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)