Tag Archives: zen

practice

In my previous post I had vowed to bow even to those I disliked, distrusted, didn’t understand. Well, the Universe gave me practice almost immediately.

At an event, I ended up sitting between two people I hadn’t seen in awhile. Neither did I know well but, perhaps you’ve had the experience: there are some people you have an almost instinctual dislike for. On one side was a woman I’d heard enough stories about to be cautious of her dynamic personality and sometimes caustic wit. On the other side was someone who repelled me for no obvious reason. Looking in the mirror is rarely easy. I know I had attracted two people with issues relating to me. I had vowed, bring it on! and the Universe had complied.

The next day I ran into someone in a parking lot. I had just emailed a friend saying X had a tendency to be “grandiose.” Gulp. Here was Ms. Grandiose before me (& haven’t I been grandiose? Plenty). Go away, mirror! Haven’t I had enough practice already this weekend? X seemed genuinely glad to see me. We shared some brief chit chat then she mentioned she’d just got a puppy. Separation dissolved. She had charmed me with her topic. For I love dogs, have three of my own.

I had to shake my head and chuckle. Call it instant karma, coincidence, whatever. But I came face to face with practicing what had only been a theory the day before. Be careful what you wish for. I will.

Bowing . . . from the Centre of Gravity

Wow! I just discovered Centre of Gravity, a wonderful group and web presence. Based in Toronto, it also has audio dharma talks and an online presence. A post I just read on Bowing woke me to my missing of my zen roots. There is something about bowing, the simplicity and the reverence. Today I vow to bow . . . to Buddha, my partner, my companion animals. I vow to bow to those I distrust, dislike, don’t understand. I vow to bow to my dissatisfied & disassociated parts. I know–it’s a huge job. Yet it might also be simple…..if I just begin with bowing.

here’s the piece:

http://www.centreofgravity.org/notes/2012/6/13/beginners-mind-6-throw-up-and-bow.html

overwhelmed no more

Of course, I’m fooling myself if I think I’ll never feel overwhelmed again. But this morning when my old reliable Pocket PC bit the dust, I felt a moment of panic: I won’t know what I’m doing! I won’t know what I’ve promised! I’m lost regarding anything having to do with schedules!

And then, peace. The sort of Emptiness that Zen Masters speak of. Wide open space. Wow, I needed that.

I have a clean slate. A new beginning; well, fall always felt like a new year to me, fall equinox, school starting. In fact, most pre-Christian cultures — those going by lunar cycles — have celebrations coming up.

Context: I’d been feeling overwhelmed lately. Even when I had an afternoon or evening free, I’d find myself worrying about what I’d committed to — taking Mr. G to the doctor, when would I work out, what seva was I doing at the Meditation Center, etc. Who’s in charge of my life, after all? Now that I’m doing a/v and communications at the annual Intensive next month, I told the other leaders that overwhelm was my fear. Veena called me from work the other day and asked “Are you feeling overwhelmed today?” Great zen koan.

I know class #3 of the Mastery Class is this Tuesday so I’m taking myself on an artist date to a coffeehouse to write my heart out. It’s not only rainy today but there’s a lovely mist lingering over the creek and woods outside my house. Very dreamlike and inspiring.

On my way home from the coffeehouse, I’m stopping at Staples to pick up an old-fashioned paper scheduler!

kuan yin/morning yoga

Today I got it right. I took my time drinking coffee and waking up. I awoke with a clear decision about some financial matters and felt good about that. My body felt stiff, as usual, and I thought: time for ‘yoga’ !

So I took my mat out on the deck and saluted the sun. My body automatically went into prostrations. These are the kind I used to do when I was with the Kwan Um School of Zen. I decided 27 bows since I knew I wasn’t up to 108. I plan to work my way up to that!

You see, I will be quitting the Y and only taking the yoga class. While the weather is nice, I can do hatha yoga, walk at Farbach Werner park and on my road. The money I save this way will go toward food (yes, let’s keep it basic!).

While stretching and doing yoga on my deck, I played a compilation of songs and chants to Kuan Yin. My friend Eileen had given this to me awhile back. It was the perfect choice. At some point, I felt so great — the Universe was good and so was my life. I was in the right place at the right time. I was One and not separate. Everything will be okay. Yes, more mornings like this is my intention.

conversation with an 87 year old / poem 107

I saved Mr. G. for last today. Most Fridays I deliver meals to some elderly people in my neighborhood. Today I would have a chance to visit with Mr. G. since he got out of the hospital.

I had taken him for a same day cystoscopy procedure on Monday. Because of the anesthesia, his doctor required him to stay overnight in a hospital since he lived alone and wouldn’t have anyone to watch him. Because his tumor was causing bleeding, they were waiting for the blood to lessen in his catheter before releasing him.

We drank some coffee together at his kitchen table. After delivering meals to him for nearly two years, we’d come to this neighborly habit most Fridays. He showed me the papers from the hospital. A librarian there had printed out information about his illness and the medication. I was impressed. “See,” I said, “This is the kind of information you can find on a computer. You are such a reader and so inquisitive, I bet you’d like getting online.” In response, he showed me a few magazines he subscribed to and asked if I’d like them after he was done reading them. I told him I hoped I’d be so mentally sharp when I’m his age — if I make it to his age.

how long do I have?

This is a useless question but one I sometimes wonder.
All my zen practice disappears in the dust
when the 59 year old faces the future.

Happy Guru Purnima! / with poem 96

Today marks Guru Purnima, (the full moon day of the Guru). Guru Purnima is the day when students have the opportunity to express our deep gratitude for the great gifts we have received from our Guru.

I am new to Siddha Yoga. My years of zen practice, I believe, served me well and provided me with a certain discipline. The main reason I ‘left’ Zen Buddhism is because when I saw my first arati being performed, it was as if I felt my heart opened. I discovered what had been missing: bhakti (devotion).

Gurumayi, I came to You out of grief and You showed me Joy. I came to You not knowing if there was a God; now I know there is — and that I, too, am Divine. How could I possibly ever thank You? The seva I do is but a small token of my gratitude. ~ Om Guru Om ~

Devotion

I kept putting women on pedestals
now I know I had the right impulse
now my devotion flows naturally to You

doors / poem 47

“I’m tired of opening that door for you . . . for nothing!” I muttered to the cat. Medusa sometimes acts as if she’d like to go into the basement but usually declines once I open that door for her (you know how haughty queen cats can get). Then I paused, reflecting on what I’d just heard myself say. I imagined God/dess saying the same thing.

Understand – I don’t usually walk around wondering what God/dess would say (WWGS). Although I am deeply spiritual, I don’t belong to any particular church, temple, or synagogue. I practiced Zen meditation for years and they are notorious for the “don’t know” mind and koans. For several years now I have been enthralled with Siddha Yoga. This practice comes from the Hindu tradition. And although I made a pilgrimage to Varanasi, India, holy town of Shiva, one can’t ‘convert’ to Hinduism. I can, however, appreciate and adopt many of its traditions. I believe we ourselves are divine but often forget it. So much for talking to Myself!

So back to this concept of doors. I have been fascinated with doors since the 70s when I read the book and saw the movie Steppenwolf by Herman Hesse. I’ve even had dreams about doors. There is, of course, that old saying “When one door closes another one opens” which I’ve quoted to myself when times got rough. But this assertion I proclaimed to the cat queen was different. I imagined God/dess shaking Her head, muttering something like “How many signs do I have to give the girl before she gets it?!” The Higher Power might even complain “Do I have to drop a key in your blessed lap?!”

Such is the context for tonight’s poem:

if You give me a sign
I might remember
that I’m truly divine