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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...

Monday, April 30, 2012

Pruning Trees - Pruning "The Situation"


For those who have been reading this blog for a while, you may remember my post on Creating a Heart Tree last year.  Our River Birch is old and last year much of it died off.  We did deep root fertilization both last Spring and this Spring to see how much of it might come back. And of course I put little heart stones, sage and Faerie ornamentation at it’s base to “help” – if only in my mind. :)  We love our symbols :)  It really started to come to life again last year – but only about half of it thrived.  As you can see, it remained bald on top.  So we spent Saturday pruning the dead wood.  Tree artists we are not, but we did a pretty good job I think.  It looks a little dwarfish, and asymmetrical.  Yet I love still having this little guy in the front yard.

 
Pruning: to remove dead parts to improve growth – to cut out what is superfluous…  Who knew that pruning a tree would become a metaphor for working with “the situation” that I spoke of in my previous post.

As we were pruning – me holding the rope and DH climbing the ladder with the chain saw to reach the dead wood - our neighbor came walking up the sidewalk with his chain saw in hand and offered to assist.  I mean, how can you refuse a man with a chain saw, despite “the situation”, right?  Yes, this is the same father of “the situation” from my last post.  Which once again proves to me that life is a continuously unfolding story, and we never know how it’s going to unfold.  My mind thought – this is interesting.  I wonder why he’s doing this.  How can I say anything to him about “the situation” now with this generous offer of help?  Actually his offer of kindness was quite skillful in a way – it diffused “the situation” for the moment.  So we exchanged pleasantries and gratitude and the pruning began.

As the three of us engaged in the act of pruning, focused on the tree, it became clear that now was not the time for discussion.  It became clear, to me anyway, that somehow this was a time of getting clear, clearing away my image of him as “enemy” and to see the essence of the situation, to let go of the mental stories I had been telling myself, and to experience his basic goodness and humanness – and mine as well – at the heart of the interaction…  This is not to make light of “the situation”, or to deny that there aren’t issues here that need to be addressed… I am still being watchful - but with more detached mindfulness, a deeper sense of awareness, and less of the mind reactive, angry energy that wants to “catch” his son in the act, to try to control his behavior and get him to see the “wrongness” of his actions.

As a wise commenter said on the last post, “make friends…”  And I interpret that to mean to make friends with “the situation” – not the kid - but the situation – to make peace with it. If I befriend the situation, then he and his son are no longer my enemies and I am at peace…  Bazinga!  Sometimes these irritants in life are offered as a way of seeing beyond the surface situation, to the pearl of wisdom in the situation.  The neighbor’s offer of help and presence working along side us actually diffused my emotional reactivity to “the situation” – my projection, my mental habituation about “the situation.”    And I think that had to happen before any discussion could occur.

With space from “the situation”, and pruning some of my emotional dead wood, I realize that I have been attached to my anger and reactivity about “the situation.”  Thus I was held captive in my own emotional castle of protection, feeling under siege, fortressing myself against “the enemy” by maintaining a reactive stance, instead of seeing clearly and responding from a clear space, as another wise commenter said – using  Manjusri’s sword…  But what I didn’t realize is that I would have to use that sword to cut my way through the veils that blinded me, and not bring my baggage into “the situation.”  It remains to be seen if I can actually do this – to stand in the clear ground of Being within and take the appropriate action without my mind-muddied passive aggressive reactiveness getting in the way.  Only time will tell…

Who knows what effect this “tree pruning” work will have on “the situation”, pruning out the dead wood of my emotions towards “the situation” – allowing a new awareness and consciousness to flow… For now there are no resolutions.   And yet I feel a door has been opened for the possibility of dialogue.  My heart has softened towards “the situation.”  I’m not about to do battle with a 13 year old.  I’m amazed that a 13 year old could create such anxiety, anger and reactivity in me!   There is still a sense of watchful waiting, of discerning the most effective approach.  Asking questions like: How do I need to engage here?  Through my self-imposed mental suffering about the situation, through a sense of wounded anger and “rightness” of my position, through a sense of false power that comes from a need for self-protection? Or, from a place of awareness of our shared humanity with an open heart…

The pruning continues…  It may take a while :)


Friday, April 27, 2012

"The Situation"


No, I’m not talking about “Jersey Shore” here.  And some of you probably don’t even know what that is.  I barely do.  Evidently it is a controversial TV program about a group of twenty-somethings gone wild in New Jersey.  The people playing the parts actually have real names like “Snooki” and “The Situation.”  Thus this title, and story here.

