30 December, 2011

New Year's Wisdom from a Real Source

(click on photos to enlarge)

I've come to the understanding this year especially with my current journey away from "home" that I don't know anything. My experience in life, although somewhat unique...will never transfer over to others unless I naturally come from a realized place. This may mean I might have to shut up, to give others the space to see themselves. This happens with some monks I have encountered where I ordained or meditated with. They let you, see youself.


He is our friend who was born to be old, become ill, and die, together with us.
He is our friend swimming around in the changing cycles with us.
He is under the power of defilements like us, hence he sometimes errs.
He also has lust, hatred, and delusion, no less than we.
He therefore errs sometimes, like us.
He neither knows why he was born nor knows nibbana, just the same as us.
He is stupid in some things like we used to be.
He does some things accordingly to his own likes,
the same as we used to do.
He also wants to be good,
as well as we who want even more to be good - outstanding - famous.
He often takes much and much more from others whenever he has a chance, just like us.
He has the right to be madly good, drunkenly good, deludedly good, and drowning in good,
just like us.
He is an ordinary man attached to many things, just like us.
He does not have the duty to suffer or die for us.

He is our friend of the same nation and religion.
He does things impetuously and abruptly just as we do.
He has the duty to be responsible for his own family, not for ours.
He has the right to his own tastes and preferences.
He has the right to choose anything (even a religion) for his own satisfaction.
He has the right to share equally with us the public property.
He has the right to be neurotic or mad as well as we.
He has the right to ask for help and sympathy from us.
He has the right to be forgiven by us according to the circumstances.
He has the right to be socialist or libertarian in accordance with his own disposition.
He has the right to be selfish before thinking of others.
He has the human right, equal to us, to be in this world.
If we think in these ways, no conflicts will occur.

Buddhadasa Bhikkhu
Translated by Buddhadasa Indapanno
Mokkhabalarama, Chaiya
22 May, 2531

28 December, 2011

A Liberated Mind?

In the pursuit of wisdom in the midst of a slight funk I was reading Buddhadasa Bhikkhu on Anapanasati Bhavana about seeing if the mind is stable(done in meditation). "Normally most common people have not been emancipated spiritually in so far as the mind is concerned, so how are we going to know what a liberated mind is like? The answer is to think of the reverse of the present troubled state of mind. For example(s), if at present the mind is full of worries, a liberated mind will be just the opposite—free from all worries, if the mind clings to happiness, a liberated mind clings to nothing, not even happiness; if the present mind is troubled, chaotic and full of suffering, a truly liberated mind will be free of troubles, peaceful and calm. This is the way to picture what a liberated mind is like."
Now, we all know you can implement this in daily life as the person who meditates is the exact same one who is out trying to make sense out of daily life. We can chose to let go of mental images that provoke dis-ease and start to introduce joy even under the most difficult situations. So, how do you see yourself?
Because I think this can be an entry point. Case in point, I like people to know that I have a brain injury, so they know why talking is difficult for me, but upon further examination no one can know your suffering or understand it, they have their own and are really engaged in their own. So, exactly why would they trade sides?

24 December, 2011

A Little Bit of Joy

“An event becomes an experience
only when I am emotionally interested.
I am in a state which is complete,
which seeks not to improve on itself.
Of what use is experience to me?”

Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

22 December, 2011

10 Silent Minutes with Buddha

Can't fine the ideal time or the place to meditate?
Here you go, take 10 minutes. No surprises.

09 December, 2011

The Purpose of Samadhi

“So we see that it is most important to know about our self. How we came to be born, how we will be reborn, and when we sleep and dream what is the cause and condition for it. And again, when our thought flash here and there each moment, what it is all about.

Now that which flashes here and there in thought is called the heart. Before coming here, when still at home, your thought had already flashed here, is that not correct? And the next instant, did it not flash off to other things elsewhere? Now you are seated here, your thoughts flash back home, and elsewhere...

The purpose of is Samadhi to control these flashings of the ‘heart’. If we are able to control these flashings and keep the mind still, then he mind will attain to great power, to great utility, to great purity, and be able to achieve whatsoever the mind intends. The mind which is uncontrolled, flashing here and there, is a force which is being wasted in all directions, like a river flowing from the heights, which channelling off into streams and tributaries loses its original impetus and force. If this force were to be damned up, the power would be indeed great and could turn a great machine. So it is with the concentrated and controlled mind....”

