Buddhism · Energy work · Musings · Strong Woman · Uncategorized · weak woman · Zen Buddhism · Zen Center of Syracuse

Questions

How do you return to one, if we are already one?  Return to one.  If everything is connected, and if we are all part of one living organism, how can we return to something we are already part of?

Also I have this question.  If Buddhism is about acceptance, and the Buddha is not a god, then why does one have to be mindful of such things as not wearing knee length shorts when meditating, or not stretching in front of the Buddha statue.  STATUE.

Also why if we are all one and all equals must one bow to the Osho, not turn your back to the Osho as though they are a high king?  Why do people serve the Osho, and why is the Osho kept apart from the others?

Can one be an enlightened bodhisattva and still be just an ordinary person.  Must one be ordained to be enlightened?

And why is discomfort and pain part of Zen meditative practice?  ie you sit in a painful position for seven days at a time, not scratching, moving or brushing off a mosquito, until your bones ache and your body screams in pain.  Is this what finding enlightenment is really about?  And how can you find enlightenment, if you are already exactly where you are supposed to be?

These are my questions.

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Phoenix Soaring

I do not know how long it has been since I have been to yoga, but I make up my mind that this weekend I will return.  Perhaps it has been a year, or maybe only six months, it feels like forever.  The long term pain in my hip is more or less gone, and from time to time the pain from last summer that plagued my right knee is still a twinge here and there.  Though not nearly as painful as it was when I decided a break was in order.  I have not walked much either, I decided my body was telling me take it easy, and still all the work on the house has created a completely different set of muscle aches and joint issues.  Sore ankles plague me in the morning, and the tightness in my shoulders, upper back and arms is evident in the opening stretches of the session.  I walk in to my dear friend Karen and the joy from both of us is delightful, she too has been plagued with severe health problems, and even when I was going often, she was not.  There are others too who greet me with pleasure.  It is good to feel this sense of Sangha for lack of a better word.  Perhaps that word is just right.

Usually I gripe about certain poses and postures or asanas, but today I have come with this resolve to do it no matter what without complaint, adjusting on the first night only one pose which I feel unsafe in, a stretch which opens up the legs in a split forward to back, that feels like the tendons behind my knees will pop and roll like a rubber band cut at its furthest stretch.  I alter it to a hurdler’s stretch, it does not open the soas, but it does open the hamstring.  I close my eyes, and for a moment my spirit feels a deep feeling of being on a balance beam, or  a log stretched across an abyss, I am maintaining a balance here, I do not want to sway to one side or another.  I do not call it torture pose, I call it opportunity to work through the difficulties.

My dear friend tells me when she meditates she has a mantra that seeks to wish well upon all beings.  I want to be there, though I am not yet.  I have only just learned to not wish bad karma on those that have hurt me so deeply, have hurt my child.  I feel the sting on my own cheek as though it were my own.  She had the bravery to accuse a now guilty teacher of molestation, and for it she was called a liar, called a troublemaker.  He now no longer allowed to teach teenaged boys, due to his solicitation of minors who reported him.  She is redeemed.  And in a flash I think, I should no longer wish the bad karma to flood the life of the one who slapped her and the one who used this as a wedge in our marriage, I think, I should just let it all go.  And I do.  But wish them well?  Hope they are happy and free from harm?  Not yet, but I know as I walk this narrow bridge that it is there just ahead on the other side.

As it turns out two days later I am at yoga yet again, after an hour on the bike and weights for my arms.  It feels good to stretch and I feel the stress and months of stiffness open up my body.  My teacher knows how much I love hamstring and hip openers, and he says, near the end,  grab your straps, and I do, he makes eye contact with me and I raise an eyebrow, he grins at me and says we are going to do a hamstring stretch, I softly clap my hands together making no sound and grin from ear to ear.  He smiles knowingly and teases me gently for my joy.  Sangha.

In shavasana, I think, though I know I should only be breathing,  that though I have been set free, for some of the time I have carried a heavy weight around with me, and as I work slowly, cautiously to cut the last bits of its weight from me, as I make plans on how to create the future I truly want, as I work to let the lazy drift become a focused destination, I realize how very fortunate I am, how good this practice is for me, and how much I love the serenity of this place.

