Repetitive Life Patterns

Patterns. Where does one start? They’re everywhere it seems–these life patterns! Astro Study and Dharma Study are both clear about them.  I’ve studied them through the dharma talks given by eastern teachers but noticed them long before any formal studies.  And the astrological study, you know planetary movements, has also supported my observations about patterns too–the same planet in the same place as it moves around the zodiac.  Luminary Moon hits the same digs every month and the Sun every year and so on; each planet moving at different speeds but as they aspect one another, they tend to produce the same type of event or experience.  The Facebook “On This Day” Memories application submits to you a list of all posts you made on that day and includes re-posts from that day in previous years.  Patterns are clearly there from my very own posts blatantly screaming back at me, “Notice!”

Patterns! A head cold or medical issue repeating the same time each year, moving during the same month (sometimes to the day) in certain years–it goes on ad nauseum:    neighbor issue, financial concern, trips with family, even weather systems which have not to do with my own personality.

What are these anyway? I’ve come to some thoughts to put down for myself and you too if you are still reading this.  Karma!  But hold on buster–not in the way most people think of the word.  It’s only a word that means “action” and is a result of “causes and conditions”, some of which are not personal.

Better not to complicate this bit of writing (which I don’t intend to go on much longer here); therefore, best not to get into an explanation of the non-self.  So, just sticking to the causes and conditions bit, accumulated energy will tend to repeat at times when conditions support it to do so.

Why does it repeat?  I’m going to narrow it down to the undesirable parts–those parts about the personality that makes me cringe to think about them. Those patterns–that’s where this post is headed.  There a good patterns too which we are creating in each and every moment actually, but . . .

Focusing further on the patterns such as anger at certain things or we could use a nicer word:  aversions.  I don’t want to deal with those anymore but causes and conditions accumulate to store those patterns, those aversions and surprisingly there are times they find their way to the surface from deep down in ground consciousness.

It seems that past conditions have caused me to react with aversion and it has become a habit, a pattern that has been repeated  And it’s not been until my later years here (late bloomer), that there’s not even been a conscious connection.

Now I see the pattern or one could say there is now a ‘me’ who is aware of them and with that awareness comes the observer–this creating distance between the aversion and the awareness. Sometimes reactions still happen;  yet,  with the newly awakened awareness of the pattern which has become gradually more conscious over many years, those reactions are minimal and mostly internally worked out.  This decreases any future punch that they may hold.

How to proceed?  Its a matter of creating new causes and conditions and not taking the old karma personal.  When the aversion arises, one can realize that it comes from prior reactions that have been stored — maybe not even from the current lifetime.  Who knows?  Anyway, its what this person (personality named Joy) has to deal with, but it isn’t me and isn’t personal and it does not really come from “now”–it arises from past causes and conditions (karma), remember?

What of it?  The idea is to begin to create new causes and conditions, stronger than the old perhaps and certainly more imbued with love, joy, compassion, patience and the numerous good qualities and virtues we desire to embrace which increase our happiness and peace.  New actions, new karma!  And also the goal is to have compassion for the personality self.  And by doing this we achieve the desire remain awake for the benefit of all others as well as the self here.

That which recognizes the pattern of aversion or even responds to the aversion has no aversion.  

How to remain awake?  Here we go! Back on the bandwagon about meditation.  And meditation simply means being aware of what is going on inside one’s own head and heart.  Not getting carried away by fantasy or letting thoughts drag you all over the darn place!

I do write newsletters frequently that include a lot of information regarding awareness and meditation since it’s a huge part of psychic development.

There. We’re at the end of the post and worked it out for us maybe.  Yes? Well, no matter (pun intended)–gave it a whirl and gave the self a talking to at the same time.

Oh, here is a link to all those newsletters that were just mentioned:  CLICK HERE to see this list of their links and you can sign up for the newsletters HERE.

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Thoughts on Life: Resistance versus Acceptance – Fighting versus Flowing

it is what it isFIGHTING VERSUS FLOWING

RESISTANCE VERSUS ACCEPTANCE 

I was on the final 15 minutes of my hour spin bike workout, doing intervals.  There’s a point of non-resistance that has to be reached to get through those final intervals when the legs are burning and the level of fatigue makes you want to resist.  A coach once said, “Your legs should be burning–let ’em”.

There’s a point where you have to give up and surrender the battle to get the last few sets of intervals done successfully.

It’s acceptance.  The lungs are on fire and so are the legs and you’re pushing through to the end but if you fight this or resist it, you just can’t do it–you quit.

Today I thought about how this is just like life.  I mean, on the bike you accept it,  the “what is” of legs burning and the like and if you accept then the work is so much easier and you’re less likely to give up.  Or said another way what you ‘do’ give up is the resistance to ‘what is’–the burn or breathlessness or whatever.

When you give up the resistance and let the mind participate with the body, allowing the merging and accepting the fact that ‘yeah, it’s what it is, until it isn’t anymore’, THAT is so liberating, especially in those final moments.

