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

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Swim Meditation – Laps with Spirit Guides?

Sun Light

Labored breathing.  Right effort.  Quickened heartbeat.  Mine.  Arms, legs, head moving, pushing, pulling in rhythm with air exchange.  Water supports yet provides resistance while embracing, engulfing and surrounding the body.  The lane—all mine.  It is my sanctuary, my temporary escape.  Me and the water that surrounds me–simplicity.  The water is dependably fluid and alive, willing to work in harmony with my efforts.

There’s only limited human activity at this place—only certain other humans come and go here.  Relatively few—practically none if we compare to the nearby Interstate Highway.  Those few others… we share this liquid refuge containing loud overhead fans which do not support human conversation—other swimmers only nod if there even is an exchange at all.  That’s fine with me.  Lifeguards watch over but do not otherwise interfere.   They, too, seem lost in their own inner world; meditating in their own way I suppose.   I like that about this place; every human consumed with their own workout concentration—each in their own thought.  A sanctuary, a haven, a retreat, refuge.  I take refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma and the Pool Sangha.

The roof and walls here protect from too much sun during the summer months and in winter shelter from the cold.

Unique.  Enchanting.  Sacred. Magical. It wasn’t there when I started my swim—I’m sure I would have noticed that source of light and warmth on such a cold day.  But as I lifted my head to turn back to swim the next lap, I noticed something for the very first time.   High windows of thick glass harmonized with the late afternoon’s solar rays, translating them to multiple balls of white light catching my eyes and uplifting my heart.  Oh, it was like Light Beings were looking in on my swim.  Spirit Guides?  Archangel Michael?   I drew them into myself as I smiled and pushed off the wall strong with my legs to attack the next lap all the while secretly smiling at the enchantment of it all.

After every 600 yards, my custom is to stop and check my lap times, quickly take a 6 second pulse to see if I am within my target heart range and grab a sip of water.  Those small breaks were made so enjoyable as I turned toward the window and the many balls of light and rays that the pattern in the thick glass made of Father Sun.

I thought of the life and experiences of the world of fish and other sea life between my counting of my laps as I finished my swim.  If I’m completely honest, I fancy that I was once a fish.  Am I pretending or is it a memory?  Many times I wish that I could stay under water, could develop fins to breathe and swim in the ocean.  I love the silent world of the underwater.  If the chlorine wasn’t irritating my nose and if my fingers and toes didn’t start to wrinkle, I’d not want to get out at all.

I love this social circle of lap swimmers; perhaps all like me—loners.  There’s a mutual respect, a secret knowing that we are all the same in some way.   We choose the silence that immersing in water for an hour or some part of it can provide.

Some days my mind wanders and I’m suddenly uncertain what lap I’ve just completed, loosing count and my pace suffers as I try to figure that out.  Other days, I’m aware of each stroke and how well I reached out, how consistent my kicks were and I know exactly what lap I’m on.  It is about awareness, being fully present, fully awake, fully alive—heart beating, labored, right effort, quick breath, rhythmic movement supported by water which also provides resistance. Life Itself.  As I reach the wall, the balls of light smile at me as Sun filters through the high window and I turn to swim another lap.

Daily Divination 10-11-11 Using Intuition and Reading Energy to Know When It is TIME for Change! Making Decisions Using the Right Brain I-CHING Kua 33, Retreat

Today’s message starts with the fact that we’re dealing with a master number in the I-CHING Kua 33 and the first impression looking at the card image… what comes to my mind is “birds flying south for the winter”. It is fall, after all and many birds have already migrated—the question is how do they know when to migrate? How do we ourselves, in our own life, know when to migrate? Do we tune into the atmosphere around us and hear/see/feel the energy in such a way that we know when to make timely departures? Do we know when to retreat, let go, withdraw, retire, and walk away— any of those things? Or do we need to be pushed and shoved experiencing trauma in order to be encouraged to read the energy?

Of course, there are those who don’t realizes that there is energy to be read (felt) in the first place and being oblivious to that is a handicap. Until that happens we seem to have to be “hit over the head by the 2 by 4”; and this is a phrase I really don’t like and maybe that’s because I’ve felt that 2 x 4 before. Anyway…

Geese intuitively know when it is time to go. We could learn so much from the example of the deep intuitive sense that animals have… our own dogs and cats or other domestic animals can be awesome teachers and we could benefit from being more like them in certain respects.

Today’s message is to get in touch with the inner whispers of the inner knowing by being in harmony with the TAO; with all energy that surrounds us.

I was just thinking of a house guest who doesn’t know when it’s time to leave. I’ve had that happen so many times when I did readings for people in my home. So this is what the message is about today—being sensitive to the energy around you and knowing when it’s time to go or when it’s okay to remain where you are without having to experience that push or pull from life.

We, as intelligent (for the most part) humans, sometimes rely too much on our intellect and abandon the right brain for the left. There’s something to say about the good old-fashioned animal instincts, you know? One of my teachers said that when we cover up our natural odor with perfumes and deodorant, we lose the ability to know who our natural partners are. She said that if you want to know if someone is going to be compatible with you to go for a hike with that person so that in perspiration you can use the olfactory sense to know if that person’s odor is attractive or repulsive. That’s one way to know if you should retreat and depart; some person’s natural scent will attract and others will repel us. Animals do this all the time, but we humans have forgotten about it. Sometimes, forgetting the intellect and using our intuition and instincts in these ways are highly beneficial in avoiding that 2×4!

I love birds. They can’t over identify with any one home and are always flying off to new nests—there’s such freedom in that. Most birds have more than one nest because they know that any one of then can be destroyed at any moment. Well, that happened around here lately actually. The human “muggle” (term of endearment ~ LOL) who lives across the way cut down numerous trees any many birds lost homes—I feel consoled for them because of my knowledge that birds often have more than one nest and besides  it’s the time of year that many birds have already flown south.

So today we say that what you cling to or are attempting to cling to is contrary to life or to the TAO… energy must move on and holding fast to energy that must change because it is the very nature of life that energy changes, well, it brings suffering to hold to what is changing.

By the way, the master number (33) is associated with the TAO, “All That Is” or some may say that which is god.  And the I-CHING Kua 33 is called “Withdrawal, Retreat”.

Another message for today is about retreating from negativity–one only exhausts oneself today when attempting to deal with and subdue negativity.  It is better to yield ground and walk away; step back and avoid battles.  Introspection and patience are better weapons.

In order to read the energy one must quiet down, tune into the heart rather than the intellect, breathe deeply allowing one’s self to become sensitive and feel the energy. 

BOTTOM LINE: dispassionately evaluate the signs of change, sniff the wind in the air, what are you being shown about the energy around you? If it is time to go, spread your wings. If not, nestle in for a cozy winter season. We are approaching that season after all, we’re deeply into fall now… the days are growing shorter.

See you next time…