I look up inside the backs of my eyelids and I see a beautiful phoenix, soaring though the turbulent sky.

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“When you realize how perfect everything is you will tilt your head back and laugh at the sky.” – Buddha

In a flash of insight I am brought back to the teachings of Buddhism that I was so deeply practicing in the first many months of my greatest heartache.  I remember Dr. Cross saying that I have to stop looking outside myself for approval, a notion echoed only a few days ago by the Pirate, who said, I am always saying “notice me, pay attention to me, love me” by my words and actions.  It may seem mean or cruel but the way he said it, I could only say, yeah, that is so true.  I do that.  Dr. Cross said that I needed to turn inward and start to find my own way, to find acceptance from within myself, to find my “laughing place”, my place of joy.

There has been this arching emotion for me, I am finding it difficult to express what the actual feeling is, what it stems from and how I got here.  It is a sense that everything is falling into place just exactly as it was meant to.  That feeling is a feeling that seems to come from a number of events, sign posts, and signals, that have been hovering swirling in my life.  It feels almost as though I have been hiking up a very shadowy, dark and dense path, and suddenly I have emerged on the rocky surface and can see just exactly where I came from.  Like any mountain top, I will continue on and I know there will be valleys, and rushing rivers, and my view will be obstructed once again, but for right now, alot of “shit” is really making sense to the grand and general scheme of my life.

I kept saying I don’t want to compare the Pirate, but I cannot help it, the comparison is so rich, so deeply meaningful to me, that it is hard to express it really in terms that anyone can understand, but here is where that insightful flash happens.  How can I express what is happening to me, how this is working in my life and then Kaboom.  I see.

It is not that there is a need to compare this shining gem, to that meager fruit, it is that I am seeing myself lit from the inside.  It is the comparison of me now to that me that was before.  It is not an approval from without, it is an approval from within.  It is not that the Pirate approves of me and the other did not, it is that I approve of myself.  I accept myself.

When I was in that terrible place, keeping the path as my metaphor, the quick sand, swampy, off course, basically lost, bushwhack brambly place, I returned to the Zen Center of Syracuse to meditate formally, to do yoga twice weekly, and to attend group stress reduction classes once a week, along with volunteering at the Zen Center as part of my practice.  More than one person was telling me that I should take medication, but I knew what I was doing, and when I checked it with Dr. Cross, he confirmed my assertion that I was taking “medication”, meditation medication.  I am not sure how it is for other people but for me, this was what I needed, and so grateful, in retrospect that I did not take drugs.  Ultimately because the insight that I now have is invaluable, and the clarity of what has transpired is so brilliant and crystal that I do not imagine I would have gotten this view under the influence.  But right now I can see so succinctly how important that internal work was to managing my heartbreak, to getting to this place I am right now.  One of the things that Buddhism teaches you is that you are not alone, and the realization of that is also truly important to being in this place right now.  Because for many years I was removed from the friendships I had built earlier in my life, and removed from most of my family, and removed from the authenticity of myself.

Reconnecting to long out of contact relatives on Facebook was vital to this rebuilding process that began for me when I was hammered apart and left for the dead.  This morning a college friend who is going through some medical problems expressed what I have been thinking too, that Facebook allowing her to reconnect with our college group, has been so important to her, she was asking us (specifically the college friends) to keep her in our thoughts, and the outpouring of genuine caring from so many of us was just exactly what I am speaking of.  I know people make fun of “Crackbook”, and in the end it is truly just another corporate marketing ploy, but on many levels has been a part of my recovery.  Oh yes, I do have people that love me, that are like me, that think like me, that talk like me, and yes those that don’t and that is okay.