We have a “situation” next door that I have no idea how to handle.  Our neighbor’s son has entered puberty and there has been a spiraling increase in wildness.  Some say he’s just being a teen - but it is creating a “situation.”  Did I already say that?  You see I’m beginning to get absorbed by “the situation.”  My life is being disrupted on a regular basis by “the situation”, which is a 13 year old and a single parent who evidently doesn’t think there *is* a “situation.”

About a year ago the then tween decided he wanted to be Daniel Boone and his mother (ex-wife of single parent next door) decided to buy him a bow and arrow.  He, unbeknownst to us, but with his father’s knowledge, had target practice in his back yard – aimed at our fence – which means he was aiming into our backyard.  Well, of course, Daniel Boone he is not, so one errant arrow flew over the fence, *across* our yard, and into the neighbor’s fence on the other side - who has two toddlers.  Some of you may remember that post – here.  When I discovered the arrow I was pretty sure where it had come from, but waited to see if the owner would come a knocking to claim it…  Nope.  Several days later an opportunity presented itself for a conversation with his dad.  I waited for him to broach the subject – nada. So I asked him if he would happen to know anything about the arrow in the fence. “Why yes I would” he said – and proceeded to give me the story of the bow and arrow.  But – no apology – like gee, I’m sorry, my son could have killed you…    Says a lot about a man’s character, don’t you think…

Wellllll – then tween turned into teen last Summer and was given a Pellet Rifle – evidently for “target practice” - but the targets are rabbits and squirrels.  Daddy evidently said it was okay to shoot rabbits and squirrels – for fun. We found three dead in our yard last year – one on the patio and one rotting with maggots under a bush; which of course means he was shooting in our direction.  Hubby had a talk with Daddy and Daddy evidently thinks killing innocent animals for fun is “sport” – does not see them as living beings to be respected.  I actually saw him shoot a rabbit from out his back door.  I think he heard me gasp and pulled the rifle back in.  I have checked with the police and *if* the rifle is a certain caliber it is considered a “firearm” which is illegal to have in the city where we live.  I have no idea what caliber it is.  And even if I knew, and reported it, they would know it was me who reported them – and then what – fear or retribution.  I told you I was getting absorbed by the story :)  I’m a character playing out a role in this ridiculous, attention consuming, anxiety provoking story that I had no intention of getting into – at least consciously.

Interestingly, a paper target that they sometimes actually use for practice, flew into our back yard with the wind and landed on the patio a few weeks ago.  Divine intervention or what?!  I am thinking of taking it to the police station to see if they can determine by the size of the hole that if left in the paper what caliber it is.  But still – there’s that sticky “situation” of actually filing a complaint and having the sheriff show up at their house and take the gun away.  The kid is a very angry teen and already dislikes me, because I watch him, from the window when I’m working at my desk.  Now he watches to see if I’m sitting there watching him.  I figure it’s a good deterrent if he thinks I might be watching.  But, I also think it has only created animosity and sneakiness.  In other words, I think I’ve already blown it.  I was never a parent, so I have no clue about “handling” teens – especially angry ones.

