Saturday, March 27, 2010

Meditate on Nothing

Meditate on Nothing

Meditate on nothing? Sounds like a contradiction. A wonderful book by Diana St. Ruth, called "A Guide to Buddhist Sitting Meditation" explains it well. Find a suitable place for meditation: quiet, peaceful, most importantly, intentional. Sit comfortably; arms in lap, palms up; eyes closed or half-closed. Breath in, breath out; counting silently to yourself; "One". In and out, count "Two". Breath naturally, not trying to control yourself in anyway. When you reach Ten, begin again. Most likely, you will become distracted by sensations, thoughts and noises. Acknowledge them and dismiss them quickly, beginning again at one. If you mindlessly go beyond ten, begin again. So you are intentionally meditating on nothing. Some find it helpful to stare at a gently moving object, such as a plume of incense smoke, a candle flame (be sure it is far enough away as to not hurt your eyes) or your own abdomen. While learning this technique, I preferred to stare at a weeping willow tree blowing in the wind. There was one visible from my mediation spot.

You will be surprised how much chatter is going on in your head. (or perhaps you will not) Make no judgment about what is happening with your mediation. It is neither good nor bad. It is, what it is; just so. It is perfect. It may be weeks or months before you will experience a moment when there is space between your thoughts. You of course, being human, will become so excited, you will distract yourself with thoughts of rejoicing and need to dismiss those and begin again. Then, in your trying very hard to re-capture the moment, may be too distracted to find the "Nothing" again during that meditation session. Dismiss it, it means nothing.

The counting to ten, is merely an exercise. Soon your ability to tap into calmness and concentration will develop. Move on when you feel it is time. You may be able to reach this state (of a quiet mind) while involved in any and all activities; washing dishes, running, walking, or taking a few moments to sit in the sun. For me, the natural world; trees, birds, flowers, wind, sun, water, rain, leaves, new growth, etc, are all sources of great power and peace thr
ough which I can access calmness and concentration.
Take time to listen to what is said without words, to obey the law too subtle to be written, to worship the unnameable and to embrace the unformed. Lao-TsuBe ever mindful, throughout the twenty-four hours of the day, to apply yourselves to the study of the Unthinkable. Daito Kokushi

A Monk asked Yueh-shan, "What does one think of while
"One thinks of not-thinking," the Master replied.
"How does one think of not-thinking?" the monk asked.
"Without thinking," the Master said.

Zen Mondo

As someone in chronic pain, I highly recommend a book, or a book on CD called, "Journey Into Healing", by Depok Chopra. It is extremely practical and includes a guide to mindfulness meditation. The CD only runs about an hour. Listening to it during a rest, is a fantastic way to both relax and learn to meditate . The spoken words are intermixed with short interludes of New-age type music.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Horribly Bumpy Sidewalks, fake cobblestones!

Imitating outdated is sort of like how Radio Shake began making record players that look like old fashioned radios. Strange, really strange. But here is the big question, and I am sure that mothers with strollers, bicyclers, those in electric wheelchairs and other mobility devices are wondering, "WHY DO THE SIDEWALKS HAVE TO BE SO BUMPY, AND WHY DO BUILDERS NEED TO MAKE THE PAVEMENT LOOK LIKE OLD FASHIONED COBBLESTONE???" Does this make any sense at all? When I was a child, sidewalks were made out of large slabs of slate. Hence they had separations between the squares, because really, "how big could a slab of slate be, and still hang together?" Now the sidewalks are made of cement, but for some unknown reason, even though for the most part, they are one long piece of cement, the builders feel they must divide them up in big squares. This way the cement looks similar to the slate sidewalk squares of yester-year, (except that they are cement, and sort of white-beige). Now they are are unnecessarily bumpy, very, very bumpy; teeth rattling, bone-jarring, bumpy. I could really do without the separations. I do realize that from time to time there are actual separations, where a new slab of concrete is poured. Fine, it cannot be helped. But to add divisions unnecessarily, seem insane.

Along the same lines, many of the outdoor mall areas seem to think folks will spend more money if the road looks like it was laid in the 1800's. So they shape the concrete into fake cobblestones. If you are in an electric wheelchair, as I am, this is excruciatingly painful. Yesterday I was at a mall that thought it would look interesting to put fake cobblestones on all of their handicapped ramps at each corner! Where is the sense in this???? It boggles my mind. When I got home yesterday, I had to crawl into bed. It took me two hours to stop vibrating from being bounced around so violently.

What can be done? Does anyone have a suggestion?

Friday, March 5, 2010

Thought for the Day

A month behind closed doors,
forgotten books, remembered, clear again.
Poems come like water to the pool,
welling up and out from perfect silence.
(Yuan Mei)

Friday, February 26, 2010

Between the Two, My Life Flows

Wisdom Tells me I am nothing;
love tells me I am everything.
Between the two, my life flows.