— Teachings of
the Venerable Chao Khun Monkol-Thepmuni, Wat Pak Nam

29 November, 2011

When Wisdom Slips in the Back Door

I’ll pass this along in hopes that it helps someone else. My partner asked me to go running Monday, and we took a bus to the park and started. Shortly, he was fast ahead of me and I was running alone. I knew he had a goal in mind, but then my “I” started to feel left out. Annoyance crept in while running, I said in my head, “Why ask me to go running with you and then take off, what is the point?” The annoyance stewed into a bit more working its way toward anger. Yes, I will say it to him when we meet at the stretching bars area. So, since I had quite a bit to go, I ran it though my head, I’ll just tell him, I am going home there is no point in me being here. When I said the ‘me’ part, something sounded wrong. Then I thought that any confrontation, or showing my displeasure will throw a wrench into his happiness and bounce back on me. Obviously, this is what he wants to do right now, and again he rarely, if ever does things with any intention to hurt me. He is just setting high goals for himself that’s all, and hey, guess what? I get to enjoy his hard work, too.

I ran my course, got some water, and in effect let my annoyance go by looking at I really want. We met at the bars, and in a short time he and I were done stretching, and we walked back happily and I never said a thing. I was not just keeping a lid on it, I, instead fully examined my anger and let go of the “me” quotient. We walked to get dinner items with joy and then he bought me a sports drink. When home, he prepared dinner and laid it out, no questions. He was tired and happy. After dinner he gave me a kiss and laid his head in my still sweaty lap. He was showing his appreciation for me, and I gave him a kiss and said,
Let me shower, Na!”

The following day we went running in the park again, and without a blink… he ran only at my pace, sometimes inspiring me to run faster. This was all done without me saying what I wanted the previous day. I told him thanks, and he said, “I will run one lap with you and then workout and let you run a bit further.” By the time I ran my share and got to the bars he was ready to go, with ease and great timing. We arrived home again and I said you go shower I’ll prepare dinner, and I did laundry. He was very thankful I did it all, he had a hard day at work. Two days of bliss that I would have missed if I started my Monday with a needy demand. I felt so lucky to have some wisdom come to me during my cool down. Or perhaps it was my own words from when in the past, I've said,
I really want to make his life easier, slipped in the back door to greet me with open arms.

23 November, 2011

Moving out of Body: a quick trip.

Seeing an overseas Dr. is always is a gamble, but here I was in his office discussing “our” non-surgical approach. I relaxed immediately, sensing a caring soul who saw my point. He assessed with pressure and movement where exactly my problem lie. Shortly, after an in depth conversation he had me lie down to do deep needle therapy on my shoulder joint. My guess is it brings blood flow to the joint capsule, thus helping to heal the muscles that are inflamed that attach. Of course a few times he hit right on target, but since these are acupuncture needles they rarely hurt. I was relaxed with the trust I had in this stranger, and I left my body! It wasn’t a quick nap, as I was conscious nor a pain response because it was not that painful. When he asked how I am is very particular way, I think that he sensed I was not in the room, then I came back into my body. The only way I know this is from my near death experience and some rare instances in meditation. I was pleasantly shocked and wanted to talk to him right then about it and we finished up the needles I let it go. I left after making a follow-up physical therapy appointment.

Later that day, in the evening while in bed, I came to realize that my partner is enlightened. A new revelation based on the way he deals with me. Knowing that my nature tries to figure out the best by exploring every option, like for instance, finding a condo this trip that is good for him and me. His nature is never to get too excited about any one thing. So, when I continued to look for a better place thinking he wasn’t too impressed about this place, more like matter of fact, he just stood back and did not argue. He is very aware after 10 years together, it is my nature. There was not a need to make this into any disagreement, and it moved smoothly into me agreeing and settling here. All this was not a subtle power play, it was his innate intelligence or perhaps our previous life connection, as I had found the place in the first place. He has some qualities of enlightenment from knowing how people are. I am probably not explaining this well, but it did give even more appreciation for his being. How this ties into my out of body experience you might ask? It is that once we lose our body consciousness we naturally move towards compassion. Finding out... we are the other.

20 November, 2011

Rowing Quietly Upstream

This came to me like an old 40w incandescent bulb. My partner is staying away this weekend because he is sick and he doesn’t want to infect me. I tell him it’s up to him, and said, "I don’t care if I have to take care of you like this." But like always, when he makes up his mind it is written in stone.

