Impressions, Imprints, Cyber-footprints in SAMSARA

samsara2
SAMSARA and IMPERMANENCE

Impressions!  Imprints!  Cyber-footprints!

I don’t think about that often enough.  Or so I recently realized!  I tend to work through my rough days on my blog, hoping that as I do so that a reader out there somewhere may be helped through the insight that I, myself, seek.    But before going further, there must be an understanding conveyed.  One that I don’t convey as often as I should; one that should go without saying but that I forget to say–perhaps even forget to say to myself!  But look, it’s not easy to stay awake sometimes!  Life is full of … well, the most efficient way to say it is through one word SAMSARA.

Let me get an official Buddhist definition of that word [SAMSARA] and this from Wikapedia seems as good as any others from Google:  Saṃsāra (Sanskrit, Pali; also samsara) is a Buddhist term that literally means “continuous movement” and is commonly translated as “cyclic existence”, “cycle of existence”, etc. Within Buddhism, samsara is defined as the continual repetitive cycle of birth and death that arises from ordinary beings’ grasping and fixating on a self and experiences. Specifically, samsara refers to the process of cycling through one rebirth after another within the six realms of existence where each realm can be understood as either a physical realm or a psychological state characterized by a particular type of suffering. Samsara arises out of avidya (ignorance) and is characterized by dukkha (suffering, anxiety, dissatisfaction). In the Buddhist view, liberation from samsara is possible by following the Buddhist path.

I use divination to help me find peace because the process of  looking for insight puts one in the mental framework wherein one shifts or better said begins to detach from the mental affliction long enough to look for insight. [My profession involves divination after all; its a habit.  LOL.]

I’ve been conversing through private text on my Facebook account with a blog follower who summarized the last few years of my life in a few lines that made me startle a bit, thinking ‘Man o man, my life really sucks!”   But of course it doesn’t, and it is full of just as many ups, downs, attractions and aversions as anyone else’s here in Samsara!  No better or no worse, at least potentially, as anyone else’s life who is aware of their mind where it is all located anyway!

Here’s the last bit I wrote this morning, sharing a paragraph from the communication that I’ve been having with a reader:

I think one comfort is that we are never alone in what we experience since the human condition seems very universal… in that no matter what kind of dilemma one is in, one can always find so many others going through the same illusion or experiencing the same dream (or nightmare); so that on some level there is comfort when we can do as the Buddhists do which is Tonglen … basically to say, ” May all of us, may we join together , all of us, and may I be the one to gather it all up here, now;  and then may we all be free of our delusion and wake from the dream and be liberated! And how does the liberation happen”?

What kind of  liberation? Mental–for that is how it all occurs anyway, in the mind.  So, to look at life and hear, see, experience it without aversion or attachment, either one… to just say “Oh, now it is this and now it is that or now it is ‘not’  this and now it is ‘not’  that… hmmmm… okay… and that’s how it is or isn’t…. and now I notice that there is a regret thought, or a memory thought, or a judgment thought, or a happy thought, or a silly thought, or a sad thought, or whatever it is.”   Just looking at the mind.  Well, that’s pretty simplistic  sounding, but most Buddhist teachings are and that’s why I, for one,  like them. LOL I may blog this. Don’t be surprised if you see this text again!

Some  last thoughts:  IMPERMANENCE!  This is a good one to reflect upon too.  That helps put it all in perspective as well… the Buddhist perspective of the “precious human life.”   I have to often remind myself not to become caught up in self-cherishing; this, too, being the source of difficulty and suffering.  And then if all else fails, I hit the pool and go swimming to focus on my kick, stroke and lap times while everything else falls away!

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Separating Self from Race Consciousness, a Meditation on Happiness

guitar in water imageI hope the guy downstairs doesn’t read my blog–chances are he doesn’t.  He sings you see.  And apparently he loves it because he does it often with his guitar accompaniment.  I love swimming and do that regularly too.  We both have a passion.  I don’t swim very well if I compare myself to many of the other swimmers–especially the triathlete types but I can’t not swim anymore than the guy downstairs can ‘not’ sing and play his guitar.

When you enjoy doing something, you simply must do it or unhappiness sets in.  I’m happy after my swim and I’d bet if we asked the guy downstairs that he’d say he’s happy when he sings and even when he isn’t singing, the song sustains him like my swim sustains me in between workouts.

Sometimes you do things simply for the joy of it and you don’t necessarily want to make a career of it.  Sometimes you ‘do’ make a career of it–some do, some don’t.  Everybody’s motivation is different.

I’m not trying to enter a triathlon and if you saw me in my bathing suit you’d see how far from that I was  anyway; it’s not my goal.  My goal for swimming is different than the guy in the next lane over–it’s an exercise in mindfulness for one thing.  Oh, there are other reasons why I swim too—I really love the water.

It separates me from race consciousness–from society, from the 3rd dimensional world.  Why? Its a present moment, time-altering thing.  Its my own path, my own inner truth.

