Welcome...

Come meander with me on the pathless path of the Heart
in these anecdotal,
sometimes inspiring, sometimes personal meanderings of the Heart's opening in the every-day-ness of Life...

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Come to Sit...

Come
to
sit,

to remember
the Silence within;
the vast Emptiness,
that is still and aware ~
just Be-ing…

Come
to
sit,

amongst the clutter of the mind,
between the chaos and confusion
on the waters of life,
amidst the disturbances in the flow
that are hard to navigate…

Come
to
sit,

in Stillness.

In the respite
that connects us to all that is true
in this life experience
and the vast Spaciousness
that is beyond
the disturbances of the mind;
the malfunctions of this body;
and the less than benevolent
intentions of others…

Come
to
sit,

emptied out in the space of
awake, aware Emptiness.
Remembering…
Recognizing the Self ~ again.
Receding into the Great Unknown,
like a wave back into the Ocean,
feeling the fullness of the Embrace…


Come,
Sit…


~*~


Mystic Meandering
copyright
May 30, 2010

photo – my May calendar page




Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Gift

Today is/was Buddha’s Birthday. I was going to spend it quietly, contemplatively, meditating, connecting with the Buddha within… Life had other plans. Instead I found myself unexpectedly in the waiting room of an eye doctor’s office waiting for my mother who was being examined for upcoming cataract surgery. Actually all of life it seems is about waiting at the moment, or is that waiting in the moment.

When I entered the waiting room this morning my mother had already arrived and was in with the doctor, having driven herself from the next town over. I noticed a very elderly woman seated in a lone chair up against a wall with a wheel chair next to her. Just as I took my seat she was trying to communicate in a very weak little voice with the receptionist behind a very high-walled counter. This little old lady was concerned because no one had come to pick her up yet. She somehow knew that someone should have been there by now. She knew she had been waiting too long. The sight of her sitting there all alone with no one there for her nearly brought me to tears. I felt my heart crack open – unexpectedly. Am thinking - Oh please, not NOW – not in the middle of the waiting room. Don’t crack open now! That would be too embarrassing – as the tears began to form.

Her doctor’s visit was evidently over and she had been waiting for what I assumed was her family to come and get her. I thought how odd that a family member hadn’t stayed with her. They had just left her to fend for herself. She wanted to know if the receptionist had called her family. The receptionist tried to explain over the counter top that she had called someone “a while ago”, but the wisp of a woman in the chair could not hear her. She wanted to know if the receptionist had called Jerry or Stacy. The receptionist responded dismissively with – “I called the number you gave me.” So I intervened. I don’t know why. It just felt like the thing to do at the time. Right place at the right time kind of thing. I went over to the woman and asked if she had another phone number for the someone else that she wanted called. (Thinking this is what the receptionist should have been doing). She mumbled something and then something else, and something else, which translated into that she couldn’t remember the other number.

I sat down. My heart began to burst open in my chest for this poor woman who was getting noticeably worried that no one was there to get her. I seem to know this feeling – the feeling of being abandoned, left alone to fend for myself, waiting for someone to come, not able to connect with anyone…. Oh dear – I can feel the heart cracking open again…

I tried to distract myself with reading ‘Radical Acceptance’ by Tara Brach. I opened to where the bookmark was and the first line I randomly read 2/3 down the page was: “…seeing and feeling the degree of suffering we are living with reconnects us to our heart.” It was another thud to the chest. And then I heard the receptionist making a phone call for the lone lady in the chair. Ah, she does care after all! I felt a little more relieved that action was being taken to help this poor, abandoned woman – as the receptionist spoke in a louder tone to let the woman know that somebody was indeed on the way, and it would only be another 5-10 mins… Whew – not abandoned after all – breathing better now.

And sure enough within 5 mins a woman from a “medical transport service” showed up to take this frail lady back to her nursing home. Wow – maybe she has no family after all, and no one had really abandoned her. She was just confused and suffered because she *thought* she had been abandoned. I felt her “suffering” and it touched something deep in me, reconnecting me to the Heart… I was touched by her need, her helplessness, her emotional distress. Responding to her need opened the Heart… Responding to life as it is in the moment opens the space for something larger than ourselves to move in us – to open...

I tried to read from Tara Brach’s book again, while I continued waiting in the waiting room, skimming through the chapter picking up other little phrases: “…opening to life as it is. …regardless of how our experience unfolds, by agreeing to what is here, we offer it the space to express and move through us”, which is exactly what happened this morning waiting in the waiting room. Life as it is moved through in a brief instant between me, an elderly woman and a receptionist. None of whom I expect to see again… Just breezes blowing through - opening the Heart… Happy Birthday Buddha! And thank you for the gift you left me today…


~*~




Tuesday, May 25, 2010

"Step away from the story..."

There are phrases that create openings into greater Awareness. “Step away from the story” was one such phrase for me recently. It was said as part of a comment left by a fellow blogger commenting on the issue of drama that has been showing up at my door on regular basis. And for some reason when I read this phrase, something clicked. She said: “I've been working with the phrase ‘drop the content.’ It seems to help me step away from the story machine that feeds the drama and stay with the sensations and whatever emotions the sensations represent.”

