Be Yourself

thichnhathahn54

“Be yourself. Life is precious as it is. All the elements for your happiness are already here. There is no need to run, strive, search, or struggle. Just be. Just being in the moment in this place is the deepest practice of meditation.”

Thich Nhat Hanh

 

Before long the humble Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hahn, who lived much of his life in exile from his home country of Vietnam, will “transition” from this earth to the spirit plane.

He is 92 years-old now and has been revered by the western world for the last 53 years, since he left his war-torn country and began an extensive tour of the world outside his previously limited domain.

He suffered a severely debilitating stroke in November of 2014 and has been fairly silent ever since. It is reported that he has recently returned to his homeland for his eventual passing.thichbeyourselfquote.jpg

As a mindfulness teacher, Thich Nhat Hahn is credited with popularizing that particular meditation practice in the west—also credited with the “walking meditation” practice that he would demonstrate with his many followers at Plum Village in France.

Over the years I’ve read a few of his books and followed his shared thoughts. He always amazed me with his emotional calmness and unwavering sense of personal peace.

At this writing, he is still with us physically although his health is deteriorating, but he will always be with us in Spirit memory long after his body finally relinquishes this earthly life.

thichnhathahn45

Advertisements

2019 – Year of Beginnings

For this third day of January 2019, my post will be a mix of influences I’ve witnessed since January first.

Lee-Harrispicimage.jpgIt started with an energy update from Lee Harris on “2019 – Year of Beginnings” which I think is worth hearing, so I’ll list it here if anyone is interested:  https://www.leeharrisenergy.com/p/january-2019-energy-update

The gist of it from my notes was that this is the year of elevation (out of the mire of contentiousness and social dishevel).  2012 – 2019 was a 7-year cycle of clearing us energetically.  2019 – 2026 is a cycle of elevation – a brand new beginning bringing with it a lot of momentum and forward movement.  He says to create your personal change powerfully and purposefully. Live life more passionately.  Expect January to be more of the bubbling to the surface of major issues, but February is the beginning of the change—a vocal ‘stand up and speak your truth’ month. This is the time right now to be very clear on exactly what you DO want in your life, as that is what you will call to you now.  Speak your truth and stand up for what is right for all.

So then shortly after seeing the Lee Harris video, someone put through this gorgeous 49301924_2441835785844099_6951581753156829184_n.jpgsnowflake on Facebook that I found mesmerizing along with a quote from Einstein, one of my personal heroes.

“The basic laws of the universe are simple, but because our senses are limited, we can’t grasp them. There is a pattern in creation. If we look at this tree outside whose roots search beneath the pavement for water, or a flower which sends its sweet smell to the pollinating bees, or even our own selves and the inner forces that drive us to act, we can see that we all dance to a mysterious tune..”   Albert Einstein
snowflake photo by Kenneth Libbrecht

Quote source: How Einstein Saw the World
https://creativesystemsthinking.wordpress.com/2014/02/16/how-einstein-saw-the-world/

 

Then the next day “Tao and Zen” on Facebook added another D. T. Suzuki quote that I thought really explains how you incorporate that Zen  perspective into everything you do:

49511253_2446887465338931_7342677059904208896_n.jpg“The idea of Zen is to catch life as it flows. There is nothing extraordinary or mysterious about Zen. I raise my hand; I take a book from the other side of the desk; I hear the boys playing ball outside my window; I see the clouds blown away beyond the neighboring wood — in all these I am practicing Zen, I am living Zen. No wordy discussion is necessary, nor any explanation… When the sun rises the whole world dances with joy and everybody’s heart is filled with bliss. If Zen is at all conceivable, it must be taken hold of here.”   D.T. Suzuki

Zen & the Art of Living Deeply
https://creativesystemsthinking.wordpress.com/2016/05/15/zen-the-art-of-living-deeply/

***

In summary, to me as we start this new year together, I choose to view it as Lee Harris does—that it is a year of beginnings, so let’s stand up and speak our truth and choose our way forward with clear intentions and a strong sense of purpose.

Then as Einstein said, let’s recognize our interconnectedness and the Divine Plan behind our social, cultural, and even personal interactions occurring on this one living planet that we all share.

And lastly, as D.T. Suzuki said, “Be grateful for everything. Observe without judgment. Consume less, create more. Let go of fears and desires. Listen to understand not to respond. Be patient and generous. Love deeply.  Live simply.”

Here on this third day of January 2019, I think those are good personal goals to adopt.

Works for me.

