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Get ready

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Tuesday, 21 Dec 2021, 22:22


Opening to the higher states of consciousness:



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Cannabis is medicine

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Friday, 24 Dec 2021, 22:13


The research that says cannabis causes psychosis and schizophrenia is weak. It is just a modern day slant on the 'reefer madness' propaganda from the 1930s. The truth is cannabis can be helpful for people with schizophrenia and other mental health problems, the reason being it contains cannabinoids that are natural anti-psychotics (not just CBD, the whole plant is needed, as the cannabinoids work together synergistically). Which is why people with schizophrenia use cannabis a lot, and why there is a statistical correlation between cannabis and schizophrenia. It isn't because the cannabis is causing schizophreia, it is because many people with schizophrenia and other mental health problems are self-medicating with it as it brings relief from their symptoms. There was a tutor on a college course who had schizophrenia and he would have a spliff and it would make him feel much better and calmer afterwards.

Anyone who has done basic maths, knows that in statistics correlation does not mean causation. For example there is a correlation between high shoe sizes and intelligence, but it is not because people with big feet are more intelligent than those with small feet. It is because adults have bigger feet than children. Politicians and the media often misuse statistics to push forward bad policy. And one should always use critical thinking when it comes to statistics, especially now in this age of big data and data science.

 Cannabis is a damn site less harmful and unpleasant than the nasty pharmaceutical anti-psychotics that are pushed on patients. There's a good reason why people come off their meds and don't want to take them anymore, it's because they are fricking horrible, many decide they would rather have the psychosis than the horrible side-effects and locked-in depression that comes with prescription anti-psychotics. Rather than a treatment, these meds feel like a punishment. Not to mention how much harm these prescription meds can cause the body, something cannabis does not do, it is harmless on the body, in fact it is impossible to overdose and die from consuming too much cannabis. The only way cannabis can kill you is if a block the size of a piano was dropped on your head from a great height. 

 The truth is government scientists/researchers aren't really scientists at all, they are just paid 'Yes' men in white lab coats, whose job is to invent research and nonsense to fit a government's agenda and point of view, they use confirmation bias deliberately so they can justify dodgy policy to the public. And any scientist who goes against what the government wants to see in the research is fired by the government. If you don't believe me, research what happend to professor David Nutt for evidence of this. I ask you dear reader, how is this science?

 I know for a fact cannabis helps me. It calms me down, improves my mood, helps me concentrate better, helps my memory, helps me get my work done, helps me sleep, helps me get out of bed, helps me eat, gives me pain relief from chronic physical pain, helps me exercise, stops me feeling stressed and het up about stuff, and perhaps most importantly, helps me feel pleasure and joy again, something I struggle to feel without it. Cannabis greatly improves my quality of life. It is also fast acting, providing almost  instant relief, which is great for agitation. In fact I never feel suicidal on cannabis, it takes those thoughts and feelings away, but when I don't have it and go without, the suicidal thoughts come back. I think it is because life without cannabis is just too unbearable for me. I just feel like life isn't worth it without. I feel too much pain both emotionally and physically and it is frustrating knowing that smoking/vaping a bit of cannabis is all I need to do to fix this, and makes me angry as well knowing it is unfairly prohibited by an ignorant brainwashed society and jobsworths that keep denying me my right to this natural medication. It is cruel and unfair.

One thing I know is the mind does not work well when it is in constant pain both physically and mentally, it is impossible to get enlightened when one is in pain. The Buddha even said that, and he advised folks to take medicine for pain relief as he knew pain does not lead to enlightenment. He tried the path of trauma and pain for years, and it didn't lead to enlightenment, just brought him to the brink of death. It made his mind miserable and in the end he gave up on trying to get enlightened through deprivation and pain. Austerity and austere practises are useless, they just depress the mind and one cannot reach enlightenment that way. Here's a fun fact, cannabis would have grown wild in India at the time of the Buddha, and would have almost certainly been used as medicine, people back then would not have had a problem with it at all; the Buddha himself may well have used it on occasion, especially as he suffered from chronic back pain. It is only in these tyrranical modern times where it has been demonised and suppressed unfairly.