The me that was left?  She was always concerned about what the other thought, did he love me, were my clothes right (they never were and again I told Dr. Cross late in our sessions, why do I dress better now than when I was married, why now when he isn’t all judging me?  His answer, if you know someone is going to judge you negatively you live up to their expectations).  If I don’t put texture in my paintings it is not grounds for disapproval, if I burp after a big drink of beer, it is not grounds for not being spoken to, that I don’t feel a need to have some smirking approval of some random bit of flotsam.   I am fine just as I am.  My work (painting, knitting, drawing, writing, walking, photographing) is fine just as it is.  The only person judging me, in my leggings and dress, in my outdoorsy shoes, is me.  And again ironically I think I look better than I ever have in my life.  Truly.  And yes I still feel a little guilty that I have sewed a stuffed animal in a few months, but then I remind myself, yes dear but you have written almost every day.  What of that?

Here from this mountain top view, I see that all of my life has led me to this place, and that it is all so very perfect.  That brambly, lost, quicksand path?  I was actually on it, and I literally got down on my knees and prayed in the middle of the woods, because I was lost, the sign posts were blown down, and I had turned around after stepping knee deep in the quicksand.  The strength and growth of my teaching has been just blowing me away.  Reconnecting with those friends from college, my cousins and my uncles, realizing that those who melted away are not in my lives for a reason.  And finding that it isn’t just about my painting, but the intense pleasure I get from writing too, that I am not just a painter, but an artist, all around not a fabulous money maker, but an artist by my very nature.  All of these realizations are right here in the palm of my hand.  It is not the pearl of my deepest self, it is instead a shining golden ambrosia that pours out of me into my cupped hand, that drips like thick oil from my fingertips.

I am so thankful, not just for the difficulty of this path, but just now for the clarity I have from this vantage point.

Buddhism · Musings · Strong Woman · Zen Buddhism · Zen Center of Syracuse

And this is all just thinking

I do not want to lose my footing, in flip flops on the sand covered artificial wood ramp that we are walking down.  I try to take his arm because the railings are too wide to grip.  I don’t want to lose my footing because of my knee injury, if I hyper-extend the knee it will not be good.  He instructs me to put my hands on his shoulders, and baby step by baby step we make our way down the slippery ramp.  I try to look beyond him to see what is ahead, but I cannot see, his body is blocking my view, which I find frustrating.  I realize suddenly that this is a potent symbol.  I have to trust him, I have to accept being blind for the moment for my own protection.  In that instant I gave up control, and I gave over total trust.  It was a relief.

I give up control, for I know I have none.

Later after writing the above and after sitting in the Zen Center, I take a drastic step to stop myself from continuing on the path I have been walking.  It is like the old saying “if you love someone let them go…”  I feel like I have to keep letting go.  I am letting go for my own sanity.  I am letting go because I cannot keep feeling confused.  I am letting go because I have to see what comes back to me.  If anything.  It is the calm moment where you realize you are squeezing the hell out of your mudra hands, and you suddenly realize that they just need to nest and rest within each other.  It is like this calm moment when you realize the reason you are gripping so tightly is because you are afraid that if it is gone nothing else will fly in to take its place, and though you are resigned to that notion, that you will no longer seek out what you want most of all.  Though people always say if you stop looking it will come, I am not letting go for that reason, and as I understand this, briefly, fleetingly it is as though a dove has flown from between my fingers and I feel more free.  I cannot say I feel completely free, because my heart knows what it wants.  But there are so many things I want that I just don’t have.  One of the things I have that I just don’t want is the constant yearning.  I have to accept even that.  I have to.  I am still gripping so tightly to my mudra hands.  I release them again.

I do not want to lose my sense of place, unsteady, uneven ground, the challenges of this world, it is all the same.  I try to get a grip, I reach for whomever is near with my own expectations of how it will go.  I don’t want to fall, I have been hurt so badly in the past, I don’t want to be hurt again.  If I close my eyes and learn to trust it I may find it, like Luke Skywalker finding the force.   I want to know what is ahead but of course it is impossible to see the future.  Its frustrating but the frustration doesn’t change the fundamental truth of it.  I have to accept each moment baby step by baby step.

And this is all just thinking.