The Return of Primordial Light

Holiday messages are nice, and many received reflect the overall appeal and optimism of the season, no matter the faith.rbuckminsterfuller67-2x.jpg

I am not religious. I do not follow or prescribe any particular recognized religion.  But I write about the many aspects of spirituality that personally appeal, because to me spirituality means our personal connection to the energies around us and from which we have emerged. And that is how I relate to all of those different religious philosophies.

buckyuniverse68.jpgYou can call those philosophical energies “Universe” as Buckminster Fuller did, or you can call them The Tao as ancient Chinese philosophers did, or you can call them God or Yahweh as Judeo-Christian traditions proclaim, or you can simply call them the Transcendent Still Point of All Being.

Whatever you wish to call them, many believers feel especially close to key tenets of those religious philosophies this time of year—sending peace, love and good wishes to all.

I would say that the philosophy of the Shamanic tradition is a very nature-based, direct connection to life and the cosmos we inhabit, and as I watched that beautiful full moon setting outside my window on this winter solstice, I gave thanks for the view and for my part in the whole of this present earth-based drama. A few days ago Alberto Villoldo of Four Winds Society, sent out his winter-solstice, holiday email to all who subscribe. I found it pretty appropriate to our current situation, so I’ll share it here.

“From the bottom of our hearts all of us at the Four Winds Society want to wish you a holy and joyous Solstice on December 21, 2018.

We invite you to light a candle or a small fire in your backyard and join medicine men and women around the world who are gathering on the evening of the Solstice to pray for the “return of the Light.”villoldoenergyquote

This is not the ordinary daylight we all wish we had more of in the Northern hemisphere (and a bit less of in the South), but the Primordial Light.

Primordial Light is the creative power of the Universe which is available to us to create beauty in the world, and to heal ourselves and others. But to work with Primordial Light we must remember the way of the luminous warrior. We must live and act fearlessly, know the answer to “Who am I?” and the ways beyond death into infinity.

Like the shamans of old, we are luminous warriors. We dare to speak the truth, uphold universal values that honor all life, and perform daily acts of courage.

This is so important in this age of cowardice where half-truths are readily embraced as real.

We wish you the strength and steadfastness to continue creating the sacred every day and dreaming a new and healthy world into being.

In Beauty,    Alberto, Marcela, and the Four Winds Society team.”

And to that I would simply add that during this holiday season and throughout the year ahead, be at peace no matter the circumstance, be love no matter the degree of hatred all around you, be as courageous as you were always meant to be, standing tall in the midst of such cowardice in our governing bodies—stand tall and speak your truth.

This is what we do—this is who we are. We, as Luminous Warriors of Divine Primordial Light, welcome the return of the Light—the return to TRUTH as a Universal Standard for governance.

truthbuckyquote56.jpg

Blessings to you and yours, and may the year ahead be full of love and laughter for all of us.

Let’s make it a good year for everyone!

rbuckminsterfuller1-2x

Shoshin – The Beginner’s Mind

Sounds a bit paradoxical, but I can easily say that despite lessIknow45.pnghow much I’ve often thought that I knew throughout my life, or how hard-won that advanced knowledge came into being for me, the older I get the better I appreciate how little I actually DO know.

In truth it seems that with every passing day I feel this almost humorous certainty growing stronger within me: a certainty-of-my-own-ignorance—that jolting realization that what you once believed to be truth, actually wasn’t, and you may never know the REAL truth no matter how old or knowledgeable you become because that TRUTH exists in a realm that is incomprehensible to your present existence.

This body shock of awakening to our own innate ignorance can be scathingly honest and quite humbling.

It certainly was to my ego.

But to those who study Zen, this isn’t some new concept—some might simply call it ‘cultivating the Beginner’s Mind.’

What is Beginner’s Mind?  Here’s a good explanation first from Wikipedia, then from a Zen master himself.

Shoshin (初心) is a concept in Zen Buddhism meaning ‘beginner’s mind.’ It refers to having shozinbeginnersmind.pngan attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions when studying a subject, even when studying at an advanced level, just as a beginner in that subject would. The term is especially used in the study of Zen Buddhism and Japanese martial arts.”

Text source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shoshin

Master Shunryu Suzuki can explain it far better than I can:

“People say that practicing Zen is difficult, but there is a misunderstanding as to why. It is not difficult because it is hard to sit in the cross‑legged position, or to attain enlightenment. It is difficult because it is hard to keep our mind pure and our practice pure in its fundamental sense.

In Japan we have the phrase shoshin, which means ‘beginner’s mind.’ The goal of practice is always to keep our beginner’s mind…

For Zen students the most important thing is not to be dualistic. Our ‘original mind’ includes everything within itself. It is always rich and sufficient within itself. You should not lose your self‑sufficient state of mind.

This does not mean a closed mind, but actually an empty mind and a ready mind. If your mind is empty, it is always ready for anything; it is open to everything. In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities; in the expert’s mind there are few.

