31 December, 2010

Firsts in 2010

Some firsts in 2010 that I’m grateful for:

Trying Kirtan with Jai Uttal even with a speech disability. Leading me to watch Manose on flute play for his mother…touching.

Offering my home to a stranger….and watching Meditation transform someone else.

Meditating with Nuns, celebrating female wisdom.

Yoga with “Ms. Happy Toes” Rachel, with super positive vibes and who taught us while pregnant …always ends the class with a chant. When was last time someone sang for you?

Having a new injury to remind me that my time nears, urging me to more compassionate and showing me the indispensable power of the Dhamma, yet again.

Watching a transformation in a monastic of letting go …allowing the clear light of wisdom shine through.

27 December, 2010

Offloading on Monastics

A woman stood up in the Sangha, unveiling a nightmare of family problems afraid of where it leaves her mind state in an upcoming retreat. Like a car wreck, you can’t help but listen and look but also feeling compassion for her because you know how she is feeling. She can’t possibly go into enough detail to get any kind of resolution. The teacher spoke of watching your mind, her aversion and the hurt while in mediation which seemed like a good reply, because it not about others but yourself and how you handle difficulties. Everyone has some difficult hurdles in life, and it all ends with our death.

I have told teachers and monastic’s details of my life, in casual conversation to help them understand why I say my sister’s name about whom to chant for during prayers. I spoke of her paranoia and schizophrenia that took her away from the family. She loves her delusions. I don’t really expect any monastic or teachers to solve my problems. I do see many a person, having never come for prayers or a Dhamma talk, offload on them, treat them like free therapy. They have given up a lot in the pursuit of wisdom, no drinking, no eating whatever and whenever you want and wearing the same robe. They suffer and probably still do…they are human beings stuck in Samsara. A fair bit of compassion should be held, by us lay folks. Maybe even respect, like make an appointment so they are prepared. When it asked for and the timing feels right, by all means discuss things that getting in the way of your spiritual progress. To give them a logical way to approach your problems, in the framework of the Sangha, their experience and your own growth. I am by no means saying to suck it up, but everything in life has its time and place. Sometimes, you will see a monastic saying nothing as you cry, from their wisdom seat they know nothing they say can be said to make you feel better…don’t be surprised.

24 December, 2010

Month of Silence in January

I was sleeping and settled into one of my complex, but fun dreams when I awoke a kicking sound on my house. I heard some giggling and talking, and rolled over to go back to sleep. Once I am awakened by something out of the ordinary it is usually hard to go back to sleep, as the mind goes towards the sound. I lay down with my hand on my heart and my belly to try to ignore it, but I can't. Looking out of my bedroom window, I realize that three dot-com kids were drinking and smoking, but not really raising hell, is a flashback to my club days. I am them. I think how best to make them aware that the casual kicking of my wall while they talk, magnifies like a drum in my bedroom. I can no longer be the hilarious joker I was in the past with my speech problem, but I really want to go outside and say, “Ahh, While dreams of sugarplums dance in my head!” I want them to know, but in a lighthearted way. So I go outside, with a smile say, “Yes? It is all good, but the kicking woke me up."

I can tell by the way the reacted that it did not piss them off and they quietly walked back down to their house below. I really did not care if they stayed, but that is the way it played out. I ended up reading an hour more in bed to quiet the mind, which quite frankly would have been the time they would have tired of being there in the cold. Was it all really necessary?

Which brings me to the desire for wisdom and peace, and much of it has to do with what goes on in my head. I know from having a sarcastic Father, and a hard upbringing that his difficulties brought on his quick and biting humor. But I really no longer have to instigate negative speech to interact with people, and of course I do it at least half as much as I did years ago. I said in an earlier post that I figure that I should go silent in day-to-day life for a month, exist with a pad and pen while out, emails and text…my life allows this. I know that I am too lazy to write anything that is not absolutely necessary for communication. I have had previous experience coming from non-speech to my present state with my injury. What has lately come to mind is the fact that I worked hard to get some of my speech back, only to use on occasion negative speech …when I am in fact happy and have a pretty good life. I try to be the light when I go the gym and do errands, but my brain injury is such that just talking is terribly difficult, so I often frown when it gets complex beyond a few words. Most of the time it is the mechanics of speech, and my desire to pick simpler words to speak for the listener. When I encounter people in stores or cafes too busy to pay attention I try to make it easier on them and thus, me ...by either waiting until I am alone with them(letting others go ahead) so they can pay attention to me talking. When they don’t or can’t it actually aggravates me when I am trying to communicate, and so my peace quickly flies out the door.

So being silent can work on two areas of wisdom at once. One being watching everything you want to say, and where the feeling comes from, and two hopefully easing some difficult times for me in interactions. What I say in most all cases is not really necessary for survival. It will be interesting to see friends and not talk. Some won’t be able to handle it and it will only be those who talk too much already.

So the month of January I will try as much as possible not to speak, except Pali prayers at temple, and will write about this. I will wear my Silence proverb t-shirt at the gym(in the hopes to inspire others), and I have told a few people my desire not to speak, so this is not yet another freaky new thing I am doing.

11 December, 2010

It Was Always Right ...Here

For the longest time, I thought being on this path would help to make me into a better person. Honestly, it seems that it actually helps to shed the crap and whittle me down to a core being who is truly a good person with pure intentions, occasionally (that is where the work comes in). What am I doing is not gaining more knowledge, but letting go of ideas I am attached to my ‘self’..the trappings of ego.

I have been thinking that I would like to do a two month retreat as a lay person or a monk like in Myanmar or Sri Lanka. In Theravada line, perhaps forest style. If anyone has ideas, please comment below.

02 December, 2010

Luck... Put Into Proper Perspective

In an effort not to pick a hot news topic and effuse my opinion on it, I am posting less and meditating more. Not to mean there is nothing to say, and there are tons of feelings about world events I would like to spout about. I obsessed about the Oregon teen terrorist case, feeling we always have money for law and prisons, but not help to channel harmful intentions into better decisions. I am beginning to understand that wisdom does not morph out of my opinions, no matter how brilliant they sound to me.

I cooked for three hours for a friend, just because it felt fun. A nice hot meal finishing with a fresh acorn squash pie for dessert. I did not tell him what I planned to serve, just called him at work asking him if he is hungry. He said he will stop by for...whatever. Pouring tons of tea, we had spoken a couple of days ago about a mutual friend. I said, “Don’t you know her mom is missing?” He replied, “What?” Then I told him what I know and the mystery surrounding. Doesn’t it all begin to make sense knowing this friend? He was obviously trying to assemble his impressions of her over the years. “It is shame, it has never been answered.”

In our conversations about what we want to accomplish before we expire we covered many of our projects. We also talked about what I feel is a real stumbling block on my path, that is, how I was brought up. It provides me one way to see the world and how I act on it…is often based on the way I was taught. Unlearning is also part of my path, and to do so, might very well take not talking for a month. I dread it, if only not being able to vent my frustrations and a few family phone calls. My life leans away from speaking constantly with my injury, but I am still not silent when out and about. The other day when I mentioned the idea to the Nuns they said, "Please, not now, but how about when we go on retreat in January?"

We again reflected on our friend, and immediately I felt better. I'm able to quickly realize the good luck I have even with this injury that allows me to ‘get over it” in many ways easier than other people. It was all learned just like learning how to meditate and reflect on my actions. And unlearning is reconfiguring myself to access the core integrity I do have and have always had. With that comes the person I would like to be, naturally. I am constantly reassuring other people when confronted by my story, that, “Yes, you would do this
the same way.” Try to find a positive outcome and pursue it, ...that is, once you get past the self-pity.

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