30 December, 2009

Monk Cheeks

A month ago, while talking to a Buddhist nun about their new temple she remarked you look so bright and young after I told her my age. I quickly replied, “Ahh, the power of dhamma!”
Last week, I stopped by to see my ex-business partner at work and in the middle of catching up he kept looking at my face. Looking at all angles of it while talking about his life, while I customarily agree in silence. He said, “You had some work done,” but dropped it fast when with his observation he saw no scars. I let it go, because he always thinks I am doing way better than he even though I am scraping by, hand to mouth. I have been meditating a lot these last two months, to lessen my desire to be with my partner while he is busy with his Masters. Combined with knowledge that I feel more lightness of being overall. I tell him I am working on myself to be chai yen(cool heart) for him. It would be a feat, but you always have to set your goals high. Chai yen is not showing your anger or displeasure, which for him is now second nature. For me it is a different story, standing up for myself frequently being perceived as an idiot with this disability. But you know—you can't change the world, only your mind.

A couple days later, another Thai friend said you look well, and your checks are rosy. He said you have monk cheeks, having been familiar with those effects shown on monks who meditated. I said, “Really? Don’t say Olay! They got in trouble showing Twiggy airbrushed back to about a 30 yr old in an eye cream ad. So when you think meditating is too hard, just remember it takes years of worry off of your face...truly anti-aging!
aƱjali Phra Apisit >
* you inspire me

27 December, 2009

Sssh! The Sound of Silence

I was a goofy kid whenever it was real quiet, I would hear a high-pitched, silvery-like sound while day-dreaming in my room. Mom would say I have good hearing, when I mentioned I could hear high frequency of automatic door closers in the market. In Jr. High, I would ride my dirt bike out to the fields to watch the clouds, sometimes hearing the sound of silence there, too. Lately, I have been hearing it more and more, during quiet times at home and it seems like meditation helps to access it. I did not mention it back as a kid for fear of being called again a freak. I had enough problems. And now, because I felt like it might be another side effect of my brain injury, not really tying it in to the sound I heard as a kid, I never googled it. Silly me, I even thought it could be the wi-fi going to our computers.

I went to all day sit today with Buddhist Nuns, having been familiar with them from a past meeting at a monastery. The first hour was working on your body, then walking meditation.
When we came in for the second sit, Ajahn Anandabodhi began to talk about the sound of silence, as taught by Ajahn Sumedho, and she wasn’t talking about that old song. I lit up, and I wanted to burst out and say, there really is one and I am not crazy? She talked about using it to meditate on, either letting concentrate your focus, or broaden it as it encompasses everything in life. This vibration of life I can hear even now, over the drone of my refrigerator. I now know what it is, and with a day of silence I know how to how to find it. It is not something you can look for, because it exists all the time, so you know it intuitively not like a violin sound you listen for. It will come to you when your mind is quiet. It made the remainder of day a breeze to get into if I tapped into this sound. On the way home I told my friend about hearing I but afraid to mention it as a kid and later as a adult, we both laughed because he had the same experience. When I got home I looked at the course title of today’s sit: nada yoga-attending to the mysterious sound of silence and the development of it as a support for both concentration and insight, duh. So, quiet mind means your own tune, not Looney Tunes!

23 December, 2009

The BRAIN test

I can comb my teeth, and brush my hair…all by myself. I really thought I was getting better. The other day, I was online shopping as the bots don’t care about my peetch paabuum. Hummph. So, Avatar really is what your dentist's scrapes off your teeth every year. I learn something new every time I am online. I was in between a porn site Amazing Tatas and Amazon and when I hit upon a brain test. FUN-FOR-MENTALS Search engines seem to speak a language unknown to me. I decided here is my chance to shine, 'cause god knows... nobody wants a brain test for xmas.

You know, the flashing symbols and colors kind. Fingers posed over the left and right arrows, I pushed START. Thinking maybe all this meditation will help me focus. YESSS(fist pump in the air) I’m off and running trying to make my momma proud. Whooped that sucker, and then waited for my score. Computing and computing, waiting for my easy A. Look at my fingernails in the meantime. Then shock and awww it comes back with 35.8% score. That is 35.8% percent of normal folks score. Whaaaa? So, I thought maybe that glass of wine with dinner slowed me down. Cracked my knuckles and sat up straight in my chair and I cranked it up again. Ready, Set, Go! I’m off and feeling like I got the feel of this test. Is it the shape or the color? Not any hard calculations involved, or mysterious lingo. It came back with 35.9%! I guess the learning curve is set high.