The most difficult thing is always to keep your beginner’s mind. There is no need to have a deep understanding of Zen. Even though you read much Zen literature, you must read each sentence with a fresh mind.

You should not say, ‘I know what Zen is,’ or ‘I have attained enlightenment.’ This is shoshinmaster.jpgalso the real secret of the arts: always be a beginner.

Be very, very careful about this point. If you start to practice zazen, you will begin to appreciate your beginner’s mind. It is the secret of Zen practice.”

Shunryu Suzuki
from Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind

 

So I acknowledge that here I sit in my own ignorance while trying to make sense of our life existence.

These are the very things I often write about: What is reality?—What is consciousness?—What are we doing here? Why are we here? Who benefits and how do they benefit from our incarnating here during this time period or ANY time period?

All those unanswerable questions come down to the battle in our minds over the relevance between our DOING and our BEING.

Here is a basic truth as I presently know it:  I AM.  I EXIST.  I EXPERIENCE.  I OBSERVE.

And I try like the dickens NOT to judge the value of what I am observing because to do so implies a comparative knowledgebase that I do not have—at least not from my humble human perspective.

the-older-i-get-the-less-i-know-by-that-i-mean-the-less-i-am-sure-of-i-view-p-403x403-nkb3nfSo each day I open my eyes and wonder what this day will bring to me. I wonder what new realization will occur to my sensing abilities. I wonder what type of sense I can make of whatever is happening to me and around me, but knowing full well that ‘making sense’ is a judgment in itself.

However, I also know that only through shoshinbeginner’s mind—can I simply observe all and note those observances without judgment or expectation—knowing I must simply allow all occurrences (and not labeling them as ‘good’ or ‘bad’) to flow along with the river of life into the great sea of consciousness that connects us all and patiently awaits our return.

This I also know:  Beginner’s Mind is not easily achieved nor sustained for long unless you willingly intend it.

Brigit Anna McNeill’s Prose on “Winter”

“We are approaching the threshold of winter.

Life is being drawn into the earth, painlessly descending down into the very heart of herself.

And we as natural human animaljessicaboehmanearthpic.jpgs are being called to do the same, the pull to descend into our bodies, into sleep, darkness and the depths of our own inner caves continually tugging at our marrow.

But many find the descent into their own body a scary thing indeed, fearing the unmet emotions and past events that they have stored in the dark caves inside themselves, not wanting to face what they have so carefully and unkindly avoided.

This winter solstice time is no longer celebrated as it once was, with the understanding that this period of descent into our own darkness was so necessary in order to find our light. That true freedom comes from accepting with forgiveness and love what we have been through and vanquishing the hold it has on us, bringing the golden treasure back from the cave of our darker depths.

This is a time of rest and deep reflection, a time to wipe the slate clean as it were and clear out the old so you can walk into spring feeling ready to grow and skip without a dusty mountain on your back & chains around your ankles tied to the caves in your soul.

A time for the medicine of story, of fire, of nourishment and love.

A period of reconnecting, relearning & reclaiming of what this time means brings winter back to a time of kindness, love, rebirth, peace and unburdening instead of a time of dread, fear, depression and avoidance.

This modern culture teaches avoidance at a max at this time; alcohol, lights, shopping, overworking, over spending, bad food and consumerism.

And yet the natural tug to go inwards as nearly all creatures are doing is strong and people are left feeling as if there is something wrong with them, that winter is cruel and leaves them feeling abandoned and afraid. Whereas in actual fact winter is so kind, yes she points us in her quiet soft way towards our inner self, towards the darkness and potential death of what we were, but this journey if held with care is essential.

She is like a strong teacher that asks you to awaken your inner loving elder or therapist, holding yourself with awareness of forgiveness and allowing yourself to grieve, to cry, rage, laugh, & face what we need to face in order to be freed from the jagged bonds we wrapped around our hearts, in order to reach a place of healing & light without going into overwhelm.

Winter takes away the distractions, the noise and presents us with the perfect time to rest and withdraw into a womb like love, bringing fire & light to our hearth.”

  • illustration by Jessica Boehman
  • words Brigit Anna McNeill

A Life Well-Lived

I knew him for a short time—perhaps a year.  Even upon meeting him, from the start I could see that he was near the end of his journey.  The years had accumulated around lesterfordobit.jpghim and were starting to weigh him down. His walk was hesitant; his navigation abilities less certain.

“You remind me of my sister when she was younger,” he once said to me. I smiled and said ‘thank you,’ having no idea what aspect of my appearance or demeanor was so similar. But I knew his sister was no longer in this world.