Buddhism · Musings · Zen Buddhism · Zen Center of Syracuse

Litany of Stupidity

I sit in meditation the hard rain has stopped falling as hard as it was, but is in that stage where it still falls in bursts, and the wind is blowing strongly enough to make it splatter off the leaves.  We are chanting and where once I found it almost embarrassing, a feeling of heat on my cheeks when I did it, I now find that it is a solace, a moment of serenity.  When my thoughts stray I stumble over the Sino Japanese words.  But when I focus it comes out, my voice strong, and it is like singing at the top of my lungs to my favorite song, only I am a capella but for the other voices.  Shinge Roshi once asked me if I had had musical training, and told me my chanting reflected that I did.  I of course told her of once but no longer skill on the violin, of teaching myself to play recorder, of my time in chorus and church choir.  It is a relief to not have the litany of stupidity in my head, though I am now working not on shoving it out, but instead in trying to understand it, in trying to accept that it is a part of me, to sit with it no matter how uncomfortable it makes me feel.  But for a few moments my brain is silent, while the vocal chords and air around me are filled with joyous sound, accompanied of course by all the nature, windows wide open, wind blowing in the sound as it rises and falls.  And after, when we are quiet there is a moment in my brain where I realize I am at one pointed awareness, how can you return to one if you are already there?

I go to physical therapy for my knee injury and do squats until my thighs burn.  At home I get the dog for a walk who will later hug me in his dog way at least three times on the journey.  We walk three miles and I can honestly say I can barely remember it.  At home again I make myself some curried chickpeas with carrots peas and onions and put it over whole wheat couscous.  It is delicious.  I take my bike and ride almost 10 miles standing up to ride into the strong head wind.  And later when I go upstairs to get my journal from my bedside, I feel the aching in my body.  It feels good.  Really good.  I get on the scales before my shower and have lost 8 pounds since I last weighed myself which was some weeks ago.  My underwear are feeling too big, along with my favorite shorts, so I know inches are gone too.  Yes.  I realize that hunger is like unwanted thoughts, if you just notice it and let it pass, it does.  So though I want a light beer, and a bag of popcorn I do not have it.  The longer I go without the better it feels.  Where once I might have had carrot cake twice on Sunday and twice today, I have only had a one inch wedge from the cake, and I feel proud as hell because it is my favorite.

I write in my journal about how painful it is to never have closure with my ex husband.  I know I know I keep beating this dead horse though it is a prehistoric one.  And its bones better served for paleontology than self abuse.  I acknowledge my fear that someone will do this to me again, abandon me with no words, just leave as though I am nothing more than a paper towel wadded up and thrown away.  Done.  Though I can say he told me I was charming and lovely and the best thing that ever happened to him, there was never any closure.  If that was true then why did you leave me.  And why was I so damned blind and missed all the cues until later when I held up a lamp and looked backwards and the truth loomed like a 50 foot vampire cloak extended.  I write about how all of this is making it so hard for me to maintain relationships with men.  I write about how really what I want more than anything is the pirate, whom it would appear does not want me anymore, because of my stupid fears and wanting to protect my bodhichitta, the soft part of me that is in everyone.  I write about how powerless it makes me feel to have this wound, to have no closure and how I use this now old news situation to allow myself to sabotage what matters to me, to crush my own bodhichitta.  This nonsense, will the pirate call me, won’t he, will he want to work this out or won’t he, and will I ever get over what the selfish arrogant F___face did to me, and is still making me do to myself over and over again ad nauseum, oh you see this is the litany of stupidity.  I expose it here for all to see like a corpse in a sky burial.  And I know the healthiest way to handle it is not to try and push it out, but instead to open it up and expose it so that it will decay in the natural cycle of nature.

I continue to mediate.  I must continue.

Buddhism · Zen Buddhism · Zen Center of Syracuse

I have returned to one.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100224103357.htm

 

I am wound like a spring about as tight as it will go.  POP! I hurt someone I love, POP! I have hurt myself.  My mind is out of control spinning, frantic.  Wounded, deeply, I am still grieving.  I don’t know it.  I wind myself up.  I cannot go on like this anymore.

Steps taken.  An old boyfriend, who is a personal trainer is my first call.  Help me I say.  I cannot go on like this.  He promises to help.  You can do this he says, judging from what you are doing now, it is some simple steps.  Try this, do this check back in with me in a few days, I will do what I can.  I am so grateful.

