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Compassion's way

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Tuesday, 14 Sep 2021, 22:33

The Buddha once asked a king, "Suppose there are armies coming for you in all directions, crushing and killing everything in their path. There is no hope of escape from this impending doom. What would you do?"

The king said, "I would practise generosity, give, and be kind."

The Buddha praised his response, saying that was indeed the wisest thing any of us can do in that situation. Our deeds generate our karma, and that's what we take with us to our next existence.

For the king it was easy, but for some of us we don't have wealth or possessions to give away, so how do we give?

What is compassion's way? Is a question I have been mulling over and reflecting on for this past week or so.

Perhaps sometimes compassion's way is to remember the spiritual practise, other times to help another being in need, to get up and be of service to others, to practise loving-kindness and radiate that all around as you go about your day, maybe it is to be kind to yourself, to let go of something, maybe it is to have a moment of stillness, when we meditate we are not causing harm and this can be a way of giving, a Zen teacher said to me he thought my paintings were a way of giving. I had never thought that before, and that gave me something to reflect on.

How can we practise generosity and kindness? It seems there are a myriad different ways to do this, and when one thinks about it, one can find a way that fits with each moment.
 It got me thinking of all the different ways we can give. That's what matters in the end, the choices we make in each moment, and despite what the world does, how crazy and disturbing it gets, when that doom comes for us over the distant horizon, we can choose to be kind, to give, despite it all. This includes being kind to yourself as well, no room for judgement or shame, you are a being too. Unconditional love for all beings means just that, all beings. Be a friend to yourself as much as to others. 

The world just now feels a lot like the one in the story of the Buddha and the king. But whatever time in history, there is always an impending doom coming for us, we are all dieing after all, a doom none of us can escape, every body has an expiry date. Death is natural, when we die we should remember our good deeds, not the ones we feel shame for, so we should feel good about ourseves, happy that we learnt from any mistakes and grew. We should focus on our acts of giving, of kindness and love. We should remember the friendships and that both the good and bad times created the depth of connections we have. We want to die with a warm, loving, kind, generous, serene heart, as that is what will be the seed for our next existence. 

The hardest part sometimes is to remember. The word mindfulness means to remember, to keep something in mind. 
The five wise reflections are something the Buddha recommended people chant regularly to help them remember what really matters in this life:

The Five Wise Reflections

"I am of the nature to age; I should not be surprised by old age.

I am of the nature to become sick; I should not be surprised by ill health.

I am of the nature  to die; I should not be surprised by death.

Everything I hold dear, and everyone I love, will become separated from me due to the nature of change, due to impermanence.

I am the heir of my karma, owner of my karma, born of my karma, related to my karma, abide supported by my karma. Therefore should I frequently recollect that whatever karma I do for good or for Ill, of that will I be the heir."

We can also practise compassion for our future self. What we practise now we become. 


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Yogi mind

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Wednesday, 8 Sep 2021, 23:46
Lovely day, but still in quarantine so can't go for a walk. Feeling much better, less achey, coughing a lot less, although head feels like it spent the night in a tumble dryer. 

Meditated for an hour, it took a long time for the mind to settle, but eventually it did and there was a blissful moment of stillness. Was captivated at one point by a robin singing in the branches of the bush next to my open window.

I am learning that a yogi (meditator) is someone who explores many different states of mind, some pleasant, others very unpleasant, but each has something important to teach, and an energy to learn about that can be helpful, (if one remembers to be mindful and to practise and investigate).

Life doesn't always play ball with our preferences, so it is good to develop some equanimity towards the world, towards pleasure and pain.

Sometimes it is a relief not to think, to just silently pay attention to the sensations of the present moment as they rise and fall in the body. If you do it for long enough, you can let go of liking/disliking and get very still and unattached and feel like you are just a flame burning in each moment.

The Buddha said that Nibbana is not the end of the mind, it is what fire becomes when it is no longer held by its fuel.

 




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Undercurrents

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Wednesday, 1 Sep 2021, 21:27




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Sea Nimitta

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Sometimes when meditating and one becomes still enough, a nimitta will appear. Nimitta is a Pali word that means: sign. A sign you are getting into a deeper state of concentration/samhadi and close to absorption. The nimitta is a mind generated phenomena, and varies in appearance and behaviour depending on what is being used for a meditation object . It can involve any of the senses, but for me mostly appears as a visual or tactile sensation. Once the nimitta is clear and strong enough it can then be used as a meditation object itself, which can then take one into even deeper states of stillness. There is often an otherworldly feeling that accompanies a nimitta and they can be very weird but in a good way, and certainly nothing to be afraid of. These deeper states of stillness feel very freeing and healing and one can encounter what is known as original mind which is beautiful beyond description.


