Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Learn to Die


Thou shalt understand that it is a science most profitable, and passing all other sciences, for to learn to die. 
  – Heinrich Suso

Over that last several years it has been my good fortune to be with my mother and my mother-in-law as they complete their lives. In our culture, it is not easy to talk about death and for many it stirs deep fear and an unwillingness to let go. It becomes a terrible struggle or a long slow painful nightmare.

All of the great teachers and gurus tell us to recognize we are not the body and to let go of whatever attachments bind us to this body. If we don't, the experience of dying will certainly be difficult. What a tragedy because death will come. It is only our response to it that we can prepare for.

Ethnath Eswaran, a great spiritual teacher, says, "There is great artistry in this. Death comes and growls something about how our time has come, and we just say, 'Don’t growl; I’m ready to come on my own.' Then we stand up gracefully, take off the jacket that is the body, hand it over carefully, and go home."

Monday, December 10, 2012

Eternity is...

There is a misconception that Eternity
is somewhere in the future.

If you want to touch Eternity,
dive deep into the present. 
~Ivan M. Granger~

We grow up with so many fairy tales. I loved them all, especially the ones where the handsome prince or dashing knight swept away the maiden from all of her misery and lived happily ever after. I think I became so enmeshed in the storyline that I quite literally waited for my prince charming to rescue me.

For many years I measured my life by the future. Three weeks until Christmas; two months until graduation; 15 minutes until his flight arrives. I was constantly waiting for my life to be begin or be better or different. If I wasn't wishfully projecting into the future, I was brooding or reminiscing about the past. I wish it were still summer. Why did I say that? What I would give to be back in that place or with those people.

I'm not sure when the change occurred, but it was certainly gradual. First a fleeting thought, perhaps something as simple as "just enjoy this moment" would appear. More and more often these thoughts would arise and along the way, a Yoga teacher or two would remind me "to stay with the breath."

It's a practice, they would say. I went through periods of trying, putting a lot of disciple and effort into the idea of "being present." It seemed an impossible task. But one day, quite unexpectedly, Presence found its way into my heart and has remained to this day.

That is not to say, I don't ever anticipate some future event or remember something from the past. But it's different; somehow, I feel free to just be in each moment and let this miracle of life unfold.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

It Simply Is...



Make everything in you an ear,

each atom of your being,

and you will hear at every moment
what the Source is whispering to you,
just to you and for you,
without any need for my words or anyone else's.

You are-- we all are-- the beloved of the Beloved,
and in every moment,
in every event of your life,
the Beloved is whispering to you
exactly what you need to hear and know.

Who can ever explain this miracle?
It simply is.
Listen and you will discover it every passing moment...
                                                                            Rumi

In Yoga Nidra we practice the art of blissful relaxation. Last month, I chose this Rumi poem to begin the meditation. Rumi has the amazing gift of reaching over centuries of time and mountains of cultural differences to touch me with the perfect word or idea. Exactly what I need to hear or know. 

Yoga Nidra offers the gifts of deep relaxation and profound inquiry. As the body/mind softens and releases tension, effort, thoughts, emotions and images, the practice begins its magic. Travelling inward this journey explores the inner realms of consciousness.

Peeling back layers of habits and thought patterns, moving through emotions and deeply held beliefs, we settle into that sacred space, the spiritual heart. From the vast inner place we find comfort, healing, nourishment, joy, acceptance, loving kindness and compassion.


This is where you connect with that eternal being ~ who you really are. From here you know, without knowing, exactly what you need to know as each moment of life unfolds. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Birthdays...



The Swan
This laboring through what is still undone,
as though, legs bound, we hobbled along the way,
is like the awkward walking of the swan.

And dying-to let go, no longer feel
the solid ground we stand on every day-
is like anxious letting himself fall

into waters, which receive him gently
and which, as though with reverence and joy,
draw back past him in streams on either side;
while, infinitely silent and aware,
in his full majesty and ever more
indifferent, he condescends to glide.
                                                Rainer Maria Rilke

This year as I celebrate my birthday I am grateful to have discovered the ability to let go. Although I so often feel I am hobbling along, I also know the majesty of letting go into the stream of life.

