21 February, 2013

Neither Coming or Going

With a little disturbance like when my partner left his IPhone on, and it chimed 5 different emails the night before at random times breaking my sleep, I awoke tired. I told him how to set it so it doesn't happen again, and then I worked on using this worn out feeling not to spin into further misery. Every time I caught myself I would say RIGHT NOW is the perfect time to use wisdom and went about my day. I watched how I presented my exhaustion, thinking if I can be be happy now it will change how I feel internally. Now, before you go why don't you just get a nap? I would reply that this is not always an option to life's misery. I had some things to get done. For the rest of the day, I helped several tourists go in the right direction, and even leading an arm to a surprised Russian woman who feared falling into the ferry. I noticed how this made her day, she was taken by a display of random kindness. I continued to smile to strangers when I got eye contact, and you know what the response was? ....A beaming smile, which then registered in my subconscious that all is well. 

Later in the day, I noticed a elder monk paying for water, and quickly interjected and paid for him. That took the vendor by complete surprise. Monks have to carry money now for buses and expenses like cell-phones, which I think is unadvisable because temptation is powerful. We then talked, about life and his path(or our path), and I grabbed his heavy monk's bag and carried it for him. On the ferry he gave a hand-made wristband died in the jak fruit orange of monks robes, with a bead inserted. He said he had been a monk since 40, and now 60. He was “jai dee”, and beaming kindness and wisdom helping others. I watched him with others when we split, the path when embodied can be that evident. 

Later in the day I took a wrong turn, and just went with the flow, taking these photos along the way. Sure, I first had the instant condemnation of the self as being stupid, but ignored it and just continued walking instead of turning around and back tracking. Y
es, you have to laugh at yourself to get started as the easiest in road to wisdom,
I said to myself, this is somewhere new I have not been, and so what if I am late going to my work-out and thus late for dinner. That was only further excuse to gather misery into a pile, and then a mountain no on could climb.  
If one watches... we make misery palatable for each initial cause, especially tailored for yourself. My partner called later, when I had found my way to transportation to say he had dinner already waiting for my return and “Have Fun!”  All the more reason not to carry an Iphone with maps! The only map I need is directly to my subconscious to weed out unnecessary suffering.

I found this in a new book I'm reading after posting above:

“Lucid and all-encompassing Attention is the only instrument needed, and this is attained spontaneously, by encountering the reactions of the mind appearing as effects to the challenges of Life in its perpetual movement. Therefore, in utter simplicity, we listen and watch, with our whole Attention, both our inner world and the reactions of the mind, as well as the impressions coming from the outside world.”

—Cioara, Ilie (2011-10-16). The Silence of the Mind (p. 12) 

17 February, 2013

A Well Earned Age Spot

All artwork this post courtesy of Bangkok Art and Culture Center

An age spot turned up in an odd place like overnight on my inside left arm, and normally I would worry ...but I think this one is well deserved. Recently, my partner was given an Iphone sent by his sister from Europe, from her new home, as she and her husband just got a new one. She knew he had sent milk for her boys even when money was tight, it was about time for a gift. He was all ready to give it me, even before it came in the mail. He doesn’t use Mac, but I knew as soon as he played with it he would be hooked. It arrived safely and he wanted to set it up and give it to me to take on our next trip.  He knows I could really use it with my speech disability, and the maps to get around town. I kept quiet, and helped him set it up. He uploaded his favorite Isan singers, and I linked my MAC to it so he could use without burning through his minutes. He Skyped his sister and talked to his nephews, and he was tickled. Now, he takes off for work with music on and sings to it around home, even going to sleep with it on. It gave a leg up with his workmates that he already spins donuts around their lazy work habits. His boss, knows how valuable he is, with his English skills and multi-tasking ability. Chatting in English on Skype to clients in Singapore, and on the phone in Thai locally. A little bit of my influence, but really all he needed was love and the gift of higher learning.I am sure you can guess, I let the Iphone go to the best man here. Now I treated him singing favorites.

I have been trying to say we need to talk, when we have time and all machines are off. We finally sat on the bed today, face to face and knee to knee cross-legged….I joked, “Ok, Let’s meditate! It is about time….”

