Category Archives: Meditation

Down and up

Today was a strange combination. I woke up at 5.30. I peacefully meditated. I felt filled with light, and with knowing that all is well. Nothing needs to change. I can let go and accept that all is as it is. Accept that all is love. Myself and others and all that is. There is no difference. No separation. No burden.   

Then I went back to sleep from 7.15 to 8, and woke up profoundly exhausted. Exhaustion became the focus. It made the scan difficult. I went back to sleep afterwards. Then I did feel well enough for physio – but went back to sleep after that.  

I played mastermind with Kieran. We enjoyed it. And of course I’d hoped we’d go to the pool.  But then the energy level plunged again, to the point where it was almost too hard to breathe. I was considering going up to the hospital. I managed to eat, and slowly some energy has slipped and spiraled back into me. Not a great deal, but I can sit here and write. 

Only this much though. Enough. The exhaustion made me very present-oriented. It was my only focus, getting through the next moment. I wonder how it was the manifestation of what was meant to be for today. How it added to my understanding of love and letting go and being. I don’t have enough brain to think about it, but I believe it.

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Compassionate witness or inspector?

Being in the moment means observing awareness as well as being and doing. Wayne Dyer calls this taking the position of the compassionate witness to your life. This is part of awareness of love and perfection in the moment. I try to nurture it.  

This morning though I noticed that quite often my observer is not so much a compassionate witness as an inspector. When I wake up, something in me notices how I feel, and then immediately makes a judgement. Is this a good enough feeling?  

Occasionally, the inspector decides, yes, this is relaxation, this is happiness, this is contentment, and my feelings relax and everything is rosy. But more often, it judges, no. This leads my mind into a surge of activity. I identify the ‘problem-solver’ that tries to please this inspector of feelings as being my mind. I suppose the inspector of feelings is also part of my mind, but it seems like a distinct part, very rigid in its standards. My mind tries very hard to sort out what the problem is, with constant reference back to the inspector of feelings for judgement on whether or not this will make me and (even harder to judge), the loved ones around me, ‘happy’. Sometimes the inspector assesses that my feelings have lifted and are content after a few suggestions for being and doing. And other times, nothing will do. Sometimes the inspector is harsh, judging that my problems are caused by not doing exactly the right thing, not only in the past, but right now in the present, surely if only I tried harder, followed the right advice, understood things properly through better actions and thoughts, everything would be all right? If it isn’t, it must be my mistake, my fault, what can I do to change it? 

The compassionate witness does not make judgements. The compassionate witness observes the feelings and thoughts, and accepts them, as part of the perfection of everything.  Everything is all right… Even discontent, sadness, pain, suffering. Sometimes, not resisting these feelings gently lifts them, sometimes gloriously lifts them and replaces them with joy and lightness. Sometimes.  

I will try to keep the compassionate witness there, in place of the inspector.

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On chanting and the best of all possible worlds

I chant the Lotus Sutra, nam-myoho-renge-kyo, which is part of many Buddhist traditions, but I have learned it through SGI Buddhism. To me, what it stands for is the divine perfection of everything. When I chant nam-myoho-renge-kyo, the primary focus I have is that everything is perfect as it is, and also perfect in how it continuously changes. A vision that everything is happening at exactly the right time, and is always happening as it is meant to be. All I have to do is be open to this. It is always there, it is my attunement to it that varies. Everything is always changing, and always perfect in the same way.  

A friend was talking to me about whether there were ‘unchanging truths’, going along with what I wrote about all truth being temporary. When I was writing that all truth was temporary, I meant more my individual perception of what I believe, who I am, how I interpret my experience from moment to moment. But I do believe there are larger universal truths. Most of which are paradoxical, such as all things being both perfect and perfectly changing. All time being eternally present.  

Sometimes when I chant I also focus on what I would like to happen, how I would like perfection to be. This is part of the tradition I have learned the chanting from. But I find the greatest peace comes from allowing the idea that the perfection already is, and that I am part of it, more than from intensely focusing on my own version. My own version still induces a feeling of attachment, desire, potential suffering from non-realization of something. Seeing the perfection that already is is much more liberating.  

