Archive for January, 2009

31
Jan
09

I Opened the Wardrobe again . . .

 

 bird-flats-025b

 

It’s been awhile since I posted anything about the spiral development in which I transcend and also include the former stages of  my development (maybe because it is easier said than done – or maybe cause I think most people don’t really give a shit what I think).

I’ve resisted watching “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”, by C.S. Lewis ever since the magic and myth behind the story were made into “literal” ideas years ago.  I loved the Narnia Chronicles, however the literal interpretation stole the essence of this beautiful story and made me turn away (the baby and the bath water, yeah?). I have not looked at this story in over 10 years

I watched it this evening.

This is a truly wonderful myth of redemtion. From purple through blue (into green) and up the spiral into yellow (if you’re not sure what I am bloging about  – google Spiral Dynamics).  While not a literalist, this was for me a wonderful film – About ego, humility, the shadow, the dark night of the soul, the sacrifice of love, misunderstanding, redeeming oneself, redeeming other sentient beings, loss of hope and the inner hope of knowing. Very Joseph Campbell – who I owe much of my development to.

Why did I allow literalism to rob me of this?

Just something I need to sit with and breathe through . . .

I do know that developmentally, children (or humans in general)  have to first experience a dichotomous “right and wrong”, “good and evil” before they can move towards Oneness.  This film is in-between the dichotomy and the oneness. So mankind is moving forward, even in the West. So I include this in my development.

Going to bed, I have a hike on the side of a volcano scheduled in the morning.
Breathe,

John

30
Jan
09

A Zen Moment Quote

dog

” I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 – 1882)

Breath’n and Smile’n,
John

28
Jan
09

Of course I am out of my mind, it’s dark and scary in there


With my background as a therapist there are times when I am struck by the similarities between Buddhist Thought and Certain Schools of Psychotherapy.  Several authors have made a living integrating the two (two reputable and favorite authors are: Mark Epstein – author of  “Mind Without a Thinker” and “Going to Pieces Without Falling Apart” and John Welwood – author of  “Toward a Psychology of Awakening: Buddhism, Psychotherapy, and the Path of Personal and Spiritual Transformation“).

Outside of the fact that certain Zen practices such as sitting and paying attention to the breath, can decrease anxiety, lower blood pressure and relax tense muscles – it can also have a concentrated effect on one’s ability to be with the “uncomfortable” – both during the sitting and afterwards with life in general.

For me, sitting and watching shit reveal itself as though I am watching actors on a stage – engrossed but not over-identified – has allowed me to be mindful in other areas of my life. This way of meditating enables me to be more equipped at being with the shit I step into during the times I’m not meditating.  And trust me, my shoes can get pretty messy.

This making friends with  my own shadow, outside of being a  philosophical or spiritual practice,  is also a psychologically therapeutic development  –  An evolution in my relationship with myself and with others.
A willingness to engage in this observation is perhaps one of the greatest acts of compassion you can give to yourself and therefore, all sentient beings.
The first time you sit with shit as it is thrown in your mind’s face, can be rather frightening.  But sticking with the process has remarkable consequences in your personal development and evolution.
John Welwood puts it rather well in this succinct quote below:

If there is one thing I’ve learned in thirty years as a psychotherapist, it is this:
If you can let your experience happen, it will release its knots and unfold, leading to a deeper, more grounded experience of yourself.  No matter how painful or scary your feelings appear to be, your willingness to engage with them draws forth your essential strength, leading in a more life-positive direction.

John Welwood
Source: Perfect Love, Imperfect Relationships: Healing the Wound of the Heart, Page: 106

27
Jan
09

I love to exhale

water-n-rocks2

(just another blog about letting go, why I love the out breath, why I practice breathing and how breathing allows me to observe my thoughts and not identify over-identify, with my feelings or thoughts.  Is it any wonder I love smoking even if I choose not to smoke? Outside of observing the natural flow of my breath – which is for me the most difficult – I also practice breathing techniques for health.  Natural or controlled it is a gift.  What about those of you reading this?  What are your experiences of breath?)

The river flows rapidly down the mountain, and then all of a sudden it gets blocked with big boulders and a lot of trees. The water can’t go any farther, even though it has tremendous force and forward energy. It just gets blocked there. That’s what happens with us, too; we get blocked like that.