I complimented his always-dapper appearance at church. He would often wear the beautiful purple shirt and matching tie with his dark suit. His eyes would smile with delight. He was a compassionate but proud man, and he wore his humanity on his sleeve for all to see.

Yesterday, amidst the rain and snow flurries, he was buried.

During the funeral service, the most moving portions were the testimonials of three of his twelve grand-children—all were young adults—all claimed deep love for him and were clearly products of his careful nurturing. They told tales of grandpa’s many skills and helpful nature; of how he had pitched in during their home repairs and computer problems. Who knew, even in his advanced years, that he was such a computer technician besides being a woodworker and general handyman?

I smiled frequently during their choked-up speeches hearing of his many abilities and caring nature–and even of his earlier motorcycling escapades.  These were all aspects of Lester that I never knew—aspects that you didn’t see beyond his body’s more-current frailty during the short church services that I had attended with him.

After the service the large family all slowly filed past, following the casket as it was rolled out of the church and into the hearse to be taken to the burial area.  We sang “Amazing Grace” to their parting processional, and I thought—Wow, that is the true sign of a life well-lived—how deeply this gentle man had affected those around him, especially his loving, close-knit family members.

Other than peripherally, I may not have truly known and appreciated you, Lester, but your loving family certainly did.

Well done sir!

 

The Body of LIGHT

albertolightbody67.jpgI can’t recall how long I have known this to be a fact—that we are light-beings—and that we are far more energy than mass.

But then, time doesn’t really matter in this consideration because time is relative, as are we to some extent—relative to the dimension that we inhabit.

When I first explored the energy practices of Usui REIKI and Karuna REIKI, I quickly realized that there was more to me than I had first assumed.  Energy flowed through me and from me. Energy enveloped me.

But I wasn’t just a conduit of extraneous energy flow—I AM energy itself and I perpetually swim in an ocean of energy.

I AM (as YOU are) a sum of electro-magnetic lightwave-frequencies that can shift higher or lower at will—MY will.  For the most part, I can consciously control my own energy frequency.

In fact I constantly HUM with that energy universefractal.jpgfrequency.  It’s a high-pitched whine that stops suddenly when “something” interrupts/invades the boundaries of my energy field.

I even have an energy signature that is specific to me alone; and my energy signature affects the overall energy matrix around me in which I vibrate.

That energy signature vibration attracts sympathetic vibrations to me to resonate in harmony with my own energy-body frequency, or it repels those energy frequencies that cannot coexist with my own energy in my immediate surroundings.

If my personally-held frequency is high enough, I can raise the matrix surroundings to match my own frequency.  I can act like that fractal repeating multiple examples of its own pattern in all directions.

But if my surroundings are so low in frequency that I cannot raise them, then they can adversely affect (lower) my personal energy frequency to make me uncomfortable in that situation or possibly steal energy from me and make me sick.

This is why it is SO important to be able to hold the highest possible personal energy-frequency—we need to be able to support our own best growth opportunities, and be able to defend ourselves from lesser frequencies that may cross our paths.

lightdarkcandle.jpgPeople often talk about terms like ‘light’ vs. ‘darkness’ like they are moral judgments.  It’s not that simple.

I’m telling you those terms are simply misnomers for higher or lower frequencies that can positively or negatively affect us and our surroundings.

Higher frequencies are those most associated with love and compassion vibes. While lower frequencies are associated with hatred and fear energies.  True, hatred and fear are powerful emotions that can lead to violent actions and reactions.

But love—altruistic, unconditional love—is a frequency that can sooth the most savage among us. It is a very high lightwave frequency—and it’s very powerful, but in a completely different way from the energies of rage and violence.

Love can be life-affirming—life-appreciating. It is soothing and feels harmonious. We feel at peace with ourselves in this vibration.

Hate/fear can be life-disrupting—life-destroying. It feels skin-crawling and uncomfortable. It is the seventh-chord searching for harmonious resolution back to base. We feel disconnected and destabilized. We feel the need to strike out or release the pent up frustration that threatens to overwhelm us.  There is NO peace in this state of being. No violent action ever feels truly satisfying and final. Violence simply perpetuates itself.

Here’s the main difference between high frequencies everything_is_energy_quote.jpgand lower frequencies: Do you want to live your life in the frequencies of love and feeling at peace, or in the frequencies of hatred and feeling constantly fearful and distrusting?

My suggestion for the best possible life is to try and surround yourself with higher-frequency, natural surroundings to hold your own frequency as high as possible for you.  Then hang with higher-frequency friends who don’t need to steal your energy because they can generate plenty high-frequency energy on their own.  You’ll experience lots of happiness and laughter with those friends.  You’ll want to be around them again.

And if you can keep your own frequencies high as well, they in turn will want to be around you again also.

Funny how that works.