I return to one, I return to the Zen Center.  My mind is a cacophony.  I try hard to quiet it.  It will not hush.  Dokusan.  Shinge Roshi asks, where have you been? Why have you not made an appointment and talked to me about what is going on?  I weep in front of her.  You have been wounded deeply.  You are still grieving.  There is no timeline on grief.  Start where you are.  And continue to put your mind to your practice.  I know I say.  It has been the thing that has given me peace.  I know I have to return to it.  I tell her.  I messed up.  She gives me amazing advice.  And says, you have taken steps to make sure it never happens again,  he will see that you are sincere, and if he doesn’t well, he is not really worth it.  But he is, I say.  He really is.  But also I hear her.  I really hear her.  And I know her words are truth.

For a moment my mind is quiet and I feel peace.  I am so happy for it, though it is brief.  I know that practice will bring relief.

Warm loving hugs from dear friends.  Welcome back, we have missed you.  You look so good, your hair is so becoming, you look wonderful.   I know that practice will bring acceptance.

Buddhism · Musings · Nature · Yoga · Zen Buddhism · Zen Center of Syracuse

standing mountain pose

today as I oversee the children taking the test.  the standardized test.  the fear of god in us all, shaking if we mess up we lose our jobs., esl kids, asking what words mean, I cannot help you, translator only works in a few languages, the girl who carried her brother a 1000 miles her language isn’t there, she tries so genuinely, her little sister is afraid of my new hair, i tell her, its okay, just pretend i am ms. gregory’s sister, but just as nice and just as cool, later she says hello ms. gregory’s sister. hello i say, hello and i recieve her hug girl who was carried by her older brother, a 15 year old, who is succeeding famously in school, only been her what two years, it is not a testament to love but to persistence, perseverance, to fortitude, to inner strength, to the gift of an inner light

i wander around the room in figure eights, stopping in vision of the glass windowed door, making sure i am always visible, my shoulders ache, i stand tadasana standing like a mountain, waiting for the time to pass, strong, strong, strength of mind, strength of spirit, strength of non romantic love, strength of the endless waiting, later when you leave me, i am happy, it is easier this way, i didn’t want to hurt you even though you didn’t deserve my compassion, i still gave it, i think of osama, who has a family, and i am a mountain, i do not wish any creatures death, i do not celebrate the death, or the passing, i simply watch and observe, i can hear the wind in the soft needles of the pines, it is whispering, this probably won’t end well, i should learn to listen to such omens, i had them in bats at dusk from the beginning, misgivings,

standing here in mountain pose, the water droplets run and the small streamlets fall, the gullied streams babble into waterfalling brook, rushing river, endless delta, inland sea, crashing rapids into salty sea, i am standing tall, i am standing mountain pose, tomorrow i will go again to the zen center, tomorrow i will fall on the soft mat and zabuton and i will see that even as i mountain, i must meditate with my sangha, my community of mountains, all in disrepair, i am also, i think i might cry, i haven’t cried there is two years, i think i might be a single drop, it has rained enough these days,

i yearn for the sun,

i yearn for the quiet of my own breath

flowing in and out and in again,

i return to this,

standing mountain pose.

Buddhism · Music · Musings · Small Joys · Yoga · Zen Buddhism · Zen Center of Syracuse

World InterFaith Harmony Assembly of CNY

The first week of February is World Interfaith Harmony Week.  I attended this local celebration as a member of the Zen Center of Syracuse Hoen-Ji.  The celebration was held in the Bethany Baptist Church and included songs, poems, stories, prayers and dance from a number of traditions.   We all danced to a Hopi dance and chant that honored Mother Earth sponsored by the Dances of Universal Peace at the Society of Friends, heard the call to prayer and a story about the Prophet Mohammad, Peace Be Upon Him, and a song about the Five Pillars from the Islamic Society, a folksie song from the Christ Scientists, poems from the Jewish tradition, saw Bhutanese dancers and listened to songs in Pali that included names of Gods that I recognized, Shiva, Krishna, and some om shanti om shanti…..  heard a wonderful poem from the Pagan Community that had me wondering if I could find writings by Starhawk for my NOOK, heard a prayer of the Eucharist from the Catholic tradition which were at once familiar and limiting in my heart, songs from the Episcopals, a story from the Sikhs and Chanting from the Zen Center.  The program ended with prayers and song from a group of children from the Baha’i Faith.  They were sitting behind us and when the lovely toddler sat down she asked did I do it good?  I turned and told the girls they did a lovely job.  Their faces were beaming.  What sweet and pleasant children!