I slumped in my chair, poured another glass of wine. Geez, I am that brain dead, and all the nice things people say about have far I have come ...they must be talking about when I was a coma…duh! It is a god-damned miracle I can smile anyway, so forget all those brain tests. They are a distraction to keep you from noticing they raised your health care premium yet again. And you got better things to do like last minute shopping buzzed on 2 double peppermint lattes. So, I just want you to know that even when it all seems like a waste of time and it is so damn impossible to get that unique gift that says YOU…take a breath, stare at your nose and make sure you are still attached. Whew! Yes, you can still hold it altogether to say Happy Holidaze!

18 December, 2009

Inside Your I

I have always had good taste and eye for art. Sometimes making it my living or a least an interesting hobby. But, my main focus in creativity lately has been my mental experience. Putting that first above all, to clear out the garbage we often call the stresses of our lives. Notice the “our” part of it? No one is immune from the feelings of stress and worry. They only take slightly different forms for each of us. It takes a leap of faith to approach it differently and dissect it all. Enhancing the observation with daily meditation. So, I am now creating my experience.

We all have problems from big to small. Sometimes many small ones dumped into a huge pile to make them bigger and thus seem often too big to conquer. They seem to beg for being unloaded in the company of others. I will be so glad when I will cease complaining as a way of bonding with others. It is a common habit with me. Along with my anger and frustration even in its minor forms. Adding space between my ongoing thoughts and shazam throwing the switch to allow me to channel it into a better end result. For all of us, me and you. It, for me, would not be possible without the two or three times a week with sangha listening to dhamma following meditation. I am creating the peaceful experience of all us have in our brain. It lies like a winter bulb before spring waiting for a planting when you finally get tired of the same old way of thinking. So my eye is less likely to fall upon my strong sense of I, instead the peace that is growing and creating a sense of lightness about life. Something worthwhile to fall back on.

14 December, 2009

Missed Action

I encountered more airport fun on the way back, when an already hour and half late plane, was crammed with stand-bys. Taxied out and ready for takeoff, when a guy came out of the rest room only to find a passenger in his seat. It was just a two rows back from me on the opposite side of the plane. Neither party was mad, but the woman who was rushed in the plane by the agent did not have a ticket for her seat. The pilot came on the intercom to say we have to go back to let a standing passenger off. Meanwhile, this extra passenger explained what happened to two flight attendants as we took the plane back. They were bit miffed that she had no seat ticket, so they started to attack.

She was a standby nearby the gate when the agent said, go, hurry! The temperature was rising, as you have a late plane full of unhappy people. I really felt her embarrassment, and see she was a bit red in the face. The man standing was pretty quiet to not add fuel to the fire, since he was in the bathroom when he was no supposed to be. I had no place to be in hurry, having missed my meeting with the late flight. I had volunteered earlier to take a later flight if need be, when I found out the plane was going to be late. They did not use me. I thought this would be a great time to offer my seat to the lady, and get off in her place. But the most difficult thing with my speech disability, it times like this the flight attendants will we be so focused on her, that when I speak…they will say, “Sit down, sir! or What do you want?" I know these situations so well, having had people before never taking the time to let me speak. I just had the limo company when I called to say I would be late, hang up on me. I was tired, and exhausted so my speech would not be at its best.

I was thinking it be a proper ego-busting situation to get off the plane for her, even though she was just trying to get an earlier flight and no emergency. I did not speak up to the attendants, because I knew they would be so focused on who to put the blame on when they write up their report. I failed because I had myself to think of me first, which we all know is way too easy. Thinking about it, is not an action. Everyone thinks, few act. Next time I will act. I am sorry I let her down.

12 December, 2009

Avoiding the Storm

I find it interesting to have a bunch of things happen in a row, when you least expect it, giving you a chance to use all you have learned so far. I had a chance to talk to my driver to the airport about how anger affects us, and we compared his findings with mine agreeing on all the points.

Upon arriving with enough time, looking at the mess we all know is any airport during the holidays, I tried to check in on the computer terminals. The confirmation number did not work, and I was put in a huge line to see one of two agents for all of United in a major airport. Next to my line was a huge line to go through security. I waited for 1/2 hour in line, helping other people get help and find their way, because no staff was all that helpful, and it kept me for being worried about time. Laughing to keep it light. Then my bag handle broke which made me laugh harder, I got busy quickly trying to make the shoulder strap work in its place. Doubling it up over the two loops riding conveniently above the broken handle, I figured I would fix when I returned home. Or wrap it around the next surly agent that I came into contact with…just kidding. I had to check my bag, only for the liquid restrictions on carry-on for my shave cream. $20 wasted there. It is getting so crazy that it is almost easier to travel with nothing and buy when you arrive. While in the security line, I let a woman with a close flight time jump in, and tried to help get her closer to the screeners and hopefully get through faster. The “me’s” where out in full force. I like it when everyone around plays deaf when they think they might lose their place in line.