 Cannabis is medicine and I think it should be freely available to all who need it without prescription. And if people want to use it recreationally, so what? Let them, they're adults, we don't need a deluded hypocritical nanny state dictating what people can and cannot do, it is unpleasant living in a nanny state, we are grown-ups, let us choose; besides cannabis is the least harmful of all intoxicants.

 I am angry and fed up with these bad laws that criminalise it. Especially now other countries around the world have woken up to its benefits and legalised it. It is about time the UK did the same in my opinion. We are becoming more and more like a backward country.

 I also suspect the reason it is kept illegal is because of lobbying from the alcohol industry and pharmaceutical companies who don't want the competition. Alcohol is the most destructive drug of all (fact), even more destructive than heroine. Yet it is legal and even pushed and encouraged. When I am online I get  constantly bombarded with advertisements for it. And as someone who has had problems with alcohol addiction in the past this is not helpful. This advertising is an example of how these algorithms governing things can get things catastrophically wrong. Now I am not calling for a ban on alcohol, even though I know first-hand of its harms, I will never tell others what they can or cannot use, and I would never dream of stopping others from enjoying it. It is their life, they're adults, their choice. I just wish all the drinkers out there would also respect my right as an adult to choose to use cannabis, especially as it is much less harmful and medicinal.

 This brainwashed society is hypocritical and I am tired of the stigma, which is based on deliberate lies and ignorance. And is why I am speaking out. It is time things changed.

And change they will, the karma is ripening, and this government and any future government that continues to uphold this bad law will not last, their own karma and the energetic momentum of truth will bring them down. Legalising cannabis is one way for them to bring some good karma for themselves.

Free the herb!

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Melody Day

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Tuesday, 21 Dec 2021, 00:12

Melody day, what have I done? Ah
Now our hearts are locked up tight again
And when I pray it's all begun
And when you smile it melts away again.

Melody day, where have you gone? Ooh
All the hope I had has gone away
And what we had has come undone
And when you smile it melts away again.
" [Caribou - Melody Day]





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The metta sutta

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This is what should be accomplished by one who is wise.

Who seeks the good and has obtained peace.

Let one be strenuous, upright, and sincere.

Without pride, easily content and joyous.

Let one not be submerged by the things of the world.

Nor lay upon oneself the burden of riches.

Let one's senses be controlled.

Let one be wise but not puffed up.

And let one not desire great possessions even for one's family.

Let one do nothing that is mean.

Or that this wise would later reprove.

May all beings be happy!

May they be joyous and live in safety!

All beings. Whether weak or strong.

In high, middle, or low realms of existence.

Great or small.

Visible or invisible.

Near or far.

Born or to be born.

May all beings be happy!

Let none deceive another.

Nor despise any being in any state.

Let none through anger or hatred.

Wish harm upon another.

Even as a mother at the risk of her life;

Watches over and protects her only child.

So too with a boundless heart should one cherish all living things.

Suffusing with love the entire world.

Above and below and all around without limit.

So let one cultivate an infinite goodwill toward the whole world.

Whether standing or walking, seated or lying down. 

Throughout all one's waking hours.

Let one practise the way with gratitude.

Not holding to wrong views.

Endowed with insight.

Freed from senses appetites.

One who realises the way will be freed from the duality of birth and death.


Permalink 1 comment (latest comment by Gill Burrell, Sunday, 19 Dec 2021, 13:59)
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The metta path

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Friday, 24 Dec 2021, 22:09

Metta means: loving-kindness,friendliness, joviality, benevolence, altruism, goodwill.

Traditionally you start training by practising it for yourself. By becoming your own best friend and being kind and compassionate toward yourself. Which is not easy. Once you have got the hang of practising metta for yourself, you start practicing it for others, usually in this order: someone you love, then a neutral person, then an enemy, and then all beings everywhere, radiating the energy outwards in all directions. It is an energetic practise, the first of the four Brahma viharas.

There are lots of tricks one can use to get metta going. Sometimes the sea brings it up in me or the singing of a songbird, even fresh air and a nice breeze can do it. One can also use imagination to invoke the feeling, such as imagining a famous spiritual figure like Jesus, Avalokitishvara, Maitreya, a saint, or the Buddha.

The idea is to invoke the feeling of metta within and then keep it going. Cultivate it, strengthen and increase it.