I feel I most likely die when I feel my partner is OK in life. Not that it will be a firm date, or even really planned... I'll just turn the boat around and join the rest of us. Nor does the OK state have some kind of qualifiers. I will pass much like my mother will pass once she feels we are all OK(I have a schizophrenic sister that is having a hard time). If look at where I am now, and what I have become. I probably won’t “be” anything but pure love, in most instances to my partner. I am constantly reminded that he is own person, lives his life with or without me. Not in a callus way, is still in a loving and appreciative of the impact I have made on his life. He rarely asks for anything, and most all of what I have contributed to make his life easier was done on my part out of love. I don’t want him to owe me anything, and I think all this came out of my near death. A force that propelled me to fight to live, leaving me to believe that there was a bigger picture I needed to address.

That to be in the world, or to more importantly to live in this world someone had to love you, like your mother, or father… in order for you to survive. My partner was raised by some village elders unrelated that acted like grandparents to him in his case. He feels indebted to his "grandmother" who had passed just before we met, I did meet his grandfather on two visits to his home and have a great picture of the two them. I will venture to say that is grandmother passed him on to me, and he was the closet to her and it shook him when she died. It was a miracle we met but we did so, just as soon as he got over the grief.

My survival from my hospital nightmare also had a love factor involved, my family, ex-partner and nurses made it all possible. So the best thing to come out of this freaky experience is the fact that I will be known for attempting to show love, above anything else I am, do or was capable of. I don’t need to “be” anything, but what I am right now, of course, with some improvement.

15 November, 2011

Just throw a little Natural Disaster in the Mix

I arrive, to spend much deserved time with my partner. I had worked 6 months on my house, found a renter and it all seems like it was falling into place. The first weekend he had a four day break from his work which was great since my jet lag abated, but it was not as expected. He and his workmates had prepared for the Thai flood as much as they could, now it was just a waiting game.

He goes to work on Tues Oct. 18th and it is dry, but just starting to bubble up from the sewer drains, By Friday, it was a swimming pool, and he surveyed the water on the company floor and said we should start pumping now, to save the equipment, because even with the sand bags and walls built — it was seeping inside slow enough to enable pumps to keep up. The boss was busy with all the chaos, and he did not have time to do it all. My partner doesn’t come back that weekend, and he says I should prepare to get out of my condo, because the water is coming there next. I rush out and buy what I can to store water in from the hardware store, because by now all bottled water was sold out everywhere. There is a chance the city drinking water, which we filter for our use, will be either lost or contaminated. I fill four huge plastic bins, but in reality that is only enough drinking water for two for one week. I was not fearful, I figured It would play out and I could just ride it out. He says you should get out, because my boss has set-up a temporary office in a city south of, and now I will have to work there until the water is gone.

So much for seeing each other, so I picked a temple nearby where his new office was to escape to for two weeks referred to by nuns at my home temple. Blessings to the nun that suggested this, as you could feel the joy from the abbot. I knew he would not come to visit, because quite frankly you don’t visit someone on a meditation retreat. He took the weekend, following all the work and slugging around in flood water, at the beach with his workmates, while I settled down into peace and acceptance.

I was not the only one there escaping the floods, and because I was the only farang there, I got a few English speakers questioning me. The abbot along with his daily dhamma talk would turn and face the sangha and with a smiley demeanor, tell the flood update. So, it was the talk around temple, even though we are supposed to be quiet. Nobody reprimands you in the Thai style, it up to you to let whoever spoke to you with a gesture of finger to the lips know that you would like to keep this silent. But around lunch and late night temple hot drink after prayers — it was hard to do, everybody talked, “flood.”

FInding it pretty easy to settle in, my own private kuti, with a mat on the floor and fans made it almost cool, and even nights I needed a light blanket. I did morning clean-up following others and I worked on cleaning on huge open air sala which you can see in the post before this one. All the ants, mice and birds make a mess in one day, so you have to mop it every morning....a great way to clear your mind. But also to made the morning meditation sleepy since you are up since 3 am, and have had breakfast you first meal in 15 hours. Many times I would find myself slumped over, folded in half ...snoring. A yogi knot, and a few times fellow meditators would come wake me up.

I can eat most all Thai food and spice is generally no problem, and I liked the Jok in the mornings the best. It just felt right. But after a week there I could tell something wasn’t right with my digestive track, and my mouth never felt clean after eating even when I brushed my teeth. Could it be the water I am using to brush my teeth, or the filter water I get from the free Thai osmosis machine? I tried not to obsess.

