Work with Emotional Patterns-Kleshas using Buddhist Tools and Prajna Teachings

This is what I know and also what I keep forgetting and so need to practice!  Why do I keep forgetting?  How do I keep allowing my… well, what the Buddhist call kleshas to affect me.  What are kleshas?  Essentially we could say emotions or one definition is “mental states that cloud the mind and manifest in unwholesome action”.  In the modern-day world we often hear them called “emotional patterns”.  Your patterns!  Right?  Your customary and habitual emotional responses.  Yeah, new ager’s want to deny those or push them away and not deal with them out in the open like this.  Here’s what I was writing about in the last blog about my “muggle” klesha.  This is from the writing of Lama Zopa Rinposhe; it is expressing what I wrote about–remembering the nature of emptiness and calling upon the praja/wisdom of the  prajnaparamita (emptiness).  Let’s go right to Rinposhe’s words:

Emptiness is a remedy for the foundation of all delusions—ignorance—so all the other delusions will disappear. The minute one meditates on emptiness, anger for example, will stop. Anger arises when you believe in the false I, false object—all this which does not exist. So when one meditates on emptiness of the self and other objects, there is no foundation for anger. This is the most powerful antidote. But if it arises again, it is because there is no continuation of the meditation; the meditation, the mindfulness, has stopped. The problem is to remember the technique. Once you remember the technique, it always works. When you don’t remember the technique, it is delayed and the delusion, anger and so forth, has already arisen and taken you over. — Lama Zopa

Some of our kleshas can be quite clever and convince us that we are justified and even egg us on to find those descriptive words — the one’s I used in my last blog were… well, there you see?  I’m being tested again to go to those words, reproduce them and once again the klesha pattern gets triggered and those old resentments and aversions become alive.  When that happens, I’ve taken many steps backwards or the Buddhist would say it is loosing merit.

What I do is use my blog to create space around the klesha and slow it down so that I have an opportunity to analyze it–dissect it, if you will.  I heard one lama say it is like creating speed bumps for an speeding out of control car (anger) to slow itself down.

Yeah, it can be like that for us—being overcome by emotions that get triggered from those old patterns.  For me it is the muggle who is my blessing because he gives me the opportunity to practice remaining awake and remembering emptiness helps me to diffuse the bomb of my klesha.  I can be quite indignant, irate and outraged by other sentient beings who, in my judgment and opinion, disrespect animals and nature.  Like with any emotional trigger that any of us experience, the pulse races, the face gets flushed and all those other responses happen but the progress that I’ve made over time is that I am able to catch it sooner and analyze myself and the situation and diffuse the bomb or not let the pattern reach bomb stages in the first place.  I let it go much quicker these days.

What helps me is to remember that the muggle in question and his/her actions or attitudes and so forth are simply ignorance, meaning lack of wisdom, knowledge or information.  I say this without being above or feeling superior in any way.  What evens the playing field in working with that type of klesha is to embrace the knowing that what motivates all sentient beings is that they are seeking happiness and trying to avoid their own suffering.

When I remember this, it helps me very much and then I begin to move my attitude toward compassion for the other, the one I name muggle and also for myself I feel compassion and this helps to transcend the experience, bringing me back to who I truly am.

This is the reason that Buddhism helps me, because of the awareness of mind that it encourages us to have–the practical reality of day-to-day living is acknowledged and the teachings are just as real and practical and grounded.

These are a few thoughts about my last blog and my muggle klesha for the record.  Maybe any reader who comes to this could benefit in some way by applying any wisdom found here to their own life–this is the intent.

Old Soul, New Soul or Simply Generational, Meditation-al Or Present Moment Living? Difference between Lonely and Serene

Lonely or Serene?
Is the person in this picture? Lonely or Serene? Your answer reveals a lot about you

Is there a difference between lonely and serene?  It depends on where you, yourself are coming from.  Here are a few thoughts about the different views of life that we could call ‘glamour’ versus simply attending to the moment.   Do we age to a point of wisdom or simply age?  What about ‘old soul’s’ and where do they fit in to this topic recognizing what serenity is versus loneliness.

Can meditation create a wise old soul within us even if we are chronologically born of a younger generation? Are old souls those who have learned to live in the present moment?  Like I said, here are a few thoughts.

Personally, I live from sun-up  to  sun-down  and  focus wholeheartedly on whatever is before me within that period.  That’s it.  And I’m happy this way but I would not expect everyone to understand that or be able to relate to it–and the fact is, most don’t.  And that’s okay.

I’ve noticed something about people who call another person an old soul.  What they notice about those that they label old soul  is a wisdom that comes from being grounded in the moment, a lack of angst or anxiety that comes from grasping, struggling, overwhelming desire for what is outside of self.   I’ve noticed when people tend to say that someone, usually of a younger generation, is an old soul it is because there is a serenity, calmness and lack of grasping or clinging to attachments that is visibly present.