Ah-ha – a light bulb went on about how the story machine runs: by focusing on the content and not seeing the *context* of the experience; running with the experience and not being present *to* the experience – allowing myself to be drawn into the machine.

I will admit I keep getting sucked back into the story machine with ongoing family drama issues. It’s taking quite a bit of awareness to remember the Greater Context in which this drama is playing itself out, to remember it’s all just life as it is. Life is story. Life is drama… There is greater awareness that comes in this “stepping away”, in seeing the Context, seeing and experiencing the Spaciousness that these stories appear in…

From a non-dual fellow blogger, to whom I posed the question about story and drama, came this response: “There is indeed no escape from drama, if by the word “drama” we simply refer to the constantly changing appearance of this life where we are all (as it appears) playing our separate parts. There is no escape from THIS, as it IS. There is, in other words, no escape from the appearance of the story of “my life” unfolding, as there exists no “my life” without a “me”, and there exists no “me” without the story/drama of “my life…. The idea that there actually exists a separate someone (“me”) to be walking [away] is intrinsic to the story or drama itself…” Hmmm… light bulb…

As I sat out under the “Buddha Tree” Saturday evening, I heard the sounds of nature, people, and things around me. My *mind* fixated on the sound of a dog barking. It managed to block out all other noise and I just fixated on “dog barking.” It was as if the backdrop in which the sound occurred was lost and all I heard was *noise.* And then judgment about noise, wishing someone would do something about their dog barking noise, disturbing my stillness! Ah! Story! Light bulb again.

So of course it occurred to me that I had become fixated on the story – to the exclusion of anything else. It’s like getting fixated on the clouds in the sky, but not being *aware* of the sky in the background. (Except it’s not really the “background” – it’s the space in which the clouds appear – the Greater Context). And sometimes it’s overcast. All you can see/experience is story, and you have to stay with it until the clouds either move on or dissipate – or – until you become aware that you are focused on the dramas occurring *in* the larger Context – not the larger Context itSelf. Ah-ha….

I know I create stories around life events, about whether it should be happening or not, and how it is affecting me, or disturbing me, or interfering with me, or how it makes me feel. It’s all a story about a separate sense of self *feeling* something about some *thing*; a separate sense of me feeling inadequate, angst, anger, irritated, or overwhelmed about a life event.

Clouds are inevitable. Noise is inevitable. So too it seems are stories and dramas. But they require a willing participant. When I *internally* “step away”, I am able to *see* more clearly that they are just clouds, just stories – just fluff floating through space with no *real* substance. In the spaciousness of the “Greater Context” there is no story. It’s just whatever is happening is happening with no conclusions, no judgments, no dramas about what is happening – just acceptance – “stepping away from the story” and opening to spacious Awareness…


~*~



Sunday, May 23, 2010

Life as it is...

Come bathe in the pool of Pure Awareness everyday.
No seeking, no questioning, no agenda.
Just lay back into the Vastness of Beingness that just IS.
Feel the Spaciousness holding you, breathing you, living you…

Relax into this Vastness that holds
all experience of all that is, all that you *think* you know…
Just let it all be held here,
suspended in Knowing Awake Awareness.

Be still here and listen…
What are you aware of?
Awareness aware of itSelf, as you~
as your experience…

Allow yourself to *be* Awareness itSelf…
What do you see?
What to you experience?

Just ‘This’
Life as it presently IS,
being lived…
being experienced…

just Life living itSelf…

With awareness…
With acceptance…
With compassion…


~*~


Christine
May 21, 2010

Photo - christine



Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Angst of "not good enough..."

Yesterday I woke up with a nagging sense that I was “not good enough.” It was triggered by the *thought* that I may have offended someone. This is an interesting neurotic tendency that I have - *assuming* that what I say may offend, rather than being somehow beneficial - creating yet another story to wrap my mind around. I often wake up in “storyland” before my day even gets started and then start obsessing endlessly, and spend the day trying *not* to obsess. I know some of you can relate to this as well. Crazy creatures we are!

While sitting out under what I now call my “Buddha Tree” :) - the Maple in my backyard – I felt a deep angst, unsettledness, and anxiety about this situation. I felt a core sense of inadequacy, of being flawed, “wrong”, of not being “okay.” And I could see what the spiritual teachers say, that this *feeling* is the root of my suffering, my angst: the sense that who I AM is not “good enough” – although at the level of Pure Being I *know* that is not true.

I have been making my way *slowly* through Tara Brach’s book “Radical Acceptance” - slowly because it is touching a deep nerve. She mentions this core sense of inadequacy which she calls “the trance of unworthiness,” the trance of the separate self, which she says is the “human condition.” Through her descriptions I am experiencing what she means by this and I am beginning to face this deeper pain within… Oh boy! How could I have known that my resolve to sit with Nature meant I would face my deepest neuroses and insecurities! I thought connecting with Nature would bring bliss and delight! :)

So now under the tree I am beginning to face my inner dragons – the ones I’ve been avoiding, the ones who wreak havoc in the Stillness. They want to be released from the dungeons. But if I release them, I rationalize, they might devour “me.” But I think that’s the point – to be devoured until there is nothing left but The Self – The True Nature. Yet, I’d prefer not to go through the fiery furnace, thank you very much! I’d rather believe my delusions of peace and bliss under the “Buddha Tree.” But it seems in agreeing to see what I need to see and hearing what I need to hear I have opened the door to the furnace… And I think “I” am about to be burned: the me-mind with its neurotic patterns, that is. Which is supposed to be a good thing, but I didn’t realize how much pain was actually involved.

