30 January, 2010

Only the Wonderful Remains

We often forget that in just a few years, especially when compared to Earth’s age, we will soon be dead and all our worries will die with us. Hopefully, you have not dumped them on to another friend or family member like cooties, forgetting that they have their own worries. I leaned over to speak with a woman on the plane, separated by an unfilled seat and we talked about flying. Started the conversation with a curiosity, noting a radio she had in hand. She had it to listen to the control tower lingo, and added that she also flew. “It’s easy to learn, and you just got to get up with an instructor and see if you like it.” She told me that he had to stop flying when her kids were born, but now older and have they left home …she can resume her flying hobby. She was small, and she joked about being able to stand without bending over underneath the overhead compartments.

I offered my view that we so often look at what is wrong or bad, instead of looking to what is good in every situation. I know I still gravitate much easier to what I don’t like in any given situation. Even last night, exhausted I woke up, unable to sleep, feeling angry, but able to laugh at myself and quickly pick up a book that I am reading. It is interesting enough to wind me back down. I do like silence when I read with my aphasia, to get the most out a book and be fully absorbed. So it worked to my favor, waking up unexpectedly. This is one of the small miracles of life that we could be easily be happy about but pass it over quickly to being upset. Moving back to a world that seen has a lot more earthquakes, floods, wars, and economic downturns than we ever possible imagine, all our worries pale in comparison. We are really just a speck on a fly in existence in the cosmic scheme of things and our ability to look beyond is purely an awareness that we can learn and adopt. This adoption saves us from despair and depression instead of our normally small view of our life we maintain just to boost our ego.

Life is a truly a dream,
All troubles I alone create
When I stop creating, the trouble stops.
With a single mind, with an unbounded heart
We wake up to the Wonderful Existence
within True Emptiness
That we are in the middle of right now.
When all the world ceases to exist,
Only the Wonderful remains.

— Bhikshu Heng Chau

23 January, 2010

When Being Right is Wrong

On this wisdom path, some things just tickle you like seeing a sweet humming bird. A week ago at yoga, the teacher walked in a tiny bit late but full of piss and vinegar. The subway was slow and subjected him to an evil abusive man and his female prey/conjugate. He said, that he knew she was being abused, but without direct proof there while riding in the subway, he felt powerless. It bugged him, added on top of it the train was late.

He tired his best to make it into a lesson for the class, but his internal temperature and tone was not very good. So, like a tornado he brought the bad energy into class, and we all felt it. I even found myself irritated and I even had just finished a half hour meditation before it started. I continued pushing past the first half hour where I felt like walking out and I could see how it was affecting my poses. Anger is like this, I say. Thinking, he is human and has feelings and to be compassionate I will use this as practice to maintain a cool heart. I have brought bad energy to situations myself, now I can see first hand how it affects people.

Several friends said after class, “I don’t think I will ever attend his class again.” I said, “I felt this same way and it wasn’t professional, of course… but he is young and still a good teacher.” His intent was not to make us as irritated as he was. This week in class he did not mention it, and nor did I...so we were seemlessly back on track. I could have said something to him and stormed out of that class making a scene. Thus, doing so would only prove what a friend said about me years ago, “You have the ability to piss off all the right people.” Being right in this instance is raising my temperature and mood to meet him head on. With an ego mind, I would look to myself as hero, but to everyone else a fool. But, I am everyone else so the fool precedes the hero.

Meditation allows me to see this, to look beyond the immediate moment, often called “Being Right,” to what do I really want to see as a final outcome. If I want happiness... then, I have to be happiness even when I don’t get it all my way. Today, I went to the same teacher’s hour and half yoga clinic, and we sat talking about leg positions when sitting like old friends. The future you want can suddenly be right here, reminding you of the work you did do to casually open the door to let the happiness back in.

21 January, 2010

David Blaine: How I held my breath for 17 minutes

One of the most touching part of the video is shown at nearly the end telling of his passion for what is does. Similar to this, occasionally I'll do something good for someone when it is not preplanned, and totally spontaneous(and feels natural)...I will get flushed...a sign of my true heart's desire.

18 January, 2010

Mirror, Mirror....Not!

My powerbook walked back into my life after coughing up some cash, with a new hard disc and a folder named recovery divided by the two passes the computer guy did on the messed up hard drive. Reminds me of my body just after the strokes. How come crime specials always recover all the data? Because life is not like fiction. It is funny that even with this remedy, it still involves some work to figure it all out salvage what is left and merge and then purge. With increased wisdom you will know there will always be something needing to be fixed, whether it is your house, car, computer or partner. That happiness is not derived from having all your wants lined up.

That is why I came home after a long day with volunteer projects with the computer that needs to be weeded and backed up, and sat down to meditate. Knowing that if I start the process without a clear mental state, I will quite possibly make more of a mess or at the very least, get all wound up. This is not the procrastinators’ approach to life, but instead using some wise scraps that seem to follow me as walk down this path.