The graspers (those who grasp at) and seekers of ‘outer-world-validations’ and materialization-s look at the one they’ve labeled an old soul and misinterpret their persona as loneliness or depression.  Really?  Seriously?   Lonely and Depressed?  Not on your life!

Generally speaking, many of the younger generation (younger souls?) don’t seem to be able to relate much to those of my generation (is this age related or some other category?).  That is unless the younger individual carries with them the energy of what people refer to as old soul energy.

Those who carry that energy seem to emanate wisdom that perhaps comes because they do not crave anything from the outer world–fame, fortune, glamour or any grass greener scenario.  A parent of someone like this who is of a younger generation but yet has ‘old soul’ energy many times become concerned because the child or young adult seems to have no huge external motivation or desires.  They believe the child lacks passion or drive and the young soul type parent worries in that way about the old soul type child.

Adults who misinterpret serenity for loneliness perhaps may not have yet reached the golden point in life when  one feels as if they have arrived.

Don’t get me wrong; there’s nothing wrong with ambition and passion and drive if that is what that person needs to experience at whatever age he/she is experiencing it, so be it.  But just don’t think that others who do not relate to your ambitions are confused, lazy, lonely or anything else that you may like to project upon them.

Getting back to my generation… some of us have, as a result living life itself, reached a place of  simple living.  Simply living out our day while wholeheartedly focusing on attending to the life in the moment. They/we seem comfortable with some type of  inner-knowing that our behind-the-scene-efforts will be appreciated when The Light shines upon them and no longer seek any limelight (stage light) from the outer world.

While younger generations are looking to the outer world for validation and experience, many of my generation are re-aligning once again with the inner spaciousness within the self returning in a way to how it was when we were born into this world.

Either way we look at it… whether an old soul or simply ageing, keeping awareness in the present moment ends the struggles with the outer world and allows moment-to-moment creative awareness. ‘Responsible happens’ meaning ‘able to respond’ because we are not distracted by outer world burning desires.

Your own level of awareness — whether it is centered in inner awareness or whether it is grasping at outer world desires will affect how you answered the question at the bottom of the photo.  If you are still grasping and full of overwhelming desires, you may decide the person on the bench on the photo is lonely.  Otherwise, you may have seen the person as being serene. 

Meditation will help anyone, no matter what the age, to achieve that inner spaciousness which makes one able to respond well (creatively and wisely) to anything that comes into their awareness.

And it  is living life in this way in which one is being most true-to-self and  most sincere-to-self.  

If you agree or disagree,  no matter–so are the thoughts that come before me today.  May they be worthy and somehow helpful to someone.

Great Power from your hara: The I-Ching offers advice on the stomach flu! Who’d have guessed? Kua 34

Well, isn’t this interesting?  I’ve been holding a question/concern on my mind this afternoon about this intestinal flu that’s going around—NOROvirus it’s called.  And with that in mind, I turned to the I-Ching for guidance about it.  And we have this Kua 34 that refers to what in Japanese is called hara in martial arts.  The message this Kua brings is about central power; in our bodies we may think of the immune system or the solar plexus or as the Japanese would say the hara or gut or belly.  I think you’d agree this is an appropriate Kua to correlate with stomach flu.  But where’s the wisdom?

Let’s start with the Sun which is the central power point of the solar system—this one point can affect all the other planets in its vicinity.  Without our central Sun what a cold and dark planet this would be—no growth and just ice and darkness.  Not a very pleasant visual.  Speaking of ice and cold, that’s a major symptom of this virus:  chills.  This virus must attack the correlation of the Sun in our body—the power point.  The need for sleep is pretty prevalent with this virus also; if our central power point goes down or is compromised, it can shut down our whole grid until we re-boot.

Endurance becomes a problem.  Now here’s the wisdom or guidance and it’s what we usually hear when we have the flu.  Avoid extremes of any kind especially if it draws a lot of power.  Use your available energy wisely and replenish when necessary.  Water carries energy in it so when we can’t get energy from the Sun (AKA stomach, AKA hara), we can draw energy from the water.  That water can supply energy to our hara, our Sun, our central power point.

Frankly, I’ve not often thought of the solar plexus area as a center or source of power but I don’t do martial arts either.  But a stomach flu could certainly affect that area in a depleting way.

Well, who’d have thunk it?  — that you could get advice on how to deal with the stomach flu from the I-Ching?!  But there it is.  The image sort of drives the point home too, doesn’t it?

PS:  here’s the link to the CDC information on this virus http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/revb/gastro/norovirus.htm

I wish you Great Power from your hara!  May your reservoir of power remain strong and protected. May it be protected from Norovirus! And if you will excuse me now, it’s time to get back to my ginger ale and crackers.