This “basic” sense of inadequacy causes my mind to go off on neurotic journeys and tightens my stomach. I feel the urge to act, to free the angst, to find out *if* I have offended, to find out if I’m “okay.” It takes all I have to just sit – to go deeper, to touch my Essential Nature, beyond the mind; to *not* act on my neurotic tendencies and mind-created scenarios; to *not* feel “in control”; to *not* seek validation for this needy persona-self; to just sit and *be*… It was exhausting actually.

This *deep* sense of “wrongness” inside actually surprises me. I thought I had moved past it years ago. It appears it has remained hidden. This, it seems, is the “anxious quiver of being” that Ezra Bayda and Tara Brach and others talk about: This basic sense of flaw, fault, inadequacy, incompetency that underlies most of our actions, needs, wants and sufferings – internal and otherwise. And how insidious this is – this feeling that keeps everything unsettled and becomes the reference point for living!

With the recognition of this core feeling, a deep sense of compassion welled up inside – which also surprised me. And I realized that this compassion was not just for my own experience but for everyone who experiences the same.

And yet – despite this realization, and feeling this momentary deep compassion for the neuroses of mankind, the collective deep pain of inadequacy, I am still not able to completely face it, to see what’s there. So like a turtle I began to recede and hide behind the safety of the persona. In a sense hiding behind the inadequacy, the *belief* in not being good enough; hiding in the anxious quiver of the mind. How very strange…

It’s like we *use* our neuroses to hide, to cover over who we really are. We meet each other on the level of inadequacy, suffering and pain, pretending we don’t know who we really are, afraid to speak from that sense of knowing our True Nature.

As I sat, I asked: what is the “medicine” that is needed here, but received no answer. It was as if I was asking too soon, trying to find the “fix” to avoid the pain, trying to rush a release. It seems I just need to *be* with it, to wait until it’s fully met. So for now the “medicine” is the stillness of simple awareness.

~*~


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Simply Sitting with Nature...

Nature, like art and music, is a great equalizer it seems, where we can get past the dramas of life and see into the Heart of things as they *truly* are – to what’s underneath it all – the Essence of Life. And Nature provides such wonderful metaphors for this, if we just sit and listen… So I have resolved to spend as much time out in Nature as possible – simply sitting with Nature. Oh and doing some yard work and gardening and puttzing as well, but mainly sitting, watching, and re-connecting.

Saturday, Sunday and Monday I spent several hours out in this chair, just sitting in the alive Stillness - *feeling* Nature – noticing Nature - sometimes morning, sometimes late afternoon. It’s been a very long time since I’ve spent this kind of quiet time just sitting out in Nature. There have been various excuses. But I am committing to “sitting with Nature” again – and reconnecting with my True Nature. It kind of feels like I’m starting all over again: this connecting with Nature, this getting to know Self. She’s been hidden under layers of drama – contracted - and needs to relax and open up – again.

When I first went out into the yard and placed the chair under the tree on Saturday morning there was an awkwardness there, like I was a stranger in my own back yard. I sat with it, looking for connection. And as I sat, it allowed me to connect inwardly, to become aware of the body sensations and the feelings that have accumulated and been trapped there over time through 3 months of family drama – and before. And so I became aware of the little orphans inside me that wanted to be heard. So I listened and felt their pain, their tightness, their constriction, their fear. I noticed that there is a very deep pain that I haven’t allowed to be met, acknowledged and expressed – maybe ever. So I spent some time meeting her, ever so gently, acknowledging her - noticing where in the body she was trapped. It took about an hour of sitting before I took my first deep breath and opened to her. And then the emotions flowed. Am sure it will take a few more meetings with this orphaned one before she’s willing to come home. All in time…

I read about John Daido Loori one time. He was a Zen monk as well as a photographer who took photographs of Nature (amongst other things). I remember in one write-up he talked about approaching and greeting the subject in nature that you want to photograph – be it tree, leaf, flower, bush or bird – and *wait* to be acknowledged, as if creating relationship with the Essence of it first, and waiting for the reply. At least that’s what I remember from the article. I tried to find it again on line, but couldn’t, so those of you who know about him can probably speak to the accuracy of this. So Sunday when I sat, I did so with a different approach, with respect and awareness, and *I* felt greeted, received and welcomed by Nature – especially from the trees; except maybe the Honey Locust. She’s still a bit reserved, not fully open yet. But the Maple that I sat under greeted me with her energy and welcomed me there, as if welcoming an old friend who forgot they knew each other. The two small adolescent conjoined cottonwood twins across the yard acknowledged my presence, (they are only 13 years old), and Grandfather Spruce just stood there – observing it all, like a protective sentinel.

