30 November, 2009

Thanksgiving Leftovers

When dinner was done on Thanksgiving, I convinced the owner of the place to take the homeless guy a plate outside, since he had plenty of leftovers and wasn't really attached to keeping them. This same homeless guy welcomed me when I arrived from his chair in the sun, so I felt he must be fixture in the area. I said to the owner of the house, you should take it out to him, to be a face he sees everyday. Another friend chirped in to restate my reason, and managed to get the owner out the door with it, in hand. He returned quickly, saying something about how it felt good and looked a bit touched, and said thanks to us...his friends.

Later in the evening we took off for the movies, a yucky blood and guts horror film. I arrived earlier than the rest and another homeless man came up to me and wanted me to buy his writing. His body language was kind and gentle. He told me he needed money for copies at kinko's. Quickly summing up his intention as he had just walked up to me, Martin Ross seemed to be a kind soul and all he needed was three dollars, so I bought it. He told me he used to do Yoga, when I commented your ideas are close to Buddha's teachings. My friends walked up and all pretended like he did not exist, avoiding him and us. This was very telling, it showed lack of simple respect for another human being. But I cannot tell people how to be, as I am no where near perfect and have done the same at times. Here is Martin's piece and it borders on the nature of life that Buddha came to:
"From Body to Spirit" 11/09
Brothers and sisters the true purpose of life is to free ourselves from our dependency on the earth's resources. The main resource that we use on this planet is food. The food that we eat, that comes from the earth, brings us into contact with the earth and its resources. Our physical body is made of the food we eat on this planet. Our physical body is made is also known as our gross body. Our true purpose is to transcend our gross body and develop our fine body or spirit. Our spirits are immortal, omniscient, omnipotent, and are not dependent on the earth's resources. The way we transcend our gross body is by restricting our diets. When we eat the food on this planet it covers our spirits with matter and causes us to become dependent on the earth and its resources. This is why we must try to compose our diets of lighter foods, and also try to eat less, less often. If we practice eating this way we will eventually shed our mortal shell or gross body and become our true self which is spirit.
These do not refer to "the mission" in Finding Gratitude below.

27 November, 2009

Finding Gratitude

What if you woke up, with a little bug in your ear to do something that was good? It was far stronger than wanting to make myself happy. Like eating breakfast. How rare! The previous night at nearly midnight just as I was wrapping up the day, I got an email from an acquaintance about his father’s death. So, I stayed up to send condolences and to tell him what to expect. Recalling it like it was yesterday(my own father's death) I hoped to share some of my wisdom. It made for interesting dreams, but it came back how I could make someone else happy upon waking on Thanksgiving. Perhaps, it can be contagious once you stop thinking about yourself. At least I hope so. Anyway, I won’t go into details about what I did Thanksgiving morning because it would sound too self-congratulatory. When my mission was completed, I had no plans after serving lunch to a friend of mine. It was funny how as soon as I completed doing something nice for someone else, the phone rings. Another friend called to join his friends for a great Thanksgiving dinner. I was welcomed as old friend, going on for hours, relaxing and very tasty.

I wanted to write what I am grateful for after I spoke about it in my new dhamma meeting on Tuesday. These people don’t know me or are familiar with my injury. I am well aware that at first glance I appear to be totally normal, but once I speak the freak comes out or more appropriate my brain injury shines. I tried as best I could to say that I am grateful for my injury, coma, and my family’s love to help me see the way out. I wanted others to hear, that people suffer in ways they can’t even imagine…I know personally that being aware of others whips you out of the self-cherishing hell we all obsess on. That is why I volunteer to help others see there is a life... out of the hospital, when they return home and answer any questions they have about that transition. I try to convey the remainder of life should be seen with gratitude. It not easy to maintain all the time, but to reel back in when your view snaps back to worries and fear about yourself. You have to find resources within you that you didn’t know where there. This ability that we all have, I am so grateful for. It makes me more human.