Those hour long interval workouts are like the last moments of a race.  What really counts is what you do at the end when you have to dig deep and get to the finish line, especially when total exhaustion is so close.

When life becomes a crisis in some way and let’s face it, life presents challenges and if we deny this we are not living on this planet I think.  At those times do we surrender? Or do we fight it? Do we want to deny what’s happening and thereby struggle against it?

We make life harder for ourselves if we struggle.  I make the last 15 minutes of my workout harder if I struggle against.

This applies across the board or that’s my position in writing this.  No matter what life presents us with at any given time (and sometimes life is like those last 15 minutes of an hour long interval workout at the gym–rough!)…. point is that if we feel like we have to battle it or take a position of struggling against it, we find it’s all so much harder.

So many times in life we think something shouldn’t be what it is.

We deny reality or fight against how things ‘are’ and use all kinds of tactics to deny reality somehow.  It’s exhausting.

We can make this comparison with the Christian way of thinking about life being a struggle against a devil and having to fight the evil–this kind of mentality.

Another way of thinking is to simply not think–but what I really mean is allowing whatever ‘it is’ to be what ‘it is’ without the judgment.

Judgment is the christian way of dealing with life I think which comes from an idea of an ideal perfected state that we all must strive for but know we will never achieve (because they tell us that in their dogma), rather than the opposite which is giving up that fight and becoming free.

Does that mean that we don’t try to be better humans or that we stop doing our best?  That’s not what I’m saying.  

I’m talking about not beating one’s self up because of ‘what is’ or what isn’t during any given moment.  I’m writing here about not struggling against it or making the self wrong somehow in the process.

The last 15 minutes of intervals my legs burn and I’m breathless–it’s part of life at that moment and I accept that and don’t fight against it or resist it.

When anything in happens in life, I can draw from that ability to accept what is actually happening without judgment or without making myself or Life Itself wrong.  It is, after all, what is.

When my legs are burning, I don’t attach to the feeling–I let them burn.

When I’m right on the edge of breathlessness, I let it be and don’t fight against the feeling.

If I grunt or groan or tense my muscles or make a face, it’s only making it harder to simply flow with ‘what is’ in that moment.  Life is like that.  Life ‘is’ and there’s a certain amount of being okay with it and not judging it but simply noticing it that is very freeing, liberating.

Someone thinks a lot during meditation time.  No need to fight that.  Simply notice it without assigning a meaning or beating self up in any way.

Someone feels angry.  I’m not saying to act the anger out and of course we shouldn’t totally repress it but one way to handle it is to notice it as simply being ‘what is’ in that moment.  Or maybe for the whole day the feeling is there.  In noticing it one is standing outside of it and this juxtaposition is causing separation from it emotionally.

Just like “the leg’s are burning, let ’em” that happen during my workout.  It is what is and nothing last forever!  ‘It is’ until it isn’t anymore and the less we can attach to it and the more we simply notice it without emotion or resistance, the realization comes clearly that nothing last forever.  That’s the nature of reality:  impermanence.

And impermanence is a blessing.

Acceptance of ‘what is’ in any moment is liberating and elevating.

Judgment of what is in any moment is attachment and suffering.

That’s one difference between Christianity and Buddhism although there are many good similarities as we all know.

Acceptance is surrender and surrender is Divine!

Just my two cents, hoping to have expressed this in a way that’s understandable.

Angry? Fearful? Disappointed? Dont’ worry: things are not as they appear to our ego-based delusion

July 18 2014 shadow clouds in the mountains

Holy smoke!  Ego’s get rabidly angry when they hear that life is an illusion and that they are too.  My gosh, how folks fight for their ego’s identity; it never fails to amaze me.  Just try mentioning to another human that there is no self and just watch the resistance and anger that manifests.  This is the same reason people fear death.  Self-cherishing!

Okay then.  Let’s say that life is not actually a dream, and not an illusion, and not a bubble; HOWEVER, life is LIKE a dream, an illusion, a bubble.  Things are not as they appear to us in our ego-based delusion. For instance, an object like a table is just made up of protons and neutrons. A physicist would tell us that a table is basically just empty energy. But, of course, if someone threw a table at you (let’s just say), it would hurt (*mostly because we believe it would.) Ultimately it is empty, but on a relative level it appears as solid and our memories will make it feel solid. Those who can, as we have read about, walk through walls do so because they know the truth of reality. Ultimately what we see is an illusion (like the reflection of the moon in the water or a reflection in a mirror) and this illusion is presented by our various senses and the memories associated with those senses over eons of lifetimes which create the reality as we now experience it. The point is that things re not what they seem to be.  In meditation one can experience the direct realization of this truth (intellectually knowing doesn’t do it)  and this experience of direct realization in meditation  is truly trans-form-ative!

The world, including ourselves, are like a dream, a rainbow, a bubble, a flash of lightening–ungraspable and in an impermanent contestant flux.  Life may look substantially solid and (‘Lordie knows’, as the saying goes) how the gods and angels above might laugh at all the crazy tactics and dramas that we monkey’s create as we try to make ourselves righteous and indignant in our self-cherishing attempt to create a solid identity.  It’s laughable really.