I watched a Robin perched on a low branch in one of the cottonwoods as she sang her song. She hopped down from the branch and zigzagged her way across the lawn. I say zigzagged because there was a pattern: wait, head cock left, then right, look and listen to the ground for movement, dig with her beak, run off in an angle to the next spot; wait, listen/look, dig, run and so on across the yard. Mr. Black Bird flew in to scold Ms. Robin on the lawn. She just stood still, not a move, while Black Bird squawked at her from his lofty perch. Robin just waited until Black Bird was through squawking and flew off, and *then* she resumed her pattern of waiting, listening, hearing/seeing, and acting as she *gradually* made her way across the back yard.

And of course I couldn’t help but see the metaphor in all this about how I move through life. If I sit and wait in stillness, listening, watching, I *see* and *hear* what I need to see and hear. It happens every time. And then I can act accordingly – I know what action to take. And with this inner knowing I can just keep going – undeterred – zigzagging through life. Even when heckled by the so-called “Black Birds” in my life, I could still move (or not move) in such a way that I meet the *Essence* of others. It seems then that drama would turn into Dharma… Nature is a wonderful teacher…


“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing
there is a field.
I’ll meet you there…"

Rumi


~*~



Sunday, May 16, 2010

"Stillness-waiting..."

Come into the place of “still-waiting” -
inner Quiet…
Not trying to make anything happen,
not seeking solutions,
just ~ “Stillness-waiting…”

Listen deeply…
Hear the Stillness…
Open to the Stillness ~
The Primordial Space of Life.
Rest there.

Sink deeply and listen…

Suspend in Stillness.
Re-direct all thought into Stillness.
Re-direct all energies into Stillness.
BE the Stillness that you are…

Bring everything into Stillness.
Entrain with this Stillness of Being.

Everything is deep peace, deep Stillness
at its core.
Everything that arises in the mind
is false identity, false reality.

The key is to stay within
the depths of Stillness ~
suspended in its fullness.

Keep returning to Stillness.
There is nothing but Stillness.
Alive Stillness – Beingness – fllowing
through everything.

Rest in the comfort of this Stillness
and *allow* things to unfold in their own time…
Let everything be as it is.

Repose
Be still
Wait

“Stillness waiting…”

~*~

Mystic Meandering
copyright 2004/06
Photo - Christine



Saturday, May 15, 2010

Heron Wisdom

Heron was a kind of totem for me about 9 years ago. She first showed up when I was dealing with the break up of two very close female friendships in one year. I would go out on walks in my favorite area, sit on the grass and seek “counsel” from Nature. One day as I was sitting, I happened to look up and saw a Great Blue Heron flying overhead. I took it as a sign, my “message” from Nature, if you will. Heron has been showing up off and on ever since.

“Nature meditation” is different from sitting meditation in that awareness seems to be more acute, more vivid, involving more of the senses. It becomes an experience of breathing in the sights, sounds and smells: seeing, noticing, observing, connecting. It’s when I *feel* the alive Stillness of Life humming around me. I automatically take huge deep breaths as I cross over the foot bridge to the pathway, breathing in the aliveness – entering a refuge. It’s where I relax, slow down, and feel open and receptive at a different level than in sitting meditation. As I start each walk I ask “Spirit” (how I refer to the inner Life of everything) to “speak” to me through Nature today – to reveal the Truth of a situation. Sometimes she does and sometimes she doesn’t. But usually it’s in subtle ways – through things that catch my attention along the way. And so I become aware. I notice. I look. And I wait. Yesterday I asked for a “sign” about our current situation.

As I passed by the little wild life habitat pond I scanned the edges curious to see if there was a Heron. I was actually hoping I’d see one – but nothing. I kept walking and then on the return trip scanned the pond again. Nothing. I took in the sight of the reflection in the pond, and the sound of the red winged black birds chirping in the low overgrowth along the edge, and kept walking. And then, as I was nearly past the pond, out of the corner of my eye I saw her coming in low over the pond – wings outstretched, gliding in. My heart leapt. I didn’t see her land, so I turned and walked back to see if I could find her. As quickly as I had seen her, I lost her. I went down the embankment and scanned around the edges of the pond to see if I could see where she might be. Eventually I spotted her across the pond perched on a tangle of branches.

I stood still and watched her as she sat looking into the murky water. Then I started to move closer to the edge of the pond, to get a better look. I may have even uttered a few sounds. My attempt to “connect.” As I moved she saw me. Even from across the pond it evidently disturbed her and she took off, climbing slowly and gracefully overhead. Darn I thought, if I had just stayed still, observing and quiet. If I hadn’t tried to move toward, hadn’t tried to grasp at the experience. My messenger was gone. And yet I knew she was the message: Stand still, watch and observe. Sometimes it’s better not to make a move, but stand in stillness. Movement too soon can cause unnecessary disturbances. Good advice for my present drama… :) Stand and wait…

Herons have great symbolism in many different cultures. When Heron first made herself known to me many years ago, the wisdom that she brought me then was to stand on my own, to follow the call of my Heart, to seek my own wisdom, my own counsel, and follow my own way, not the path of others.