I spent my Saturday learning the 32 parts of body meditation. A overview in one day, of what and how your are supposed to understand that you are not your body by chanting and visualizing those 32 parts, building concentration, and perhaps healing where you store your feelings. A day was way too short, they often do it for a minimum of 10 days to as long a 8 months in Burma. I thought that this method might work very well over a longer time period, but I have pretty much figured out the idea I am not my body, from being in a coma with nurse talking like I was not “there.” That combined with my whole experience in hospital now has left me so that when ever I look in the mirror, I don’t see me but a body, because I know very concretely I am much more than whatever barks back. A mirror cannot possibly contain everything I am now. I look back every time now and laugh.

15 January, 2010

Haunts of the Unresolved

This blog is Buddhist based and it is my path, and I will often say "it is where the skin hits the road," because to fully mature into wisdom you have to look at everything you do—Right or wrong and learn from it. Maybe you won't learn right away, because it is not in your Karma. I won't be able to wax on about the suttas, well frankly because it is still difficult to read with my injury. Moving on, my mom is currently helping a woman is not even related to her. A woman related to her new husband who has now outlived her own daughter. At 96, she is pretty good physically but now her mind is going. Lately, she is regressing, reliving her childhood and delving into unresolved issues from when she was a child. It is painful for my Mom, only because it reminds her of what she has to look forward to. I chirped in foolishly(not wisdom), you should work on unresolved issues while you still can, referring to her relationship with my father.

Turning the cards on myself, I thought about what unresolved issues that I have. Perhaps, one was with my partner at the time of my accident. We had some issues, although not unfixable way back then, but you know timing is everything. My family was close to him as they spent a lot of time together while I was in the hospital. I loved him and my family loves him and still continues to this day.

I knew that I had to come to grips with my disabling condition, and lack of speech. He wanted to move in with me and take care of me, but I knew myself well enough to know that all the little problems you have, your partner then becomes the object of all your anger and frustrations. I had to figure out who and what I was, post injury. I thought it would be best for him. Talking with a close friend in advance of making this big decision at such a fragile time in my life, I broke down, knowing that I might lose him. It was a heavy decision and one I did not take lightly. I told him to go back to school, and give me a year to figure it all out, to hopefully save him from my anger. Well, as real sign of the problems we faced going into this, he got extremely hurt and vanished from my life for years. I was exhausted and devastated and it amazes me I never saw a neuropsychologist through all this. I had mailed him an explanation leading up to my decision, not blaming him but professing my love still, even though apart.

Years passed, and I began to date again, but I still had hopes of getting back. I finally found him and reconnected, and told him of my travels and stuff. I wanted to see if we could make this work, even if was at a friendship level. I valued him that much, as we go back more than 18 years. Things were going pretty good as friends, and we enjoyed the long banters on the phone, and occasional visits. I think that as it progressed, he did not want to be hurt again and decided to kill it to have a sense of control. I can only guess that this why he took this into his own hands. I was a bit shocked and hurt not unlike how he was years ago. I was pretty settled into my current partner and our commitment was a done deal, yet this is the unresolved issue with somebody I still love and have respect for. All my previous long-term partners have progressed into friendships, and a few of my dreams have included him. If there is one thing I would like to do, is make sure he is happy and loved at the least. He played a key role in the person I am today and offered some insights during our partnership, that I am only just now appreciating. All I can do now, is send him love when I meditate. Thank you for your love, BTD.

14 January, 2010

Whatever Life Throws at Us

Taking a full day to meditate like I did this past Sunday is one of the best things I can ever do, to wipe my slate clean of worries and annoyances. I had my computer’s hard drive fail, potentially losing my photos from April 2009 until current. For some reason my back up drive that was plugged in two days before my hard drive failure did not copy them all even though it was supposed to. I have a guy working on trying to remove them for my old defunct drive. But you know, I am prepared to lose them now with this meditation on the impermanence of things. Ironic that it included my novice photos, I guess to remind me to do it again!

Although my day of mediation only produced one moment of bliss in the morning session, and hours of mild discomfort when it ended at 5 pm and I booked home for another sit at a church ending at 9pm. I awoke early on Monday, and a friend in Thailand asked me to help design and write something for him, and I dropped everything to do it for him at 6am. My “me” was significantly squashed for the time being and I proceeded to enjoy real lightness and bliss all of Monday. Tuesday, I was scheduled to help clean up the Nun’s Vihara backyard. After I enjoyed tea, and talked with them, and they asked, “Would I return to do more? I said, Of course! The lightness tampered off each day, but I was far less anxious and very awake. On Wednesday, I was rushing to clean my house and had a bucket of soupy water to clean my floors and the handle broke and dumped the entire bucket all over my bedroom’s floor. Surprisingly (especially for me!), I did not curse or get startled. And quickly got towels to absorb the mess.