Last Fall we discovered he liked setting fires with an acetylene torch – evidently with his father’s knowledge – or so I was told, rather surly.  I watched one day as he and a friend set fire to dead pine needles *under* a pine tree, and various other dead objects of nature around his yard.  They enjoyed it way too much – laughing and dancing into a frenzy.  Pyromaniac came to mind.  Finally I opened the window and said something when they were lighting dead tall grass on fire at the corner of their garage, and not 5 feet from a huge 50 foot spruce tree that overhangs the corner of our property!  I was told, as if I was beneath him, that his father was aware that they were doing it, and they were “handling it.”  Being reactive, head sticking out second floor window, I replied that if I had to call the fire department there would be a big problem.   I got the basic ignore from an angry teen with a weapon of mass destruction who is learning to kill for fun.  And we wonder why there is no peace on the planet.   

I hope this is not too much story, or that you are expecting some wondrous “spiritual” insight to come at the end :)  Walking a “spiritual path” does not make us immune to “the human story.”  It’s all story – even “the spiritual path.”  If anything this story points out how, in general, we don’t realize the impact our actions have on each other – the ripple effect.

Oh and one more part of the story. :)  Yesterday we were eating dinner and suddenly we saw the kid jumping back and forth from the top of his tool shed onto the top of our tool shed – over the 6 foot fence, and probably 6 feet of space between the two, while dear daddy is lying in the hammock hidden behind the fence.  They were evidently playing Pirates of the Caribbean, as he was brandishing a sword – the father that is!  Hopefully a play one, but who knows.  I opened the window to say something – but he heard the noise of the window and jumped off the roof to hide – behind the fence.  But I went to my tower window, of course, and saw him hiding there, and then he saw me watching him.   Awkward…

I am at a loss about “the situation.”  I have no rapport with this kid.   He hasn’t been able to make eye contact with me since they moved in 6-7 years ago.  And I have probably made an enemy in the last year playing the grumpy old lady next door, watching from her tower.  Not a good thing with a kid with a gun and a torch.  Even so, I feel the need to be watchful.  It is apparent to me that “the situation” – as it is – requires vigilance and appropriate action. And speaking to the father?  Well – we tried that with the arrow and squirrel incident. Like father like son, as they say… 

S0 - I am waiting for the “right way” to reveal itself – for the “right” opportunity and timing…  I know he will continue to challenge us, to test the boundaries to see how far he can go and how much he can get away with.  And it’s only just beginning!

If anyone has any suggestions on how to handle “the situation”, or can offer a little perspective here, I’m open to hearing it! :)





Photo
That is not fire coming out his
ear and butt,
although I wonder…
It’s something red on the ground :)
And he does not have tattoos.
Those spots showed up when
I digitally altered the photo…



Monday, April 23, 2012

Falling Off The Edge...

Days unfold like waterfalls.
Nights are welcome Silence
at the window -
just sitting,
allowing
the flow
of the
day
to
come
to
the
edge
and
gently
fall
away
~
~
~
into
rest
~
~
~


A smooth
sliding
movement
of
awareness
finding
its
own
Rhythm
empties
out
the
eddies
of
life
~
~
~


Letting go
of trying

trying
to
make
sense
of
life;
trying
to
make
anything
happen
~
~
~

Just deeply relaxing

Just
 falling

 e
f
f
o
r
t
l
e
s
s
l
y

into
the
still
rest
 of inner
Silence
~
~
~
the mind
slips off the edge
and
down
the
sides
~
~
~
resting


Sitting
under
the
cascading
              waterfall of
                                   deep Silence
feeling
               the gentle
rhythmic
              movement
envelope
           my being
I slip
       into
           its
                    soft
                                  crevice
            into the
 folds of
                         deep
                                               Stillness


the softness
of
just Being
~
~
~



The Natural State
~
~
~


Mystic Meandering
©April 23, 2012


Fun-Qi Art™
Oct. 2009







Friday, April 20, 2012

Emerging Joy...

What I really want to express
is the joy of living fully
through each day -
but can’t find the vocabulary
to describe
such an incredibly
simple
experience.”

