Thursday, April 26, 2018

Changing Trajectory

Aren't we all desperately trying to keep it together?
Like herding kittens isn't it?
IF I can just manage to do, become, achieve, etc ... THEN ...

And for a while, we do have an "upward" trajectory
Bigger, better, more!
Until about age 35, our worldly capacities can grow
We can become increasingly more proficient, competitive, etc

But then, almost imperceptibly we stall & start descending the ladder of worldly competence
Progressive loss of material proficiency is not easy to accept
Our "everyday mind" is entirely about survival & mating
And these losses are relentless - rust never sleeps
"Our world" - circle of friends & family, interests, activities, etc shrink
Now we're unintentionally becoming less!!
Can we do so gracefully & wisely???
But what's going to become of us?
We have a brand new koan
Now an increasingly urgent existential riddle
"Everyday mind" won't help here
We actually need to meditate on this - no more distraction bullshit

Who / what are we, 
when all we know, 
all we think we are, 
is gone?

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Keeping Quiet

“Original nature has no opposites. 
Speech and words are not necessary. 
Without thinking, all things are exactly as they are. 
The truth is just like this.”  
Zen Master Seung Sahn

"Keeping Quiet"
Pablo Neruda

Now we will count to twelve
and we will all keep still.
For once on the face of the earth,
let's not speak in any language;
let's stop for a second,
and not move our arms so much.

It would be an exotic moment
without rush, without engines;
we would all be together
in a sudden strangeness.

Fishermen in the cold sea
would not harm whales
and the man gathering salt
would not look at his hurt hands.

Those who prepare green wars,
wars with gas, wars with fire,
victories with no survivors,
would put on clean clothes
and walk about with their brothers
in the shade, doing nothing.

What I want should not be confused
with total inactivity.
Life is what it is about; . . .

If we were not so single-minded
about keeping our lives moving,
and for once could do nothing,
perhaps a huge silence
might interrupt this sadness
of never understanding ourselves
and of threatening ourselves with death.

Perhaps the earth can teach us
as when everything seems dead in winter
and later proves to be alive.

Now I'll count up to twelve
and you keep quiet and I will go.

Christi Belcourt "Honouring My Spirit Helpers"

Saturday, April 21, 2018

On Nature

     Nature delights in discovering herself by manifesting infinite variations of phenomena.       Ralph Waldo Emerson? - please do send me the accurate quote & author

     "There is one mind common to all individual men. Every man is an inlet to the same and to all of the same. He that is once admitted to the right of reason is made a freeman of the whole estate. What Plato has thought, he may think; what a saint has felt, he may feel; what at any time has befallen any man, he can understand. Who hath access to this universal mind is a party to all that is or can be done, for this is the only and sovereign agent."         Ralph Waldo Emerson

     “Nature is the incarnation of thought. The world is the mind precipitated.” 
Ralph Waldo Emerson

     "When we pay attention to nature's music, we find that everything on the Earth contributes to its harmony."         Hazrat Inayat Khan

          “We are so lightly here.
           It is in love that we are made.
           In love we disappear.”                   Leonard Cohen 

     “The purpose of life is not to transcend the body, 
       but to embody the transcendent.”          Dalai Lama 

Courtesy of Buddha Doodles

Friday, April 20, 2018

Major Forms of Intelligence

     “In the early part of the twentieth century, IQ became the big issue. Our intellectual or rational intelligence is what we use to solve logical or strategic problems. Psychologists devised tests for measuring it, and these tests became the means for sorting people into degrees of intelligence, known as their intelligence quotient or IQ, that could allegedly signpost their abilities. The higher a person’s IQ, the theory went, the higher their intelligence. 
     In the mid-1990s, Daniel Goleman popularized research from many neuroscientists and psychologists showing that emotional intelligence (EQ) is of equal importance. EQ gives us our awareness of our own and other people’s feelings. It gives us empathy, compassion, motivation and the ability to respond appropriately to pain or pleasure. As Goleman pointed out, EQ is a basic requirement for the effective use of IQ. If the brain areas with which we feel are damaged, we think less effectively. 
     Now, at the end of the century, an array of recent but so far undigested scientific data shows us that there is a third ‘Q’. The full picture of human intelligence can be completed with a discussion of our spiritual intelligence (SQ). By SQ I mean the intelligence with which we address and solve problems of meaning and value, the intelligence with which we can assess that one course of action or one life-path is more meaningful than another. SQ is the necessary foundation for the effective functioning of both IQ and EQ. It is our ultimate intelligence.” Danah Zohar

