Meditation Direction

Meditation Direction

All of us who meditate regularly develop our own little quirks and idiosyncrasies in our practice. I haven’t tested this personal theory but here is an example of one of mine and I would appreciate any comments you might have about your practice.

As I have stated before, I do open eye meditation from the Zen school of Buddhism. That is, I keep my eyes open throughout the meditation and keep my gaze fixed on a single spot in front of me, usually an image in my iPhone meditation timer which I place in front of me. However, most people in our Western communities learn meditation in the traditional method with eyes closed. This choice to use the open eye method is however not one of my individual idiosyncrasies. But it does lead into one that I do have and that is, that I usually like to face east when I have a choice of direction, at least at home. Continue reading

Sweet confusion

Sweet confusion

Routines, routines, we all have them don’t we and I can be attached to the very point of distraction with mine at times. Over the last few years, I have come to realise that I am not always best served by adhering so rigidly to the routines I have constructed. Constructed is the key that I have come to realise, that these routines I have created are just mine, my own creations, and not set in stone. There is a soaring sense of freedom at times when I decide to break away from a routine, either because I have other things I want to do, or that I notice that one or more aspects of the routine aren’t really useful, or simply just because. Just because a realignment can bring a whole new outlook, a freshness, to an aspect of my daily life.

I had recently changed my “day starter” routine to get back to including doing my journal, my “morning pages” as Julia Cameron calls it, a heads-down non-stop non-edit writing practice for twenty minutes; done as soon as you awake to develop the writing muscles as surely as a calisthenics routine might do for the body muscles.  According to Julia Cameron, it needs to be done first thing in the morning, as soon as possible after you awaken; possibly before the brain has time to realise what is going on. So I get up, shower, dress and get straight on to the computer to write for twenty minutes before I do anything else. However, the lure of unread emails and social media is irresistible as soon as I sit at the computer and my journal resolve dissipates as I decide to deal with these first. This leads to conversations with my wife about some of the matters raised by emails which in turn leads to Rosie, who is impatiently waiting for us downstairs, becoming aware that I am up and starts to bark for me to come downstairs. Her repeated entreaty becomes difficult to resist so I go downstairs, leaving my morning pages undone.

Continue reading

Not only Daisy

Not only Daisy

NotOnlyDaisyI found this image included on a Facebook post by Tara Brach today and it reminded me of a blog I wrote sometime ago called “Daisy’s Kiss”. Tara included the following Dalai Lama quote:

“There is no need for temples. No need for complicated philosophies. My brain and my heart are my temples. My philosophy is kindness.”
— The Dalai Lama

Take a look at my blog post and you will see what I mean.

Look out folks, I am in the writing vibe again and a new year seems like a good time to really get down and commit to getting stuff out of the head and down on “paper”!  Well virtual paper anyway. Stay tuned.

 

 

Meditation for me

Meditation for me

meditation-postWhat qigong does for my body, meditation does for my mind.

Meditation calms the racing energy of my mind and gets it flowing in a single focussed stream. With regular practice of meditation I am able to get some control over the “monkey mind” that challenges us all, where the mind flits from thought to thought constantly, incessantly.  It has often been said meditation is the simplest and yet the most difficult thing to do.

After all, how hard can it be to simply sit and focus on your own breathing? Continue reading

Duggy’s lesson

Duggy’s lesson

attachment2Why? Why am I paying a barber to cut my hair with a clipper on #2 setting when there is hardly any hair left on top? Why am I bothering? What is the difference between #2 and #0 I thought? Not much I thought. Why not just start shaving it off and save myself the barbers fee? So I did, I shaved it all off that weekend, secure in the knowledge that I could always let it grow back if I didn’t like it. But little did I know that my biggest lesson in how attachment works was to be found in that seemingly simple rational decision.

I was just starting to read a lot of books on Buddhism at this time, Continue reading

Just an old cap

Just an old cap

It was just an old Sydney Swans cap, bought at a stand outside the SCG sometime in the 1990’s, where I was attending a Sydney Swans game. I liked it because it had a sort of vintage feel to it, a canvas fabric look rather than the bright red and white caps supplied by the Swans as part of the membership pack. It was also in the days when I was regularly buying Swans kit like shirts and jackets. My need to be identified by this paraphernalia has long gone, the attachment broken, in a process I have written about elsewhere.

The cap had become my cap of choice when I started walking for exercise around the time when I first met Molly in the early 2000’s. Molly’s two daughters were still living at home although there were plans for them to be moving in the near future to Queensland to attend university. Each of the girls had a dog and they had decided that Mum should also have a dog to keep her company when they left home. There was Astro Boy, a beautiful large Border Collie dog; Jack, a Maltese Shih Tzu cross dog and Dolly, a small long-haired Chihuahua-Terrier cross bitch, ostensibly Molly’s pet. That’s right, Dolly, Molly, get it? Continue reading

Daisy’s Kiss

Daisy’s Kiss

I am always joined for meditation at home by our two cavoodle dogs, Daisy and Rosie. They seem to love it and are always keen to sit on the mat and then the zabuton and then the zafu as I put them down and I have to chide them out of the way so that I can get them all setup for my meditation practice. I sit and as soon as the gong goes on my timer to start, both dogs settle down on the smaller zabuton I set for them in front of me and mostly just go to sleep. Or what appears to be sleep. Their presence is not as you might think a distraction but provides me with a number of lessons.

Dogs I think are permanently in the “here and now” that we humans strive for in just periods of meditation. I don’t think dogs spend much time, if any, thinking about the bones they might have got in the past, or planning for what they might do later in the day, or week, or month. They are just living for what happens now. They have conditioning that comes into play but no regrets and no planning, it is just what is happening now that matters. Even in the midst of what appears to be deep sleep the dogs will immediately react to any noise that might need to be attended to or indicate a threat.  Continue reading

A New Path

A New Path

I awoke naturally, rested and calm about 6:15 am.  Snug and warm in my sleeping bag, revelling in waking without the alarm.  Eager to get up and go for a walk but given the darkness outside reading a little of Lama Surya Das’s “Awakening the Buddha Within” seems the better option.  As is becoming usual his words lift my spirits and keep the course processes rolling.  Pale dawn light starts to lift the darkness through the window so out of the cocoon, into warm clothes and off for my walk.  It has been some time since I have been able to indulge in the pleasure of an early morning winter walk and I have been looking forward to this.

But which way?  Our service team leader had warned us about staying on the bush tracks, of the dangers of cliffs, and the extra time it takes to walk back uphill.  Therefore I figure that I need to head downhill on a bush track to get the views I long for.  I also sensed that the tracks were on the other side of the main building so set off in that direction.  The trail to the right of a fork looked interesting.  I passed an outdoor campfire site on my left, complete with strategically placed logs around it as seating.  A piece of branch, ideal for a walking stick, presented itself on the track and on I tramped now aided by my new found friend the branch.  Ah, the beautiful fresh air, the birds singing, the fresh smells of the bush are all enervating and I revel in it.  My joy is dampened a little by the sight of the same campsite appearing on my left again.  I am going round in a circle!  And there was the main building again.

Continue reading