Letting go at the end of the out-breath, letting the thoughts go, is like moving one of those boulders away so that the water can keep flowing, so that our energy and our life force can keep evolving and going forward. We don’t, out of fear of the unknown, have to put up these blocks, these dams, that basically say no to life and to feeling life.

–Pema Chodron, Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, Vol. I,

25
Jan
09

It’s All equal. . . all (no judgment)

Why is the tao so valuable?
Because it is everywhere,
and everyone can use it.

This is why those who seek
will find,
And those who reform
will be forgiven;
Why the good
will be rewarded,
And the thief who is cunning
will escape.

(Lao Tzu)

24
Jan
09

The Gordian Knot of preoccupation

gordian_knot

I am thankful for my ego.  Having had the circumstances in life that allowed the development of a healthy sense of “self”, is the very reason I can look beyond that self.  Developing a healthy ego is a gift, allowing me to function in what often seems to be a crazy world with all its normal stressors and joys.  And like all steps in development this evolution serves a purpose and foundation for the next level.  I would not be able to see that there is something beyond my ego if it were not developed in the first place – the same way I would not be able to think in abstract terms had I not first learned to think concretely.  I would be a mess (ok, more of a mess) if I could only think in concrete terms – I would be so limited in life.  I’d also be limited if all I understood about the self was merely egoic in nature.  The journey towards “beyond self” begins with first knowing the self. It is why I breathe, it is why I cultivate mindfulness, it is why I understand the profound power of compassion. So today anyway, I give thanks for my ego.
The following are the words of John Snelling, from Elements of Buddhism.  May it move you towards your own enlightening. With open hands, John

Central to the Buddha’s teaching is the doctrine of anatman: “not-self.” This does not deny that the notion of an “I” works in the everyday world. In fact, we need a solid, stable ego to function in society. However, “I” is not real in an ultimate sense. It is a “name”: a fictional construct that bears no correspondence to what is really the case. Because of this disjunction all kinds of problems ensue.
Once our minds have constructed the notion of “I,” it becomes our central reference point. We attach to it and identify with it totally. We attempt to advance what appears to be its interests, to defend it against real or apparent threats and menaces. And we look for ego-affirmation at every turn: confirmation that we exist and are valued. The Gordian Knot of preoccupations arising from all this absorbs us exclusively, at times to the point of obsession. This is, however, a narrow and constricted way of being. Though we cannot see it when caught in the convolutions of ego, there is something in us that is larger and deeper: a wholly other way of being.
–John Snelling, Elements of Buddhism
21
Jan
09

does the ringing in my head mean i’m calling myself to prayer?

There are certain themes that reoccur (not just recently – but over long periods of my life):

One theme is the unfamiliar perspective of non-judgement – “not already knowing” the answer – when something is presented to me.

One is about being a compassionate and kind container to hold uncomfortable thoughts and emotions as they arise.

One is how I touch the Witness behind the ego – the greater self who watches the “John” as he  plays at life.

Yeah, these replay themselves a lot in my life.
I like how Jack writes about these things – enjoy . . .

“Mindfulness is a directed attention to what is actually here before we have all our judgments and ideas about what is right and wrong and what is good and bad.  Mindfulness means paying attention and seeing things clearly without reaction.

From there we can respond in wise ways rather than be caught in our habitual patterns.”When we take the one seat on our meditation cushion we become our own monastery. We create the compassionate space that allows for the arising of all things: sorrows, loneliness, shame, desire, regret, frustration, happiness.

Spiritual transformation is a profound process that doesn’t happen by accident. We need a repeated discipline, a genuine training, in order to let go of our old habits of mind and to find and sustain a new way of seeing.

To mature on the spiritual path we need to commit ourselves in a systematic way. My teacher Achaan Chah described this commitment as “taking the one seat.” He said,”Just go into the room and put one chair in the center. Take the seat in the center of the room, open the doors and the windows and see who comes to visit. You will witness all kinds of scenes and actors, all kinds of temptations and stories, everything imaginable. Your only job is to stay in your seat. You will see it all arise and pass, and out of this, wisdom and understanding will come.”

–Jack Kornfield, A Path with Heart




Live'n Aloha on Maui.
Lately just posting pics, artwork, vids, & music with just a headline (less seems to be more).
Into Wilber, Beck, Zen Stuffs, Spiritual Concepts, Philosophy and Humor (kinda geeky humor).
Currently attempting to strengthen my meditation skills (this has been a 20 yr process).
Thanks for stopp'n by and please leave a comment. Poz or Neg, all comments welcome.
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