Shadows.  Rainbows.  Let’s take a rainbow for an example.  It is created by conditions, by rain and Sun and by many other causes, but when we try to find it, we cannot.  Just the same way, in a dream everything seems so real but the dream doesn’t have any core reality that exists outside of our very own mind.  A bubble seems real but prick it and it is just empty air.  Life itself is this way.

“May I see all things as illusions and, without attachment, gain freedom from bondage.” — that’s the ending of the Eight Verses of Mind Training.

What kind of bondage?  Ego bondage.

Duality and Oneness are so misunderstood.  Self and other:  this duality.  And we watch how we and others create causes and conditions which create self-cherishing responses to life which create more and more separation and ego-based delusion.  People will say things like “I must protect myself from this or that”  or “I must do certain things that make me feel good”–all of which emphasizes and reinforces the sense of self, the sense of ego.

Putting self last and other’s first is a way to break the spell of ego-based delusion and best of all it increases happiness.  People are very concerned for their self when they are asleep and deluded but then this is instinctive isn’t it?  I mean this whole self-preservation instinctive behavior is what causes us great suffering if you think about it and it is the furthest point from true spirituality that there can be.

One of the antidotes to self-cherishing and ego-based delusion is to put others before the self but not, of course, in a masochistic type of way.  I’m referring to a way of balancing that all important self-clinging that gets us into trouble and causes so much suffering for self and others.  I monitor this in myself when I am awake and clear and centered and I admit that I fail at times and loose my way in my own ego-based delusion many times.  I cling to my own self importance when other humans seem obnoxious to me and I actually want to run from them, forgetting the rainbow, the bubble and the illusion of causes and conditions playing out before my eyes, ears, and all my senses.  It’s tricky; it’s a pickle; it’s often lost but then picked up again, and again–always coming back to these Eight Verses (below) as an inspiration.

I can somtraining-the-mind-imageetimes realize in the ‘heat of the moment’ so-to-speak about how silly it is to become angry at something or someone that/who doesn’t really exist in the first place, at least not in the way they appear.  Again, in all relationships to person, place or thing– “May I see all things as illusions and, without attachment, gain freedom from bondage.”  But then meanwhile, may I at least put others before myself as a way of releasing self-cherishing so that I can let go enough to wake up from the sleep of self-importance.  See what I mean?

Well, anyway… the Eight Verses in their entirety appear below and by the way, it is said that His Holiness The Dalai Lama who is called the Embodiment of Compassion repeats /recites these verses every day.   Personally, I fail miserably as I try to follow the path of someone like The Dalai Lama but I do aspire to these verses in my life view, my attitude and actions to avert ego-clinging.

Just as in meditation thoughts wander and we bring them back to center, to breath, to the focal point, this how we can bring ourselves back from ego-clinging which is what indignant righteous self-protection is all bout and what worry, fear and anger is about too.

Anyway, the inspirational antidote, the meditation and contemplation to counter-balance and hopefully release all of that anger, fear, worry and self-protection and self-cherishing  are the following versus offered here for the reader’s consideration:

With a determination to achieve the highest aim
For the benefit of all sentient beings
Which surpasses even the wish-fulfilling gem,
May I hold them dear at all times.

Whenever I interact with someone,
May I view myself as the lowest amongst all,
And, from the very depths of my heart,
Respectfully hold others as superior.

In all my deeds may I probe into my mind,
And as soon as mental and emotional afflictions arise-
As they endanger myself and others-
May I strongly confront them and avert them.

When I see beings of unpleasant character
Oppressed by strong negativity and suffering,
May I hold them dear-for they are rare to find-
As if I have discovered a jewel treasure!

When others, out of jealousy
Treat me wrongly with abuse, slander, and scorn,
May I take upon myself the defeat
And offer to others the victory.

When someone whom I have helped,
Or in whom I have placed great hopes,
Mistreats me in extremely hurtful ways,
May I regard him still as my precious teacher.

In brief, may I offer benefit and joy
To all my mothers, both directly and indirectly,
May I quietly take upon myself
All hurts and pains of my mothers.

May all this remain undefiled
By the stains of the eight mundane concerns;
And may I, recognizing all things as illusion,
Devoid of clinging, be released from bondage.

 

May all who need to find and read this post, find it and by  reading even one line here that is helpful, may they be so helped, aided and thereby served.

Emotion as ‘the’ spiritual path on April 22 2014 Grand Cross – a continuation of last post

inquire3My last blog post was incomplete.  I got to thinking about it afterwards–the evolution of our emotional life, that is.  We evolve in the way we deal with them–the emotions.  I have observed that progression in my life.  And it 1,000% correlates with Buddhist teachings–the parallels between my own observations and the teachings being very validating and actually very comforting.

