Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me...
Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan was a lovely Sufi teacher who once said the most important thing we can do  to create peace on earth in times of trouble is to uncover the peace within each of us. 
These days of dark and cold seem to foster that inward journey.  All that remains is for us to prioritize the time to sit in the stillness and just watch how our mind and body keep moving.  No evaluation, "I should be better at this by now!"  No comparison, "If I did this as much as Jane Doe, I would be enlightened by now."  Just enjoy the quiet, the light in a crystalline snowflake, the chatter of chickadees at the suet, the heater kicking in when it's zero outside, the feel and heft of your wool sweater.  Give egoic striving some breathing room, relax all the contractions.  There's a wonderful meditation about seeing yourself deep underwater in the ocean looking up.  You are just floating pleasantly along deep down in the sea.  The surface far above is full of the waves and wind from the storms of time.  You can see the turbulence but it does not affect your peaceful state. 
As a householder, as one who is on the path of awakening without living in a monastery, I find the more often I "go deep," the easier it is to remember how to let peace begin within me and in my daily encounters with challenges.  That much sooner I catch my reactive, conditioned, small self trying to be in the driver's seat of my life.  No thank you.  Habits take the back seat.  Open hearted awareness is my driver.  Many of you have heard me say the 3 minute meditation is one of the best tools of consciousness ever invented.  I wish you many moments (at least 3 minutes long) of this precious silence in the next few weeks!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

  I forget each year how cold cold is!  Today in Bend the temperature is in the low 30's and the sky is gray.  Autumn colors offset the somber skies.  Crabapples litter the lawn and their tart odor carries me back to childhood.  Memories of Dad raking leaves and us kids leaping into the huge pile and burying ourselves in the rich smell of Fall. 
  My Dad died a couple of months ago.  Vascular dementia shut his systems down very slowly.  It felt like watching a giant redwood leaning its weight toward the earth until finally the momentum has its way and the tree thuds to the ground.  The sound resonates through the woods just as my Dad's death physically resonated in my own body.  A slow heavy sensation, not uncomfortable, but noticeable in the impact on my speed of doing, like moving through thick mud.  I appreciate the timelessness of those weeks following his passing.
  Losing a parent, no matter what the relationship, because of the biological inheritance, offers a unique experience of loss.  We all have so many losses any given day, small or sharp, significant or bittersweet.  Watching the loss of my father's stern dignity in the last few years of his dementia was a reminder of the impermanence of the identity I easily take for granted.  But when Awareness looks through my eyes in the deep silence of stillness, it becomes easier to realize the ultimate impossibility of this separate self of me.  The connection to the falling leaves, to other beings, to the cold, to the light, feels tangible and true.  Death and loss lose their boundaries and can be seen as integral to life.  If I look closely, carefully and truthfully, I can see how "I" am embedded in everything around me, and vice versa.  May we all sit quietly with our losses, breathe deeply the pungent air, and relax into the only reality we ever have, NOW!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Lost my android phone during a gorgeous bike ride around Crater Lake yesterday.  What a great opportunity to watch monkey mind go wild.  Watching criticism, fear, and worry jump about the synapses.  Will anyone find it and return it?  Why did I carry it in an open pocket?  Is it broken, did it bounce off into the woods?  Etc.  So I breathe, smile softly, and allow for the mind to relax from the tight constriction of such thoughts.  My attachment to my predictable patterns of wanting life to be different than what happens is laid bare.  In order to remain open to each moment and not get lost in judgment about the past or concern about the future I use "RAIN."  Recognize the grab of emotion and mental noise when it arises,  Allow for the natural tendency of such a reaction in the techno world we live in,  Investigate what is real about the emotions and thoughts and what is only story that I am spinning about the loss.  Finally, the fourth step is to Not-identify with the swirl of obsessive thinking.  RAIN was developed by the teachers at Spirit Rock,
May you all be blessed the the soft wash of RAIN whenever you need it.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

     A couple of days ago the blasts went off at the Boston Marathon.  How does one maintain equanimity in the face of fear and evil? Not so easy, unless we are practicing concentration and mindfulness with skillful balance of effort and ease on a regular basis.  Then we actually might remember to breathe, really sense our body in contact with Mother Earth, and close our eyes for just a moment to reconnect with our deepest values.  Truth, peace, love, kindness, open heartedness, reverence.  Do you know what you value when faced with mindless, heartless behavior?  We need inner stillness to know where wise action begins.  Life is precious and must be protected.   Can we protect each other without falling into the endless cycle of retributive anger and violence? 
     The poem "If" by Rudyard Kipling begins, "If you can keep your head when all about you, Are losing theirs and blaming it on you," and goes on to give advice to a son about how to be wise in this wild world.  May we all "keep our head" as we contemplate the right response to terror.  May we step out of blame and into reconciliation.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

It is couple of days before Valentine's Day which is named after the saint who married couples against the law and who healed the daughter of his jailer with loving care.  The sun is out but snow is in the forecast.  Little sprouts of Spring are tentatively emerging in my yard.  I have been thinking about the Love that winds its way through all of creation.  So easy to forget that Love is the primal ingredient of every day and yet so impossible not to see how Love is the essential element of the formula.  We are brought up on notions about love that trivialize its powerful force.  We might still think that love is what we feel only for the significant others in our lives.  But "true love" is so much deeper than the affection and infatuation of romantic love.  At least romantic love is a bit of a start for opening our hearts, but sadly we often contract and end up with a more closed heart in the midst of a romantic love.  True love is showing up for ourselves and each other with no thought of what we might get in return.  True love is the quiet presence of witnessing this mystery of being.  Oh words.  Here's link to a lovely TED talk: