Present Moment Proof – how you know you are there

on the edge

Energy.  That’s right.  You’ll know from the energy feel.  It’s the feel of being alive, vibrating, and we may even say its a feeling of excitement.  Life is taken to a higher level and sometimes only momentarily, longer if you’re lucky.  To understand it, we have to contrast it with the times that we are ‘not’ fully present in the moment.  And that is, for most of us, the majority of the time.  Anytime we are contemplating the past or future — try it out for yourself through simple self-awareness — the energy is dead or flat.  You’ll recognize that dead feel pretty dramatically as you compare it with moments of being fully present.  You know how it goes when you’re being fully in the “now”, right?

Time stops and a surreal feeling will likely come upon you as if you have been lifted up and out and set down somewhere else all of a sudden.  Everything feels different and appears different and maybe the heart quickens and chills happen.  And then you flow with it as if nothing else or no one else exists. 

We’ve all had those feelings.

And there are after effects. I think that it’s feeling in harmony and being in the flow of life that is an indicator that we have just been fully present and the residual of that remains with us and out-pictures as flowing with life for minutes, hours or day (s).

Then, we get shifted out of that flow by something that occurs and then our mind will attach, cling, fear, become angry or experience an aversion.  Then we’re dead in the water again or not functioning effectively,  have been pulled out of the flow and our vibe becomes dead again.  We’re not fully alive anymore.

These are my (blog) thoughts about it anyway.  I was recently reminded of this during a recent visit from my little (soon to be 2-year-old) granddaughter.  The entire time we were together was a peak experience.  She was fully present and brought me with her to that place of excitement.

I’m in that peak place during intense exercise workouts in which I am very focused as well as when I’m engaged in a creative project.  Moments of awakening that shake us out of our mundane, dead, and routine thoughts or activities, if used correctly, are gifts.

Being on the edge of life is being in the present moment and it comes with that feeling of being fully alive.

Personally,  at those times my soul, my psyche goes into a state, which in Zazen, is called shikantaza, a state of heightened concentration, patience, and alertness and this state throws me into a state of flow that lasts for hours or days.  Plans change or don’t enter into mind at all and one just becomes totally spontaneous.  In describing this recently someone replied, “Oh yes, if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.”  Yeah, alrighty then.  LOL

I hope this post is found to be, in some way, helpful to the reader.

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Winter Solstice December 21, 2017 REFLECTIONS and MEDITATION

‘I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness the astonishing light of your own being.’

 –Hafiz, Sufi Poet

Light can enter one’s life through working with difficulty but this newsletter isn’t a downer; hopefully, it’s just the opposite. And the intention, as always, is to inspire, inform and involve engagement with Spirit. I wanted to start with this:  One often hears quoted, it is the crack (or break) of the heart through which the light enters.

To sit with the difficulty without causing suffering to self or to others is to honor the dark and the light in one’s life.

These seem to me to be good meditative contemplations for the shortest day and longest night.  I wanted to write about it today as we enter what I like to call “the great stopping of momentum, the great balance of light and dark–the great silence, the big quiet.”

 Sitting with the difficulties of life, even the difficulties of daily meditation can open us to more light entering our consciousness so that we can benefit ourselves, others and the world.  Let me explain what I mean.

I’m talking about not turning away but rather really bearing the pain, whether physical, emotional, mental or spiritual, without creating further pain for self or another in any way.   Not running from it, suppressing it or becoming angry or frustrated with darkness.  That’s an example of balancing the light and dark in one’s life.  We can be reminded of this type of yin-yang balance during the time of the Winter Solstice.

It isn’t easy to really be with troubles without adding more suffering.  In The Arrow Sutra, the Buddha teaches about how we embellish the pain or difficulty (shooting the second arrow), instead of observing what is actually present:  which is the arising and passing of feelings. So instead of turning away from emotions, turn towards them and watch them pass just the way they have arisen.  In this way, we allow the light of awareness to enter and wisdom to arise.

Practice in Meditation

A simple meditation today, the Winter Solstice, can help us work with balancing light and dark/ease and difficulty.  Here’s what I mean.  Sometimes, we resist emotions or thoughts or discomfort in the body or sleepiness or restlessness during meditation and in doing so, we shoot a second arrow, so-to-speak, and create a story around even these simple experiences in meditation.

OR we may come to the sitting with already-formed goals, intentions or ideas about how the meditation time is going to be experienced.  “I am going to be in a bliss state the whole time, or go floating into the heaven of the cosmos.”  When in actuality, we may feel sleepy, restless or have thoughts of regret or other emotional difficulties arise.

Meditation is a practice for life.  And life is full of darkness as well as light– full of difficulties as well as it’s opposite, freedom,  peace/ease.  Think of yin-yang.

Our world needs people who can stand in the fire or tolerate the difficulty, keep a cool head, not over-react, deal with harsh and hard situations with clarity and wisdom.  Meditation practice trains us to do this. 

The ideal

We don’t quit or run or try to escape –nor do we control or intend any type of outcome when we meditate.  We may have an intention for our meditation practice which is alright but many times if we just allow, and experience, observe, see the mind working while being interested yet not being too controlling, too tense nor too relaxed but  just allowing ourselves to move through the states without judging ourselves as “bad meditators” and without becoming frustrated … if we can uphold these ideals, I think  we can develop the ability to balance the light and dark in our lives too.   Yeah, I know this is an awkwardly phrased paragraph, but you know what I mean, right?

The Winter Solstice is a reminder of all of this . . .

  • of how the depth of our being which is radiant clear light can open up through staying with difficulties
  • of how our core mind, the primal mind, is radiant and clear in nature
  • of how just like the Tibetan Buddhist tradition speaks, a self-existing lamp of wisdom exists within each of us
  •  of how through the difficulties and darkness of life, we are able to access this kind of light or presence
  • of  how we go into the dark in order to be able to see the light
  • of how we are with the difficult in order that we may be able to have more ease

If in meditation we can embrace the unknowing or just allow rather than always trying to control – the unknowing will open up to knowing. Being with the difficult or darkness opens us to light as well as being regenerative and enabling wisdom.

Here is some poetry that expresses these ideas . . . 

“Some nights stay up till dawn,
as the moon sometimes does for the sun.
Be a full bucket pulled up the dark way
of a well, then lifted out into light.”
–Rumi
*****
Three times my life has opened.
Once, into darkness and rain.
Once, into what the body carries at all times within it and
starts to remember each time it enters the act of love.
Once, into the fire that holds all.
These three were not different.
You will recognize what I am saying or you will not.
But outside my window all day a maple has stepped
from her leaves like a woman in love with winter, dropping
the colored silks.

Neither are we different in what we know.
There is a door. It opens. Then it is closed. But a slip of
light stays, like a scrap of unreadable paper left on the floor,
or the one red leaf the snow releases in March.
–Jane Hirshfield

*****
If each day falls
Inside each night,
There exists a well
Where clarity is imprisoned.
We need to sit on the rim
Of the well of darkness
And fish for fallen light
With patience.
–Pablo Neruda


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Psychic in Social Situations

Weight Lifting Class

This post is about a quick flash of a psychic insight that occurred in the midst of a social situation just yesterday at the gym.  It’s been a while since I’ve blogged obviously. Keep berating myself –must be more consistent with blogging.  Feeling like there’s nothing to say and ducking back into my hermit cave is no excuse.  So here’s something.

Hmmmm.  Where to begin?  Well, you know how some people seem to put on airs, right?   That phrase is used when people act as if they are from a higher class in society.  There is a lady that fits this description at the gym.  She’s a swimmer and when I, too, was swimming laps we met in the swim lanes and the locker room.

I stopped swimming due to the air quality of the indoor pool and our paths had not crossed for over a year but there she was yesterday waiting for a weightlifting class that I, too, planned to attend.  She was discoursing quite authoritatively on the negative aspects of the class–this class that I love!   How could she speak with such a demeanor when she’d not frequented any of the classes?  

She began to gather listeners and explain how these new classes were of a lesser quality than the ‘old’ classes, asserting some kind of seniority as the expert witness.

Most of the others, including myself, began to scoff since the new strength training/weight lifting class is highly popular.  Every class is nearly full!  This woman was beginning to make a fool of herself.

Why? Why was she putting on those airs with a ‘sour-grapes’ kind of attitude’?

I could see it clearly the moment my irritation released and compassion substituted.  She was nervous about taking the class for the first time and this was her way of making herself feel comfortable enough to be there.

I glanced in her direction several times during the hour-long session.  She positioned herself in the back of the room but through the mirrors, it was obvious that she was struggling and not keeping up very well.

Compassion is a good platform for psychic insight.

Resolving Mental Corruptions

mentalMistakes.  Learning opportunities — that’s  what they are.  Negative karmic behaviors sometimes cause us to dump the toxic spills of our own minds onto others–loved ones, friends, etc., and we create oil slicks.  If we allow our emotional fires to run rampant, it causes destruction.  Compassion and forgiveness put out the fire and is what begins the cleanup and restoration in the emotional aftermath.

Yet, sometimes our own mental corruption is deeply ingrained.  Healing deep imprints of karmic, habitual behaviors can be a challenge.  It can feel like uprooting one’s very identity!

It is wise to recall that this identity is ego itself.

Lately, I’ve become more aware than ever before of where my energy is focused and what exactly is a good use of that emphasis and why.  I have a few thoughts to share about that.

Energy, of course,  is better spent on tending to our own gardens and enjoying our own flowers.

Smelling the roses is more worthy an endeavor, even if garbage dumps are around *and there always will be to some extent*.  Enjoy the accomplishments of what you have grown and how you are progressing down life’s path–thus speaks my inner guidance.

Meanwhile, compassion and forgiveness make the best traveling companions.

Home Retreat Meditations – Shikantaza

dewdropSitting Zazen and Considering the Teachings of Dogen

This is about Buddhism and meditation.  It’s Super Bowl day and there’s a jazzercise type party on the basketball courts at the gym. I grab for another kleenex. It’s also Family Gameday at my daughter’s house. And the expectorant cough medicine seems to be loosening up chest congestion. A head-chest cold causing a week of missed workouts at the gym is one thing but a forced retreat today when there are places to go, people to see and things to do . . .  darn.  A need for equanimity and another opportunity presents for practice.

So zazen on the cushion again today on and off when the body tells me to stop and rest, I do so on the meditation cushion Zazen to Shikantaza or Shamatha to Vipassana, whatever — its alert Continue reading

New Year Divination with Nine of Cups with Knight of Wands

nine-cups-knight-wands
Tarot Guidance Divination  for the New Year

I am thinking of the approaching New Year as would not be an unexpected thing to do on the 28th of December.  I pulled two tarot cards at random with the intention of receiving some guidance through divination:  Nine of Cups and Knight of Wands.  What strikes me abut this card combo relates to taking a moment to bask in the light of achievements for the year in review.  There are no other humans on this card nor are there any houses or cities within view.  There is an aloneness.  People throughout the year may have Continue reading

Five of Pentacles and The Moon Tarot Reading

 

5 of Pentacles The Moon
Why these two cards today?

Five of Pentacles and The Moon

Here’s a laugh or at least an irony.  I just walked back from the front door after looking out to see what that loud rumbling is disturbing an otherwise quiet Sunday morning around here.  Summary:  polite person leaves the car with loud muffler running in the parking lot unattended.  Humph!  Some humans!  Honestly!

While walking back to my desk satisfied that the offending noise was identified, there was a moment of considering why I drew these particular cards — together they speak of a real “bummer” which is not how my own rather pleasant life is flowing at the moment.

Maybe these cards are identifying and addressing my momentary irritation with the thunderous muffler with a car attached to it.  Come to think of it, looking at that photo on the card, the young female who walked away from the fortissimo flatulent motor doesn’t even live here.  She must be visiting the lady who does who is of the same heritage.  Wow and like the image on the card, maybe she had no place else to go.  Suddenly, feeling ashamed at my rush to judgment, maybe she was there to escape (The Moon) a fearful situation (Moon again) and came to visit her friend.

I will admit that sometimes still my longing for the solitude and quiet of my mountain home is still very strong.  My instinctive (The Moon) reaction to boisterous humans and their cars (not to mention traffic here) is also too alive and well.   But the message for me in these cards is that solitude and quiet are to be found within (5 of Pentacles) and the tendency to escape (The Moon) can be used as awareness for further spiritual, consciousness evolution.

Weekly Horoscope – Transits for August 22, 2016

This week’s Main Players:   Mars conjunct Saturn and Mercury conjunct Jupiter

Weekly Horoscope

Mars conjunct Saturn August 22 – 26, 2016

Youth/Mars and Adult/Saturn.  This is back to school time in most places and the skies align with the sign of impulsive, immature Mars meeting closely with stable, mature Saturn.  Both signs are in Sagittarius which is generally thought to be the sign related to optimism, growth and also education.  As above, so below.  It seems pretty clear to me!  We would all sense the effect of this transit through the first 7 to 10 days of September.

Generally, we would all, in some way, likely be considering some new philosophy or belief (Sag) and some way to apply it to some new discipline or work (Saturn).  It may feel exciting and we may feel great passion about it (Mars).

In every sense, this is a positive aspect, unless you have been much too unruly and out of control–the “Lord of Karma” i.e. Saturn will be implementing the law of cause and effect.  You will receive what you deserve one way or another.

Sustained growth through patient endeavors — that’s one theme for the week!  If you are able to Continue reading