Swim your swim, sing your song—

“Sing, sing your song and don’t worry if it’s not good enough for anyone else to hear, just sing.  Sing your song!”  Or swim your swim!  Got to go now, the pool is calling to me and I’m missing the water!

Do you recognize yourself in the outer world? 7 of Cups

7 of cups collage image

 

Earlier this morning… a thought.

What I am attracted to in the outer world… this is me seeing myself.

What I actually do attract (like it or not)… this is me seeing myself.

Do I recognize myself in the outer world?

I am attracted to water.  I love to swim (laps at the local Y).  This water is me.  I am the water.  This is one way to see myself in the outer world, to recognize myself.

I am NOT attracted to smirk-y, snark-y judgmental types and like a smart cat or kitten, choose not to surround myself with that energy.  But I’m loosing the point, or am I?

What is attracted to me (like it or not) or what I energize with my attention, this is me seeing myself.  That, too, is ‘me’.

Hmmmm…. this must be showing along the path somewhere as something common in the archtype of life.

If this thought was a sign, I might think PISCES.

If this thought was a tarot card, it would be 7 of Cups.

What comes to me and what I’m attracted to in the outer world both represent me, who I am.

I am going to contemplate this for the rest of the day.  Consciousness!  Relationship to the world!  Today I will recognize myself in the outer world.

Meditation: How swimming laps is like doing a psychic reading

Swimming LapsThe other day when swimming my mind wandered as it sometimes does.  Usually I don’t let it drift far.  Actually, I can’t if I’m going to keep track of my lap number and time.  I wear a watch and check my time after every 24 laps.  I stop at the end of every 600 and check my watch, sometimes take my pulse and have a sip of water.  The stopwatch feature on my watch announces if I’m improving my speed and my pulse lets me know if I’m working hard enough.  Point is that I have my method and routine that requires that I maintain focus throughout the time I’m swimming, which is usually 45 minutes since I swim a mile on most days.

Key words in the above paragraph are ‘maintain focus’–swimming is a meditation!  That’s what meditation is after all, a focused concentration.  When I swim, every 30 seconds or so I flip around and swim the other direction when coming to the wall and the end of the lane.  Last summer, at the start of my lap swimming (I’m new to it),  I’d  loose track of my count.  A good deal of my focus went elsewhere much of the time–on trying not to swallow half the pool and getting enough air!

Once comfortable in that environment–learning the protocol, becoming familiar with the lifeguards, and even the minor social half-smile’s and nods to the other regular swimmers–I was able to concentrate better on what I was actually doing there!  Yet the other day, I became distracted by the two male swimmers in the lanes next to me.  This is rare because I’m happily in my own world and besides I already know that I’m a slow swimmer compared to the muscular young triathlete type men who also frequent the swim lanes.

I began to hit the wall nearly the same time as the fast swimmer next to me and I wondered if I was almost keeping up with him–yeah, my mind began wandering and I’d have to pull it back to my breath and my lap count frequently.  Turns out the guy was swimming nearly 2 laps to my one (believe it or not) but I had no business whatsoever comparing myself to another swimmer in the first place!

There’s no quicker way to loose focus an concentration and deflate the spirit than to compare yourself to someone else!  Swim your own swim and play your own game, best you can especially when you need to stay focused.  But then, isn’t that always?

I say that to the psychic class members in the class that I teach–comparing yourself to others is death to the spirit!

I know someone who is highly competitive and reading this may disagree; I suppose we all do life differently.

Yet, I feel that a little competitiveness can to a long way; probably a strange thing to say on the first day of the Olympics in Russia.  But I’d guess even  competitors of the 2014 Winter Olympics would agree that when it comes right down to it they are competing with themselves to stay focused, maintain concentration, play their own game (maybe team sport is an exception) and not let what the person in the next lane is doing distract them from that.

Maybe I’m wrong about that–I’ve never been much of a competitor so don’t have a good deal of personal experience; my topic here is holding focus and concentration and not allowing the mind to wander by speculating, comparing, contrasting and just plain thinking, thereby taking one’s self totally out of the moment.

Mental discipline!  Minding the mind!  Minding the mental store, so-to-speak.  That’s how swimming laps can be a meditation… about 45 minutes worth.

A mile swim in a 25 yard pool is 66 laps or 33 laps if you count each out-and-back as one.

Most of the readings that I do are about an hour too and I can’t let my mind wander then either.

Yeah, that’s how swimming laps is like doing a psychic reading.

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.

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!

Wednesday September 4, 2013 Daily Divination, Divine Timing, Escape and Self-Acceptance in Meditation

Hello from Wednesday, September 4, 2013.

divine_timingA touch of fall is back in the air along with the bee-in-your-bonnet vocalizations and wall-banging sounds of my downstairs’ neighbors—yeah, they’re back.     Well, that’s life isn’t it?  I’m forced once again to stay present with what arises fighting the internal temptations to “do something” when nothing really can be done—our end of the building is constructed like a tent.  Experiencing emotional distress is something that people try to escape through drugs, alcohol and yes, even meditation.  Pema Chodron says that even long time meditation practitioners use meditation as a means of escaping difficult emotions. People even create a chronic disease to cover up their negativity.  Let’s face it—it can be difficult to stay present with whatever arises.  It’s not easy to stay with emotional distress despite the cause and be with the energy without judgment or self-punishment in order to go beneath it and find the deeper self.  It’s not easy to fully experience the intense emotions and stay with them neither acting out nor repressing them.  Well, that’s life in the big city—there’s always something as grist for the spiritual mill.