     “Psychologists reckon that 94% of us, most of the time, are driven by the negative motivations of fear, greed/craving, anger, and self-assertion; such negative motivations lead to negative and destructive behavior. It is the role of spiritual intelligence to raise our motivations to the higher ones of exploration, cooperation, self- and situational-mastery, creativity, and service.” Danah Zohar

     When considering SQ, it's critical to factor in:
     1) the major influence of trauma, especially during early childhood. Mental health professionals have very important roles in helping people heal from serious trauma. Exclusively seeking spiritual solutions for psychological problems ("spiritual bypassing") is potentially very dangerous, and certainly prolongs needless suffering. Bessel Van Der Kolk. “The Body Keeps the Score. Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma.” Penguin Books, 2015.
     2) Spiritual maturation (or arrest) - in individuals & organizations:


Thursday, April 19, 2018

From Fear Towards Love

“If you don’t become the ocean you’ll be seasick every day.”         Leonard Cohen 

When fearful self-concern settles - even for a minute, 
"I" disappear, and there is only 
loving wisdom, profoundly interconnected with all.

“One is never wounded by the love one gives; 
only by the love one expects.”                                                    Marty Rubin


“The heart has its reasons 
which reason knows nothing of.”                                               Blaise Pascal

“The important thing is not to think much, but to love much, 

and so to do what best awakens us to love.”                           Saint Teresa of Ávila

“Your task is not to foresee the future, 
but to enable it.”                                                                            Antoine de Saint-Exupery 

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Towards Peace of Mind

     The following can be easily mistaken for religious exclusivism. Deeper, more objective investigation is always helpful.

     "I am often asked, 'Is there no other way besides zazen to achieve peace of mind?' I answer, 'No.' Zen is to assimilate the whole dharma (truth); it is to be one with it. If within the religions of the world the various practices taught direct one to assimilate the dharma irrespective of the distinction between liberation through one’s own effort (jiriki) and liberation through the power of some other being such as Amida or God (tariki), then it must be said such teachings are Zen. If we get hung up on the word 'zazen,' there is a tendency to think it is some special practice, but it isn’t. Consequently, Zen is the only way to attain peace of mind."

       Sekkei Harada Roshi. "The Key to Zen." Lion's Roar, April 13, 2018

Receiver Coffee, Charlottetown, PEI, Canada

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Loving ... Life ... Death ...

     “My work is loving the world.” Mary Oliver

      "For one human being to love another; that is perhaps the most difficult of all our tasks, the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation." Rainer Maria Rilke


     "Love alone is capable of uniting living beings in such a way as to complete and fulfill them, for it alone takes them and joins them by what is deepest in themselves."  
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin


     “Death is our friend precisely because it brings us into absolute and passionate presence with all that is here, that is natural, that is love.” Rainer Maria Rilke


     “To live in this world, you must be able to do three things:
to love what is mortal; 
to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it; and, 
when the time comes to let it go, to let it go.” Mary Oliver

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Skilfully Riding Emotional Energies

     “in turning to face our emotions directly, we may get a glimpse of the fullness of life. Emotion, as something we judge and separate ourselves from, may appear overpowering. But as something that touches us, it expresses the dynamic energy of life itself. Transmuting emotion requires a gesture of opening to its energy without backing off or getting caught in emotionally charged thoughts and images arising from it. Tarthang Tulku, a Tibetan Buddhist teacher, describes this process quite exactly: 
     ‘What we can do is concentrate on the anger, not allowing any other thoughts to enter. That means we sit with our angry thoughts, focusing our concentration on the anger – not on its objects – so that we make no discrimination, have no reactions. Likewise, when anxiety or any other disturbing feeling arises, concentrate on the feeling, not on thoughts about it. Concentrate on the center of the feeling: penetrate into that space. There is a density of energy in that center that it clear and distinct. This energy has great power, and can transmit great clarity. To transform our negativities, we need only to learn to touch them skillfully and gently.’ ”

       John Welwood ed. “Awakening the Heart. East / West Approaches to Psychotherapy and the Healing Relationship.” Shambhala, 1983.

      “There are times when life sharpens, things come into focus and, gradually, you become aware that you are standing before a threshold. There is no way back to where you were before, and there is no way out but through.” John O’Donohue

        Angeles Arrien. “The Second Half of Life. Opening the Eight Gates of Wisdom.” Sounds True, 2007.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

The Buddha's Teachings Concisely Summarized

"Physicists explore levels of matter; 
mystics explore levels of mind. 
What they have in common is that both levels 
lie beyond ordinary sense perception."                      Fritjof Capra