Rilke, with a magnificent gift of words, describes the swan in a way I can so easily picture myself. I look forward to this next year with joy and reverence, with awe and wonder, with contentment and compassion.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Letting go...



Some of us think holding on makes us strong; but sometimes it is letting go.
~ Herman Hesse 


I'm struggling to let go of things in my basement, in my closets, in my garage. I don't know why it is such a difficult task. Some of these have been packed in boxes for years and are smashed beyond all usefulness. Still, I hesitate...

Last week I filled the trunk of my Prius with clothes I no longer use or need. Now a second load of unwanted items waits patiently in the trunk to be dropped off at the Good Will. Before taking them, I thought I might be able to find a few more things. So I'm off to the basement. It's a very brave thing to do. Basements can be so overwhelming.

One of the things I love about the process of de-cluttering is discovering memories attached to the things you find. I found a collage of photos this morning taken about twenty-five years ago. It made me smile to see my 5-year old daughter with her Indian headdress hiding behind a bush in our front yard or wrapped in a wispy shawl of mine, smiling mischievously. So, now instead of letting go completely, I want to take this to my daughter. She may want it, who knows...

For now I'm moving on to another closet. The basement holds far too many memories for me to sort through today. Besides, the sun is shining so brightly, it's just a shame to cloister myself in the basement. All of those boxes will be waiting for another day, more cloudy or rainy or dreary than today.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

What Will Matter


fall walk
Ready or not, some day it will all come to an end.

There will be no more sunrises, no minutes, hours or days. All the things you collected, whether treasured or forgotten will pass to someone else.

Your wealth, fame and temporal power will shrivel to irrelevance. It will not matter what you owned or what you were owed.
Your grudges, resentments, frustrations and jealousies will finally disappear. So too, your hopes, ambitions, plans and to do lists will expire.
The wins and losses that once seemed so important will fade away.
It won’t matter where you came from or what side of the tracks you lived on at the end.
It won’t matter whether you were beautiful or brilliant. Even your gender and skin color will be irrelevant.
So what will matter? How will the value of your days be measured?
What will matter is not what you bought but what you built, not what you got but what you gave.
What will matter is not your success but your significance.
What will matter is not what you learned but what you taught.
What will matter is every act of integrity, compassion, courage, or sacrifice that enriched, empowered or encouraged others to emulate your example.
What will matter is not your competence but your character.
What will matter is not how many people you knew, but how many will feel a lasting loss when you’re gone.
What will matter is not your memories but the memories that live in those who loved you.
What will matter is how long you will be remembered, by whom and for what.
Living a life that matters doesn’t happen by accident. It’s not a matter of circumstance but of choice.
Choose to live a life that matters.                                        ~Michael Josephson


Not to be morbid, but I have been thinking about death lately. I'm not sick, depressed, or obsessive; it's more curiosity. I mean you come to a point in your life when mortality is very real. So much different than contemplating death in your 20's or even 30's. Oh, I've always been aware that life will end; it's unavoidable. But lately, it's more this feeling that every moment counts; that living in integrity with compassion and courage is supremely important.

Living a life that matters is really an inside job. It's about what's going on within me and how my light shines out to everything and everyone I touch. I do believe we choose the life we live and that the choices keep coming in each moment. Not every moment is fun or pleasant, but the way we choose to accept it is indicative of who we are and how we shine.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

In the silence...

In the silence
between your heartbeat
bides a summons.
Do you hear it?
Name it if you must,
or leave it forever nameless,
but why pretend it
is not there?

Leave that which is not,
but appears to be.

Seek that which is,
But is not apparent.
                                 ~ Rumi 

There is nothing quite as wonderful as the silence between heartbeats or breaths. We try to name it, but it doesn't really matter because feeling it, experiencing it, that's what actually counts. Always this silence is found in that which is NOT apparent. 