Let me try to explain.  You see, in our younger years (there are always exceptions) due to lack of experience/immaturity, we tend to act out our emotions.  When we are feeling  overwhelmed by the intensity of the wave of feelings that occur when emotions arise, what we tend to do before we know any better is to act out in some way, we re-act.

No matter the chronological age of the individual who is experiencing the emotion, immaturity or ignorance causes us to have a particular view of emotion.  The reaction may be to run away from the situation or stimuli that triggered the surge of emotion in order to relinquished or release the energy.  Therefore, the individual does not examine their own inner response.  The don’t hang out with the emotion long enough to realize the truth that emotions arise and then then dissipate.  There is no ability, therefore, to create enough space around the feeling to allow that realization to occur.  Emotions are viewed, therefore, as something bad or something that must be gotten rid of as soon as possible.

Once I heard a Buddhist monk speak about how some advanced Buddhist practitioners will purposefully hold a difficult emotion that arises and try to expand it and to work with that energy for the intentional purpose of extracting wisdom information from the emotional energy.  They also do a practice called Tonglen with the energy in order to help all sentient beings. Wow; impressive!

Many of us, because of societal conditioning, have been told that strong emotional energy is like poison or is highly undesirable and further that one must repress, suppress, avoid, or run away from or get rid of anger, fear, etc. as soon as possible.  And further that we are a sinner!

But eventually, if we progress in our evolution as a human, we begin to see how we can counterbalance an emotion by transforming the energy into it’s opposite or into something else instead–like in my last blog post.  For example, we learn to turn anger into compassion instead.  Whatever or whoever our anger may be about, even if it is anger that we have toward our own self, it is possible to transform it into compassion for self or others.

So then we first try to get rid of the emotion, run away from it somehow, eventually we progress to learning how to transform the emotion and then finally (and this is where I personally am deep into it), we take emotion “as the spiritual path itself”.  Yeah.  Heavy.

I’m doing a lot of that lately (just as others are) with the grand cross today, 13 degrees Pluto/Jupiter opposition in Cap/Cancer respectively and then Uranus/Mars in Aries/Libra.  Two oppositions and 4 squares–and we’ve all got that activated now!  That’ll intensify emotions if anything will. ( I’ve also got a lot of energy aspect-ing communicative Mercury in my personal chart  today so I thought this to be a good time to write a little bit about all this.)  But getting back to the topic here…

The other day I posted a line on Facebook that sort of speaks to using emotions as the path itself:  Fit regular life into spiritual practice, not the other way around.

And speaking of the other way around, when we can use the emotion to create something positive by flipping it around, this leads to really working with the energy–using it in a positive way instead of running from it or stuffing it.  This begins the awareness of the emotional causes and triggers and opens the door to a deeper understanding of one’s self and others.

One begins to notice patterns or triggers and begins to understand how past or present conditioning (cause and effect, karma) play into the emotions.

We can almost see emotions as friends because they assist us to relate to ourselves and to the world differently.

We exit the world of duality and separation and begin to see all people have similar motivations.  Just as the Embodiment of Compassion, Dalai Lama, always says, we see that all beings are, similar to ourselves, in that they are seeking pleasure and happiness and trying to avoid pain and suffering.

Another benefit is that we don’t feel alone in our emotional thunder storms and we can seek the shelter of viewing them from a higher place–seeing the bigger picture.

We can realize that without emotions there is no spiritual path!  Emotions contain spiritual wisdom, knowledge and information.

And this aspect of incorporating emotion into the spiritual path involves looking at the true state of emotion and finding the wisdom there.   The spiritual path IS seeing the nature of emotion.

And the emotion gets stronger and stronger as our teachers (if we ignore them) in order to show us the wisdom and knowledge and information contained within the feelings.

The previous blog post (a divination about emotion) was about the stage in which we take that emotion and flip it or transform it.  The stage after that one is to really wish to see the emotion for what it has to teach–asking what is this emotion’s wisdom nature?

So we let ourselves feel the emotion knowing it will recede just as abruptly as it arose and we hold still with the feeling and allow a gap between the feeling and our old tendency to react or run (fight or flight).  And as the gap forms we can distance ourselves enough to see the psychology of it all, to understand and to do something constructive and positive with it.  To change.

That’s all for now!  I have psychic reading clients calling soon and this is all the time I have right now.   I hope this information helps someone today!

Blowing Your Spiritual Cover and Personal Integrity September 5, 2013 Daily Divination

10 of PentaclesAwareness—it’s awesome realizations; yet, because we are aware and realize something about ourselves doesn’t mean we have reached full enlightenment—it means we are aware of the path.  And excuse me if you are already fully enlightened but most of us go day-by-day doing the best we can, often reacting to life before, knowing we’re reacting.  But that’s okay or at least Pema Chodron says so.

Her recommendation is to say, “May this person who is driving me crazy enjoy happiness and be free of suffering” even though at the time what we are experiencing is genuine anger.  It always makes me feel sheepish when I remind myself that it is self-cherishing that is the root of my problem—that usually puts the fires of anger and frustration out easily.  And then I want to kick myself for reacting to a strong aversion in the first place.