Well, 10 days into meditation I passed a worm, and it was such a testimony to meditation that I was fairly relaxed about it, yet did call my sis to find out what drug is best to use. This was the first time ever in all my travels, so it was a new experience. At dawn, I ran into one monk was helpful to me and with the help of one female Thai attendee, and they got me a strong pill to get rid of them with them. Later, when I was talking to an elder mae chi about my meditation and a Thai lady told her about my worm. She said I should have kept it alive and fed it while I was there meditating. Taking the precepts a bit far, I am saying in my head, considering that they eat pork, chicken and fish and are not vegetarians. I later figured it out that is most likely caused by slightly undercooked pork I got from the street in Bangkok, before I went to temple, but the food quality at the temple was less than safe.

All of the while I was think this trip is meant to trip me up, to throw more delicious challenges to see how far I have come with meditation. It has again proven again that all this does not affect my partner and I love for one another. We are dealing with a natural disaster, and I don’t want to throw any more stress into the picture. These photos are all his, click on them if you want to see them bigger.

14 November, 2011

A Little Peace

I escaped the floods for two weeks by going to meditate at
Wat Bhaddanta Asahba {http://bhaddanta2.blogspot.com/}

21 October, 2011


A man sat next me on MRT on the way “home” tonight and asked me, “Where are you going?” I replied and he said, “The same for me.” You could say it could have beeen the icebreaker to conversation, or just exchanging pleasantries. It was nothing more than this. I looked at what my mind wanted to say more to establish my ‘me,’ needing to gain sympathy in order to prove my humanness. There is nothing I can say that would change his life or mine, so I relaxed and chuckled. He looked around to see what gathered my attention. I said nothing, and his phone rang and he excused himself because of human connection now. I smiled, and he would look to me occasionally to see what or who I am. But I am just on the same subway, the same path, with the same outcome as his, and we really don’t need to speak about it. We arrived near our stop and he got up and with an ever-so-light gesture moved his body to say we are here. I stood up casually and smiled and let out a sigh. I know.

20 October, 2011

At Any Given Moment

Why not let it come and go without a trace? Personal history is dead weight.

–Ajahn Succito, Rude Awakenings

I am playing with this one, barely pulled the camera out in 10 days(this is the first shot), and spend more time watching my mind react to things I like and don’t like. This has actually made me lighter and happier. We went running in the park, and it started to rain and I thought this would help cool me down. Wondering at the light through the rain drops, it became an asset instead of a liability. When I suggested that my partner’s too deep sit-ups might cause back injury, he just dismissed it as "his play, while I play yoga." Instead of standing ground to prove I am right, I just thought about the fact that most likely I will be dead when the proof will become known. Later, when I had hiccups… his suggestion to stop all that I am doing while showing me by making a stone face, made me burst out in laughter. It made our evening rest in laughter about each other. Just what do we hold so dearly to that we can release at any given moment?

01 October, 2011

Wisdom of Bentinho Massaro

Amsterdam Weekend Retreat

Friday Aug 26th 2011

Bentinho Massaro

Questioner: What’s life like for you now, after all you’ve went through before and after your enlightenment?

Bentinho: “Well, I’ve let go of my image of enlightenment, and my pursuit of some kind of super consciousness . . . I’m just very confident in the fact that I am perfect as I am, that my well-being is not in anything per se, because I’ve confirmed to myself that this is the case many times over. A lot of doubt has fallen away. So there is a natural ease, a natural joy.

And of course there is the availability of a lot of states of mind, which are also available to you -- it isn’t anything special or out of the ordinary. It’s not about any state of mind. If anything it’s about being very certain experientially of the fact that this is perfect. And then you don’t have to be conscious of awareness twenty-four seven. You don’t have to beat yourself up about that, that will be much more natural. And of course there will be a heightened awareness throughout daily activity. And sometimes, maybe not, and you won’t beat yourself up about that either, because you see, you recognize in a moment of recognition that even your periods which you would have previously called unconscious, were actually totally infused with awareness -- and we’re not ever separate from this aware life. How could we be? Is your experience ever anything outside of that? So your experience of unconsciousness is awareness experiencing unconsciousness -- is Life, equal to this moment where it recognizes itself.

So even the recognition, or the non-recognition are essentially equal. Enlightenment and ignorance are essentially equal, they’re both life experiencing itself. The recognition of awareness is just another experience . . . but it’s a very clarifying one, and it liberates us of our sense of inadequacy more and more. So it’s just a knack, it’s a trick . . . It doesn’t change you.

But you cannot find awareness to have a form or point of view of its own. How can I stay as awareness as one particular state of mind. Awareness has no form of its own, which means that it is present with every experience equally, but never as something. You can’t find awareness. Try to find it. You can only find your personal experience which seems to be aware of itself, but you cannot grasp awareness, and you cannot grasp experience either . . . . of course you could say, “I’m touching wood,” that’s just a description, that’s still just a sensation appearing.