Saying phrases can help, such as "May I be happy. May I be safe and well. May I be serene and boundless. May I be relieved of suffering. May I be at peace." (Obviously just replace the word 'I' for the name of a person or 'all beings' when practising metta for others). Make your own words and phrases up that help you generate it. In time you won't need words to invoke it, it becomes a warm sensation in the heart area that radiates outwards. 

Sometimes praying for those you love can invoke it. When I ask angels and devas to help with stuff, that can invoke it. Memory can invoke it, most of us have experienced metta at some point in our life, popping an ecstasy pill (MDMA) at a rave and feeling pure empathy and love for everyone is a memory that helps me invoke it at times. Metta (once it builds up momentum and gets going) can feel a bit like that in the first jhana (first stage of meditative absorption). And gradually settles, becoming more tranquil, serene and still, till it reaches equanimity.

The four Brahma viharas are: Metta (loving-kindness), Karuna (compassion), Mudita (joy in another's happiness), Upekka (equanimity).

Karuna and Mudita both come from Metta. Karuna is loving-kindness for one who is suffering. And Mudita is loving-kindness towards one who is happy.

For example, today I saw my crow friends when out walking, this brought up metta within me, I felt compassion for them so gave them some peanuts 🥜 this made them happy and I felt mudita as I watched them enjoy eating them. Then I continued my walk and feeling satisfied and content in the crow's happiness I settled into equanimity.

Metta and equanimity compliment each other like a knife and fork.

Metta, Karuna, and Mudita can take one up to the third jhana (third stage of meditative absorption). The fourth jhana is always equanimity regardless of the meditation object used, so it is said that metta, compassion, mudita can only take you to the third jhana, but to reach the fourth jhana you have to let go of them, as the fourth is pure equanimity. Well technically speaking it is mindfulness purified and born of equanimity. Equanimity actually begins in the third jhana, and the fourth is where it is refined and isolated by itself. In the fourth jhana there is neither pleasure nor pain. The fourth jhana is said to be the ideal state of mind to gain the liberating insight which leads to nibanna. But one does not have to wish for insight, apparrently from that lucid state of mind insights naturally arise. Then once one has fully realised nibanna there is no turning back and the liberation cannot be reversed and one never incarnates ever again in any world. Yet the mind still exists, it is like what fire becomes when it is no longer held captive by its fuel. The fuel being (greed, hatred, and delusion). 

Greed covers lots of stuff such as lust, craving for intoxicants, eating a little more than you needed to, to the extremes of hoarding wealth and stealing - there's many different levels to it.

Hatred also covers many things such as boredom for example which is aversion to the present moment, or aversion from lack of stimulation. Hatred also covers conceit, being boastful, as well as the more obvious extremes such as arguing, fighting and murder.

Delusion can also mean ignorance. It is a lot about the stories we tell ourselves about reality. The excuses we make to justify different behaviour. Or just believing in misinformation, disinformation or acting out of ignorance due to lack of information. The mind is a delusion generator. And delusion is the hardest of all to remove. Greed and hatred sprout from delusion. They also feed delusion. The four Brahma viharas can be helpful at weakening the power of greed and hatred, enough at least to be able to get to the root of the problem which is delusion.

When one has fully uprooted greed, hatred and delusion from the mind that is the state of mind known as nibbana and one becomes a Buddha (fully enlightened being).

 I chant the metta sutta sometimes to help me invoke Metta.

You can be creative with Metta, it is like a craft; and yes it can be a magical practise. For example, when walking along the street I will get focused while walking and invoke the feeling of metta and then think of Maitreya (Bodhisattva of metta and the next Tathagata) and as I do I become a channel and imagine multiple copies of Maitreya coming out of my heart in all directions, holding a bell shaped object that when shaken fills all those around with loving-kindness. I have a weird imagination lol.

But I am sure you can think of your own ways of radiating metta. Sometimes I imagine it as energy waves radiating outwards, and sometimes I don't need to imagine at all it just radiates out if I set the intention to radiate it to all beings and it happens. Different moments require different methods, you have to learn to be spontaneous and do what naturally feels right in each given moment. 

I have different mood cycles. And sometimes during the negative cycles there are days when I can't invoke Metta at all, I feel nothing. It isn't easy and equanimity and patience can help here, although they can be hard to generate too. Patience can be invoked sometimes by imagining the depressed cycle as me retreating from the world and being in a womb of sorts. In a state of becoming. Like a caterpillar becoming a butterfly, or a nymph becoming a dragonfly. It can be very painful and challenging. And it may take a while and fill me with doubt and stagnation. Then when the cycle changes and I feel better energy arise and feel well again I am able to practise metta once more, but I find this time it has mysteriously grown deeper, like some part of the unconscious during the gestation period has been working things out and changing things, rearranging them, almost like the mind is rewiring itself. It is unpleasant and can really test one's endurance, shake you to the core, demolish your beliefs and perceptions. But afterwards one gains a new found clarity and freedom, and develops in the eight-fold path. This conscious part of me, let's call it the ego mind has very little to do in the process of becoming, you just have to be patient. Most of the growth happens outside of one's awareness in the deeper hidden mind. Another way of looking at it, is as being like pearls of wisdom. 

Also it seems from my experience that there is a malevolent outside agency that will try its utmost to deter you from the path, so be prepared for a bit of a fight. The sceptic can think of it as a trickster part of the mind. But my experience is there is both an internal and external enemy that will do what it can to make you lose your way. This energy is very tricky, and it can be oppressive as well as seductive. In the suttas this being is known as Mara. 

So don't despair if you can't do this right away, it takes years of practice, perhaps lifetimes for some. You have to persevere, pick yourself up after every failure, brush yourself down and try again. If you do this you will get a bit stronger each time and eventually get there. But don't burn yourself out, try to find a balance between laziness and over-doing it; look for a nice middle setting that works for you, and be prepared to be in it for the long game. 

Also remember to take refuge in the Buddha. The dharma. And the Sangha whenever you need to. These three are known as the triple gem and it is a powerful jewel. And  don't dismiss the power of doing this. There is lots of grace out there I am discovering. And I find whenever I take refuge in any one of these, (again depending on the moment and what feels right), helpful energy and support will come to my aid. I think there are spirits and other beings seen and unseen who are devoted to this practise, and like angels, will help when you struggle. The sangha also includes all Buddhists everywhere, and those who practise Buddhism in the deva worlds as well.

Metta itself is also protection if you can generate it suffiently enough, the good energy will protect you and make you fearless.

I am not enlightened yet, see my previous blog posts and rants for proof of this. But I will keep trying. 

This is the spiritual path I have set for myself, even if it takes me lifetimes to accomplish I will get there one day, although I am aiming to do it in this very life if at all possible.

Peace, metta and good luck on your own journey to nibanna.

The Metta Sutta

Alternative translation of metta sutta

The eleven benefits of practising metta 

Here's a great collection of talks and Q&As done by Ajahn Sona on the topic of Metta:

https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLodJ_OuDCKlexVt5B4exeYkiyM7sE8u5e


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New blog post

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The Buddha is helping me, he answered me, he always does. 

 I feel some energetic form of him is in my consciousness now and teaching me. He says though ultimately it is up to me to free myself, but he can guide me along the way. Mother Earth is with me too. Whether my enlightenment will help during these dark times I don't know. But when I become fully enlightened it will prove to others that it can be done and perhaps inspire them to do the same.

Permalink 2 comments (latest comment by Richie Cuthbertson, Sunday, 19 Dec 2021, 19:03)
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Gonna give hemp buds a go

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Thursday, 16 Dec 2021, 20:29

Fuck it it is too risky buying regular cannabis online, too many scams out there, and I don't want to risk it.

Going to try hemp flowers out of desperation, problem is they don't have much THC (less than 0.02%), they just have high levels of CBD, but at least the supplier seems trustworthy, and it is a natural product, with buds and resins, plus there will be the other cannabinoids in them that are beneficial. Their squidgy black product looks interesting.


I'll give it a go anyway, I have tried the CBD oil products and teabags and they were shit, didn't do nothing, so I am going to try buying the buds and hash made from hemp flowers which have much higher levels of CBD in than the health shop tat. See if that helps, I fucking hope so.

Don't worry it is all legal in the UK. You are allowed to buy CBD products but only if the THC is below 0.02% lol. Fucking nanny state eh? It's bullshit as well with all the alcohol, it makes no sense that the most harmful drug of all (alcohol) is perfectly legal and destroys far more lives than all the other drugs put together. I also fricking hate seeing alcohol adverts, it feels like Mara trying to tempt me and make me fall. Grrr

https://gethemp.co.uk/


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The penguin

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Thursday, 16 Dec 2021, 18:57

This world is shit, and I have seriously had enough of it.