So I urge you to leave everything behind that appears to be real. Come into the interior space of vastness and wonder ~ into the silence and find everything your heart's desires. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Grace, Ease and Lightness


To offer no resistance to life is to be in a state of grace, ease, and lightness. 
This state is then no longer dependent upon things being in a certain way, good or bad. It seems almost paradoxical, yet when your inner dependency on form is gone, the general conditions of your life, the outer forms, tend to improve greatly. Things, people, or conditions that you thought you needed for your happiness now come to you with no struggle or effort on your part, and you are free to enjoy and appreciate them - while they last. 
                                                                               ~Eckhart Tolle

I know this quote is not written in poetic verse, but occasionally the thought touches me in such a way that I want to include it. Here Tolle offers some great advice about surrender. Not easy to do, but actually quite simple. 

To just let go and allow life to unfold is a lifelong practice for me. When I can "be" without struggle or effort, it truly is amazing ~ that state of grace, ease and lightness.


Sunday, September 23, 2012

We Are Nothing, the Light is All

From within or from behind, a light shines through us upon things, 
and makes us aware that we are nothing, but the light is all.
                                                                                               ~Ralph Waldo Emerson


Every wisdom tradition talks about the light and how life comes from it. We are told that we, too, are made of light. In fact, at my recent Yoga immersion weekend, I learned a chant that has become my favorite mantra: I am light, only light, eternal light.

There is something incredibly comforting as these sounds resonate within me. I find myself repeaing them at the most unusual times. While making dinner, I look out the window at the setting sun and softly chant, "I am light, only light, eternal light." Walking through the grocery store, the words ring gently in my ears. Again, driving to an appointment or returning home, I hear this lovely thought. 

This wisdom has woven itself into the fabric of my being. Engaged in conversation, checking email, writing, weeding the garden, walking our dog, watching television, preparing for sleep ~ whatever the activity, this mantra returns reminding me light shines through us all and we are that light.  

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Fresh and Alive


There are two things: to be and to do.
Don't think too much about to do - to be is first. 
To be peace. To be joy. 
And then to do joy, to do happiness - on the basis of being. 
Being fresh. Being peaceful. Being compassionate. 
This is the basic practice.

It's like a person sitting at the foot of a tree. 
The tree does not have to do anything, but the tree is fresh and alive. 
When you are like that tree, sending out waves of freshness, 
you help to calm down the suffering in the other person.
                                              ~ Thich Nhat Hahn  

Last night I was at a meditation with over 50 other people. It was a 
lovely experience. I think what impressed me most was this idea of 
"being." We sat sending out waves of just being. The calm peacefulness 
in that room was palpable. An amazing side effect for me was a deep, 
restful sleep; one the best I've had in years!

I like the image of being like a tree. They are strong and grounded. 
They can endure extremes in the weather and they move gracefully 
with the wind. They have the uncanny ability of bringing joy and 
equanimity to those who gaze upon them with gratitude. Buddha 
found enlightenment under a tree. Mary Oliver, Wendall Berry, Rainer 
Maria Rilke, and many others write beautiful poetry to trees.

Such grace to be like a tree...       

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Something Terrific


I have become my own version of an optimist.
If I can't make it through one door,
I'll go through another door - or I'll make a door.
Something terrific will come
no matter how dark the present.

~ Rabindranath Tagore


These last several months have been intense. During other times of my life, I might have called them hard or even painful, but I have become my own unique version of an optimist. One thing that Yoga has taught me is that nothing remains the same in this world; life is constantly changing. If there is sadness or pain, it will arise and dissolve. If there is awe, wonder, happiness, and joy, it will come and it will go. 

If I can remember this, detachment is easier and I am more likely to find another door or if I'm feeling a wave of creativity, I might make a unique pathway through whatever is happening. Of course, it is never as easy as the words sound. The pain and the darkness are very real, even when they are hauntings from the past.

This is when the breath takes front and center stage. Yoga is all about the breath. Returning again and again to each inhale, each exhale, each pause, brings me gently to my center. Resting back into the breath, my core being connects me to all of life, to oneness.  

It is then I know beyond any shadow of doubt, something terrific will come...

Monday, September 17, 2012

It Is Lovely


I am the spirit within the earth.
The feet of the earth are my feet.
The legs of the earth are my legs.
The strength of the earth is my strength
The thoughts of the earth are my thoughts.
The voice of the earth is my voice.
The feather of the earth is my feather.
All that belongs to the earth belongs to me.
All that surrounds the earth surrounds me.
I am the sacred works of the earth.
It is lovely indeed, it is lovely indeed.
                                 ~ Navajo Song of the Earth Spirit

I attended a Yoga Immersion weekend in St. Louis and the teacher, Saul David Raye, weaving beautiful teachings from the Mayan and Native American cultures into our practices created a space for amazing and deep connection. There are a couple of thoughts that continue to resonate for me. 