And so when I recognize awareness, there’s an intensification of the brightness, like your computer screen, it’s the same light. And you could either turn down the brightness or turn up the brightness, it’s a bit like that. Once you know you’re perfect, you can still stop to recognize it, and that’s very enjoyable. Or you can just have a conversation with someone about what movie you went to and you can forget that for a while.

But, more and more there will be a natural brightness. A natural knowing that you exist. It becomes this inescapable sense. It doesn’t mean you have to have the same experience all the time. So this is very subtle stuff and it’s very difficult as long as you have an idea of what it has to look like, that’s why I try to emphasis that awareness has no form of its own, the only form it has is your present experience, you cannot find awareness, more, or more enlightened than right now. The only form it has is whatever you’re experiencing right now.

So there’s not even an awareness that is aware of experience, that’s just a way of saying it, that’s the only form that awareness takes, awareness has no form of its own. Its present as your present experience. Your present experience changes, so awareness changes, yet it’s aware of that, but it has no form of its own, so you cannot identify it, you can only notice that it is the case, and that’s enough.

It’s enough to know the very fact that you exist with your present experience, and emotion, and thought, as it is; and notice that that’s being noticed, is being recognized. This experience exactly as it is, is aware of itself, there’s an awareness of this experience, that’s all we need to recognize.

And even that is, essentially, equal to not recognizing it, and that’s what you’re recognizing. You’ll recognize that there’s nothing to recognize. As long as you still believe that there’s something to recognize, then you keep beating yourself up, but a moment of relaxation induces the recognition that there’s nothing to recognize. So you recognize that there’s nothing to recognize until you’re sure that there’s nothing to recognize.”

Questioner: Do you choose, do you make choices?

Bentinho: Sure, I make choices, if that’s the basic question. I choose sides, if that’s the basic question.”

Questioner: Would you feel sad if you chose the wrong one?

Bentinho: It rarely happens now. But there have been occasions in the past year or so when it did happen. But I’m not sure I had the sense that I made the wrong choice. I can recall one moment right now when I felt like that. Where I made the wrong decision, that sense was there. And I had the sense of needing to fix that. But other than that, I pretty much feel whatever I want to choose -- and that is pretty much obvious, moment by moment. It pretty much happens naturally. I would say it’s just clear intuition.

And sometimes there’s a bit of un-clarity, where something seems to be at stake, at least relatively, in the story, where there seems to be something at stake, whether you choose this, or that . . . . and there have been a few occasions where I’ve felt like that . . . . which was interesting . . . . and, let me see what I did . . . . (short pause with his eyes closed) . . . . yeah, so I realized that was basically due to desire, having a personal preference for a particular outcome . . . . where I noticed that it appeared that something was at stake . . . . so a part of my well-being was projected into the situation. . . . and so . . . I felt like shit . . . “If I choose this, I might lose that, etc.” -- but then you become aware of that . . . . and then you giggle. . . (everyone giggles) . . . and then it basically resolves itself and you know what to choose . . . or not, and they stay like that, which is fine too, where you find your enjoyment in not being able to choose. And then the tension will pretty much flow out of you. And you still may not know what to do, but at least the poison is out of the wound, so to speak.

Questioner. So, essentially, you have the same problems as everyone else does, except you don‘t really see it as a problem.

(much laughter)

Bentinho: Yeah! Definitely!”


Questioner: I have a question about my feelings. Sometimes I have a feeling but I don’t know what the feeling is. And that makes me worried, or I get crazy in my mind. Is it a happy feeling, is it a sad feeling, I don’t know. So I get confused about my feelings. Sometimes I don’t know what the feeling exactly is.

Bentinho: Oh, well . . . I experience that all the time. That’s good! Because once you “know what it is,” it becomes a “thing,” to manage. Whereas if you don’t know what it is, you can let it be.”

Questioner: Well, it’s more about feelings in the context of decision-making.

Bentinho:Oh, ok. Well, like in my example, there was some personal investment in the outcome of the situation. Which is totally natural, and totally fine. Of course you have a preference, so there is a preference for a particular outcome. But when there’s fear involved, then that clouds intuition. When you’re able to free-up your present mind-set from fear, when you’re able to relax into it, allow it to be, and to feel your well-being to be already present, to soak in loving your confusion and your fear, then gradually, or suddenly, you will feel that you are not the fear, you’re the love which loves the fear, and you’ll find a relief from being tied to the question or to the decision.