We have our limits as humans it seems.  We can open to some people, but we remain closed to others—the ones who irritate us.

Awareness is seeing this clearly and realizing firsthand that as humans we are, as Pema says, “…a paradoxical bundle of rich potential that consists of both neurosis and wisdom.”

The thing is that we must acknowledge where we are and what we feel—it is so inauthentic and psychologically damaging (in my humble opinion) to pretend to feel anything that we don’t.

I can seem to feel more love, empathy and compassion for my daughter’s cats than I can for my downstairs neighbors!  I tried to muster up those feelings that I have for those animals and then transfer that same feeling to my irritating neighbors—no can do!  I just can’t seem to put these irritating people in the same place in my heart as the beautiful animals that I so love—I had to toss them right out.  I will keep trying and will let you know how it goes.

I am closed off there and need to keep working at it to open up and resolve my aversions—that’s what awareness can mean.  Oh, yeah, I try to tell myself that they are just like me and like the Dalai Lama says, we are all seeking happiness.  It’s just that their version of happiness and mine are apparently in dire contrast and opposition; perhaps it’s cultural but then again “when in Rome” as the saying goes.

I realize this is more aversion to humans and the epitome of resistance to them but I was thinking that I’ve got to start incorporating flip turns into my swimming routine.  Talk about human in your face!  When I got to the pool yesterday all the lanes were free, but for one.  I selected the last lane and started my swim.  About 20 minutes into my swim as I reached the wall to initiate my turn, there it was!

A man’s face in front of my own, asking to swim in my lane with me; all of the other lanes were filled with men and maybe he felt it was easier to ask a woman—who knows his motives? And who cares? But I felt immediate aversion to having to share my lane—why me?  He didn’t swim long but I realize that I have a lot of work to do in that area also; it’s just that (watch me try to justify my aversion now) when I swim it is like a meditation and one really would rather not be interrupted.  But that’s life—it’s what happens to us while we’re doing our own thing; human interference.  I’ve got to learn to be better at sharing my sacred spaces with other humans I guess…. Well, obviously.  I don’t like feeling irritated and would rather be happy and peaceful—that requires getting over my ego and self-cherishing!

I think to write about it and how these humans get under my skin so-to-speak is blowing my cover!  I’m human too and we all have an ego with aversions and attractions—when I lived in the mountains alone I could, for the most part, pretend that I wasn’t one of them!  Ha ha.

Well, humor is a gift from the Angels that helps us cope here.

Today, I will ask the Angels of Laughter to hang 10 with me through the ocean of life… or at least through my apartment living and my lap swimming at the pool.  I hit my toe on the side of the metal filing cabinet this morning as I made my way to my desk with my first cup of coffee while at the same time feeling resentful for being awakened by neighbor’s voices!

It’s a beautiful sunny day and we started out in the high 60’s, low 70’s this morning.  I made good progress on the project I’m creating for my daughter’s wedding gift and still wish that I could be half as artistic as my middle daughter (not the one getting married).  My middle child draws beautifully freehand and oh how I admire her ability to do that!

I just opened a desk drawer and the fragrance of Nag Champa incense cones (that I forgot I had) greeted me (I love Nag Champa) and may today be filled with such continued pleasant surprised for everyone!

DAILY DIVINATION SEPTEMBER 5, 2013 – TEN OF PENTACLES TAROT CARD

This card makes me think of the 11th House in Astrology, relating to the community.  I think of it too as “growing roots” in the community and creating a stable and comfortable environment. The 10 of Pentacles deals with the domestic life and living life upon the earth and represents “the good life”.  The deep connection to The Universe exists within the ordinary life—through this card I am reminded that the troubles and miseries that occupy many human minds (my own included) are only a play and the community plays a role for us in presenting that which we must free ourselves.

As I finished that last sentence a hummingbird was flying a holding pattern within a few feet of my laptop just on the other side of the glass door, looking at me directly.  Reminds me to be joyful and to find the nectar of life and drink heartily from that fountain.  Hummingbirds are symbolic for accomplishing that which seems impossible.

May you always feel encouraged!

Non-Self and Illusion of Emotion – How to Hold Your Horses and Not Get Pulled In

 The Illusion of Emotion Hold Your Horses and Don’t Get Pulled In

Hold Your Horses and Don’t Get Pulled In
“Hold Your Horses” and Don’t Get Pulled In

On the subject matter of non-self, consciousness, awareness, spiritual awakenings and psychic energy, I recently posted this Nisargadatta quote on Facebook:

“On what we think as REAL taking your idea of yourself for example: “You cling to personality, but you are conscious of being a person only when you are in trouble; when you’re not in trouble you do not think of yourself.” 

And I did so because I came to this quote rather magically (I believe in magic@!) after having an experience that relates to the quote itself.

Someone asked, “But how do we overcome thinking about ourselves when not in trouble?” 

Logical question; good question I suppose.  Surely, I don’t have all the answers but perhaps my humble speculation will be of some use to someone, other than my self.  Let me share my experience and that may be self-explanatory.