23 November, 2009

The Choice of Suffering

“need new blades”

I post in advance when I go to see the monks once a month for lunar observance, in hopes of finding someone interested enough to come. I have asked many friends, and acquaintances at yoga as well. They say the third time is a charm, and I was contacted by man living a spiritual life(similar to a monk) out of his own choosing. I won’t go into details as to why he chose this path, but it involves some difficult suffering. We talked about the fact that the idea of the suffering is much more difficult than the actual occurrence. It made for an interesting ride there and back, and to watch someone else’s change upon leaving. We both came to the understanding it is not necessary to become a monk for our individual spiritual goals. I added that if I did it would be because my wisdom would naturally dictate I should do it to serve others better. When we arrived early, I wanted to rest, as it is a lot for a brain-injured person to drive 3 hours and talk in a car. But I tried to rest until I heard the gong sound of time to talk to the monks before the evening meditation. I asked in my stilted tongue of the head monk, “Is suffering was the quick path to wisdom?” in a joking manner. The idea came out in our discussions on the way up there. In his answer he pointed out that suffering is not the path, it leads us away from it. Talking about the arrow sutta, where if you were shot with an arrow(physical pain or getting sick, for instance), then the second arrow would be the mental suffering. You can choose to feel only one arrow, the physical pain. If we enjoy the self-created mental turmoil then, we chose to suffer the second arrow. This was one quick way to remind myself how I think about any kind of suffering. After that causal talk then we started the chanting and the evening meditation. Two hours later we were lucky enough to hear the Buddhist nun's individual stories before continuing on until 3:30 am. They are opening a new monastery in San Francisco, which will soon be up and running by the New Year. Curious, I got a chance to talk to one particular nun about her ideas of a sangha for their new monastery. I was, of course tired at 4am, but felt really mentally awake and calm. And whether my company talked to me or slept... I was content.

19 November, 2009

Surprise Ending

Our Buddhist Meeting is at a large church because you know that they have lots of space. Tonight, I am finishing up my last immediate meditation class, and hoping to snag a happy face sticker(kidding). We have some great talks among us in this small class. And it is beginning to feel like a real sangha. We have covered the The Four Brahma Viharas:
1. Metta: loving kindness
2. Karuna: compassion
3. Mudita: sympathetic joy
4. Upekkha: equanimity. We are going overtime talking about our experiences with equanimity cutting into our usual 40-minute meditation. Finally breaking to meditate in this different room than we meet in normally, as there is another meeting/seminar taking over much of the space. The eight of us with the teacher settle on our mats or chairs, and close our eyes. It wasn’t even one minute into it a guy in the hallway from the other group bursts out in a hilarious cackle. A hallway posted with meditation class in progress—please be quiet. Once, would be fine, but obviously he talking to a few others and it continues in developing bursts of sillyness. It is so unique that it tickles you rather than annoy you. We continue our meditation each of us fiercely trying not to keep from joining him in laughter, because his is so contagious. That is, until we simultaneously all burst out laughing with tears flowing and red faces. What a funny way to end an interesting class with real Mudita. I thought about how laughter is as contagious as anger. To meet laugher with laugher is a hell of lot more fun than to meet anger with anger. The man’s laughter was similar to this one.

18 November, 2009

Painting the World with Right Intention

In one of meditations which I did at Buddhist monastery last night... it came to me, why my partner and I met and carry on to this day 9 years later. People assume it was because of attraction... say like I like his smile, lips & calm ways and say he likes say my eyes, height and do it mentality. But what really makes us work well comes from his Buddhist teachings from birth and have since inspired my path. In particular, in the wisdom of the eightfold path, the second one is right intention(other names are right resolve, or thought) and forms his decisions from actual wisdom. He felt much the same as I did that our individual intentions originate from a good heart, which weighed a lot more than our physical attraction between us. This lead to right action to continue the relationship against all odds. The first time we departed, there was loss from both sides of the other's good heart and thus formed a real base to come back to and work from. Now years later, even we have disagreements and the few times argue, yet we know deep down that they may be misunderstandings or delusions on either side that caused it rather than and intention to hurt the other person. We all have expectations not met and delusions surrounding them, but with right intention we can climb any hill. This is not written to whittle down our love to simple facts, but these same facts help develop a mature loving relationship.

13 November, 2009

Warm Fall Chill

Busy editing photos and getting over being sick, so I am lazy to write. Shot this while walking to get paint to faux my door. Yes, I still can move.
I thought I would jazz it up to reflect my warm heart. Enjoy

12 November, 2009

Wisdom from Grandma

I really wish I had these techniques down when I first starting dating.
It would have saved me from buying Disco shoes and party favors!
I guess what I really needed was....a good talking to.