Like, prior to that when there was still a lot of investment in the fear, believing that you were the one fearing, your focus is tied to the object of your worry, in this case, your decision-making, so you‘re tied to it, as if it‘s a problem.

The moment . . . (sigh). . . you find relief from the fear, and also the excessive need to focus, drops, there’s more of an ease, a relaxation, and from that relaxation, most of the time, intuition becomes clear, and you know what to do. So if you relax into the fear, into your present emotions, just allow it to be confused, love the confusion, like a mother loves and cradles a baby in her arms no matter how fearful or confused the baby is, she is steady in her care and love of the baby. And if you embody this, if even for a few seconds, that’s already enough to create an opening in the fear, for this freedom to be recognized. And this will gradually, or suddenly, make the fear drop. And often-times you’ll be totally clear on what to do, and if not, then at least you are enjoying the situation.”

(long pause, Bentinho with his head down, then looks around slowly)

Bentinho: “Any last questions?”

(long silence)

Bentinho, very quietly:Thank you.”

(Bentinho puts his head down and holds his hand over his heart, and smiles, and closes his eyes)

The End

21 September, 2011

Sun Sets on Life as We Know It

I have been doing a lot on my house with the hopes that you can prepare for a long trip and make everything fall into place. We cannot plan on what we would like the future to be like, though, sadly. But I kind of got my house in order to leave it, to go see my partner. He cannot enjoy my home because of archaic laws we have about same sex partners in USA, so this can never be my home. I always knew I did not fit in, from elementary school on, society placed its values upon me. Now with my double whammi of being brain injured, where even today, a hardware store clerk made fun of my voice... I belong only where I am loved, and that love exists within and does not exist in any location. The love we seek always right here. We allow it to be triggered when think all the right parameters are met, just pull it out now and enjoy. We are the love we think we seek.

14 September, 2011

Unveiling Reality

As I continue to do therapy on my speech and work diligently on my house I am going nowhere, but inside. I really don't know what is next, I have plans and intentions, but I really think this are only distractions to what is already present and where my life is heading. I am just along for the ride watching the unveiling of normal life that I used to cling to.

24 August, 2011

Gratitude Wakes Up

I was ready to just sleep, with all my clothes on… when gratitude came to mind. I emailed the man helping with a new brain therapy(new to US, not Europe) to ask him if would like lunch tomorrow, since he would again treat me for two hours right about lunch time. This therapy is complex on how it works and I don’t have enough energy to lay it all out for you. So, I got up made him a fresh pearl tomatoes and string bean salad. It will cut my much needed sleep, but you and I know it will be one less thing to harp on before you doze off.

I do remember to make gestures to show my gratitude for using me as a test case for him. I will gladly show other patients how well it worked for me. It is important that one doesn’t just use Thank you and walk out. To come up other ways to show how significant others good will does for us. It is funny to find myself excited about feeling more and talking better for my partner, because I am so used to it.

I will be very sporadic posting, as I am getting ready to leave the country and fixing my house at the same time I am busy with therapy. Hopefully, I can get everything I want to get done before I leave.

27 July, 2011

Yoga Saved My Life

Surely, Yoga has played an important role in augmenting my meditation and integrating the body with the mind. It actually helped to balance my body, since I am completely numb on my left side. I have some motor nerves, but no sensory nerves. I may not have any regeneration of nerves, but I appear whole to the outside world, no longer favoring one side over the other. This is an interesting interview in three parts that reflects a similar view. Be sure to click through to next upload and enjoy.

01 July, 2011

Some Faint Perfume of That Enjoyment

What if you experience this moment as the ultimate love affair? Or feel like you have experienced the appearance of the beloved? Some faint perfume of that enjoyment.

Instead of putting up with what's here until something better comes along. Maybe it's gets better later... we often think. There is not a full savoring of what we really have. Waiting for a better experience. If you just enjoy this moment, right now for no reason, at a cellular level. Just notice how this sits in the body...this awareness. How could your body be, in the flow of this?
Issac Shapiro

28 June, 2011

Special Moments

I was walking across the street outside the Hall of Justice, after getting my ticket dismissed, purely on a logical issue. Looking at tow of a black corvette, police and meter maids, all around, "I exclaimed, OH! MY CAR!" Beside me walking, was a parking maid who said, "Honey, that's not your car... you are too logical." She said, I would never date a man who had that car, too vain. Walking further, I pointed to my bicycle...My ride! And she said, "See, I knew you were smart." We just laughed and said our good byes.