The other day I was in a place of no-fear, no- desire, non-attachment and  for the most part this is what we may call a contented happiness state.  I say it that way because extreme happiness – or the kind of cartwheels in the street and jumping up and down type of glee is really the result of some type of attachment.  But life itself, the marriage of consciousness to life is contented happiness.   A state of (for the most part) non-self, just merged with the harmony of life, flowing in harmony with what is and this type of non-self.  No strong desire, no craving, no yearning, no fear, no anger, no frustration—like that.   Those are states that attach us to self—thinking of our self.  We may say, as the Buddhists do, that these are states of self-cherishing.

I was in such a state of flow with life; neither here nor there; doing what comes natural; no strong push or desire—and just letting the mind become blank periodically.  And then—DRAMA WALKS IN THE DOOR!

So here comes this energy around me and it feels like it sucks you into your body.  In fact we have expressions like this—“I got sucked into that” or we say “I got pulled into it”.  That’s how it felt quite dramatically and literally.  My ‘self’ wanted to become engaged with the energy and I felt my consciousness being pulled back into ‘self’ when moments earlier I was in a state (more rather than less) of non-self:  no fear, no desire, no attachment—only flow.  Now the flow was being yanked and tugged by my ‘sense of self’–mostly self-identity.

You know how it goes when one begins to feel insulted, right?  That feeling comes up in us and we say things like, “Do they know who they are talking to?!”  It’s ME, the all-important ‘me’!!  Yeah, personality was starting to think about how it was receiving an insult.

I’ve heard it said, “A spark of truth can burn up a mountain of lies.”   The truth that I could return to being an atom of existence or let myself be pulled in was before me—a choice.

When I remembered this—when I remembered that the energy which the personality was being tempted to wrestle with, the energy that was starting to be sucked in by the personality began to  dissolved once I remembered the nature of reality being illusion.

Oh yeah, trust me—I know.  Been there and done that so many times I’m an expert at making illusion really real!  It’s all a play of cosmic matter.

When we become identified personally with any energy we become a slave to it.

When, on the other hand we remember what I heard my higher mind saying at that moment that I began to become sucked in which was IT’S NOT REAL, the “self” subsides and mind merges back into the previous state of no fear, no desire, no attachments, no anger, no craving and so on—everything decreases and wanes and subsides into silence.

Then we stand apart from the illusion having not been sucked in and we become master of the energy instead of the other way around. 

Footnote:  I am grateful for the experience from the Drama Queen because I don’t think I’ve experienced the energy quite so clearly and witnessed the two opposite states so dramatically and felt the pull in such a profound way!

What would a Bodhisattva do about loud neighbors? And the resulting Anger? And Self-Cherishing? Living Buddhism

Living Buddhism

What would a Bodhisattva do about loud neighbors?

And the resulting Anger?

And Self-Cherishing?

Bodhisattvas cave muralYeah, I’ve been kvetching about the loud neighbors but rest assured I’ve been not only externalizing a solution but internalizing one too.  I’ve used the scrape-your-fingers-down-the-chalkboard type of setting your teeth on edge irritation as charnel ground meditation; but even there one knows the exit or path that takes one away from that graveyard—in case it becomes too much, we need an escape button, don’t we?

Is it any co-incidence that as I consider those matters, I’m also contemplating death, dying in such a way that one can be liberated while still living and breathing?  Well, as much as one can anyway.  And I’m having a more serious look at The 37 Practices of a Bodhisattva.  Factor that into the loud Indian neighbor situation, the contemplation on death—stir well and sprinkle with a generous handful of Practice #20.

Most blog readers will know the meaning of the word Bodhisattva but the short version of a definition is spiritual practitioner—practice of compassion for altruistic benefits.  The 37 Practices describe the enlightened qualities of an aspirant (my own words) which come about due to causes.  (Causes such as loud, boisterous, inconsiderate neighbors?)  And in the list of the practices we see definite references to those types of situations and how to integrate these difficulties of earth living into spiritual practice.

I clearly realize the ‘enemy’ if there is one in my situation with the frustrating irritations of the neighbors is within me, totally, entirely, and completely.  I got that part; so no finger-pointing please.

Do I run from it, push it away or go toward it or do nothing?  I’ve sat with it and the aversion is so great that I think I may cry if I do not put on the white noise so I cannot hear it.  I’d be the first one to run down the path and back to the monastery if I had do to real live grave-yard charnel practice!

I don’t think there’s any teaching that says that the thing that drives you the most crazy you should go seek it out just to see if you can handle it—or maybe there is and I’m wrong about that.

If you want to talk about aversion for a second—let’s do.  My aversion is to myself for having the reactions of intense, acute and profound irritation to their voices in the first place.

Before you start thinking it, let me say that I know it all comes from self-cherishing and self-grasping and attachment to an idea that my living quarters should be completely free from gawd-awful vocal intrusions. Got that too!