As I sat there I thought about my own faith and how it has grown.  Although a Buddhist in practice I believe strongly in an  all unifying power in the universe, some may call it God, I don’t know what to call it.  I was thinking earlier today about this Unitarian idea that our view of “God” is limited, we all think what we are seeing is the only view.  I thought even then we are looking through a shattered window and we have to squint our eye one eye and move just right to get a view and even then the view is distorted.  But all around us is this living energy and as humans we cannot really comprehend what it all is. Sitting there I felt as though all those faiths together in one room made it possible to assemble the pieces and I felt like it made it all seem so much more clear.  I felt the presence of divinity.  I also saw my own path the Presbyterian Sunday school, the Lutheran Sunday school and services, the Catholic confirmation, the obsession with all things Native American until I read that they resented white people trying to ascribe to their religion, the reading and passing interest in Wicca, the Baha’i friend who I met as I was playing with the Unitarian Universalist idea we talked about the similarities of the two traditions, the OM tattooed on my back and my yoga practice, the chants I listen to before I go to bed while I light a stick of incense and sit in quiet contemplation and my Zen practice.   All of this together and even though I do not even know what my questions are, I think that somewhere in all this religious questing there may be some answer, or at least some vision of the universe that is closer to the truth than I was at birth, or perhaps even farther.

Karen said at the beginning some comment about there not being an answer.  Sam joked and said 42, which made me laugh.  Then I said maybe there isn’t even a question.   Karen told me of her revelation of realizing this one thing.  And I nodded.  I think of this book Gateless Gate which I am struggling through, struggling to understand, it all seems so esoteric, but at this moment the idea of the Gateless Gate comes to me and I realize it is the same thing, there is no answer because there is no question.  Ask what is the answer and then ask what is the question.  The answer today is this church, this fellowship of people from all over the world and their relationships with the universe, call it what they will.  I realize that it is an accident me being here, but is it really?  I had contemplated Sesshin but decided that my aversion to cold and fear of driving in terrible weather and the horrendous hours I am working this school year would make it too much to bear.  Karen made a plea for people to chant with her in an email and I thought despite my continuing laryngitis that I should be there since so many of my Sangha are in Sesshin and I am after all a member and duty is part of the practice.  This morning as I was snowhoeing in the deep snow of Oswego’s Rice Creek, I regretted my decision, but obligation to my word won out the day.  And sitting there I realize that this was a blessing, this fellowship.  I feel a closeness and affinity to all of these present and to all those in similar meetings around the world today.  As war and revolt and protest clamors across the deserts, the oceans, the forests, the cities, the mountains, the sky and bounces through the atmosphere of our fine mother planet, I feel hope, I feel the light inside of me, shining and as the children said in their prayer we are all pearls in the shell of God.  The Sikh speaker removed his shoes in honor of these traditions and spoke of the hope that everyone in that room has of finding Peace.  I put my hands together, and I bow my head, then I lift my voice in song, and I am filled with joy.  The next time I remove my shoes to enter the Zendo, I will remember this day, and I will remove my shoes in honor of Peace and Harmony in the traditions of the world.

We all have our arms upraised, we all sit in prayer and meditaion, we all sing with joy and write poems and tell stories and put it all together all the traditions since the beginning of time, and still we have not gotten to the final moment when the answer is revealed to a question that cannot be asked.

Books · Buddhism · Great Quotes · Zen Buddhism · Zen Center of Syracuse

Beginner’s Mind

I have just started to read Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind y Shunryu Suzuki.  Although I have been doing yoga for 15 years, have studied Buddhism for more than 20 and have been practicing off and on for several years with a more recent in depth sitting practice, it is the first time I have read this book.  Since lately I don’t feel alot like writing, I am in an art mode, my expression seems to be coming from a place that is not verbal, my art comes pouring out of me, and I am revisiting and revising old paintings and have ideas for new I though I would take some time to explore this book.