23 June, 2011

A Quiet Day at the Monastery

We can learn Dhamma from nature, from trees for example. A tree is born due to causes and it grows following the course of nature. Right here the tree is teaching us Dhamma, but we don't understand this. In due course, it grows and grows until it buds, flowers and fruit appear. All we see is the appearance of the flowers and fruit; we're unable to bring this within and contemplate it. Thus we don't know that the tree is teaching us Dhamma. The fruit appears and we merely eat it without investigating: sweet, sour or salty, it's the nature of the fruit. And this is Dhamma, the teaching of the fruit. Following on, the leaves grow old. They wither, die and then fall from the tree. All we see is that the leaves have fallen down. We step on them, we sweep them up, that's all. We don't investigate thoroughly, so we don't know that nature is teaching us. Later on the new leaves sprout, and we merely see that, without taking it further. We don't bring these things into our minds to contemplate. —Ajahn Chah "Tree Dhamma"

Ajahn Chah, Root profile shrine

15 June, 2011

A Healthy Set of Questions

Today, a man at the gym unloaded on me, starting first at what he thought I had. He was wrong, guessing heart attack, but I have spoken to him a few times and it must have never sunk in. His guess was based on his own fears of causing a heart attack to himself, worrying about various things. He knows I meditate, but he is not anywhere close to wanting to change the way he has been doing things. I tried to ease his mind, to learning to just stop all thoughts 2-5 seconds as Bentinho Massaro suggests...again and again. I said just rest in your body when you know you are living in your head. Being an ear, was therapeutic to me to just relax and show someone else I care. His problems are what most of us encounter in life, doubt. Yet, he is far better position financially than myself, enabling me to relax my own fears in the process.

13 June, 2011

Act of Kindness Hazard

Yesterday, driving home from the Nun’s Vihara where we had a supporter’s meeting, I saw a novice monk waiting for the bus, and stopped my car and asked him if he would like a ride. It is right outside the temple along the park. He hesitated because he could not read my intention, so I immediately thought this is wrong, and thought about just leaving, but did not want to be rude and just turn on my heels. I was going along the same route on the way to another sit. When convinced I was O.K., the Thai monk got in and asked me to drive him to Golden Gate…not thinking it was the bridge…I drove him into the park, but he made it known that he was talking about the bridge. In further discussion, I got the sense that he is not a monk as a way to access wisdom, but more along the line that it was a free ticket. His speech and manner were questionable which tipped me off. I took him to the bridge, and had to leave fast to get across town in time for my sit. He wanted my cell number, which I reluctantly gave him, and then he asked me to drive him to San Jose today. It was asked in a very forward manner, so I was a bit bothered, because he obviously doesn’t know the time and cost. I did not give him a firm answer. I went to my sit and with the phone off, I got a text saying thank you and I hope you enjoy your meditation. But again, I thought this was a set-up. I was eating a late dinner having missed my lunch, and again got another text. The monk wanted to go in the morning. Arrgh! So, I texted him back that I will offer a drive to CalTrain and pay a one-way ticket for you instead. He finally said fine, and the whole time I was cursing myself when I felt it was out of line, based on my intuition. I thought about texting a lie that I could not make it, or calling him on his behavior, but did not. I thought I would use it for my practice of patience. This morning, just when I was going to leave to pick him up to go to the train, he texted me to say, “I won’t be going”. Now, I know the reputation of the head monk of the temple he was staying at and perhaps this may have come up with the two of them over breakfast. Or maybe the monk reviewed his reason for wanting to go to San Jose, or even the overstepping of my kindness, but regardless things happened to work out …as soon as I relaxed.

08 June, 2011

This Moment

What if this moment is all we have. How many thoughts go through your head, while at the time you are reading this? I am writing this, while recalling the time that is depicted in a photo of my family on my dresser, taken when I was probably 13. Where in the exact spot a day later, I met a man who was bicycling around the world. He spun tales of this to me back then, amazing my little head. My moments with him, traveled with his tales. That moment with him is way gone... never to be repeated, a well as my father in the day before photo. Everything seems to be written in stone at any given time, but in actuality is more like the wisps of clouds shown in the photo. So, if this moment someone shows kindness or laughter with you, pay attention and don't miss it. You will end up savoring it... at another time, sprinkled with your many thoughts.
I am currently, enjoying several happy moments I had today and not bothered with those other moments that could really seem so serious and almost melancholy. It is a choice we have to bring feelings into relived moments.