And now she seemed to be saying – wait in stillness – don’t act too soon - don’t move too quickly - be “stillness waiting…” Wise Heron. Nature always shows you the Truth…


~*~



Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Remember Rock...

Rumi wrote a poem that says we should open the door to whatever “visitor” knocks, as it has been sent as messenger… Well, okay, drama keeps knocking at my door, so maybe I’m not getting the message here. I really feel like I *need* to shut the door on all this drama, to not get entangled in it, to not let it drag me down, to drain me – and it is terribly draining, emotionally and physically. And as I mentioned in a previous blog post about this, it is very addictive. The mind just loves it! And so I am guilty in this latest drama of indulging in the mind-loop of stories *about* this drama and the people in it, of telling myself all the different scenarios about what we can do about it, and what the reactions might be - drowning in the sweet, poisonous drivel of drama – intoxicating myself.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to step out into our backyard for a few minutes. It seems like it’s been ages since I’ve actually spent time there. I’ve been on the inside looking out. (Or is that on the outside looking in. :) There has been one drama crisis after another since February, so I have been a little preoccupied. But when I stepped out into the cool rainy morning with a thin layer of new fallen snow on the grass (Yes, northerners, we are still getting snow here in the “southwest” Yippie!) I was intoxicated by the experience. I automatically took in the peace with a deep breath. The smell of moisture in the crisp, cool Spring air with lilacs in bloom and little pale green leaves on the trees barely making their appearance, the grass greener than ever with this wet Spring, and a soft mantel of white on top of everything for accent tugged at my Heart to come play. Nature inhaled me. And I thought, boy, just look what I’ve been missing out here caught up in all these dramas: Missed moments being in the moment of each drama.

Life has been kind of like going to a restaurant everyday and ordering different dishes but no matter what meal is on the menu, there is the goopy syrup of drama layered over it. And maybe that’s just the way life is – dribbles of drama all over everything that I keep trying to push out of the way with my fork. It just doesn’t work. We don’t always get to pick and choose the storyline of the drama because the storylines are entangled and enmeshed with other storylines – in one big gooey mess.




I went out to the back yard to take a picture of this little lighthouse under the Spruce tree and Lilac bush. It has a small natural garden stone next to it that says: “Remember” - the Remember rock. We placed it there when our cat died last August. But today it had a broader meaning.




Drama has a way of entangling me *with* another in an emotional hook up. And I feel like I’m walking a path of entanglement on so many levels these days, with so many people! I’ve danced this dance so many times you’d think I would know better, would remember the music. But drama makes you forget the *inner* music, and each new drama brings a little different tune and I get carried away by the music. As I bent over to adjust the “Remember rock” I disturbed a bird that was nesting in the tree and heard it flutter its wings past my head, as if to warn me I was too close. I apologized for disturbing its nesting place as it winged its way by, stepped away and turned back toward the house. But with just that one flutter of a bird I felt just a tad bit closer to what is really real, to the essence of Life and living – the space where there is no drama. Such peace is tangible.

Being out under the Lilac bush I began to remember that there really is a space where there is no dramas, no stories, no entanglements. I’ve been missing that space, not experiencing it! And I want it back! I want to remember (for the umpteenth time) who I really am underneath all the drama and stories and entanglements – underneath the rock – the simplicity of untethered and unfettered Being dancing to the inner music. I do miss her. She disappears often and I have to go looking for her – under rocks.

After I went inside, I looked back out the window. And with that turn came the realization that Nature is just always there, of course, right there waiting in stillness - just living, breathing, growing, flying, being, untouched by all the dramas that swirl through it – inviting me to participate.

So I’m going to peak underneath the Remember rock more often and spend more time in Nature, reconnecting with the inner music, drinking in the Essence of Life. I cant’ get rid of the drama that unfolds in my life or others, as drama is just part of living. But I no longer wish to open the door every time. Maybe it can just whisper its message through the door.

Knock-knock – who’s there… Remember…


~*~


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

"...the Buddha seed..."

As many of you who regularly read this blog know, I am not a “Buddhist”, although recently I find myself enamored with the Buddha, feeling a deep inner sense of the universal Buddha presence within. In the past I have given this presence names like Awareness, Presence, Spirit, Being, Stillness, etc. This Buddha Presence has a compassionate, loving, peaceful, comforting presence that I feel in my heart and gut; that calms and consoles; that has a sense of “assurance” to it. There is an innocent curiosity that arises with the felt sense of this presence within, wanting to follow. So I am exploring this new awareness of the Buddha internally – as in: This is interesting, let’s see where this goes. Do I need to leave breadcrumbs just in case?

Sometimes I feel gifted during times of meditation when I get words and insights that always seem to be just what I need to hear. With the recent drama in my life, silence and meditation have been difficult, but in the last couple of weeks they were beginning to become my internal comforts – although I admit, food and TV are still right up there at the top of the list, as well as various other distractions of the body/mind. :)

However, during meditation last week I was able to settle in to the Silence enough to get still and asked:

Buddha – what do you want here?

