Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Fundamental Energy Crisis

     Very few of us seem to be aware of our real energy crisis. Yes, oil / gas / electricity availability is problematic, but to paraphrase Einstein, the energy / consciousness that got us into this dire mess CANNOT possibly lift us out of it, into a better future. Our estranged, adversarial relationship with our own hearts, each other & Nature is what's so painfully unnatural & unsustainable.

If a living system
is suffering
from ill health,
the remedy is
to connect it
with more of itself.” Francisco Varela

    an essential choice … confronts us all: whether to cling to the false security of our fixed ideas and tribal views, even though they bring us only momentary satisfaction, or to overcome our fear and make the leap to living an authentic life. … We can spend our whole life suffering because we can’t relax with how things really are, or we can relax & embrace the open-endedness of the human situation, which is fresh, unfixated, unbiased.” Pema Chödrön, “The Fundamental Ambiguity of Being Human” Tricycle, Fall 2012

     We must wake up to & follow the consistent silent summons of our true nature to unconditionally love & nurture each another and Nature as the wise elders we are. 

    “Meditation asks, ‘Who am I?’ 

    Therapy asks, ‘How do I heal and become happier?’ 

    Purpose work addresses the question, ‘Where do I belong in the ecology of life?’ Purpose guiding breaks the spell of our default purposes of safety, security, comfort & outward success, and orients us towards our true purpose, which is to embody our unique calling within. When we all have the opportunity to live our calling, we can support our collective true purpose: to become co-creators of our species’ evolution. We may, thus, give birth to more beauty, truth, & goodness into the world.” Jonathan Gustin https://batgap.com/jonathan-gustin/

    Awakening arises in times of vulnerability and awkwardness between, before, & after where prior identities are canceled and anything is possible and nothing certain.” Lin Jensen

    "Spiritual growth is a fine-tuning of our ear to the needs of our heart. ... Once we abandon the belief that there is a more spiritually useful moment than the one we are in, we have embraced our life and infused it with the energy for awakening." We CAN "recover the sacred in the most remote areas of life, in the midst of difficulty and dissatisfaction, loneliness & despair. The reality of problems is challenged and investigated, and life begins to thrive free of circumstances & conditions. The heart takes over and is resurrected from the conditioned habits of mind.” Rodney Smith

    “Do not grow old, no matter how long you live. Never cease to stand like curious children before the Great Mystery into which we were born.” Albert Einstein

    "One of the gifts of global uncertainty is that it requires us to recognize & release unconscious biases that have been passed down for generations. These include the perception that splits into opposites and values light over dark, speed over slowing down, productivity over attunement, and conclusion over not knowing. Awakening requires that we soften the habit of binary perception & restore our capacity for clear seeing. ... an embodied exploration of luminous darkness (is) our greatest ally in seeing clearly — from the heart." Deborah Eden Tull

    "Try to be mindful, & let things take their natural course. Then your mind will become still in any surroundings, like a clear forest pool. All kinds of wonderful, rare animals will come to drink at the pool, and you will clearly see the nature of all things. You will see many strange & wonderful things come & go, but you will be still. This is the happiness of the Buddha." Ajahn Chah

    "We are stars wrapped in skin.
      The light you are seeking
      has always been within."
Rumi

Don't Give Up... by Mollycules www.BuddhaDoodles.com

 

Friday, September 23, 2022

In Stormy Times, Remember ...

“When you become uncomfortable or frightened, remember that difficult emotions are your most profound teachers.” Ruth King

“Doing tasks fully and thoroughly can help ground us while also providing a sense of accomplishment and, by extension, an enhanced sense of agency.” Christopher Ives

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them – that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” Lao Tzu

"We lie in the lap of immense intelligence,
which makes us receivers of its truth
and organs of its activities." R.W. Emerson

“When water is still it is like a mirror…
And if water thus derives lucidity from stillness
how much more the faculties of mind?
The mind of the sage in repose
becomes the mirror
of the universe." Chuang Tzu

“Kindness and compassion is the fundamental truth.” The Dalai Lama


Light the World... by Mollycules www.BuddhaDoodles.com

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Our Mind, Emotions & Body

    It can be terribly frustrating to suffer from debilitating physical symptoms, for which one physician after another fails to find a cause or effective treatment. Though each clinician might strongly suspect that the cause is primarily psychological, they'll suggest more tests & more referrals to avoid angry outbursts, "Are you saying, 'it's all in my head?!'" and to rule out the progressively diminishing possibility that everyone might have overlooked a rare physical cause.
    Some sufferers (& clinicians) do gradually come to see the problem in a broader perspective. This clearly requires that their narrow, exclusive focus on their most glaring pain / discomfort opens up, so they see themselves holistically. Below is imho Helen Hamilton's exceptionally wise perspective:

    “When we are ... trying to find a belief that is reflecting as this body condition, illness, this dys-ease in the harmony of the body is a reflection of some idea that we’re holding onto, that we haven’t seen or looked at clearly. And of course you know that I’m just kind of saying that to put it into context because our body is trying to tell us, having to tell us, something that perhaps we haven’t looked at emotionally. Something that we haven’t looked at deep enough emotionally. So if we have a strong emotion – fear, or guilt, or unworthiness, even self-hatred – and we haven’t been able to feel that emotion for whatever reason. Maybe it didn’t feel safe to feel it, or we were told it was wrong, or whatever – we were in a situation when it was generated where we couldn’t feel it. Finding the beliefs is going to be looking at the emotions. What emotions do you feel on a regular basis that are reflecting as the body condition?
    Because every karmic pattern shows up 3 ways simultaneously as
:
        1) thoughts – the unconscious beliefs, and as an
        2) emotion – a more gross manifestation than a thought, and then
        3) physically
somewhere in your body.

    So have a look at the negative emotions you feel. And mind will say, ‘You feel this emotion because you have this thing going on in your body.’ But in truth, that is separation – the emotion caused by what’s happening to the body. So if it’s life-threatening, there’s probably some fear there, and mind will say, ‘I’m scared because this thing is happening to my body.’ But in the truth, I’m scared because I think I’m a separate being, I’m in danger. And that’s reflecting. This belief is not allowing the fullness of the life-force to flow through the body, and it looks like illness & disease. And the more constricted the life-force is, the more severe the illness or disease will appear to be.
    So first of all, having a look at the negative emotions that you feel, and then working that back to the beliefs. My website has a list of emotions & hidden beliefs behind them, as a suggestion to go with, using the contemplation technique : “Emotions & their Stories”: https://www.helenhamilton.org/uploads/4/0/0/9/4009977/emotions_and_hidden_beliefs_6.pdf

    And still even, if you look at the body itself – a second way to look at this – the body is a very literal metaphor for what’s going on inside of us. So autoimmune disease is where your body is kind of attacking itself (as far as I know – my understanding might be limited here), the immune system is attacking tissues & systems that it shouldn’t be, so something is out of sync, there’s an attack going on inside. And this is symbolic of something happening deeper inside, where you’re attacking yourself, where you are criticizing yourself, where you’re hating yourself even if you look deep enough. And I know as I say this, most of us will say, ‘Well I don’t hate myself. It’s not that deep. I don’t have any such feelings I’m aware of.’ And that’s why the body’s having to show us, because we haven’t really seen it.
    It was astonishing to me that even after several deep seeings (awakening experiences), when I actually looked at what was going on because my life wasn’t still flowing – I finally dug out this kind of intense self-hatred, this self-loathing inside – that was still there after many seeings, experiencing peace & joy. But my life wasn’t flowing, so there must have been some belief stopping the energy moving down through the energy centers of the body and out into the greater manifestation.
    So looking at the metaphor - self attacking self - why would you be doing that on some level? Can you admit that that must be going on at some level and be willing to see that? Now others, especially this far along the path of awakening, want to see that, because we value love & truth & honesty. It doesn’t feel right & we don’t really want to look inside to find some kind of self-hatred still going on. We might not even believe. ‘Well I’m obviously not the egoic structure, I’ve seen what I really am.’ But that seeing, sometimes doesn’t penetrate deeply enough yet to undo this mechanism
.
    It’s very rare that someone will have a seeing
(awakening experience) powerful enough in one go to obliterate all these egoic structures that are still working. We only hear about the ones that do. But most of us still have to go in and look at these patterns underneath. So just listening to yourself when you talk, are you unknowingly criticizing yourself, diminishing yourself? How do you really feel about yourself? How you feel about your body too is a reflection of how you feel about you. How you feel about your abilities, & your mind, and all of that is a reflection of how you feel about you.
    For me, I had very negative feelings about my body. I had to admit eventually, that’s how I actually feel about myself. My body is just innocently reflecting to me – it doesn’t have any other choice about what I’m thinking & feeling, on a deep unconscious level of course. And that’s why it’s having to show us, because we can’t see it any other way.

    So I hope that gives you some direction to go with that. Have a go applying what I’ve said here. Do write back if you need to kind of fine-tune that. And my gut feeling is that it’s about some kind of self-hatred going on inside. And not blaming yourself for that, because that just adds to it. Each one of us has been functioning from mind’s perspective, and mind is taking a snapshot of our life looking at who he thinks we are, comparing it with where he thinks we want to be, need to be. When I get to this point in the future, I’ll be good enough, I’ll like myself, I’ll love myself. And it can never kind of arrive at that point there, because this one, where it thinks we’re starting from, is deeply flawed. We are not this separate being that mind thinks we are. So how can we ever go from here to there if the starting reference point is completely untrue? But mind thinks it’s true, so it keeps trying & failing to be this better person, more awakened, better father, better wife, better career, … all these things it’s trying to get to, whatever that is for you, where I’ll finally be happy & I’ll like myself. So recognizing it’s not your fault, not any of our fault. We have these deep feelings about ourselves and that is a natural byproduct of using the mind to try to navigate through our life to try to find happiness. That’s the only tool we had till now, so we can let go of the blame in that.

    Helen
Hamilton. “Awareness recognising awareness.” from the excellent video below:




Thursday, September 15, 2022

Equanimity & Suffering

    “Someone asked me,
‘Aren’t you worried about the state of the world?’

    I allowed myself to breathe and then I said
,
What is most important is not to allow your anxiety about what happens in the world to fill your heart. If your heart is filled with anxiety, you will get sick, and you will not be able to help.’

    There are wars — big and small — in many places, and that can cause us to lose our peace.
    Anxiety is the illness of our age. We worry about ourselves, our family, our friends, our work, and the state of the world. If we allow worry to fill our hearts, sooner or later we will get sick. Yes, there is tremendous suffering all over the world, but knowing this need not paralyze us. If we practice mindful breathing, mindful walking, mindful sitting, and working in mindfulness, we try our best to help, and we can have peace in our heart.
    Worrying does not accomplish anything. Even if you worry twenty times more, it will not change the situation of the world. In fact, your anxiety will only make things worse. Even though things are not as we would like, we can still be content, knowing we are trying our best and will continue to do so. If we don’t know how to breathe, smile, & live every moment of our life deeply, we will never be able to help anyone.
    I am happy in the present moment. I do not ask for anything else. I do not expect any additional happiness or conditions that will bring about more happiness. The most important practice is aimlessness**, not running after things, not grasping.” Thich Nhat Hanh

    ** "aimlessness" is easily misunderstood, but refers to remaining appropriate in the present moment RATHER THAN being so obsessed with some future (or past) possibility, that we ignore present moment reality eg being calmly aware of the fact that we're driving in busy traffic with pedestrians crossing etc RATHER THAN recklessly speeding while obsessing about being late for an appointment. See: https://www.livinglifefully.com/flo/floaimlessness.htm

    The word "appropriate" in the context of mindfulness can be expanded to "relaxed & attuned." It's very challenging to behave wisely if one is very stressed, anxious, fearful, angry etc. So we practice being physically, mentally & emotionally relaxed, equanimous. Attuned refers to being intimately aware of, connected to, harmonious with one's self & one's surroundings - ie the very opposite of being lost in thoughts about the past or future. All of this is "doable" with patient mindfulness practice, which in turn makes EVERYTHING WORKABLE!

David A. Lovas photograph


Thursday, September 8, 2022

Seriously?

    When I intentionally (or unintentionally) say or do something silly in front of my 7-year-old granddaughter, she gives me that look and exclaims, "Seriously?!?!"
    But without the benefit of such instant, honest reminders, our most common error is taking ourselves too seriously. We do this individually (self-centered, egocentric, self-serving, self-absorbed, self-obsessed, narcissistic) and also as members of a group (partisanship, sectarianism, religious exclusivism)
.
    T
his narrow focus on our 'self' & 'tribe' shows up as: jealousy, gossip, theft, pessimism, cynicism, nihilism, impatience, anger, arguments, shouting, bullying, sabotaging, fighting, racism, sexism, misogyny, ageism, religious intolerance, war, genocide, etc ... in brief, as 'greed, hatred & delusion.'
    'Delusion' because
these are misguided, dysfunctional expressions of our innocent, universal need for love.
    See
Chris Germer's 8-minute video: https://www.theawakenetwork.com/chris-germer-shame/

    “... most of us seem to experience three stages in the way we relate to others.
    Stage 1: … emotional slavery, we believe ourselves responsible for the feelings of others. We think we must constantly strive to keep everyone happy. If they don’t appear happy, we feel responsible & compelled to do something about it. This can easily lead us to see the very people who are closest to us as burdens.
    Stage 2: … obnoxious stage, we become aware of the high costs of assuming responsibility for others’ feelings and trying to accommodate them at our own expense. When we notice how much of our lives we’ve missed and how little we have responded to the call of our own soul, we may get angry … we tend toward obnoxious comments like, ‘That’s your problem! I’m not responsible for your feelings!’ when presented with another person’s pain. We are clear what we are not responsible for, but have yet to learn how to be responsible to others in a way that is not emotionally enslaving.
    Stage 3: … emotional liberation, we respond to the needs of others out of compassion, never our of fear, guilt, or shame. Our actions are therefore fulfilling to us, as well as to those who receive our efforts. We accept full responsibility for our own intentions & actions, but not for the feelings of others. At this stage, we are aware that we can never meet our own needs at the expense of others. Emotional liberation involves stating clearly what we need in a way that communicates we are equally concerned that the needs of others be fulfilled. Nonviolent Communication (NVC) is designed to support us in relating at this level.

    … an important form of self-compassion is to make choices motivated purely by our desire to contribute to life rather than our of fear, guilt, shame, duty, or obligation. When we are conscious of the life-enriching purpose behind an action we take, when the sole energy that motivates us is simply to make life wonderful for others and ourselves, then even hard work has an element of play in it. Correspondingly, an otherwise joyful activity performed out of obligation, duty, fear, guilt or shame will lose its joy and eventually engender resistance.
    Marshall
B. Rosenberg. “Nonviolent communication. A language of life.” ed 2. Puddle Dancer Press. 2003.

    AND what if all that we experience were just a dream, like ones we experience during sleep? Wouldn't this markedly reduce how seriously we took ourselves & our life? This is exactly what some very wise folks say about reality! Yet to us, this sounds ridiculous because we've been conditioned from early childhood to be anxious, frightened, hyper-vigilant perfectionists. Here we have two diametrically opposed ways of seeing ourselves & life. How we can resolve this quandary is expertly presented in these 2 books:
    Robert Wolfe. “Living Nonduality. Enlightenment Teachings of Self-Realization.” Karina Library, 2014.
    Robert Wolfe. “Emptiness.” Karina Library, 2020.

    “The trouble with the rat race, is that even if you win, you’re still a rat.” Lily Tomlin

    “Dear ones, you who are trying to learn the miracle of love through the use of reason, I am terribly afraid you will never see the point.” Hafiz

    “The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.” Joe Klaas

    “Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened.” Winston S. Churchill