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Red Alert

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Saturday, 14 Aug 2021, 00:20


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Rockpool

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Thursday, 5 Aug 2021, 14:39

 I am finding words increasingly dissatisfying to use, it feels good to be silent and just observe phenomenon without the internal commentary. It is so easy to get tangled up in thoughts and our stories about what we think is really happening (which are often wrong). It can be difficult to untangle oneself from them.

Words are good to start with, if one can get some degree of control over the thinking process and keep it directed towards just one thing, it can be used to talk oneself into a more subtle state of mind that goes beyond words, and using the breath as a tool as well to help energise and relax the body, one can glide on the momentum into deeper states of mind.

 To switch off thinking feels very good, in fact I wonder if most of the suffering we all feel comes from thinking too much, the brain is always trying to analyse everything, solve everything, do this, do that, the wanting, whether that's something you desire, or wanting things to change, the guilt, the chasing, the pain, the suffering -- belieiving that which you are wanting will make you happy and your life isn't complete without it.

Thoughts and words can be tyrranical, and keep us imprisoned in our heads, yet thoughts aren't all there is to the mind, the mind is much bigger than our thoughts. It feels so good to switch them off and go somewehere beyond the internal dialogue - fly free from all the wanting.

An abstract painting of a rockpool.



Prints available at: https://lnkd.in/drPth84D


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Mother Tree

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Still studying and learning about computing, just completed and passed a Java module with the Open University. I guess realistically getting a job in computing is my best chance of earning an income, but painting will always be my first love.


https://www.ArtPal.com/richie?i=216964-5&r=216964

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Do plants have mind?

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Saturday, 11 Sep 2021, 22:11

The intelligence of trees:
https://getpocket.com/explore/item/never-underestimate-the-intelligence-of-trees

Some more articles about plants that are interesting:
http://nautil.us/blog/plants-have-an-ear-for-music
http://nautil.us/issue/84/outbreak/guided-by-plant-voices
http://nautil.us/issue/78/atmospheres/the-rainforest-is-teeming-with-consciousness

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The five wise reflections

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Saturday, 11 Sep 2021, 22:15


I am of the nature to get ill,
I have not gone beyond illness.

I am of the nature to age,
I have not gone beyond ageing.

I am of the nature to die,
I have not gone beyond dying.

Everything I have which is beloved and pleasing
will be taken from me.

Whatever I do, for good or for ill,
I will inherit the results of that (karma).

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Self compassion

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Saturday, 11 Sep 2021, 22:20


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Mindfulness of the body

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Saturday, 11 Sep 2021, 22:29


A talk about meditation on the body and the four elements (earth, water, fire, air).

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New blog post

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Saturday, 11 Sep 2021, 22:28
Not ordained with any Buddhist group; but I like listening to and reading different teachings on Buddhism. Practising can be challenging, but I do the best I can to fit it in with my circumstances and the changing moments of the world around me.

I don't mind being a lay practitioner though, I also prefer to work at my own pace. One interesting side-effect from the pandemic has being monasteries putting out virtual retreats for lay people to follow (instead of the usual physical retreats). 

I am learning we all have these same minds, but our bodies and brains are wired a bit differently and we all have unique karma, so no two people are conditioned in the exact same way.

It is a long path to liberation, and it is helpful to accept that, and realise that being a meditator is something you practise throughout your life all the way to the last breath. So it is also about learning resilience and to keep on practising through the good and the bad days; however long it takes to skillfully train this mind. Could be lifetimes.

It is also good to remember to smile at others, (obviously in the right context) a genuine smile is like a light that can make someone else's day. Sometimes I forget I'm not the only one lost in my head. We all have problems, we all long to feel peace, for the Earth to be at peace, for an end to the disconnection with nature and one another, an end to the divisive delusion of self and other.

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Sea breeze

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Saturday, 11 Sep 2021, 22:31

An image of an abstract painting (done by me)


Can also be a flower deva...

An image of an abstract painting

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Wood sprite

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Saturday, 11 Sep 2021, 22:37

An abstract painting by me

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Metta sutta (teaching on loving-kindness)

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Saturday, 11 Sep 2021, 22:36

A picture of an abstract painting - by me

This is what should be done
By one who is skilled in goodness,
And who knows the path of peace:
Let them be able and upright,
Straightforward and gentle in speech,
Humble and not conceited,
Contented and easily satisfied,
Unburdened with duties and frugal in their ways,
Peaceful and calm and wise and skillful,
Not proud and demanding in nature.
Let them not do the slightest thing
That the wise would later reprove.
Wishing:
In gladness and in safety,
May all beings be at ease!
Whatever beings there may be,
Whether they are weak or strong, omitting none,
The great or the mighty, medium, short, or small,
The seen and the unseen,
Those living near and those far away,
Those born and to-be-born –May all beings be at ease!