The response:

Utter and complete stillness, like a lotus on a pond.
Utter and complete waiting – in stillness.
Utter and complete presence – inward/inner presence.

And during this “utter and complete stillness” – which of course was not totally “utter and complete”, but the best that I could do - I reflected that the Buddha Nature is like a seed in the heart that needs attention, awareness, and presence, in order to open fully. Still, silent attentive awareness; a silent gaze of attention inwardly, continually, bringing the inner gaze there to the seed of the Buddha Nature: “the Buddha seed” were the words that came…

A visual of an open white Lotus flower also came.

So I asked: What does Buddha want me to know here?

Mindfulness – mindful awareness that *sees.*
Bring your awareness to the Buddha seed in the Heart.
Bring steadfast presence to the seed of the Buddha Nature within.
Hold the seed of light in your awareness – like the Lotus Light …
Constant, continual awareness of the seed within until it fully opens.
This is the Buddha Nature – the seed of the Lotus Light that shines.
Create an environment for this seed to thrive…

Be like the hidden jewel, the hidden light – waiting,
content to wait in stillness; enfolded, held and embraced. Waiting.
The Buddha seed will open when it is ready… Wait in stillness…

Be “stillness waiting.”

So be it…

~*~



Monday, May 10, 2010

Drama at my door...

Just when I’ve declared that I want less drama in my life and am just about ready to cut all ties with drama queens and drama-making aspects of my life – drama comes for another visit and lowers a one-tow punch that leaves me stunned. I won’t go into the details, but involves my sister-in-law, formerly referred to as DQ, my husband’s family dynamics, his mother with Alzheimer’s, and family money. That should give you a good clue, any time there’s money involved (and a bunch of unconscious people) there’s drama. And what DQ was able to do was to get her mother to sign my husband out of his mother’s Trust. And DQ just happened to deliver the news on – Mother’s Day at 7:30pm in a very emotional phone conversation that lasted two hours with lots of drama...

For the life of me I don’t understand how this family functions – or dysfunctions. I don’t understand the need to be so crisis and drama oriented. It is soooo bloody disruptive. But it seems the world functions on crisis and drama – have you noticed? :)

I create enough drama of my own that I often get stuck in it, forgetting to consciously check it at the door. It usually gets stuck to my shoe or my leg – like toilet paper. I hardly know it’s there until I embarrass myself. Drama is very sticky stuff. For some reason we love it. It can be addicting, giving that adrenaline rush, feeding the ego’s sense of self-importance. I have been noticing these things lately in my involvement with my sister and her issues, and how drama is soooo easy to do. It’s the path of least resistance actually. I’ve been watching and noticing how I create my own drama, and how I give in so easily to other people’s dramas. I certainly didn’t want to let this new visitor in – but she somehow slipped through the door. My husband was essentially blindsided and so is stunned himself. And in just a few short hours we have gone through the shock and awe of what happens when people are only interested in the bottom line – not the well-being of others – to anger, to numbness, to peace, then back to shock, anger and... in cycles of emotion and the resurrection of buried feelings and family baggage.

So – how to stay conscious when you’ve been lobbed a bomb over the back fence with a great deal of planning and forethought evidently on their part… It was intentional. Like the surgeon with a surgeon’s knife. In one fell swoop of a pen of a confused woman, the heart of her son has been cut out. Assisted no doubt by the master surgeon DQ herself. And I wonder what lawyer in his right mind would allow a woman diagnosed with Alzheimer’s to make that kind of a decision, unless of course he was bamboozled by a certain DQ who is known in the family as a troublemaker, stirring up chaos with her drama – oops, am I lobbing a grenade here :)

So how *does* one stay conscious, awake, open and not retaliate with another bomb… With a great deal of precision it seems to me, skillfully. But the mind wants to run with the drama! To be impulsive. Those thought juices are just flowing like crazy in a feeding frenzy of fight or flight neurons – mostly fight - and warrior synapses that want to defend “the territory” and prevent the “enemy” from pillaging and plundering in the name of the “estate.” But what about his mother! What about the fact that she is being manipulated in the name of protecting her money in a flurry of false accusations against her son, in an attempt by DQ to get back at him for past transgressions… You see how sticky this is…

It seems to me this situation requires a rational response: calling the Trust lawyer to see if he can be trusted :) and how this could have happened and why he allowed it; seeking legal counsel here for some advice on what to do about it, if anything. Or are we just up shitz creek…

For me it is about not perpetuating the drama by constantly talking about it, or allowing it to dominate my mind and getting worked up about it, spewing out my own venom, venting to soothe my offended ego that wants to let my family know how bad his family is, or giving my husband unwanted advice on how to handle the situation in an attempt to control. It requires some serious change in my behavior patterns in order to deal with this with equanimity, with an inner resolve to act with integrity and authenticity. And maybe even fierce presence in the face of those who would malign and wish harm. And certainly some serious cushion time is in order as well, sitting with The Buddha within, asking: what *is* this? And what is needed here? What do I need to see here?

