy? No, I thought. Or is just the wrong music? Yes, and it could easily be fixed by leaving. So I quietly put my shoes on and left, without making a scene or a face. The old me, would have walked up to her and told her the music is not appropriate. But not now, thinking of the other members of the class, they would have felt my vibe and it would have rubbed off on them. I would be spreading my anger and really it was just one hour, and I could do something else. So, I hopped on stairmaster until the class ended. Later three of my friends came up to me and said the music was awful, and they complained to the teacher. She said, “It is my playlist.” And one friend even went to the management and complained.
My friend later said, “You left.” I did not say to her that complaining does make one happy, but thought of it in relation to me. The process of letting go of trying to control the outside world is one I have to practice every day. I have to also reflect on my errors while in meditation, because I will forget often. But this one instance showed signs of anger slipping and wisdom’s potential.