10 November, 2009

Finite Reality

My brother said once to me when speaking about his kids he adores, "Not only I have I given them life, but also disappointments, heartache, illness, and death." It was a very aware statement, and not meant as a curse, but these all come with life. Part and parcel. Spinning off this I thought about my finite time on this planet. My family is close, and we talk a lot. My brother and I talk a couple times a year and email a handful a year, unlike my sister who we talk quite frequently. It is understood how busy he is with work and his two adorable kids who take much of his free time away from him. It is not a matter of love, and if I happen to die tomorrow I will do so knowing he loves me as I do him. But what does come to mind, is I can actually count the number left of his calls before I die. It becomes a very finite small number, whereas my sister’s calls seem infinite. Let's say 80 more calls providing I don't die tomorrow for the sake this argument. Then what I should really do is make every conversation we have free of petty worries, and normal bitchiness about my life. It will be difficult, yet mindful awareness on my part. Thinking back to the monks I met last June, they never complain about life, and are always inquisitive about you. It is not about them, so now I will work towards making it about my brother and his kids…for my brother.

08 November, 2009

Children of The Pyre and Bombay Summer

Coming out of Children of The Pyre, one thing that keeps coming back to me is how can the filmmakers walk away? One boy when interviewed said they work there to eat, and help their families ... “send my family 5000 rps($106) a month and I'll stop everything!”

Then Bombay Summer which offers a sensual slow pace of character development with none of that multi-tasking frenzy of CNN's Situation Room. Refreshing! Showing that some choices in life are made for us and we have to work with our karma.

Murals in my Life

After living in the mission in the 80’s and early 90’s it was a natural for me to go to Book Launch of Street Art San Francisco: Mission Muralismo Friday night where I shot these four. A great collection of Murals tracing their post-war origins to present focusing on the last 30 years. I was busy trying to find a good shot, and the guy reading the book that ended up being the last one. I asked him if he was going to buy it, and if not I would... so I could get several artists to sign it. That was luck, and an ironic shot. Leaving, I shot one of my painterly photos seen here. Feeling happy while walking through the park, I practiced my Pali chants, accidentally dropping my phone case in the dark. By the time I noticed because it was in my unfeeling hand I was in a nearby neighborhood. I was feeling around and a guy said, “You dropped something.” But he never saw me drop it, and it was only reading my searching body language. Which left me a little puzzled why he would offer this useless info. But I was determined to remain calm, retraced my steps in the street lit area. Not finding it, I got to my car to get a torch and ran back and found it deeper in the park. It was never a problem, because I did not let it become a problem.

03 November, 2009

Dimming Opinions

After last week’s response when I chirped in my opinion to another woman working too hard in yoga, I have done some reflection. I got a few opinions, in fact just a little too many and maybe I can use this as jumping off point to try to narrow giving them like candy. How about a reasonable goal of 50% less? Sure, I know that I should never give an opinion unless asked for, really. You and I know, friends and others rarely ask for your opinion unless they know for sure it reinforces theirs. I won’t repeat that old cliché. But I honestly thought that the 50 years on this planet have given some authority. Just a smidgen. Oops, maybe this is an ego problem. (shuffling feet)
Anyway, if I truly want wisdom, I have to be hell of a lot more understanding of people and the world. Each of us walks a different path, and nobody really wants my wisdom by repeating the suffering I have gone through to get it. Cry me a river, you say. I know my suffering always pales in comparison, especially now writing this over a glass of wine after meditation. So, I will go to sleep knowing I have more work to on now and in meditation for a long while. The brass ring of wisdom is always just out of reach.

02 November, 2009

Our Love is Easy

A fairly recent graduate of N.D.U.(Near Death University) of which I am alumni. Here she is with Herbie Hancock talking about her healing, and singing.

This is a treat, someone said Billie Holidayesque. Today, while meditating and totally into the peace in my mind, a 1/2 hour into it at the gym someone came right in front of me and jumped up and down. I guess it was done to see if it would disturb me, but alas, even I was shocked...never a flinch, nor did I open my eyes. I never know who did it, because when the mediation ended I did not care to find the person looking into faces. Yet, another relaxation level for me working on the fact that I may die today. Our Death is Easy!
Blog Widget by LinkWithin