It also means remembering that staying conscious and awake is through awareness. And not just awareness of the situation, the dynamics involved, the thoughts, or the feelings in the body, or my emotional responses, but aware of Awareness itSelf – the Buddha Nature – of what is underlying all this. To constantly bring my awareness back to this essential Awareness – to sit with The Buddha – Being – Presence (however one calls it) and *abiding* there – allowing - not fighting and resisting, as in Aikido where one goes with the movement of the aggressor, not against them. Allowing the aggressor to aggress and seeing where they go, moving with their movement, essentially disarming the aggressor without a fight. Skillfully.

So that’s where I am tonight at 4:45 am – listening to the birds chirping in the pre-dawn darkness - feeling a little punchy - needing sleep... Yesterday’s drama is already today’s present moment…



Sunday, May 9, 2010

Simply Sit

In order to *know* the Buddha,
you have to *sit* with the Buddha…

In order to *know* Wisdom,
you have to *sit* with Wisdom…

In order to *know* the Truth,
you have to *sit* with the Truth…

In order to *know* the Heart,
you have to *sit* with the Heart…

Sit down, sink down into the depths,
beyond the stimulations of words, ideas,
thoughts, emotions, distractions,
and the quakings of the Heart…

Sink into the Ocean of Stillness,
into the Rhythm of Quiet – until you *know.*

…just sit…

open and receptive

unbounded,
untethered,
unfettered.


Simply sit…


~*~


Mystic Meandering
copyright
May 2, 2010



Thursday, May 6, 2010

Domesticity - The Mundance - Part 2

"Inside this new love,
die.
Your way begins on the
other side.
Become the sky.
Take an axe to the
prison wall.
Escape.
Walk out like someone
suddenly born into color.
Do it now.
Your old life was a
frantic running
from silence."

~ Rumi


I have a friend with whom I used to share tea and talk with over a period of several months last year. We would discuss “spiritual stuff.” He has a wonderful art studio/sanctuary where we’d meet. He goes to his studio nearly every day to do art that is not for sale – just art for arts sake, read, sit in meditation for hours, talk with friends, or otherwise live his Heart’s desires, following the creative muse, and, in my mind anyway, the “spiritual life.” (Gee - I wonder what his wife does!? Keeps the home fires burning no doubt!) I raised the issue of the “Mundance” with him one time. He very nicely “invited” me to see that the mundane was just as “sacred” as what we determine to be the more “spiritual” activities. He assumed the role of a “teacher” and gave an example of when he stayed at an ashram and was required to scrub the floors of one of the buildings every day. He wanted a job in the “temple” itself – but was relegated to the more mundane areas and activities – for which he was rather bummed and irritated. (Isn’t that my point?!) He had to scrub the toilets and floors until he learned the lesson that the “mundane” activity is just as “sacred” as working in the temple. And then he was allowed a job in the temple. Hmmmm – sounds rather patriarchal to me, perpetuating old paradigms of efforting and working hard to *earn* the reward of “enlightenment” – domesticating the sacred fire that burns within. Isn’t this just more conditioning? And – doesn’t *he* get to retreat to his studio (temple) when life gets a little too mundane?! (I am not a feminist by any stretch of the imagination.):)

While I understand that everything is sacred, that there is no separation between the mundane and the “spiritual”, that only thought makes them separate and unequal, to me it feels deeper than just this division of the mind. It’s as if my Being is trying to free Itself from the confines and constraints that IT is experiencing – like a Divine Discontent. It’s like “I” am trying to break out of a “role”, an “identity”, the conditioning that constrains my Being, that has kept me dancing to a tune that I feel out of sync with – and soar to the Heart of Being. (I'm a "Mystic" remember...) I experience the mundane dance as a complete waste of life affirming energy. But once again that’s my mind - a mind-made story that I tell myself about how deadening domesticity is. I know, after awakening – chop wood, carry water… But somehow that doesn’t feed my Heart…

Men – in general – it seems, are able to follow a “spiritual path” more easily. (Or maybe this is just another delusion.) Jesus, Buddha, Ramana Maharshi, Nisargadatta come to mind. I have not studied the lives of these teachers so I may be mistaken here, but it seems they pretty much followed the “call” of their Heart, if you will. Jesus left his parents at age 12 to seek the wisdom of “God”, Buddha left his young wife and child to discover the Truth of Existence, Ramana left home at age 16 to live at the base of Mt. Arunachala to become “Enlightened.” Nisargadatta left his family for 5 years to study with a teacher (although he also worked to support his family during that time). These men devoted their lives to “enlightenment”, awakening, spirituality, “the path”, Self-realization, Truth, in whatever ways they could. I wonder what the modern day enlightened women do, like Gangaji, Neelam, Pamela Wilson, Mukti and many others. Do they spend their days in meditation – living monastically - writing words of wisdom, teaching others “Truth”? Do they do their own domestic duties, or do they have a cadre of people (other women?) surrounding them, willing to cook, clean and otherwise do the duties of the mundane… And does it really matter? – No… I realize this is *my* issue…

So it would seem a little time sitting with this is in order. Maybe it’s as simple as time management, discipline, shedding some bad habits, and an attitude adjustment. That’s probably part of it – and something I’ve started working on – bringing awareness to those areas. Asking: What is this *really*? And, what is needed here? But it feels much deeper than the surface solutions – as beneficial and practical as they are… But what’s underneath this?