The man behind and I were trying to rush her through, it became so chaotic that in packing my trays, and removing my shoes …my camera fell off my shoulder and hit the ground. The guy behind me said, “Not good!” but I smiled and said, “That is life.” I got through, but my hat did not, it fell out of the bins in scanner. I think it was struck inside. I asked around and no one found it, so I bid adieu to my favorite hat. So, I just made it on time through the checkpoint only to find the plane was late, and then also sat 45 minutes on the runway. Now, I know I could drive faster than taking a plane, and less hassle. All that transpired in two hours would drive anyone nuts, but I decided not to be angry or frustrated. For someone with aphasia who when I speak to anyone, I have to repeat myself many times with them looking all crazy at me. Just dealing is twice as hard as normal people experience. It takes work and constant monitoring how I feel and tweaking it towards the wisdom that you know will produce the right outcome…patience with life’s unpredictability thus avoiding the storm of anger.

10 December, 2009

09 December, 2009

What Ego?

Many times I will encounter a new person not familiar with me, and upon speaking they will get very uneasy, because I don’t have any real obvious signs of physical signs of brain injury. And then if receptive they immediately wish me well, like I am dying or getting sicker. I really can't win. I just laugh knowing, I was a sicker bitch before the brain injury and they don’t know how lucky they really are.

Losing a little touch with my ego, that fragile house of cards gradually has brought some lightness of being this past year. I can’t tell you how many times I caught myself trying to whip up some bitch about something to prove how smart I really am. It doesn’t mean that I am 100% successful in letting go, but it is a process rewarded with laughter. When I am my aware of when I experiencing the dis-ease with life and catch it before it transforms into anger, or dissatisfaction. It feels, at first, like I am denying myself the right to be angry – the ego is that powerful. If by chance, I am right this time, what do I really stand to gain? We often get angry and don’t think beyond this instant to the aftermath of the tornado. But now with daily meditation I have downloaded somewhat, each day, the myriad of worries and stuff that we file to use at a later date. This gives me the 2 seconds I need to take a better path. For instance I see the object of my anger(often times someone else) walking away unscathed and unaware of my metal turmoil, by laughing at myself. Not always out loud, but at least loosing the belt a notch, a little sigh and big smile. My father got me hooked on being right as a means to live and make your self seem better than others. But being right is tightly wrapped around your ego, that same ego that if looked closely at it, it is a mental construct held by you only, not the world.
DISCLAIMER: I got plenty more ego where that came from, this is to inspire me and recognize I am on the right path. I know I will never become ego-less, but I would settle for half of its current power.

05 December, 2009

More Connected to Our Physical World?

Are you talking to me or your damn airline ticket?
More things to keep you busy, and thus not being present. Cool, but hella distracting! Just when you thought blue-tooth headsets were annoying! HA!

04 December, 2009

Testing My Path

While moving along the Buddhist Path, I can get kinda cocky with a bunch of meditation under the belt. Feeling the wisdom slipping through the crack under the door, I relax on my self- examination.

Then a nice friend will do something out of the blue and you realize how selfish you really are or just not giving enough. That is one thing that can quickly be a splash of coffee on your white shirt.

But even tougher is when a sibling emails you to tell you how much you have screwed up her life and spews hatred that drills right into your heart. Sure, it all made up and just shows how the mind can quickly write a great fictional story. I am talking about my sister, who is amazingly bright and was very close to me for years.

Sadly, she is paranoid schizophrenic and this can be expected. By now my Buddhist teaching should be strong enough to carry me over this assault from a sick person. When I read her email everything flys out the door. I am first pissed, then, incredibly hurt. Why? Because I still love her, or at the least the person I used to know.

Can I still love her, after nearly two years of very elaborate hateful emails that cut through the very heart of who I am? And before that, almost 20 years of a very rocky road while she was in and out of hospitals, and never knowing if I am hated or loved. All the times I have cried about her unlucky roll of the genetic dice, has never changed all the pain she has gone through. It comes a time when your own self-preservation rides higher in the saddle than her sickness…she has forced me to totally cut her out of my life. She is that sick, even with her drugs. Any kind of success: be it financial, or in my case spiritual is a threat to her. She even thinks me being gay has affected her relationships.

After alienating my brother about 10 years ago, and now me…she is chopping the men out of her family, as a vendetta against my dead father. One can clearly see her mind works, and with a master’s degree she can spin a story so believable to herself. There is no doubting it for her. She has been moving further and further away from what is left of her family. Now she is far, far, away on the other side of the globe running from her mind and I will probably never see her again. She found her mind still follows her. No matter where you go, there you are! I do now and will continue to send her love during meditation and dedicate my merit to her, but it takes only one email and it quickly shatters anything left between us. You will probably say have a heart, she is not well…just give her a break. But, this will continually test everything I have learned so far on the path, and will keep me working diligently.
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