Barry Briggs



I find myself feeling this way too, as I unexpectedly tripped over Joy this week.  No words can truly express the *sense* of lightheartedness, the *sense* of deep contentment, equanimity, and dare I say – “happiness” – that inexplicably arose from some well deep within.  I did not go searching for it.  It revealed itself, when I was quiet and open - resting in the space of Awareness.  But – let me explain how it came about…

Last Friday a fellow blogger, Tracy at Prana Light, mentioned something in her post about The Open Heart Project  founded by Susan Piver , and gave a link.  Curious, I clicked on the link and watched a couple of introductory videos, and poked around to see what I could find – particularly if there was a sense of “awake presence”, and did I resonate…    I found other of Susan’s brief Dharma Talks and Meditation videos on Vimeo and proceeded to watch several of them over the weekend.  Susan basically teaches a form of Tibetan Buddhist meditation called “Shamatha”, also known as the "practice of peaceful abiding," which is simply a breath awareness meditation.  Although I have been meditating for several years,  the breath awareness meditation unexpectedly touched my heart and opened me in a way I can’t explain – and something in me responded.  My body, mind and spirit said – YES - and a simple quiet Joy, a childlike happiness of heart, began to emerge from within – something I haven’t felt in a long time…

I curiously noticed throughout the week that there was a new sense of openness and spaciousness about life as well; an evolving relaxed presence, an allowing of life without the constant mind struggle of reactive, critical thoughts creating a veil to this inner sanctum of Joy.  I became less rattled by life events – usually :) - although by the end of the week it was noticed that the usual reactivity was still available and functioning.  Like this morning when I opened Blogger and found that it had all changed! Not that I wasn’t warned – but still.  The reactive mind had a hey-day, like an old computer program that hadn’t been disabled.

Following the fluidity of the breath of life opened the door to places I have never been before, allowing me to experience simple, inexplicable quiet “joy” - and even that isn’t the “right” word – despite the funky mind computer system that wants to play out endlessly…

Who knew that an online meditation practice for 10 mins, 2-3 times a day, would have such an incredible impact; a wonderful deepening and enhancement of my regular meditation.  And this is not a promotional for Susan Piver - at all.  Truth comes through many different vehicles – when least expected. We all have to find the people and ways that resonate with us. I know it is not “her.”  Am just saying the practice of meditation she offers became the vehicle for the realization of an inexpressible Joy within me that was subtly felt and experienced off and on all week.  I’m sure it has been there all along.  I just had to open the door…




Fun-Qi Art™
Emerging Joy
Mystic Meandering
April 18, 2012



Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Plumbing the Depths...


Do not be afraid to
plumb
the
depths
of your Being,
of Truth;
to question
everything
you
have
learned



Take the journey deeply inward
to your beginnings – and endings;
to the Silent hum
in the Heart
of all Life
that sings,
and
see
for
your
self.




There are many caravans to follow,
those aspiring to enlighten you
with their words,
left like firewood to light your way,
along the road…


But only in Sacred Silence can the journey be made
to the Heart of Being;
to discover the depths of Being ~
of That which you are;
That which wants to
live,
express,
and love
Here


Do not let fear stop your descent
into the inner Vastness:
the
deep Ocean
of the awakened
Heart…


Be still,
and open…


Follow the plumb line,
of your breath,
past the Furies and the Sirens
into the soft ebullience
of Love,
and quiet Joy,
waiting for you,
like ethereal
liquid pools
of Light,
drawing
you
in



Rest Here



In
the
depths
of
this
Alive
Silent
Spacious
Awareness

Listen to the endless
Rhythm already
holding
you
in the cradle
of the Heart…




Feel
the
pervasive
contentment
of Life
Here
in
the
depths of
Sacred
Silence,
that animates
every cell,
every atom,
every sound,
every thought,
every feeling ~
until you know
THIS
as
your
self


Simply Living…




Mystic Meandering
©April 17, 2012

Fun-Qi Art™
©2010



Sunday, April 15, 2012

Resting in the Depths...

"…make the final leap into awareness
without the slightest basis for determining
what is spiritual or not -
this bare state with no reference point
is beyond the cage of philosophy.

…rest in infinite evenness –
…experience the true nature of
phenomena, as their equalness.

There are no gods to worship,
no demons to exorcise,
nothing to cultivate in meditation.
This is the completely ordinary state.