I haven’t been practicing much meditation lately and it is showing.  I feel really stressed, I have been teaching yoga twice a week and practicing at home once or twice a week but I keep having this feeling of lack, of being a person who is missing something vital.  It is an overwhelming feeling.  The one thing I can say is that the internal work I have been doing is at least helping me to notice these feelings, even if it has not eliminated them.  It says that wisdom seeks wisdom, and yet an expert is too discerning to be open to possibilities.  It is in this original mind that we already have wisdom.  I think about this demand to know myself, to have this or to have that which in my case is not so much about having things (Amos Lee sings that life is not all about supply and demand) but sometimes I demand spiritual understanding, spiritual metaphors and spiritual meaning.  When none is forthcoming I feel lost.  I wonder if other people do this too?

It is the same though, this desire to  have your wants met, it is not the same as being thirsty and requiring water, or hungry and needing food, nor cold and needing shelter.  It is not about survival, it is about satisfying some mythical idea of what you think you should have.  When you get it are you really satisfied?  Is it really what you wanted?  Do you yearn for something new now?  Do you reminisce about what you once had.  This idea too that you are who you are, that your identity is somehow tied up in some random thing that you have grasped onto.  You may say you are not who you are without a can of Budweiser in your hand.  You are not who you are without that head of curly black hair.  That you are not who you are without the ability to read and to draw.  I said this the other day to a 3rd grader “What use is life if  you cannot read or make art?”  She said “Well blind people have some use for life but they cannot read or draw.”  This thing that you tie yourself, your identity, can all be torn from you.  Your demands on others, when they are not met you pout and feel unloved, uncared for.  The thing is that it just means your demands have not been met.  Nothing more. It is a self centered way of being.

We are a self centered culture.

We are a self centered species.

I wonder if it is possible to be earth centered?

Buddhism · Musings · Zen Buddhism · Zen Center of Syracuse

Finding Love

Skip ahead to minute 1:57 to hear the song.

As a child I had terrible self esteem.  I mean positively awful.  I don’t really know why.

I had terrible nightmares, I don’t really know why.  I remember some of them quite vividly even to this day.

I wish I could go back and watch myself to see what it was that made me into a person who felt small, little, unworthy, unwanted.

I have had the really good fortune to re-meet some  people who knew me then,  and who thought then and still do think that I am just great.  Odd how I never knew that.   One of these people is my  cousin John.  He has had a tough life.  Is surely not a perfect man, but we have talked alot over the last few weeks.  It is interesting to have him tell me what he thought of me when we first met, and the curious connection we have now.  I was actually really close to his sister Karen but he and I never talked much.  Now we talk all the time.  It is like Will in many ways.  A sense of complete acceptance for me.  As I am.

I laughed this morning as I thought about my closest friends whose names are William, John, James. I have so many people with these names that I have to preface them when I speak of them with their titles, my friend John, my cousin John.  And oddly enough it is the men in my life now.  The ones who are not interested in me as a life partner who adore me, who support my emotional life, who I can count on, it is these that help me to see myself a little differently.  They love me.  Just me, just as I am.

I go back to that sacred masculine that I instinctively turned to.  That Dr. Cross told me I needed to find inside of myself.  I find myself turning to these men to see what that means.  To be a man.  To be loved deeply by a man.  To be accepted by a man. No judgment involved.

I woke up thinking about this.  How I never had this in my life.  This feeling that I was loved on this level by anyone.

I know that the concept of non-attachment involves the idea that people and things leave us.  That is a basic truth, that you cannot hold on to the people that love us, that we love, that you cannot expect them to be there forever.  And that someday they will leave.  But there is this idea in my head that while you are with them you can gain strength from them.  They shore you up and teach you something about yourself.  You teach them something about themselves too, if the relationship is positive, and mutually supportive.  And even if it isn’t you give yourself with compassion and love.  They may suck up every last bit that you have at the moment, but it was given freely right?  Given freely. .

A change in my perspective that makes me realize, that I have found love, right here.  Where it has always been.