The wisdom teachers say that when we cave and just “can’t deal”, to use the situation to bring up compassion for all others who have the same situation in life. One great comfort is that if we reflect for even a nano-second we realize we are not alone in our suffering, whatever it is, no matter what!  With (what is the number we hear others give?) something like 6-million –or is that billion?–people on earth, there has to be at least one (and usually thousands) who are going through that exact same situation right at that exact same moment.

This brings comfort—we are not alone.  So then we bring up the ole’ catholic training and say I will suffer this and for all who suffer for the suffering souls including myself.   It gives the suffering (which is plainly everywhere on Earth, look around) a purpose, a meaning and brings it into a workable (at least for me) and relative perspective.

There’s a certain surrender in that—grant me the serenity to deal with what I cannot change.  I’ve changed what I could already—speaking to them directly (which was like speaking to a wall that is in denial that it’s a wall – for lack of a better example), and I’ve tried speaking to the management and one night I took the management’s suggestion and called the police to give them the word.  They were screaming after all and it was well after midnight and I even brought the altruistic reason into that one—“I do this act of calling the police for all the neighbors, not just myself.”

Oh, sure I can have compassion for the couple—of course.  I think they drink or drug a lot especially if you consider loud never ending conversations a drug.  And they are in a strange country – from India and you know we all have problems.  It’s not hard for me to feel compassion in those ways.  But sometimes my own frustration and self-cherishing and attachment to how I think my life should be when it isn’t gets the best of me and it seems a simple thing not to have un-welcomed human voices permeating my living space.

So yeah, I crank up the white noise (see my last blog post) as my escape valve.

But what about death? I mean that’s one experience where there IS no escape valve really.  I mean we have to deal with it and can’t go anywhere else then or we can’t turn up the white nose to drown it out.  It’s intense and frightening and irritating and we have to really let go of self-cherishing at that time, don’t we?  Well, if we don’t we suffer more.  I’m reading The Tibetan Book of the Living and The Dying (again) and this is my 2nd go at the modern version of the text by Songyal Rinpoche.  It’s more a text about living but the stages of dying are fully described both from the perspective of the dying person and the family and caregivers.  Really useful stuff for when a family member dies or we ourselves—our time will come.

How can I let go when I really need to if I cannot let go in this situation with my neighbors?  I’m working on all that.

Meanwhile, I do love the references to the point in the death process when we reach such a state of luminosity of mind that the – well, the Buddhist call them the 3 poisons leave us completely.  We can get there in this life and do if we’re successful with our meditation practice.  We reach a state where there are no attachments, and it is give a name by the wisdom teachers:  sky consciousness.  The three poisons (anger, ignorance and desire) —gone!  Have you been there to that place? A peaceful lifestyle helps and a crazy couple from India who rocks your world doesn’t!

Let me take a breather to say that I’m grateful they go to work during the day and I’m grateful for when they run their central air unit (even if they have it on fan which I’ve enlightened them about doing).  For when we both have it running, I barely hear them.  I say barely and again it’s not their fault or mine this building that we over-pay in rent to live within is so poorly insulated (paper thin walls).  I’m grateful for electricity and I’m grateful for the fact that they’re gone during the day; thank you thank you thank you thank you!  Amen.

I don’t like my inner reaction and if I’m honest it’s the first of the 3 poisons that most Buddhist text refers to—anger.  Their anger triggers my own?  Maybe?  I don’t know exactly.  But I don’t like that intense feeling that makes me feel like I’m about to lose control.  Like fingernails down a chalkboard I want to cover my ears and run; but HA, I live here!  Some things you can’t run from and this situation as well as my own eventual death someday down the line is another something that I cannot run from.

All this is preparing me I’m sure; everything is somehow always inner-related.  I looked up The 37 Practices of a Bodhisattva online (http://www.dharmadhatu-center.org/the_37_practices_of_a_bodhi.html).  I’m sure I have a Book on the 37 Practices here somewhere on my bookshelf; later today I will try to find it.  (Note to self to do that!)

I should blog my way through the 37 practices as I deal with the hell realms below me (downstairs neighbors).  In the end, it may help me to be able to die well and use that moment-of-death that they talk about to enhance enlightenment.

So anyway for now, for today, OM MANI PADME HUM, what about Practice #20?

Practice 20
Taming the mind
If you have not tamed the enemy of your own anger,

Combating outer opponents will only make them multiply.

Therefore, with an army of loving kindness and compassion,

To tame your own mind is the practice of a Bodhisattva.