With the single state of evenness
there is openness,
a relaxed and unstructured openness.

How delightful -
things are timelessly
ensured without having to be done,
and being free of effort
and achievement,
you are
content."

Longchenpa
Dzogchen





"Silence is the deepest teaching.
It gives you access to the deeper
dimension of Being..."

Adyashanti





"Go within yourself
and probe the depths
from which your life springs,
and there at its source
you’ll find
the answer..."


Rainer Maria Rilke
A Year With Rilke






Enter deeply into the depths of Being.
Allow yourself to sink more fully,
more completely into Being ~
into intimacy with
internal Stillness…

Allow your body and mind
to experience
the Fullness,
the Spaciousness,
the Presence,
the Knowingness,
the Awareness
of Silence…

Go into the very core
of Being ~
the all encompassing,
all embracing
Rest of Being…



Mystic Meandering
Meditative writings
2004-2006




Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A Burnt Peas Kind of Day...

Yesterday was a “burnt peas” kind of day. I literally burned the peas. My usual fare for breakfast is peas and steamed fish. I changed my routine and put the peas on to boil first and then went to the computer to check blog comments and emails figuring I could check everything within 5-6 mins – pea boiling time. Not… I got so engrossed I forgot the peas, until I smelled them burning. And it was all down hill from there, playing catch-up with time the rest of the day – never feeling like I had enough time. I seem to be living that way lately – time oriented, time bound, trying to catch up to time, always falling behind time, running out of time. I’m always pressing forward - *in my mind* - but my *heart* wants to live out of time. My True Heart and mind are out of sync – needing a little tune up. And so it’s time to take a time out and assess why I’m measuring myself by the clock and why it feels like time – and life - keep slipping away… into that time funnel…

This is not to say that time structure isn’t good. I love structure. I have my lists of things to do. And some days that are structured seem to flow better. Time is unavoidable. But it’s the mind grasping for and fixating on time that I’m talking about – like the rabbit in Alice in Wonderland who’s always checking his watch exclaiming that he’s running late… Racing against the clock as a measure of my worthiness, seeing how much I can accomplish, doling out tidbits of time and never really accomplishing anything – never finding time for what’s really important – the Silence of Life beyond time…

Relative time is self containing, and self contracting - a container for the self - like bookends on your life; putting a beginning and end on life, attempting to contain life that wants to flow naturally. Time fixation doesn’t allow for the natural awareness of anything other than time. The Universe is not time constrained however – have you noticed. :) It is endless and open. We seem to know this naturally in childhood through play – which flows freely unless someone tells us it’s time to come in. Nature rests outside of time – clock time – naturally cyclical on its own time – unconstrained by artificial time – and yet flourishes wildly and beautifully.

So who would I *be* if I didn’t live by the clock, losing the vision of the larger Life beyond time? What if I loosened my grip on time, and lived life according to my natural rhythm – the rhythm of the Heart? What would happen if I returned to that lovely groundless state of innocent no-mind, to the easy flow of life – not lost in the eddies of no-time - but living congruently in the harmony of being and doing – attuned to Life Itself. Not fighting against my natural rhythms, which is maybe why I lag behind – in time – resisting the constraints of time… What if I didn’t prescribe life by time, but remained open to its natural unfolding… I mean I’m not getting to the things I *really* want to do anyway, even with the self-imposed structure of time. Instead I’m measuring myself by the clock and what I’m not getting done – feeling like I’m missing out on life, missing out on really *living*. It seems there needs to be a resetting of the “mind clock”…

When I sit at the open window at night in Silence and look out into the semi-darkness – time dissolves. I become aware of the Silence of Life, within and without, through the smell and feel of the cool night air, the sight of the silhouetted stillness of the trees, the sounds of living in the distance that occurs within the vastness of Silence... And - I am undistracted and undisturbed by time. The “mind clock” quiets, and I am aware only of the flow of Life behind time, underneath time - where Life lives. When my “mind clock” isn’t running my life, then I am at peace, more mindful, aware. Time flows fluidly and I don’t burn the peas.