He had enough bad experiences as a novice while he was poor and hungry as a boy, being the abbot’s gopher and mistreated. Something he did not need with his background of being abandoned. So, for now meditation is something the farang(me) does only. He is jai-dee, and has a good heart and like I have said before anything he does “wrong” is never done with bad intentions.

….Back to our talk, I asked him, “Is there anything more I could do to make you happy?” Putting aside my stupid niggling mind, you know the one that brings up jealousy and envy like bad heart-burn after too much pizza. He is a handsome man just getting his eye wrinkles, much liked by peers, workmates and friends. Oh, sure it came up last night when I ran over my idea in my head. I said that what the mind does, tries to spoil good intentions, and totally discounted it. My real goal was to give him all the freedom he deserves, and be the person who loves with no boundaries. He leaned over and put his head in my lap, and said,  “You have given me everything I want already, and you’ve changed from old demands and listed them. Surely, he cannot tie this to anything like my Vipassana’s nor does he want to know the cause of my change, but aware of it. He has been big enough to go with my flow and maturation over our years together. He knows deep down that his first guess of where my heart lies when we first met, still holds true to this day. And that can only boost his confidence. He said, “You know I have to give my Mom money, and if I had more I would start to pay your back for my college, and masters.”  He also chirped in that he likes his work and responsibility and is happy. I said, your Mom actually loves you, even though abandoning you at birth, she gave you to your “grand-parents” (village elders) who loved you and taught you to always give back even though they had nothing (toomboon). You have in turn taught her how to forgive and to love you properly. His mother went to his Masters Graduation ceremony, and a photo of the two of them, him beaming and she with tears running down her cheeks graces my shrine at home. So, this age spot came just at the right time.

12 February, 2013

Learning Habitual Patterns of Thinking

Having recently completed my 7th Vipassana, one thing meditation taught me is to look at how I think.  What patterns are typical when I am bored, or having doubt. Maybe at times thinking happens to prove that you are alive as a sign of ongoing insecurity. We want answers to all our questions, even when we have not formed them. At best, I may be able to slow down thinking with awareness, when not becoming attached to every thought that my whacked out mind throws out. Realizing that I will never be able to solve every emotional puzzle I concoct. I know one thing that I for sure that most of my anger is misdirected sadness. And as I learn about my anger when it arises, dissolve it and with it some sadness joins with its departure. Some anger results in body pain, or is an offshoot of it.  For me, it is not important to figure out what comes first, but to examine how I think in the process of body scanning. Sure, a couple of times I was scanning my arm for instance and it would appear in front in my chest even though it was lying on my leg. Another time, I was scanning my arm with such focus, that my lower body disappeared giving me what the teacher said was a taste of impermanence. It never felt creepy, and signaled a more insightful mind when having relaxed attention. 

My goal is not to detach from reality. I do like to connect with other’s suffering to make me more humble and if I develop a cool detachment(a la James Bond) it would be a waste of my natural born compassion that I learned from my mother. While in a rush around town I passed a burn victim begging for money, and I turned around and ran back up the overpass to help when I found some money I thought I did not have when I first passed. I could see in my head….here is the dividing line to go forward in my selfish rush, or to return and help. I can’t possibly ask to lose my anger, if I continue to be callously selfish in my ways. Sila(morality) came forward as the best base to work from. Right Action will slowly become natural when you connect with others recognizing yourself in them. I think it is important to note that my sadness since childhood that I could access easily has really dropped off without losing any of my compassion. A real evening out of my personality. This all comes from watching my anger, and if I can watch when off the cushion in every day life I will experience more peace. Of course, I am not done and totally fixed, but I have real clear signs that this path is productive in understanding myself. In my unique way with my own wisdom.

“If you don’t understand your own thinking, whatever you do think has little meaning. Without knowledge of your own biases and the impediments of biological or personal prejudice, without understanding your fears, your hurt, your anger, without the ability to see through and beyond them, all your thinking, all your relationships will be fogged or skewed. After all, self-knowledge is the basis for relationship.”

Krishnamurti , Jiddu  (2010-07-29). J Krishnamurti Relationships To Oneself, To Others, To the World (Kindle Locations 71-74). Krishnamurti Foundation of America. Kindle Edition. 
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