06 June, 2011

Waiting on Transportation

We often think that if we just figure out where to go and when ...we will reach a place where we can find happiness. Meanwhile, we may even be sitting quietly and enjoying a cup of tea, forgetting how perfect this moment can be, right now. We don't realize we can postpone happiness until it's too late.

I looked at all the serious faces this morning in a relaxing yoga class. Why so serious? To get it done and then be happy. What happens if you can't do it?

04 June, 2011

On Truth and Advertising

Once upon a time I used to work on Saturn car account from its introduction. They were supposed to be a "different kind of car company," yet still had the heavy hand of GM all over it. I knew and most all of the team knew that these cars were not revolutionary or even that unique. One small example, I picked my choice of paint colors at the beginning and two of the colors I picked did not get used until the line was close to the end, nearly 20 years later. I worked on selling something I had no faith in, unlike meditation and truth which is my life now. But it did teach me about false speech.

30 May, 2011

Dhamma Service

The birds were singing, the sun was shining for my service on a short course at Vipassana. “You got lucky,” I heard from the guy who turned it over to me when he sat out this course. We had a team that consisted of three people who had just served recently and 4 had an idea of what was involved. One man had served 15 courses and was nearly blind from Retinitis pigmentosa but still was able to clean the heavy pots, knowing it from before his vision got worse. He was just one of a source of inspiration for the wisdom of dhamma to enable one to be happy even under difficult circumstances. I led him back and forth form the hall, sometimes letting him use my shape to follow. When it was too dark, letting him place a hand on my shoulder. We had a wide range of people and everyone clicked in to fill in places to get things done fast. It was exciting and fun to watch a wide range of people unknown to each other, help one another all without any problems. It was also noticeable to watch no one was ‘fake nice’ while at the same time biting his or her tongue. We had enough time to get to know each other over food breaks, and spend time to compare dhamma stories. It all got done, and towards the end even faster than we imagined. Then when the students were able to speak were kind enough to say thanks. A great experience to be able to see what it took to make my 10-day move smoothly and be able to squeeze in some meditation time (about 4 hours a day).

24 May, 2011

Service is Better with Gratitude

My partner and I where talking about our beginnings. What made, what happen and when. It didn't really matter, because it changes nothing, nor makes anything clear that we don't already know in our heart. We both met with good intention and rested in it, when times were tough. So, I am doing service at a 4 day Vipassana with good intentions to give back to something that clearly helped with gratitude. I am excited, because even the confirmation call was done by a nice, happy, grateful person. It signals that this will good experience.

19 May, 2011

An Open Heart Can't Lead One Astray

Recently, I had a man, stop me bicycling and ask me, “What made you sit down and talk to me?” I had talked with him over a year ago trying to shake the fact he took himself too seriously. He then thanked me for suggesting a dhamma group in town, he has attended for the last year. The point of this is he wanted to know why I helped him, and I said, “I saw me in you!”

Today, I was having my wood floors redone and by some grace got two men, one of which had gratitude in his heart. I immediately felt his open heart and found out that he experienced a similar injury to mine, a stroke. He was busy with his job and I with mine, online stuff, when at noon I got an email from another friend from temple. On the subject line it said EMERGENCY, and it contained a cute photo of a baby pit bull she needed to find a good home for. I wasn’t sure why she would ask me, and I wasn’t sure why she had this dog. I immediately asked the one who had the good heart if he would like a pit bull showing him the two photos of her. He said I have to ask my wife, and my landlord to make sure, but my family would like a dog. So, I let this play out, and later in the day he heard from both and it was ok. I put him on the phone to my friend, and I guess she cried on the phone about wanting her to go to a good home. I had walked away, and walking back I could see with concern he was gentle with her on the phone.We set a time later in the day for them to meet and get the dog. He shows up with his whole family to reassure my friend that the dog is going to a good home. Finding out that she rescued the dog from someone she knew, and she did not want her to be sold to breeders or to made to fight. Locally, they have a perfect program to help families train dogs called BAD RAP. It was perfect in the time we had before she came, I got to know the family of the man I only met 8 hours previous. But all I had to do is see them all and know right away it was right, and I could sit back and let it happen. Immediately any sadness and concern by my friend melted, and all his kids got to meet the dog as it was a secret to them. Just so that he did not promise what he could not deliver until it was OK, which pointed to his maturity in this situation. They all talked and played with the dog, and it was a great fit. The family all gave me hugs and my friend and took off happily with their new dog.

These photos taken by a new friend who was with me to witness this day, Thanks, M.C.!

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