Let none deceive another,
Or despise any being in any state.
Let none through anger or ill-will
Wish harm upon another.
Even as a mother protects with her life,
Her child, her only child,
So with a boundless heart
Should one cherish all living beings.
Radiating kindness over the entire world:
Spreading upwards to the skies,
And downwards to the depths,
Outwards and unbounded,
Free from hatred and ill-will.
Whether standing or walking, seated or lying down,
Free from drowsiness,
One should sustain this recollection.
This is said to be the sublime abiding.
By not holding to wrong views,
The pure-hearted one,
Having clarity of vision,
Being freed from all sense desires,
Is never again born into this world.


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New blog post

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Sunday, 12 Sep 2021, 12:28

I think I need a break from the media for a bit. It is doing my head in. All of it, the mainstream and the alternative media. Can't bare any more of it, is just making me feel fight or flight, which is bad for the immune system. I don't know who is telling me the truth. They have all lied about things before, and I don't trust the government. There really is an information war going on at the moment and I think I have had enough, need to look after my mind.

Going to have a media blackout for a few days, will try to sit outside in the garden without any technology, need to get away from the media mind-games and fear. Let go and meditate in the fresh air with my plants and animal friends, try to find some inner peace. I've had enough of it all, depressing the rubber duck out of me.

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New blog post

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Sunday, 12 Sep 2021, 17:20

Of course I don't have a problem with Jesus, he seemed like a noble person, telling people to love one another is good advice, how much less suffering and better karma there would be in the world if people did this. I don't believe that there is an eternity in Hell for not being a Christian though. That way of thinking is like an unhappy prison for the mind, and the sooner people get out of the delusion of superstition and dogma the better. The name of the Hebrew God is: 'I am'  Perhaps there's a clue right there. When we search the depth of our being and ask ourselves who we are, the answer is usually 'I just am. ' Perhaps that is the omnipresent God that is in everything. We all have an 'I am'. Maybe that is what Jesus meant when he said I and the father are one. Who knows? I certainly don't know. It may be one of those questions that can never have a satisfactory answer. One thing I do know is supreme being or not, people don't get sent to Hell because they practise critical thinking. People shouldn't be afraid to ask questions about anything. The only way to learn is to ask questions and do your own research, find out what is true from your own practise. Experience is the ultimate teacher. Others that have walked the path can help as guides, but you still must walk the path yourself. Don't believe something blindly just  because someone says it is so, test it as thoroughly as you need, be scientific and discover the truth for yourself. Be your own guru. Your own master. Don't let another tell you what to think or  believe.

 

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Enlightenment... not easy

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Sunday, 12 Sep 2021, 12:41

Man, I don't know how the Buddha did it. The spiritual masters make it look and sound so simple. But in practise it feels far from that. My mind is challenging and instead of getting enlightenment, I seem to just get crazier... I'll keep trying though, keep picking myself up when I fail and try try again... it is the only consolation I can feel in this mad world, that therein is the path to liberation, the great masters all say there is a way out, that it is possible. And what a motivation for practise death is, the reminder that  every body on Earth has an expiry date.


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Guilt

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Sunday, 12 Sep 2021, 12:44

Watch out for guilt. Many of us in the West are brought up with guilt complexes. Guilt is no help at all, let that shit go.

The past is dead, learn what you can from it, but don't drag that corpse around with you.


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New blog post

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Sunday, 12 Sep 2021, 12:48

I think I am tired of this world. The violence, sickness, suffering, dirty crooked politicians, programmed TV-eye opinions, egoic delusions, ridiculous flags and wars on this, wars on that, and the guilt... oh God the guilt, we are constantly being made to feel guilty about one thing or another, from just being different in some way, to the shame of not being able to reach the lofty heights of the rat-race. The next thing we are lacking advertised by invisible data miners... and in religion, more guilt... more delusion.. more shame and heavy concrete blocks to carry up the mountain, more fear, confusion and programming. 

Can anyone really break free of this? 

Is mind itself the prison?

Why did life start? What are we? Why does the body have an expiry date? Why all this striving for something which doesn't last? 

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The Goddess

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Sunday, 12 Sep 2021, 12:50

Had this vivid dream of being in possession of a magical pebble.

I skimmed it across the water and each time it skipped it grew larger and larger until it became an island with ancient Aztec-style ruins on it. Me and some companions went to explore the island. We found an entrance to an underground tunnel and entered it. Whilst down there we accidently activated a secret entrance that held a sarcophagus, with horror we watched it  open and a female zombie with glowing eyes emerge. She was immensely powerful and terrifying to behold. She butchered all my companions but for some reason spared me and when I was the last person standing, she changed from the form of a zombie to a beautiful self-assured Goddess. She led me out of the underground tunnels to the top of the island, where she stood by the entrance to a cave. She did not seem to want to harm me, in fact she seemed quite protective and motherly towards me. And she had a strong sense of the wild about her, reminded me of the feeling of connection and kinship I feel with nature and other species of life.