From a philosophical persperctive, I have read Voltaire’s Candide, where he makes a mockery of the theory that ‘all is for the best in the best of all possible worlds’. He puts the poor innocent Candide, who has been taught this by a philosopher called Pangloss, through all kinds of torments, until Candide gives up on this ludicrous idea, and decides the only way to cope with life is to ‘cultivate one’s own garden’.  

I can see why the theory appears ludicrous. Of course the world is full of torment and horror. Often I feel this way. Often I feel this way about my own life. I can’t say that I am always filled with that spirit of nam-myoho-renge-kyo. But I do know I can feel that way, and it is overwhelmingly beautiful. It is similar to the sense of peace in meditation. But it is different means of accessing that sense. It is easier to access through chanting from a state of emotional disruption. I was feeling that way last night, when I realized I’d be spending either last night or today up at the hospital getting a potassium infusion instead of going out for lunch with Mike on my one appointment free day.  

But today hasn’t been so bad. I have been up at the chemo unit having the potassium, reading, and mostly sleeping. I thought we might still get to the pool with the kids afterwards, but there was a thunderstorm. Anyway, although the potassium was supposed to renew my energy, I feel tired from it. I hope to be rested enough for Mike and I to go to see the Bee Gees cover band tonight. My leg is certainly in a much better state for going out than it was for St Patricks’ Day two weeks ago.  

So is everything in a state of divine perfection?I know that great gurus say ‘nothing ever goes wrong in my world’. I have read also that people who have had Near Death Experiences also have a sense that everything that ever happened, ever has happened, was always just right, there was never anything wrong.  There is also a rational position that this is the best of all possible worlds, because there is no other possible world than the one that is. But rationality is not the source I am coming from. Rather perception.

 

There is so much peace and love in focusing on the perfection of this moment in space and time. It is hard to maintain on a moment to moment basis. But having chanting and meditation and making the time to keep accessing and training with these is a blessing that fills my spirit with light and purity. And it is true. I can feel it.

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Letting go of little things

Today was about letting small changes flow naturally into my time, letting go of the resistance. It wasn’t easy, but it did evolve, with degrees of acceptance. It increased my awareness of how letting go of little things on a moment to moment basis makes a big difference to enjoying and being in the present. 

I didn’t sleep all that well. I kept thinking about waking up, because someone was calling at 8.30am, and coming around at 9am. Now, there is no need to wake up through the night to reflect on that, is there? But I did. Then I struggled to wake up. Then I got cranky waiting to eat – it was a short time, but I got cranky anyway, because I was tired, and because I thought ‘I would run out of time’ before the arrival. I ate. I got ready. No call yet. And I realised it didn’t matter. It was okay.  

The call and visit did come, later, and were very good and enriching. But the challenge was the initial letting go.  

In the afternoon, the physio adds new exercises to my program, and suggests I go walking in the public pool. I am delighted with this, but again – my mind sees problems. I want to go now! I have to hurry up! But today we have someone coming to fix things at home. Tomorrow I have a visitor at 10.30am, I have doctors’ appointments at 1pm, the kids need Mike to take them places in the afternoon. So when I come back from the physio, I spend most of my meditation time reflecting on when I can get to the pool. Try to change today? Cancel tomorrow morning? What shall I do, what shall I do? It goes round and round my head, I feel teary. All I want to do is go to the pool, why should it be so hard? Then again, why do I need to hurry? Oh, but I do, I do, I need my legs to get better… 

So the thoughts and feelings go round and round. But gradually, I feel the still centre is there. I can go there, even though the other thoughts still flit and jump. I can watch them come and go, the worry, the attachment to doing now, to fitting in, to trying to do everything – because that is there too – if I go to the pool, I mightn’t have time to write my blog, write my stories, do the other neck exercises I planned to do…perhaps also I am not sitting in the right way to meditate, perhaps I am doing it wrong, not maximising my healing, trying to do too many things at once…and then it all lets go…it doesn’t matter…it’s all right…what I am doing is all right, it is what I am doing…it is what I am… 

So the afternoon was peaceful. Listening to my son practise his trumpet (perhaps not everyone’s idea of peaceful…). Talking to my daughter and doing the leg (but not yet the neck) exercises.  