Generally we think we must defeat outer opponents. If only we could get rid of them, we would be happy. Or so we believe. But we cannot overcome all adversaries, and when we try, their numbers just increase. At first we have one, then two, then many. So what are we to do? The only solution is to tame our anger, tame our mindstream through bodhichitta. Armed with the attitude of loving kindness and compassion, we naturally no longer have any external enemies. Because the Great Teacher, the Buddha, the Bhagawan, had tamed his mindstream, he prevailed against the Maras who tried to distract him as he sat meditating beneath the Bodhi tree in Bodhgaya. The Buddha was armed with the forces of the samadhi of loving kindness, and the Maras could not harm him. The Great Yogi Milarepa tamed the enemy of ego-clinging with the force of the wisdom that realizes selflessness. And he conquered the enemy of anger with the army of bodhichitta. Because he defeated his inner foes of ego-clinging and anger, he became so skillful that even his bitterest enemies eventually became his disciples.

http://www.dharmadhatu-center.org

Maybe in my next blog post, whenever the neighbors are ranting below me (which is usually the same time I’m blogging as a coping mechanism), instead of kvetching, I’ll blog about one of The 37 Practices of the Boddhisattva.  That’s the lose plan, time permitting — stay tuned?

Let’s see if blogging my way through this can help others, I’ll do my best.

“Namaste!” which is what I said while giving a slight bow to my downstairs neighbors about 3 weeks ago (sigh!)  Meanwhile, reaching for my copy of The Tibetan Book of the Living and Dying, lifting it to the sky, making a bow to you and the wisdom teachers who have gone before us…. I bid you good day!

Day #10 – Divination Tools Help Ease Uncertainty or Doubt During Times of Change

I totally get to live it now (again!).  I get to apply firsthand all the advice that comes from the higher levels of mind about change, impermanence, transition, letting go/holding on (an interesting dynamic!) and all the rest.  O, not that I haven’t lived it in the past—it’s a refresher is all. 

Anytime we make a decision that is going to obviously out-picture in a major life change, we have moments—call them temporary moments of insanity if you’d like.  I may have had a few of those this week.  I am laughing inside as I reflect on that last line; there’s a part of me that’s still a bit numb and consequently unsure if I’ve been completely sane the entire week.

I think it’s normal as a portion of life unravels and then begins to reassemble due to the necessity of change that moments of “crazy” happen and there again come those old buddies of worry who is crazy’s cousin.  Those buddies are doubt and anger.  What’s there to be angry about you may ask—don’t worry, I’m asking myself the same question. 

Maybe it’s my rebellious Aquarius energy in my 7th house—who knows?  I really have to get over a certain amount of resentment about jumping through other people’s hoops and dealing with “THE almighty RULES”.   Yeah, I’ve always been a fringe dweller, an outsider.  I’m examining that now; that frustration and resentment. 

But I got through the week and with regard to this project, this commitment, this change–the ball is continuing to roll with or without me because things have been set irreversibly into motion.  Last night I had as moment of angst.  Now this is where divination comes in handy!

Maybe it was me just tired from a long week of bumping heads with… let me be kind.  Let’s just say maybe a certain fatigue set it that wasn’t necessarily physical.  Mentally I am living (in my mind) within the new way of being that comes from this change that I’ve chosen (did I really choose it?) and  physically there is chaos in the realm that I’m still disassembling as part of the change. 

Holy chaos!  What am I doing?  Am I doing the right thing?  I keep getting flashes of the transiting lunar nodes about to come to merge with my natal lunar nodes—once I heard an astrology teacher say that this is… well, she said, “The past becomes the future and the future becomes the past.”  I really do feel like something quite similar to that is going on with all of this!

You know how you get that sinking feeling when you are just about to go walk the aisle to say, “I do”-?  Did you ever do that?  Sometime before you take that walk you say to yourself, “Really, do I?  OMG, am I doing the right thing?”  OR maybe you are about to close on that house whether you are selling or buying—there’s a moment that happens when you ask yourself, “Do I REALLY want to do this?” 

And you’re at the point with it where it is way too complicated to change your mind now!  You know, like you just strapped your body in the roller coaster and it begins to move and you really wish you could get off the thing and it’s way too late to turn back now!

Okay, so I had a moment like that last night you see?  Those kinds of moments can be sort of immobilizing—everything freezes and you feel like you have to go put your head on the pillow for a while and consider everything one more time.

If you’re experienced with life—it’s familiar territory.  You just want someone to come down from some heaven somewhere, float down through the walls and tell you that you are doing the right thing.  That didn’t happen exactly, so I grabbed a few divination tools and did ‘my thing’.

It is calming to shuffle those cards or toss those coins—if nothing else, shuffling the cards is a centering activity in itself. 

It was helpful is all that I can say—very helpful—calming, reassuring, peace-provoking and enabled me to breathe easy once more. 

I’d say the whole affair took maybe a half hour and I was back on course again emotionally.  I was still physically tired but got a lot of good rest last night and today I’m ready to go back at it again.  And the chaos of change I must make peace with until the 30 days is over.  Around this same time next month, I should have totally different view of life; stay tuned.  But my greater point is that divination tools, used properly and with confidence in the tool itself, can be so helpful in the heat of the moment when guidance and an elevated, unbiased view is needed.

It’s worth learning about tarot cards or runes or i-ching and to take a psychic development class before you consider a major change; they can help you.  As a matter of fact, now that we are thinking of it, I’ve noticed that many people who take the class are also planning something huge in their life at the same time—some life changing event like a job/career change or divorce or a relocation.

I’ll post again when there’s time.