Anyway I had no idea what any of that could mean, but it left a strong impression on me. I researched ancient goddesess, from all cultures. And found out some amazing stuff about how humans used to live in a matriarchal society. And it was women who invented agriculture and were leaders during the Neolithic times. The garden of eden story symbolises this, the move away from being hunter-gatherers to farmers.

 Women would often die in childbirth, and those that did would be venerated as fallen heroes. The neolithic peoples worshipped the Goddess. Silbury hill for example took 400 years to build and has stood for over 4000 years. A symbol of the ancient Goddess in the shape of a breast. 

 Things changed roughly around the time of ancient Greece, things became more and more patriarchal, and women became suppressed and demeaned; at the same time the natural world also started to become oppressed. Nature became seen as something to be dominant over, something to exploit and control. The idea of ownership developed, not just of the land, but also of people. Something which still continues to this day.

 Anyway, after much digging I finally found the Goddess from my dream. She was an Aztec goddess. Portrayed sometimes in their art as a frightening zombie-like figure. It is all symbolic though, she was actually quite benevolent, the frightening zombie side to her nature symbolises her consuming our misdeeds/impurities, so we can become pure enough to travel onward. The companions in my dream must have symbolised my impurities. The cave she stood beside, I think symbolised the womb. Ancient caves almost always symbolised the womb. And perhaps I am meant to enter it to become reborn, or maybe it means the world is about to be reborn. Perhaps the cave is the safest place to be in these turbulent times, a place to change, develop and grow into something new.

I dunno, I am maybe reading too much into this dream,  left a strong impression on me though and was odd that I would dream of a Goddess I had never heard of before and find out she was based on an actual ancient mythology. Cool dream anyway... but perhaps I am reading too much into it. 

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New blog post

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Sunday, 12 Sep 2021, 14:00

Sorry for all the spiritual stuff. I know it isn't everyone's cup of tea, but then noone has to read this.

 I guess I just don't feel much hope for the future. Feels like the world is ending. The oceans are dying, the forests are burning, the insects are dying, many species are going extinct. The rise of the right wing fascists and the surveillance state. The loss of welfare and worker's rights, loss of human rights next, and the misery of low wage crap jobs, working long hours in sweatshop conditions, suffering from lack of sleep, and despite working so hard having to survive on food banks is the experience of many. And when the shit really hits the fan, there will be a refugee crisis unlike anything the earth has known, worse than the one even now. 

I don't feel much hope for this world, and it causes me to want to escape and look deep within for solutions and freedom from all this madness and oppression.

This world is so fucked man. Our poor kids having to inherit this hell.

The only positive I can find is that this amount of suffering makes the incentive to become enlightened much more appealing. A grand opportunity to become awakened for everyone in these times, and there's so much spiritual knowledge at our fingertips, more than at any other time in history, that is something at least.


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The Witness

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Sunday, 12 Sep 2021, 14:03

(This is something I need to remember for 2020)

The idea of being a person (a personality with likes and dislikes) is just a construct of the mind. Your ego, social class, race, beliefs, purpose, ideas and opinions, they are all just constructs of the mind. What appears and disappears is not real. The one thing consistent through all experience is the one who is the seer, the silent observer, the watcher. To discover the truth about who you are, ignore the constructs of the mind and find out who the seer is.


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Equanimity

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Sunday, 12 Sep 2021, 14:05

'When we mindfully observe and accept both the situation and our mind's reaction to it, equanimously and without judgement, then the mind will remain unified.' 

quote - (Culadasa: The mind illuminated)

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Murmurations

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Sunday, 12 Sep 2021, 14:08

I am depressed at the moment. It is a struggle each day just to get out of bed and do anything. My energy levels are low. Studying is difficult, my cognitive abilities are getting worse and I am finding reading difficult, constantly have to read and re-read the same paragraph for the information it contains to eventually sink in, and even then I am not sure it has. Starting to doubt if I have what it takes to finish this degree. I'll keep going though...

It could be this dark time of year, I find November a difficult month. I feel like a hedgehog that wants to go hibernate somewhere, maybe humans should hibernate, that would save energy and resources and maybe help the planet not die from over-exploitation.

We got some cool starling murmurations here, look really amazing, and when they pass overhead you can hear their collective wing-beats.

There are some that think everything is conscious, even molecules and atoms, that it is a natural consequence of an interconnected Interdependent form. Meaning every level of reality could be conscious from atoms, to molecules, to cells, to neurons, to a human. And consciousness could even go beyond that, to perhaps a family, a neighbourhood, town, city, nation, the Internet, an eco-system, biome, planet, solar system, galaxy, the whole universe might be conscious.

A lot of things in reality are like fractals.

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