In the not doing
everything gets done…

Lao Tzu


~


Photo
Reflection out my living room window
in the face of the clock...

~

Saturday, April 7, 2012

True Hearts Can Be Found Everywhere...


Yes, tis true…

I was cleaning the toilet on Friday
and voila
this heart appeared…

So, of course couldn’t pass up
the opportunity to take the photo
and share it with you,
to lighten up your day -
in case your heart’s in the “hopper” :)


S0, the next time you are sitting on the “throne”
may your heart be lightened
knowing that…

True Hearts can be found everywhere,
when least expected!


Who knew the toilet could be such a fun place! :)


And next time you’re cleaning the toilet
put your heart into it!

Sorry, couldn’t resist…

May your heart overflow
with laughter
at the humor of the Universe!




Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Abode of Awareness...


Sitting in the effulgence of
Silent Awareness…

Returning
to the welcoming abode
of
“The Beloved”

The deep space of
A w a r e n e s s
keeps pulling me in

Enticing me
to be aware of Awareness:
to acknowledge Its Presence…

To
listen
d
e
e
p
l
y
.
.
.



I give it a capital “A” – Awareness
because it is the Aware Consciousness
out of which this “I” thought came;
that “I” has taken form from -
that “we” all have…

I sometimes call it “The Beloved”…
It has many names – this Awareness
that we are,
that we emerged from
as Life ItSelf;
and is no-name as well…


The Unknown…




Sitting in the abode of Awareness
I remember the feel of
ITs Presence;
feeling the transparency of
the boundaryless ”connection;”
the endless s p a c i o u s n e s s
that awares Life living;
that experiences everything
as its own
unlit light...


Life living ItSelf
in
the vast
and
rhythmic
sound of Living…

Sounding every aspect of Itself,
as if getting a feel for its
own depth,
and its own surface landscape;
aware of it all as ItSelf…




I had forgotten – once again -
this inner Alive Awareness
that knows us intimately
as ItSelf…

Our pain, sorrow, grief;
our laughter and joy,
are inexplicably
ITs own


Inseparable


It knows our shadow
as ITs Light,
and embraces
all darkness
as ITs own -
because
IT is -
ITs own…

Light…

that knows
no darkness…


The grief, the loss,
the sadness, the suffering…
All ITs own;
feeling what we feel,
experiencing what we experience
as ItSelf…


Ever-present
Ever-aware
Ever-open
to all experience…


Not an empty, cold, conceptual
hollow barrel of nothingness…


But the Vastness of Life intimately living ItSelf…
OMing Existence into existence…
Breathing ItSelf into Life -
into the beauty that IT is…
Breathing ItSelf
into every wound of pain
and suffering
with ITs soft caress of
L o v e…

Loving Present Awareness
that knows our Hearts
as its own,
and dances with
Joy
in
the
delight
of
knowing
it
all
.
.
.





I had forgotten THIS…
The feel of this deep intimacy
in ITs complete and utter Embrace;
ITs total enfoldment;
ITs inclusiveness
of all that we are.
Forgotten the once known
innocence of
being
touched
by such a Vastness
of
Loving Awareness…



Opening to ITs touch…

“I” step back into the
awareness of
the
living, breathing
abode
of
A w a r e n e s s


Life


Mystic Meandering
April 4, 2012




Monday, April 2, 2012

What is this?

“Everything is blooming most recklessly;
if it were voices instead of colors
there would be an unbelievable
[sound] into the heart…”

Rainer Maria Rilke


But I have no idea what this beautiful plant is!


I thought we had a Holly Bush that started to grow several years ago because of the multiple pointy sides of the leaves. This is the first year that it has bloomed with these bright yellow, dainty, cluster flowers. The flowers have a beautifully gentle fragrance. So if you can identify what kind of bush this is, I would appreciate it… :)


Just listening...
to the sound of Life

Just listening...
to the *living*
that is taking place
everywhere...

Mystic Meandering