It *feels* like the call of the Heart once again: the Self calling the Self to itSelf again and again *through* the veils of the mundane. It’s as if there’s an “entrainment” with a deeper dance that is needed here; a birthing into a new rhythm with life… Not shunning the mundane, not sacrificing my Self, but honoring the call of the Heart –the homing call; dancing the Rhythm of the true Self; *abiding* in the Heart of Being where everything is congruent…


May we all abide in the Song of the Heart -
intimately dancing “The Dance.”

~*~


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Domesticity - The Mundance - Part 1

"We are perishing for lack of fulfillment of our greatest needs.
We are cut off from the great sources of our inward nourishment and renewal."
DH Lawrence

I actually wrote a variation of this blog post last year and never posted it. So I thought I’d resurrect it, polish it off a little and see where it goes…

At a very young age we women are basically trained (conditioned) to be domestic, to be caretakers, rather than follow our passion, our Heart, or - follow a path of “spirituality” the way the sages of old did. We know this. For me it has become a real issue lately. I turned 60 last year, and realized that for some 54 years my energies have been primarily focused on living like Hestia – Goddess of Home and Hearth - sacrificing my Self at the altar of domesticity in one form or another. Maybe you know her too. Even though I never had children, I have worked full time at various jobs throughout my life. And - there has always been a very strong yearning or “call” all my life for Truth, Wisdom, Enlightenment – all the things I cluster together under the umbrella of “Spirituality.” But there was always “domesticity” – the dance of the mundane - a “typical woman’s” life, as I’m sure many of you can relate to. It was a role I unconsciously assumed *because* of my conditioning - because there was no encouragement to live creatively, dare I say “spiritually.” No encouragement to follow my Heart’s desire, or even to know what that was… I assumed my role was to “take care of others.” I typically chose stereotypical female “care-taking” roles – nursing, massage therapy, energy worker, receptionist, wife.

Even though I have not worked *for pay* outside the home for the last several years – due to health issues, I still find it hard to follow my Heart – to live simply and contemplatively, to allow creativity to flow, to spend significant time communing with Being-Self in all its forms – listening deeply to the wisdom within; to follow what I consider to be a “spiritual” life. I know I know I sound spoiled. There are others who live far more difficult lives than I do. Yet, I have my own impediments and limitations that have made life less than “cushy” – physically, emotionally and financially. And now I seem to be creating duality when I write about this division between my vision of a “spiritual” life and the mundane, so I’ll reword it: I’d like to live with less chaos and drama – mine and others, less complexity, less entanglement in the needs of others, and less dancing with the mundane requirements of daily living. Instead I want to devote my heart beats to the passion of my Heart – which happens to be “spirituality.” By that I mean a deep *abiding* sense of communing with the Heart of Being (however we call it: Awareness, Beingness, Buddha Nature, etc.) Isn’t that really what we all want? Isn’t this what we search for and what our loneliness, angst, grief, frustration, fear, anger and melancholy really are: A deep heart desire for an internal, abiding awareness, connection and ongoing communion with our True Nature?

When my life energies are constantly being drawn to the mundane and family obligations it feels like an abandonment of my spirit, or True Self. I am repelled by the requirements of daily living. Hestia would be disappointed I’m sure… Some days I just want to sit in open-ended meditation for as long as it feels right, without having to get up and do what needs to be done, without having to make a meal, without having to keep the domestic home fires burning. There’s always the distraction of the mundane. And where does the time go that there seems to be so little of it for creativity, for Stillness, for the “inner life.” How did life get so chaotic and consuming of spirit?! A retreat is not the answer here – both physically and financially, but a total change in lifestyle, creating an *environment* for the actual *living* of my Heart’s desire… And that doesn’t seem likely either…

My husband was gone for four days over the last Christmas Holiday visiting his family. However, out of the 4 days I only managed to eek out 1 full day of uninterrupted “monastery time”, because the other days were spent with my family and doing the mundance. That one day was delightful! The silence of the house was breathtakingly *full.* So much time for just sacred Silence. I lived according to the inner rhythms and timings of Being-Self, with very little mundane activities – and yes solitude. I reveled in it. I want to *live* this way – not eek out days here and there, but *living* life in sync with the *natural* Rhythms of Beingness. Several years ago I spent much more time in silent “meditation” on a daily basis, which is when creativity and insights and wisdom flowed freely; which now seems lost to me – drowned by the distractions of the mundance. Life as it is now does not nourish the deeper needs of my Being…

Life as it *isn’t*, at the moment, is still life as it is, of course. So how do I harmonize “living life as it is” with my spirits starvation. I don’t think “living life as it is” means resignation to “mundaneness.” It’s not either/or. The question really is: How do I/we live congruently with my/our True Nature – expressed *in* and through the mundane? How do I/we live a life that is conducive to the Heart’s True desire?

Part 2 tomorrow