 I am determined to get enlightened in this lifetime if possible. The thought of coming back here to this torture of a civilisation is unbearable. I do not want to ever come back here again. Being human sucks. It is a cold cruel world mankind has created. It seriously and monumentally sucks. The system is shit. Super shit. 

I am thinking of a story of a penguin, he was being observed by scientists, and he did a peculiar thing. He suddenly stopped walking towards the sea with the other penguins and just sat there doing nothing, and the other penguins walked around him and continued to the ocean. Then after some time he suddenly got up and turned and started walking in a different direction, one that was away from the nesting colony or the sea and continued going that way on his own. He walked for many kilometres and one of the scientists asked another if they should just bring him back, and the other said no, because he will just try to do it again. But the scientist could offer no explanation as to why he was going off alone in a direction away from the other penguins. It was a mystery. 

I feel like that penguin some days. It is so tempting just to drop everything and walk off on my own somewhere - go in a different direction than this crazy human world.

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When I'm alone

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Wednesday, 15 Dec 2021, 15:04


I stare blankly at the mess in my room,
Stare empty at the sky outside,
At the failed paintings on my wall,
And at nothing in particular.
I stare forlornly at this computer screen.
Wishing I hadn't said what I said to you,
Wish I could turn back time and stop myself;
but alas I do not have that power, noone does.
So I live now with regret and an aching heart,
A sad unhappy mind,
And another lost friend.
I miss you.



Permalink 2 comments (latest comment by Richie Cuthbertson, Wednesday, 15 Dec 2021, 17:27)
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Wisdom of the sangha

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Tuesday, 14 Dec 2021, 18:28

This is a tough module I am studying (M269). Spent hours trying to understand and answer a question on the TMA. I tried so hard, but had to quit in the end and submit the assignment, leaving the last parts of the question unanswered, I will lose a lot of marks, but I did try my best. I am honestly wondering if I am going to pass this module, it may be that I'll have to resit it again next year if I don't. 

After submitting the assignment, I sat in Zazen over Zoom. I was feeling stressed about a lot of things during the meditation. And felt quite dark in mood while sat there. I was worrying about the assignment; but also anxious about the state of the world and all the crazy stuff happening just now. Sad and mad about seeing species go extinct, something I am witnessing with my own eyes. 

 Then there's the homelessness crisis, in part due to banks kicking people out of their homes due to missing their mortgage payments, not their fault either, these familes lost their income because of the lockdowns. The government is so keen to save lives by treble-vaxxing everyone, yet I can't help but feel if they really were trying to save lives, why don't they help these poor folks trying to survive on the streets in the middle of winter? Why don't they help the old and vulnerable dying in care homes due to staff shortages or dying in NHS hospitals because relatives can no longer afford to pay for their care. I feel afraid of the huge poverty that is coming from the fallout of this pandemic. Why are they doing nothing to help these people who are at risk of death from extreme poverty?

 I also feel so sorry for the refugees. it was horrifying to hear on the news about that large fishing boat that purposely put itself in the way of drowning refugees and the lifeboats trying to save them. How could they be so heartless and cruel. I cannot understand why people can become like that. 

And I am sick to death of all the happy clappy fake plastic smiley corporate advertisements. Sick of all the celebrity bullshit, blah blah blah so what. All this being broadcast while the Earth is in a major crisis right now. I wish the governments of the world would show more enthusiasm, effort and coordination over reversing the sixth mass extinction event than this mass-vaccination campaign. If they can put so many resources, logistics, academics and energy into vaccinating everyone, surely they could do the same for turning this terrifying mass extinction event around, and also help all those suffering from poverty and homelessness. The governments are so fake, them and the media.

I spoke of all my concerns with the Zen group today (one can stay and have a discussion with the group after meditation). They were all very kind and said a lot of helpful things to cheer me up and help me feel better. Reminding me there are lots of good people out there. And although it all seems futile at times, whatever small way we can help others means something to those we help. That one needs to fight back with compassion. They advised me to read about someone called Joanna Macy, saying she was someone who may be a kindred spirit for me in these dark times, and might help me feel some hope and rekindle love and compassion in my heart.