Later that evening, I made it to meet a dhamma friend on time at a Zen Center, arriving early enough to squeeze 40 minute sit while waiting for the talk to start. We agreed to go try it, just to see what it is like but content with our Theravada practice. I joked, “It is same Buddha!,” after when we were discussing the dhamma lesson that was not unlike ours. Anyway, the teacher walked in to prostate, acting very deliberate which I thought was on account of being Zen. But after she prostate, she asked a nun nearby, "Was that three times? Walking very carefully around to sit down I felt something was wrong.(besides being Zen, lol) She sat down to talk, and immediately integrated the teaching with her own story about how she was hit by a construction wall just after she placed a quarter in a parking meter. My jaw dropped. She spent the last year and half just trying to relearn most everything. I later said to my friend, I was meant to come to this talk. She continued on with her talk and I just smiled and kept quiet about my own brain injury when the floor was open for questions at the end. I thought hard, about what would help her, as I could see she was working very diligently to recover while still showing signs of a brain injury.

I waited until after the talk and met her aside, and said one thing that worked wonders for me, was having a “funeral” for old self…a wake or a party. This allows you to discover the new person you become and relax about expectations based on this old self. Because it is never coming back, really. She said, “Even your obvious side effects with speech, you seem so alive. Your eyes so bright!” I replied, “Dhamma helps! Thanks for your teaching about being ready for whatever life throws at us.” We really have no idea, and living in an earthquake zone— Haiti teaches us it can be far worse than we ever imagined.

09 January, 2010

The Things We Lose

I have lost a few loves in my life, lost most of my retirement during the dot com crash, and lost my health and ability with my brain injury. Some things comes and go, like my health returned somewhat, with determination. Now it is apparent to me that this is natural part of life, and to stay on the path of wisdom, you have to roll with life’s punches and learn lessons...sometimes twice. Most certainly as you age you lose more and more abilities, so that by the time you retire you are just about shot! Every insurance companies and the federal government are not betting on your side. So, the path of wisdom is to prepare yourself mentally and this doesn’t mean digging your heels deeper and grabbing on tighter. In this losing process, you don’t have to lose your cool by learning to let go of one’s attachments to things. It is very much an ongoing lesson, so that when death comes, you will be that much more prepared and may even be able to slip into meditation as you pass.

Losing things does not have to be traumatic, it took a couple of days of coming to this conclusion when I lost money, to say, “Money is money, and money is not me!” And, I came to this 10 years ago proving I was on the road earlier than I thought. Perhaps, I knew deep down after surviving my near death that I am much more than the external things that seem to rule our lives. So this path is rediscovering the essence of who you really are. Looking around at what you have in your house that will soon be in someone else’s home or the trash, will help you know instinctually that you are not what you have, regardless of what advertising tells us. And whenever you feel a bit lost, or a bit sad go right outside of yourself and talk to a neighbor, friend or your partner and offer help, because the one thing you never lose is your kindness and connection with others. Your origination was from the kindness of your mother, because if she did not take care of you, you would not be reading this. So we started with kindness, and hopefully we end this fast trip with kindness for our self and others.

06 January, 2010

The Ripple Effect

I'm trying to set an intention to smile a lot more, even when it is painful, or even when I carry some irritation. We all can find something that bugs us, and even when we don’t ….we make some up! It is alarming to see a smiling man, and this morning I was gesturing for another car to go ahead, applying patience and a man waiting for a bus waved back at me. He saw a smile, and me waving…so he waved back, as the car was directly behind him. That made me smile more instead of getting annoyed that my intended target wasn’t him.

Which brings me the idea of intention. How if we proceed in the world with good intentions, there are ripple effects, like people who ignored you… before smile and ask how you are. But getting caught up with expectations in every moment, will also bring suffering when your good intentions are wrought with selfishness. Oftentimes you can smile and great strangers with an open heart, and not see the effects it has in their life. Someone unseen could reap the good fortune. Give it a think. That unknown someone could be nice to your friend, who when inspired by the stranger, might show up at your house with dinner. You benefit from someone else inspired by your ripple. I know from my meditations, which I have said before, help to download my worries and fears daily, thus freeing me up to be spontaneously happy and great the world with a smile more than before. A word of caution if you are smiling to piss off that angry person you encounter everyday(especially while driving), you are not doing it with pure intention. Tonight, while driving to temple a truck behind me had his brights on, and although I really wanted to get out my car at a light and tell him, I had to remind myself, that he just wanted to be happy. I just pointed my mirrors skyward and patiently continued until he left on a turn. It was inconvenient, but was hardly life threatening and my goal is too relax about things you can’t control. So, in this instance by not getting angry, and confronting the person, I, in effect, stopped a potential ripple of anger.

02 January, 2010

What is Your Trigger?

After I saw this talk, “Photographing the Hidden Story” it brought up several questions in my mind. As a photographer can you access other peoples emotion, really? Sure, in some cases, but I feel that if the said audience has never had a emotion that involved someone that they are not personally connected to before…how will they now? At what point does one access heart felt emotion to apply to an unrelated person? Do we have to play emotional music to emphasize? We all share the range of emotions of human existence, and sometimes totally unrelated to the specific image or incidence we can reassign deep pain we have felt in the past to them. What is your trigger? Are we just a bundle of stored emotions waiting to be unleashed? I know that sometimes in my meditations I can find where I take a worry and turn into displeasure or disgust in another human being...stopping this trigger right in motion. What do you access? Loneliness, a breakup,or perhaps a death. Share with other readers below. You can post anonymously.

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