First, he reminds us Mother Earth is in peril. She needs for each of us to not only connect with her, but to change the many ways we hurt her. For we all are contributing to her cruel suffering and she will die if enough of us don't wake up.

As well, it is so very important for us to live each moment fully present, fully grounded. He suggests we go outside and touch the earth each day ~ to be in nature as much as we can. Just breathing the air and seeing all of nature will help to stay awake.

Of course, Yoga is so intimately connected to the breath, the prana, the life force that being in the breath is absolutely crucial to our survival and to our ability to be in the present moment. There are simple deep breathing techniques to practice every time we notice our breath. Coming back again and again to the breath and letting go into who we truly are.

The Yoga we practice is prana- and heart-centric. It is vital that we open our hearts in each moment ~ to ourselves, to each other, to every living thing in creation. It is through the open heart that we truly flow with life. It is through the open heart that we find our way. It is through the open heart that we connect with our divine purpose.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Wisdom for Living Each Day...

Yield and overcome, empty and be full.
Have little and gain, Have much and be confused.
Not putting on a display, not justifying,
Not boasting, not bragging.
Be really whole and all things will come to you.

                     ~Lao Tsu~


Over the years I have returned again and again to the teachings of Lao Tsu. The Tao Te Ching is so concise, yet packed with wisdom, the kind you can read differently each time the words appear. This morning what touched me were these: 


                   Be really whole and all things will come to you


Wholeness is basic to who and what we are. But so often we don't recognize we are whole. We feel disconnected, or powerless, or hopeless, or sad. For me being whole isn't about having everything. It's more about yielding, surrendering to that divine source of all creation. Being empty, just being...

Friday, August 31, 2012

Strawberries...



When my mother passed away, I was teaching my Friday morning Yoga class. I knew she was fragile and may even had been sick. I was taking her to her pulmonary doctor later that morning. But as class began, I let go of all my external distractions, even my concern for her. Somewhere toward the end of class, my husband, Mike appeared in the doorway. His look was ominous. My first thought was something happened to his mother who was in the hospital, near death with pneumonia.

As I walked to the door, I turned to the class and said, "Go ahead and begin your meditation." When I turned back to Mike, his mouth gently curved into a painful smile and he hugged me. "Let's go into the office."

I waited for him to shut the office door to ask how his mom was. Very quietly, he told me it wasn't his mom, but mine that had died. She was on the way to the ER. In an ambulance with strangers, my mother drew her last breath. My heart felt as if a dagger had been thrust into it. I dropped to my knees and wailed like a baby. Mike gently held me in his arms with tenderness and compassion. He loved my mother, too, and I think maybe he knew I would be doing this for him soon as well.

When we arrived at the ER, we were led to one of rooms where she had been left.  My sister was already there and recognizing each other's tears, we embraced in our shared grief. They let us stay for as long as we wanted. I was able to recite a prayer from the Tibetan Book of the Dead and say farewell to my mother.  I could feel her presence still there, but her body was stiff and lifeless. Her face beheld a peace and ease I had not seen in her when she was alive.

As we began to consider all the things we needed to do, I volunteered to go back to the facility where she had been staying. The most difficult walk I've ever made was the one from the entrance to her room. As I stood looking at the now empty bed, it began to sink in ~ she's really gone.

One of the nurses (I think her name was Corrine) who had been so good with her came by and gave me a hug. She began to tell me what had happened that morning. Mom had asked if she could have breakfast in her room because she wasn't feeling very well. Corrine brought her a tray with food, including strawberries. When she returned, my mother told her they were the best strawberries she had ever eaten. Ten minutes later, she was gasping for her breath unable to talk.

They tried to reach both my sister & me, but we were not answering. So they called Mike and he said, "Yes, call the ambulance. I'll notify her daughters and meet them at the hospital." The paramedics said she had stopped breathing enroute and of course, at 88, with COPD, she had a "do not resuscitate" order in her file.