There was a brief moment late yesterday when I was walking toward my apartment.  Yet another Indian couple moved into the building in the front apartment. I could hear him inside of my car with my windows up as soon as I shut off the engine.  At first I didn’t know where the voice (s) were coming from but then I saw him lying on the floor (most Indians have no furniture), cell phone to his hear shouting into it and a female voice (although I did not see her) shouting over his.  Charming!

It was a wonderful swim yesterday and I promise that I really do have to fight myself to get out of the pool once I’m in!  And one hour and 15 minutes is a long swim but I do wish I could grow a set if gills and could remain in water—it’s so quiet under water but then there I go looking for an escape again.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how people use spirituality and meditation as an escape, but I’m also thinking about my daughter’s wedding—the time is fast approaching.  Better get going so that I can work some more on the gift project I’m making and then back to the pool for another workout.  But another thought on escape–more like reprieve actually.  When a client calls for a reading, I’m totally not here in this apartment when I’m working on those levels; even if the lawn maintenance people are outside with a mower or leaf blower,  barely hear it.  In that sense my work doing psychic readings by phone is wonderful temporary relief–more than that.  A gift!  Now that I put it in those terms, how many people think of their work that way?  I’m grateful.

Thinking of that project again… I’m learning to accept myself on yet another level; I’m not the artistic type with paint and brush and such.  One does one’s best and one hopes that it’s the thought that counts after all is said and done.

Nice breezes and around 70 degrees and sunny and as I look out,  the trees dancing in the wind seem to be calling me into the open air.  As I look around the living room /slash/ den area here I’m pleased with my recent furniture arrangement and it reminds me of the nice weekend it was with my neighbors gone.

Of all people, I came out of the place where I’m working on my daughter’s wedding gift only to find her call out to me!  Talk about energy merging!  She was having lunch right next door with one of her brides maids—“I thought that was your car mom!”

I have placed my Happy Buddha wood carving at the top of my stairs on a little table stand and as I look up coming up the stairs I see him, reminding me that this apartment should be a happy place, not a place of suffering.  This seems so much easier to accept when the neighbors are gone.  And speaking of gone, it’s time for me to go while wishing you a wonderful Wednesday September 4th—seventeen more days to the wedding.

Daily Divination September 4, 2013 ~ Angel Card drawn:  Divine Timing

This card reminds me of the blog post from the other day about making plans and about astrology and exactly that:  Divine Timing.  I love that astrology gives us more than a hint of divine timing.  For example, take my daughter’s upcoming wedding this month—her PROGRESSED NEW MOON is in her 7TH HOUSE OF RELATIONSHIPS right when she’s getting married!  yeah, new beginning in relationships is what astrology would predict and there she is getting married—after a long engagement! 🙂  “To every thing there is a season, turn, turn, turn; And a time for every purpose under heaven” — if your not too young to remember that song.   And that’s Divine Timing—apply this insight to whatever troubles you right now, and if it’s nothing–there ‘s divine timing for that too, so smile. 🙂

Tuesday September 3, 2013 Reality, Karma, Spiritual Strength

FlowerAll is very quiet again this day, Tuesday the 3rd and gratitude swells in my chest and pulses out to toward the Sun which has already warmed us up to 80 degrees in the shade. The desire to go out anywhere yesterday was null as I wanted to employ the peace and quiet as long as possible while the neighbors were away. And so in in celebration I switched around the loveseat and chair and put up a large cloth wall hanging of the Sun and Moon.

Coffee this morning is especially good again and now that I moved the large Sathya Sai Baba picture which is a large—doubled a poster size–he looks directly at me when I glance up from my computer to have a sip of espresso.

It will be a full day today and the bright pink impatience flowers blooming in a pot out back remind me of an art project which I’m making as a gift that needs attention today and a secret smile dons as I think of swimming my laps first.

The transiting lunar North Node of the Moon is quite close to my 3rd House Saturn.  When we think of nodes we think of karma and evolutionary purpose and in that the node is applying intensely now and will cross over Saturn in two weeks, I’m hoping that this is a sign that my neighbor karma is about to end or is ending.

Well, there are clients on the schedule here so this will do for now, but in ending….  I came across a quote from a Zen Buddhist Monk that really spoke to me last night regarding spiritual practice and it is still sticking with me.  Suzuki Roshi said that the way to acquire spiritual strength is by practicing through a continual succession of agreeable and disagreeable situations.

Then I came upon this other quote:  “To change reality, let reality change you.”

Hope your Tuesday reality will be very, very agreeable! 🙂