20 July, 2017

Shrine On(with update)

Walking through Bangkok's Chinatown one morning, I came upon a trash pile, and in it was an old Spirit house from some shophouses being remodeled nearby. Usually they take to the country near a tree to dispose of. Obviously whoever put it in the trash was not related to the family who last owned it. I photographed it, and started to walk away, and came back thinking to myself this is an old one and has some charm. Perhaps, I can sell it.  Walking to a nearby store to quickly buy a bamboo brush to clean it up, came back and pulled it aside for the trash heap so I could brush it down. Just in time because the trash truck drove up, and the two men saw me cleaning it off and gave me thumbs up, and one even said it is about 100 years old. I was beginning to feel lucky, the closer I looked at it. Surely at home this would sell for a lot, but here no one would buy it. When done with cleaning it up, I walked it down a street to get a taxi home. The driver even said it is good find. I got it home, took into the shower area and wiped it down fully. I brought it into the room and set it in a corner. 

Later my partner came home from work, and upon seeing it, he bugged out, and said it can't stay here in the room. His upbringing dictated that the old spirits of the family would come here into our room. And ghosts are about the only thing he is scared of, that and angry people. Of course, my first internal reaction from my gut was don't push me into believing what you believe. It is a nice piece and I want to sell it. But he was throwing a fit like I have never seen, being as far away from it as possible. I told him to go out for a run, and I will figure something out. It was becoming a new test for me. I asked the manager of our apartment to allow me to store in their storage place, and when he came home from his run it was gone. They were used to me, and honor the fact I do Vipassana 10-days north of the apartment and were more than happy to store it.  My partner never asked about it, but he was relieved. I put in online to sell, and see what came out of it, but I was beginning to think of it as a test. What is more important how I see the world or adapting to each ever-changing event? I was putting everything on the line over this, if I were as stubborn as he was about it. What if the spirits came and affected our relationship? What would be the worse outcome? Was I putting things over people, and if so, it would inevitably come back to bite me hard. My partner is not about money, and has made this clear numerous times. If I am putting money ahead of his feelings, I am really screwing up.  I left it to sit in storage a bit longer. He never asked where it went.


It never sold, and today was the day to free the spirits out of their temporary room to outside near a tree. Where they move about with ease, and perhaps climb the tree. I carried it out on this beautiful sunny day and found a nice spot for it. Where it can rest undisturbed. Then walking to buy joss stick, candles, and flower garlands for it. I found the two elephants buried nearby and pulled them out to guard it. I lighted the incense and said my apologies to the spirits. I showed him where it was placed off the alley. I saw relief in his eyes. I am very lucky to have someone to care enough about to let the whole thing go, because it was so disrupting to the way he was taught and thus his being. It scared the crap out of him, and I did not make fun at the time, give me some credit. How silly can I be to think that I know better, when I could have asked him what do with it, when he first saw it? Still learning that the things we think we feel lucky to find, are often not the obvious thing we already have in our hand. Yep, thinking happiness lies outside of us ...bit me, again.


Now, it 5 years later and my husband is with me at home...ghosts are idea put in his head by elders in his village.  He exclaims, “There are No Gods and No Ghosts!” with the firm knowledge that he has now as he discovered more truth living outside of his culture. I am proud that he came to this on his own, since he jumped in totally learning English(back to square one in an English speaking country) and the freedom of knowledge he experiences here. One day, he will apologize for putting through hell with my shrine find. But I won't ask for it, and just smile with his new knowledge he arrived at without my help... via news, reading,  school and listening determinedly to podcasts to learn different English dialects. In 3 years with his hard work, he has made incredible progress and it delights his teachers. I just enjoy his unbroken discussions as it flows now almost effortlessly.

24 June, 2017

Benefits of Sitting Daily

As I continue to sit daily for two hours, I wanted to share some of the benefits I see (and feel). The first thing is that with most conflicts, I am much more apt to just let go, and instead of making a point of being right, I will stop even in mid-anger or dissatisfaction and leave it all alone. Everything has its half-life, and will auto-resolve naturally in a way to please most participants as long as none hold on to what they want(usually held tight in mind).  Perhaps things won’t happen in time frame originally thought, but the outcome for all those involved will have less stress and more freedom.

I also noted that when I most serious about anything, later, it will relax fast when I see it clearly in one of my sits either morning or evening. This seriousness I notice in myself is when I am too invested in the personality… with all its stories. Postponing any idea of happiness in the present. So, I will introduce this freedom/happiness I am looking for, without any seriousness or conditions. One good reason to make this change is the wisdom that we never know when we will leave this life, and the foolishness of not enjoying every moment.

There are quite a few things that are less concrete to write about, but the people around me enjoy the freedom that I think I am allowing me. Many years ago I marveled at people who were like this, as if they had a privileged life. Certainly, others can’t relate to my brain injury's life complications, but being serious about things in life will never enlighten them, it will only burden them creating a sort of “Pig-Pen” cloud around me. Lift the cloud!