As it turned out, I was grateful I had gone back to her room so soon after her death. The nurse was able to tell me details I might not have received had I waited a day or more. Now I have a wonderful memory of my mother enjoying those last few moments of her life. I mean, really, how much more could you be in the present moment than when enjoying the best strawberries you ever had...

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Zero Circle



Zero Circle

Be helpless, dumbfounded,
Unable to say yes or no.
Then a stretcher will come from grace to gather us up.

We are too dull-eyed to see that beauty.
If we say we can, we’re lying.
If we say No, we don’t see it,
That No will behead us
And shut tight our window onto spirit.

So let us rather not be sure of anything,
Beside ourselves, and only that, so
Miraculous beings come running to help.
Crazed, lying in a zero circle, mute,
We shall be saying finally,
With tremendous eloquence, Lead us.
When we have totally surrendered to that beauty,
We shall be a mighty kindness.

~ Rumi ~

So, today I decided I simply must return to this blog and try again to write consistently. I'd like to have this be effortless, to flow with ease each morning. Not happening ~ oh, well.

Here's a Rumi poem I first heard on retreat several years ago. In an instant I knew this would be a favorite. With such grace and ease it reminds me that surrender is not only necessary, but essential to holding open the window to spirit. 

For years I would avoid feeling helpless. I believed I should know what to do in every moment. That's a lot of pressure on someone who already thinks she needs to be correct, in control, and well, just perfect. But actually, it is so much more important to let go, to not be sure of anything so that grace can find us and lift us up to where we belong.

I've been listening to Pema Chodron speaking about choosing a fresh approach and what really struck me was this idea that living in uncertainty offers fertile soil in which to grow spiritually. It means it's ok to not know know what to do. Better than ok, it's the way to go.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Remembering


Three years ago today, my mother passed away quietly after her breakfast at the skilled nursing facility. She had only been there a week and was recovering from what we suspected was a small stroke.

When someone as close as a mother dies, the experience is so alive with sensations and emotions and babbling in your mind. Everything is somehow larger than life. Charged with such intense emotion, details of the moment are vivid and crystal clear. As time passes, the intensity softens a bit, but always when the memory arises, that clarity and pure awareness remains.

The photo is of a Rose-of-Sharon given to me by several friends at the time of mom's death. They told me it was chosen because it blooms in mid-July and they wanted something that would remind me of her each year at this time. It is a fitting tribute to her. It started as a small bush and struggled to survive for two years. The landscape designers wanted to replace it, but I said "No."

This year it is in full bloom, even with the hot, dry summer we are having!. As I tend the garden throughout the year, I am reminded of her. It sways in the winds and endures the rain, cold and snow. Yet it continues to grow and blossom and become rooted in the Illinois soil.

There is a poem from John O'Donohue that speaks to what I feel this morning. Here is just a portion of it...


On the Death of the Beloved

Though we cannot see you with outward eyes,
We know our soul's gaze is upon your face,
Smiling back at us from within everything
To which we bring our best refinement.

Let us not look for you only in memory,
Where we would grow lonely without you.
You would want us to find you in presence,
Beside us when beauty brightens,
When kindness glows
And music echoes eternal tones...

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Forgive the Dream


All your images of winter
I see against your sky.

I understand the wounds
That have not healed in you.

They exist
Because God and Love
Have yet to become real enough

To allow you to forgive
The dream.

You still listen to an old alley song
That brings your body pain;

Now chain your ears
To His pacing drum and flute.

Fix your eyes upon
The magnificent arch of His brow

That supports
And allows this universe to expand.

Your hands, feet, and heart are wise
And want to know the warmth
Of a Perfect One's circle.

A true saint
Is an earth in eternal spring.

Inside the veins of a petal
On a blooming redbud tree

Are hidden worlds
Where Hafiz sometimes
Resides.

I will spread
A Persian carpet there
Woven with light.

We can drink wine
From a gourd I hollowed
And dried on the roof of my house.

I will bring bread I have kneaded
That contains my own
Divine genes

And cheese from a calf I raised.