Indian proverb

In a certain sense Zen is to feel Life,
Instead of feeling something about life.

Alan Watts

Never forget to breath. Throughout the day, I discover that I have been holding my breath; surviving on the minimum amount of oxygen. I have yawning episodes, I feel sleepy, exhausted, bored. My brain, my muscles, my organs are slowly dying from lack of oxygen. There is an abundance of it around me, and yet I am not making use of it. Several times a day, in all kinds of weather I walk my dog. It is during these times I become conscious of my body position, abdomen, and lungs. I hold my upper body erect, draw air in deeply through my nose. I become aware of the smell of the earth, trees, lake, rain, decomposing leaves. I become aware. I pull my shoulders back and breath in again and again as we walk and wonder where my senses have been all day. They have been shut off, turned down, tuned into a computer; all eyes and frontal lobe. Family members wander in to speak to me but I smile and give them no real attention. I cannot stop what I am doing or the thought will be lost. Where am I living? Between wisdom and love, between feeling something about life and feeling LIFE...smelling life...hearing life...knowing life...

This is not our practice life...This is our real life.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Meditate on This

Meditation Quotes

My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble minds. That deeply emotional conviction of the presence of a superior reasoning power, which is revealed in the incomprehensible universe, forms my idea of God. - Albert Einstein (1875-1955)

When religion grows in age, faith turns into dogma, and experience is replaced by book-knowledge, virtue by adherence to rules, devotion by ritual, meditation by metaphysical speculation. The time is then ripe for a rediscovery of truth and a fresh attempt to give it expression in life.


The aim of living is life itself. -Goethe

Chao-chou asked: “What is the Tao?”
Nan-chuan, his master, said: “Your ordinary mind is the Tao.”
“But how can one return to harmony with it?” Chao-chou asked.
“Simply by intending to, you deviate.”
“But if one doesn’t intend, how can one know it?”
“The Tao,” said the master, “belongs neither to knowing nor to not knowing. Knowing is false understanding. Not knowing is blind ignorance. When you really understand the Tao, it is like the empty sky. Why drag in right and wrong?” -ZEN MONDO

The birds have vanished into the sky,

And now the last cloud drains away.

We sit together, the mountain and me,

Until only the mountain remains, -Li Po

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Living With Pain


Pain …so much pain

No level!!

Puking Pain-

Spinning pain-

in my muscles-cells

Bones, joints, skin.

Every movement breath touch-filled with pain.

Even the silence and stillness throbbing with pain;

Confusing pain, hopeless pain, lonely pain,

unending pain, confounding pain,

cold, stabbing, burning, searing,

ripping, tearing, crushing,

brittle, frightening,



Fiend, that has been chasing me these long years;

robbing me, cheating me, tricking me,

humbling me, torturing me,

teaching me, strengthening me.

Pain, patiently moving through each element of my body,

crumpling me like tossed and useless aluminum foil,

and molding me into a swan.

You shall not have me.

by gcmoss 10/18/09

Throughout history, humans have always had to fight for their little patch of blue sky. Their patch of land, their woman, their man, their cave, their life. True the enemies of the past had fangs and then spears and then hatchets. Now we have the dangers of stress, drugs, guns, cars and even ink and red tape.

For some of us our own bodies are the enemy. We are torn in a struggle with no place to focus our anger and frustration.

What do we do when our own bodies betray us? The mind and the body cannot be at war; hurling insults and rude comments. Nor is it helpful to give up completely. It is not like humans to relinquish control so easily. But in reconciliation, mind and body can be at peace; facing the onslaught as a united front. How this peace is achieved, is different for each person. I recommend meditation, support of a wise medical doctor and work with a counselor specifically trained to assist those in pain. Even with all those supporting, it may not be enough.

I haven't always appreciated the 12 step slogan, " One day at a time." When I first heard it, I thought it was trite and meaningless. But I have come to a understand the wisdom. This day has enough trouble, or pain in it. I will just determine to make it through this day. Tomorrow is another day. I will face that day when it comes. Worrying about it now, is pointless.

My pain is caused by severe fibromyalgia and arthritis (plus a few other not so fun things thrown in for good measure). It has been part of my life for 30 years, maybe more. I can't think of a time when I did not have trouble keeping up physically with other people my age. Everything seemed like a struggle. I used to love to hike and go on adventures through the woods, two things I can no longer do. I have an electric wheelchair now, so I can go on long nature "walks" with my dog. As long as the path is paved, I am fine. It really is a treat to have that mobility back again. I can use the chair for museums or concerts and feel safe and not be in pain. It allows me to be completely independent in the house and surrounding area. I can do the laundry, dishes, straighten up, walk the dog, visit friend in the neighborhood, shop locally etc.

If anyone wants to ask me questions about it, feel free. I will be honest about the pros and cons.

I have a busy few days coming up, so I may not post. But I will check in. Have a good weekend.