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Snapshot

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[This was written back in May of 2018 for a discussion posting for my master's program. I thought it was worthwhile to revisit. It is a good reminder how quickly things change and why it is important to maintain a committed mindfulness practice.]


"And what is the all that is burning?"
The only way to know if progress is being made is through trial. We show that we have the appropriate depth of knowledge through the fire of finals and we demonstrate our consistent, persistent practice and study through the flames of life. We move through a world that is burning.

I live far enough away from family that they don’t expect me to show up for every crisis. But yesterday, I needed to go, and everything was burning. "Bhikkhus, all is burning. And what is the all that is burning?” In 2010 my mother, of blessed memory, passed away. As it happened, my father and a close family friend, Connie, whose husband had died a year or so prior, got together. For the past years they have ‘li…

Halfway

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The ground was still smoking. So many were gone. Those once considered close were no more than memories now – ghosts that haunted her. She kept walking. She didn’t want to. She wanted to turn around and try, one more time, to work for common ground. But she knew it was fruitless, so she set her face toward the horizon and kept putting one foot in front of the other.
Suddenly, it seemed, years had passed. She had found a refuge, a place to be until the pain subsided. In that refuge, she could forget and focus her attention on the tasks at hand. Curiosity had always been her most loyal companion, and she had let it guide her. She had worked through the training, and when she completed one level, she started another. She just wasn’t ready to integrate the past into her present quite yet. Now, halfway up the mountain, she was spent.
The past wasn’t going to be silent any longer. She had been pretty successful at keeping her eyes focused on the present, not letting the niggling melancholy…

Deep Dive

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First having read the book of myths, and loaded the camera, and checked the edge of the knife-blade, I put on the body-armor of black rubber the absurd flippers the grave and awkward mask. I am having to do this not like Cousteau with his assiduous team aboard the sun-flooded schooner but here alone.
There is a ladder. The ladder is always there hanging innocently close to the side of the schooner. We know what it is for, we who have used it. Otherwise it is a piece of maritime floss some sundry equipment.
I go down. Rung after rung and still the oxygen immerses me the blue light the clear atoms of our human air. I go down. My flippers cripple me, I crawl like an insect down the ladder and there is no one to tell me when the ocean will begin.
First the air is blue and then it is bluer and then green and then black I am blacking out and yet my mask is powerful it pumps my blood with power the sea is another story the sea is not a question of power I have to learn alone to turn my body without force in the deep element.
And now:…

stating the obvious

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A master's program is no walk in the park.

Clutter, both physical and mental, makes everything harder.

Having a tribe is a lesson in non-attachment.

Each experience causes change.

Authenticity brings peace of mind, but not usually applause or companions.

No one can do it for you. Not even God.

Gossip is like bamboo - the invasive kind, not the lucky kind.

Social media is a hindrance more than a help.

Fresh air is an amazing treasure taken for granted.

Sincerity is obvious. So is insincerity.

Everyone is ten-years-old on the inside.

Awareness is a good thing.

Thinking about silence.

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Speak only if it improves the silence. ~Mahatma Ghandi (and Zen saying)
"Silence soothes us and brings us back to present moment.  Today take time to be silent, just breathe and honor the here and now."

That is my practice.

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All beings are the owners of their intentions, actions, and results.
Their level of happiness depends upon their actions, not on my wishes for them.
May we all accept things as they are.
May we be undisturbed by the comings and goings of events.
I care for you but cannot keep you from suffering.
I wish you happiness but cannot make your choices for you.
No matter what I wish for, things are as they are.

It seems to me that there are two sides to the concept of equanimity: dealing with our own expectations and reactions to happenings, and holding a balanced view of happenings in the lives of others. I have a long history of suffering for others and have struggled to maintain balance. I have tried to help, advise, make way, bear their burden, ‘take the hit,’ and be available to all who are in need, often to my own detriment. It is my intention for the above mantras to become so familiar and practiced that they will become my go-to response to the pain, suffering, and seemingly unavoidable dra…

Springtime Meditation

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It is so pleasant to be able to get outside after, what seems like, such a lengthy winter. I have taken more time this last week to just sit outside. I have been enjoying meditation in different parts of my garden listening to the birds, hearing the wind chimes, and watching the ducks. I can’t imagine not being grateful for the moment – practicing metta for all that is around me is a natural response. May all the animals find what they need to nest, may the plants thrive in the sun, may the peace I feel now sustain me through times of stress and unrest. Just being in the garden, mindfully considering the springtime rebirth, is refreshingly healing after such a stretch of weather that takes your breath away and chases you back inside the house.
Chuck and I have been taking more walks in the fresh air and sunshine – we have naturally made them into more of walking meditation. Just quietly and mindfully walking allows time to note the sounds and sensations within as we stroll along - th…