My love for your Master is such
You can just lean back
And I will feed you
This truth:

Your wounds of love can only heal
When you can forgive
This dream.

~Hafiz~

My sister mentioned hearing someone talk about forgiveness. He said we have to forgive in order to find our place in the universe, to find inner peace, to be whole. Forgiveness is one of those words that is so emotionally charged it can be difficult to really see into the heart of it.

For me the important thing has been to forgive myself. Once that is accomplished, letting go of long-held grievances against others is easier somehow. I wonder how many of us hold something against ourselves. Something so deep inside we may have forgotten.

Hafiz, as always, has uncovered an enduring truth: when you forgive the "dream" whatever that may be, your wounds heal and you merge with divine love.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Angels Inside Us



I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.  ~ Michelangelo

In Yoga, I often remind students part of what they are doing in their practice is letting go of everything that is not who they are. Just as a sculptor removes the unnecessary bits of the stone in order to reveal his creation, the poses, the breathing, the deep awareness of each moment gently unveils our true nature. Several of my teachers have used this analogy and I think it makes sense.


Instead of trying to change who we are, we are simply uncovering our true nature. From this perspective, there is no effort or striving, simply unfolding. Each of us is an angel waiting to be set free. 

Friday, July 6, 2012

Last Night As I Was Sleeping


Last Night

Last night as I was sleeping I dreamt a marvelous illusion
that there was a spring breaking out in my heart.
I said, "Along what secret aqueduct are you coming to me
Oh water, water of a new life that I have never drunk."

Last night as I was sleeping I dreamt a marvelous illusion
that there was a beehive here in my heart.
And the golden bees were making white combs
and sweet honey from my old failures.

Last night as I was sleeping I dreamt a marvelous illusion
that there was a fiery sun here in my heart.
It was fiery because it gave warmth as if from a hearth
And it was sun because it gave light and brought tears to my eyes.

Last night as I was sleeping I dreamt a marvelous illusion
that there was God here in my heart.

Is My Soul Asleep?

God, is my soul asleep?
Have those beehives who labor by night stopped, and
the water wheel of thought, is it dry?
The cup's empty, wheeling out carrying only shadows?
No!  My soul is not asleep!  My soul is not asleep!
It neither sleeps nor dreams, but watches, its clear eyes open,
far off things, and listens, and listens
at the shores of the great silence.
It listens at the shores of the great silence.

~ Antonio Machado

These two poems are favorites of mine. Last night I had a lovely dream ~ so very real that maybe it was...

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Time Enough





The butterfly counts not months
but moments,
and has time enough.

~ Rabindranath Tagore


We truly live in timelessness, one moment at a time. It is an experience I am delving deeply into as I slowly recover from surgery. It is enough ~ each moment. Opening to each moment with an awe and wonder. Noticing the thoughts and emotions, often not fun, but simply what is. The beauty of the butterfly, the goldfinch, the black-eyed susan and day lilies remind me ~ it is enough, each moment is enough...

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Just Look and Remember...



There are no conditions to fulfill.

There is nothing to be done, nothing to be given up.

Just look and remember, whatever you perceive is not you, nor yours.

It is there in the field of consciousness, but you are not the field and its contents, nor even the knower of the field.

It is your idea that you have to do things that entangles you in the results of your efforts - the motive, the desire, the failure to achieve, the sense of frustration - all this holds you back.

Simply look at whatever happens and know that you are beyond it.

~ Nisargadatta Maharaj ~

Sometimes this is so easy to remember and life just happens. But often all of those conditions, efforts, desires, and frustrations seem to attach themselves and make it so difficult to know that we are indeed beyond it all.

Nisargadetta gently brings us back again and again to this idea, beyond ideas. In the still point between breaths we can find it. In meditation, if we let go of preconceived notions and techniques, we can be there. Once we find it, we will always be able to return, like following the spokes of a wheel to reach the center.


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Awakening



The timeless non-state cannot be achieved because 
the mind cannot evolve towards it. 

The mind can only bring you to the threshold. 
Awakening comes unexpectedly when you do not wait for it, 
when you live in not-knowing. 