 I also stated to my friends in the sangha that I had made a vow to never take my life no matter how hard things get. After confessing to them that I had felt like doing so. Mainly because I couldn't bare the thought of seeing any more species go extinct, or witness any more refugees drowning at sea, any more war, poverty or suffering, I didn't want to live in the Orwellian, dystopian world we seem to be heading towards. They were happy to hear that I have made a vow to never commit suicide. I feel publicly making this vow and the painting I made to seal it is a kind of protection for me. Because the thoughts do constantly whirl around my head at times, but seeing my painting and remembering my words can help me stay alive I think.  

One bit of advice that stuck out for me was to try and see my negative mood cycles as like being in a womb, a state of becoming. A time to retreat, nurture and take care, not get too overwhelmed with the sorrow of the world, but care for it with a tenderness like one would a growing baby, and all that sorrow can give birth to something beautiful if one is patient and gentle with it. It can become love and compassion instead of anger and hate. The bodhisattva of compassion Avalokiteshivra has many many hands and eyes, and those who have taken the bodhissatva vow are her many eyes and hands in this world.

I was so glad that I sat with them today and that I stayed to chat at the end. I nearly didn't, my mood was so negative I didn't want to bring it into the online zendo, but at the last minute I decided I would sit with them. And it did help, not just me, but the other people there were grateful for the discussion we had at the end, as the words of wisdom shared by the different members of the group seemed to help everyone. 


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You're Original

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'Will it ever be the same again?

You're original.
Lived your own path.
You're original.
Got your own way.
You're original.'



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Fierce determination

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Monday, 13 Dec 2021, 13:55

**Reader beware of potential trigger warning.**

I have in the past expressed suicidal feelings on my blog, which I regret now, I have removed those posts from my blog out of fear they may encourage someone else who is feeling suicidal to do something they would regret, which was never my intention. I would feel absolutely horrified and deeply saddened to think that something I wrote would ever encourage anyone to do that.

I am often misunderstood, and I can be a bit impulsive sometimes, and behave recklessly without thinking things out properly. Especially it seems with written communication, but also verbally, as many who have got to know me can attest to. 

My social skills are not that great, which I think is part of the pain I feel at times.

I want to state publicly for the record that I have resolved never to act on any suicidal feelings, ever. No matter what I am feeling, however painful it is. I realise suicide is wrong, and however clever my mind can be at justifying it with its delusions, its tricks and erroneous thinking. It is always wrong view.

I have resolved to live and to not give up - and I am determined to get through this.

Peace and goodwill to you, 

sending a massive kundalini hug to all my readers (-: 

Richie aye


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Emotions

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Having another crack at this assignment, only two days left to complete it in, and I feel like I am getting nowhere, my head is just going round and round in an unhappy loop of constant misery. I just cannot seem to get anything done at the moment. I will persevere though. Once this assignment is done I will then concentrate on tidying this place up a bit as I have been neglecting it of late and the mess is getting me down. 

My mind is in so much pain just now, sometimes I wish there was some way to switch my emotions off, but then if I did, I would just be like a robot or a zombie and what is the point in living if you don't feel anything, you might as well be dead, it is the emotions that create art, that appreciate the beautiful, that feel compassion and empathy, that colour our existence. There are times when I do feel nothing, where I become a cold apathetic spineless sludge of unfeeling, but it is not a satisfactory experience living like that, it is empty and doesn't feel like relief. So being emotionless isn't a solution; we need our emotions, I just wish mine would shut up sometimes and stop torturing me.


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What threat exactly are the unvaccinated to the vaccinated?

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Saturday, 11 Dec 2021, 23:59

This is very interesting, well worth a listen if you can spare five minutes.

'In a population of what 68 million, what threat exactly are the 5 million who choose not to be vaccinated going to be? Bearing in mind that two thirds of those who are unvaccinated will have already caught COVID and have acquired natural immunity, which is superior to any vaccine and lasts much longer, (for example, people who caught SARS still have immunity to it 17 years later, and SARS has gone now) so if you have already caught COVID and have natural immunity you are actually doing the population a favour not getting vaccinated, as natural immunity is a stronger protection and a bigger help towards herd immunity as it lasts for much longer than a jab you have to keep having a booster of every 3 months. And lets not pretend that there aren't people in hospital being treated for vaccine injuries, because there are, however much we would like to brush that under the carpet. There are also double-jabbed people catching COVID and passing it on to other people who are double-jabbed. There is also evidence that the side effects of the vaccine are worse if you have already caught COVID. So why on Earth would someone who has acquired a natural immunity to COVID still need to be vaccinated? It makes no sense. The idea of mandating a vaccine that hasn't been licensed is bizarre.'

