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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…

Think Again.

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Think you can just delete your account from Facebook and escape data collection?

Think again.

I deleted my FB account quite a while ago. It was not easy, and took a couple of sessions of attempts prior to actually 'deleting,' including a waiting period (cooling off period?). When, in the course of my Masters study I was alerted to a private student group, I saw a definite need to jump back on Facebook. Yes, I have benefited from the group, but I also learned that Facebook had retained all my information. More than that, it reminds me regularly that I was another 'identity' at one time, and that I may want to meld the two. But wait...I thought I deleted. Think again.

Take a look at this from the NYT - I think you would need to have a post-grad degree in comp-sci to actually accomplish what so many think they are doing by deleting their account:



How disheartening. This is where we are now, watched and milked for demographic data like a herd of cows, but where are we goi…

Much Needed Wisdom

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There are times that, while in the midst of struggle, wisdom appears. This is one of those times.

Every morning we start our day by reading a small book called Everyday Tao, by Deng Ming-Dao (1996). Taoism is credited with being, by far, the oldest of human religions, with its sacred text attributed to Lao Tzu, a person who may have been real or simply legend. The name Lao Tzu simply means old wise one, so basically the Daodejing could be thought of as the oldest recording of human wisdom on the planet, or at least to our current and limited knowledge. So, why is all this important?

Because I need wisdom. We all need wisdom. Because we all suffer, either by pain inflicted outside our control, or by reliving and ruminating (yes, ruminating) over the pain that has been inflicted. We cause our own pain and suffering. And, heaven help us, we just can't seem to get out of our own stupid way. Sound familiar?

My beloved read the following excerpt to me this morning. I have been slogging…

Goodbye

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I didn’t meditate as usual this morning. Solomon died suddenly and tragically (perhaps from an illness or an internal condition). So very sad.
I rode the waves of grief and trauma and just let them come. I did my best to not attach to the emotions but acknowledged them. I diligently tried not to create stories along the way, but I am not sure I was successful. I struggled with feeling responsible somehow, and guilty for not being able to help him in his distress. I felt helpless in the face of his anguish … and mine.
I sat with him for an hour or more – probably 2. I think he went into a deep shock and was slowly slipping away. I thought I heard faint purring and sporadic shallow respiration. At one point I could hear a faint heartbeat, but after a while even that went away. I was just heartsick.
I sought to PAUSE and feel what was happening in my body. At one point I had a major sugar-crash and grabbed for glucose-tab. At another check-in with my body, I wondered why I didn’t feel …

Taking a Stand: Right Speech

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“Thus, more than an ethical principle, devotion to truthful speech is a matter of taking our stand on reality rather than illusion, on the truth grasped by wisdom rather than the fantasies woven by desire.”
Bhikkhu Bodhi’s perspective is from that of a monk. When I read his words, I am reminded that he is a renunciant. He has chosen to live without many of the comforts, desires, and pleasures that those of us non-renunciants enjoy. But he does have one thing that many of us do not – undistracted vision. The above profundity that flows from his observation, most certainly, is a nugget worth further exploration.
He also has the luxury of speaking the truth. I know that may sound strange, but for those of us living out in the fray of society, we don’t often have the space or privilege to speak the truth. For example, have you ever answered the cashier’s scripted inquiry by stating the truth: “no, I actually didn’t find everything I was looking for.” I have responded in this way, and my e…