Only then are you available.
~ Jean Klein ~

Jean Klein was a wise, awakened being who never ceased reminding us to live in "not-knowing." This is the place that is ripe and juicy, ready without waiting to open to all that is. Our minds want something certain, stable and secure, but this is not the way of the universe. It is not the path we have chosen. 

But we do, indeed, choose each step of the way to either hold on or let go.

Monday, July 2, 2012

It is the Emptiness...

We join spokes together in a wheel,
but it is the center hole
that makes the wagon move.

We shape clay into a pot,
but it is the emptiness inside
that holds whatever we want.

We hammer wood for a house,
but it is the inner space
that makes it livable.

We work with being,
but non-being is what we use.
               ~Tao Te Ching, 11

Ok, I get it. The center hole makes the wagon move and a clay pot holds whatever we want. Of course, the inner space is what makes the house a home. So, why is it so difficult for the mind to equate this being~non-being that is who we are?

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Light is Light


Always to seek for wider, deeper, transcendental experiences is a form of escape from the actual reality of 'what is,' which is ourselves, our own conditioned mind. A mind that is awake, intelligent, free, why should it need, why should it have, any experience at all? Light is light; it does not ask for more light.

Krishnamurti

My mind is always seeking that experience Krishnamurti says we don't need. There are glimspes as I sink into "what is" and it is like a big sigh, bringing with it light. Just light and nothing more...

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Life is a Garden...

life is a garden,
not a road

we enter and exit
through the same gate

wandering,
where we go matters less
than what we notice

~ Bokonon

There are times when life moves so quickly we barely see things passing by us. Likewise, life can move slowly giving more than enough time to look deeply into each moment. It's a bit of a mystery really ~ why these stark differences occur. But living in the dualistic world offers time enough for each of us to wander through the garden and notice...

Friday, June 29, 2012

Barriers within...

Your task is not to seek for love
but merely to seek and find
all the barriers within yourself
that you have built against it.
                              ~Rumi

Like the thistle, I have always had little thorns surrounding me. They are so small you might miss them. They are there to protect me from hurt and disappointment and rejection. Seems like it take a lifetime to just begin to notice how these thorns are really barriers stopping the flow of love. All the time I thought I was loving, maybe it really was barrirers built against that flow that gives the illusion of unworthiness, sadness or rejection.


The thistle is such a beautiful wildflower ~ soft and spacious ~ tiny, slender petals of just the lightest lavender reaching for the sun and bursting with such gladness.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Extraordinary Quietness



Meditation is to find out whether the brain, with all the activities, all its experiences, can be absolutely quiet. Not forced, because the moment you force, there is duality. 

The entity that says, 'I would like to have marvelous experiences, therefore I must force my brain to be quiet,' will never do it. 

But if you begin to inquire, observe, listen to all the movements of thought, its conditioning, its pursuits, its fears, its pleasures, watch how the brain operates, then you will see that the brain becomes extraordinarily quiet; that quietness is not sleep but is tremendously active and therefore quiet.

A big dynamo that is working perfectly hardly makes a sound; it is only when there is friction that there is noise.



Krishnamurti

I find this to be a wonderful image of a mind meditating. Often, we think of quiet as being inactive; but here Krishnamurti reminds us that the truly quiet mind is actually filled with activity. The only noise comes from friction.  

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Be with YourSelf


First of all, establish a constant contact with your self,
be with yourself all the time.
Into self-awareness all blessings flow.
Begin as a centre of observation, deliberate cognizance,
and grow into a centre of love in action.

'I am' is a tiny seed which will grow into a mighty tree ~
quite naturally, without a trace of effort.
~ Nisargadatta Maharaj ~

When I began to practice Yoga over 40 years ago, I was hoping to feel better, to find joy, to be flexible, to have more energy, and maybe even find enlightenment or self-realization. I didn't understand what this "I am" was and certainly didn't think it would be as easy as just observing, being cognizant of each moment.

Yet over the years my practice evolved from trying to being, from striving to letting go, from strict disciple to knowing when and how to practice. If enlightenment is not a thing to attain and realizing this is found in each moment, then I think I am beginning to understand. Being with mySelf all the time, awareness brings grace and blessings whether the experience is joy or sadness, struggle or ease, stillness or activity.

I am grateful for each moment...