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10 May, 2017

Gone Fishing for Sankaras:
A Second 30 day Vipassana.

Meditating on my second day, I commented to myself that I am amazed that here I am again sitting my second 30 day Vipassana, all the while starting all over again with anapana to start to build a concentrated mind. This is where one will go part by part through the body in an effort to expose deep hidden complexes after 10 days carefully redirecting the mind to just below the nose(anapana or mindfulness of breathing). This is done once you have Sila(the 5 precepts) in place in order not to lay more Sankaras( conditioned formations) down in their place as fast as exposed.

I do remember in 2012 an older fellow meditator was recalling his 45 day Vipassana, and I had never even thought about doing longer than 10 days, but this obviously planted a fruitful seed within me. At this retreat 30-day were combined with a 45-day meditators, and they had to stay on after we left. 45-day goal is set in my head within 2 years, and my teacher said do a few more 30-days, then perhaps.

I experienced a huge Sankara on my 20th day over an normal interview, when I felt dismissed by the teacher in an effort for him to move on to the next person, and this set off an internal alarm. I am not normal with a huge brain loss, and need more time to process and talk, and even meditate with the teacher. This, of course, screwed up all the concentration I had, but did not stop me from meditating, or make me feel the need to walk it off. I asked the teacher how is it best to restart, instead of laying it all out why anger arose and he replied that to watch the palms and soles of the feet, since more sensitive to fine feeling. This allowed me to get back in the flow as anger subsided in about 4 days. This may seem like I was rolling in anger for a long time, but in effect I was mostly unfocused in my meditations and never really discouraged about it. Knowing from years of meditating that there is really no bad meditations, maybe just not so productive. I don't really ask for anything in life to help with my disability, and even stopped telling people on the phone or in person why I speak so weird.

There were many sankara moments, some pronounced and some not, but all in all I was able to stay put and live through them, mimicking how you are supposed to sit: Never moving, never scratching or fidgeting observing body sensations. This showed that the body/mind has learned a few lessons in equanimity, but not enough to be cocky or even appear to be rolling in peace...now. Although people have remarked I look better and more relaxed.




I did see some progress this time where the first 4 days I could stop the mind by re-focusing on the breath and even more relaxed than the past when things fell apart. I could actually feel the mind dumping things, in a way that you could feel more mentally sane on quite a few days. It feels like being more empty, so it may be not having to worry about mundane householders life! This is an experiential path and all based on each one's own sankara's.


So, I am fully aware that this is lifetime of work, and that my partner I love wants to take full credit for the changes he has seen in me so far. This is with his own experience of Sila(morality) and Buddha's teaching that have worked for him that he has tried to pass on to me. I just need my nose rubbed harder on the ground with Vipassana to flip the mind over to passenger mode in order to more compassionate and

kind. I may never see the same results as others with the frustrations I have with my brain injury caused confusion and speech disability, but so far I have seen some small fruits that I am happy with enough to continue this path and never feel discouraged. With the path, I can see my passing all too soon, which presses me to stay put instead of jumping to the next thing in an effort happiness ...out there...where it never really existed in the first place.





23 February, 2017

Who am I?
Self-inquiry with Ramana Maharshi


I don't suppose that one would be interested in the above video, without some meditation experience, or some life-changing event like mine. Not that I am special... it just helped to put some things in the proper perspective or let other mundane things fall away. Very, very slowly.... since the personality/mind will always throw up a red flag, “What about me?”

I recommend the book by Micheal James, Happiness and The Art of Being that goes into great depth.

02 February, 2017

Be Triggerless, Be Free — Massaro

With all that is going on with society today, it might be too soon to mention that one can rest in a mind free of worries, fears, or questions. Rest for at least a few minutes a day, and with more experience it will grow. With wisdom, and the experience of “falling down” many times in life, one wants to know fully what this mind of ours is really doing in an effort to create a version of hell, especially tooled to our own failings. A perfect example of this is playing out as we speak with the new U.S. Administration.

Bentinho Massaro here in this clip might help to understand this easier:
"Spiritual growth is more like not believing in suffering purely by knowing it is based in non-reality"...a comment posted.

20 January, 2017

Most Important Time
to the 'Be The Change' Is Today

When you are on the path, there comes a time when you have to show what you are made of. If you really did change and learn from past mistakes. Now is the time, to be light in the face of darkness, to help others struggling with negativity, to show love and caring. More now... than ever before, because now you know you will die too soon, and the misery you would normally have shared with others, is the hell everyone talks about. Hell is not out there to be experienced in the future, is is right here within our being. Smile, share love and concern for others, help anyway you can....today and from this day on.


These photos are from the light of my life, my partner who constantly reminds me to be positive and to smile even when things are difficult, as they often are.
Difficulties will not stop, but a difficult mind can.
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