When I check on the receding gum in my mouth, I feel a chalky space/texture under the gum line. It reminds me. I must enjoy now. I have enjoyed today. It would have been hard to enjoy if that tooth had broken. But it hasn’t broken, it doesn’t hurt. I didn’t go to the pool, but my leg is better. I let go of resistance. I keep enjoying today.

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Loss

It’s been hard this afternoon. The feeling in my nose chased away as it has off and on, and hasn’t really come back over the past few hours. The left side of my face won’t move properly, and my left back molar feels loose, the gum has receded. Air feels cold in my numb nostrils, a strange curling sensation. When I lie flat, I don’t breathe comfortably, there is a wheeze and a tightness in my chest.   

I try to accept it all, that this is how it is. But I am still sad and I feel the loss. I do so want to keep at least this well for longer. The doctors told me last week not to walk much since the other leg was hurting. That has helped with that pain, although I was disappointed to not be increasing mobility. But still, the left leg has been getting better, more flexible, stronger, every day.  

No matter how much I philosophize, meditate, think, let go – there is no doubt about it – if things get better, everything is easier, and if they get worse, it is harder. I know it will change, one way or another. Even if things get worse, once I accept, it will get easier again. But the change itself, the thoughts, the feelings…they are still intense.  

Intensity. That is a part of being alive.   Mike and I will have a gin and tonic and watch Miss Marple on TV.  I played Scrabble with the kids this afternoon. That was fun. All part of being alive. Today.

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Purpose and peace

So many of us want so much to be helping, to be making a contribution to our world, other people, other living creatures, the planet. We are driven by this, always judging ourselves, the way we spend our time, on how useful it is to some wider purpose, social or creative.  

There is nothing wrong with helping, with working for the greater good, with creating the new and wonderful. Except often I see it leading people into dissatisfaction with themselves, with who they are, because they are always wanting to do more, to have done more.  

I’ve been re-reading some of my old journals, and so often I was dissatisfied with what was a vibrant, happy, exciting and fulfilling life. I was being all that I could be, but I didn’t realise it. I was choosing and being authentically, in and of myself, but I was making judgements then about my life that had to do with the outcomes that I had no control over.  I see others do this all the time too. It is what I am still trying to let go of now.  

I feel now deeply that if we relax into who we truly are, then our being, our existence, is a blessing to others. This is the way it is. Each of us is a vibrant thread of life, inspiringly linked to the next in its very essence. That is our purpose, to be what we are, today. Everything else flows from there, everything else is extra. 

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The incredible lightness of being

I love that phrase, ‘the incredible lightness of being’. There is a book and movie called ‘the unbearable lightness of being’. That always fascinated me, too, although I haven’t read or seen it.  

‘The incredible lightness of being’ perfectly describes a feeling of freedom and harmony with everything, in the present. It can happen during meditation, often if I’m lucky, and sometimes, blessedly, it just happens. It is a feeling of light as opposed to darkness, and also a feeling of light as opposed to weight. 

Other times are heavy and dark and weighty and full of a sense of catastrophe. And then the darkness and weight peel away and float off, and the incredible lightness of being is still there. Thank God.  

So next time I feel the incredible heavy darkness of being, perhaps I will drop everything and meditate. It isn’t easy, of course, to start meditating from such a state. But then nothing is easy from such a state. And also, it’s fine to just lie here and observe sadness and thoughts and see if the letting go might happen, and if it does it does, and if it doesn’t it doesn’t. And accepting that seems to help it happen. Accepting it is part of the divinity of everything, of what is right now, and that it changes, instead of fighting to overcome.  

Any time we are fully present, we are meditating, always healing, always alive.

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