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Road

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Saturday, 11 Dec 2021, 20:55

Sound of traffic gets under my skin
Crossing the road 
I go into a trance
a pedestrian dance
look left, look right, oh shite
here comes another one.
Backwards and forwards
primate faces go in metal boxes
busy travelling from a to b
b to a and back to b again.

A frightened baby hedgehog stands frozen in the road. 
Survived near death as a car went hurtling over,
the passengers completely ignorant of its life,
the squash of tyres thankfully missed though,
Close shave...

I wish it well.



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Insubstantial

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Saturday, 11 Dec 2021, 20:07

Walking in the rain
heart twisting pain
No more beat within
Is that the price of sin?
Ah but there is no soul
It doesn't exist
Just a changing process
That never stays still 
From one moment to the next
Who are you?


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Abandonment

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Wednesday, 15 Dec 2021, 18:05

Abandonment is hard. I have trouble with communication and human relations. I make friends only for them to abandon me because they can't handle my mood swings and delusions. This has happened to me numerous times with people I thought were good friends. I think they have to cut me off for their own sanity, because I can get a bit intense sometimes. I feel regret for that. I don't judge them, although I did judge them at the time, hated them for it in fact, being cut loose and abandoned by others feels cold and painful and just reinforces all the negative beliefs I hold about myself. But I also understand why they did it and there's nothing I can do to change what happened, it sucks, but I have to let it go. I can't force people to like me or be my friend. 

I wish I didn't lose friendships like this, it hurts a lot. So I think for my own sake, I need to practise some self-care and just not bother making anymore connections. I'll stay solitary I think, it is less painful that way, rejection is unpleasant and triggers me, makes me go on a downer, and I get depressed and I start feeling the self-loathing and wishing I wasn't alive, and that isn't a good way to be. I figure if I just keep myself to myself from now on and avoid connecting to others then I will avoid that trigger (I hope). Although loneliness is hard, but one is only lonely if they think they are lonely. And I am making friends with non-human beings, both seen and unseen, so I am not completely alone, just alone in the sense of not having many human friends/companions.

Still there are some good people whom I do still have a strong heart connection to, who haven't abandoned me or misunderstood me, and they have seen me at my worse over the years, and they still want to know me and be my friend. I am grateful for those people, they warm my heart and make me want to carry on living. And although some of them don't live close by, it doesn't matter, the connection I have with them in my heart is strong and cannot be broken. They help me feel fearless and remind me that I at least matter to some people out there.

My inability to connect with others is painful.

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Sadness

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Wednesday, 15 Dec 2021, 18:06

A playlist about sadness, enjoy:

https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLodJ_OuDCKlduVJ5RGQQzV8FKxBfKfc1B

I find melancholic music can be strangely soothing at times, like sonic therapy.

As Suzuki Roshi famously once said: 'What's wrong with sadness?'

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Sour times

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Wednesday, 8 Dec 2021, 16:40

It is a horrible experience being alive. One is just born in a body with whatever genes one is given, and this body just grows by itself and life gets increasingly more complicated and one is stuck with whatever personality and DNA they are born with and expected to just get on with living in a cold and often cruel world. Noone gets to choose who they will be, what they will be good at, what kind of body they will get. No-one can help being who they are; and yet we get judged for it and made to feel guilty if we aren't up to the task of fitting into this bloody difficult world. Being a human sucks. Being any being on this planet sucks. Being alive sucks.

 I can only seem to meditate when I feel good. Meditation when depressed is not helpful at all. It just makes me feel worse. I am trying my best, but I keep failing catastrophically. I can't generate any joy at the moment, I am trying but it is like an engine that has run out of fuel and won't kickstart. 

I am also feeling broken hearted as well. Particularly for the local wildlife. So much life has disappeared at the local beach. Tangled up in the seaweed are the bones of seabirds that have starved to death from lack of food. The beach here used to be teeming with life of all different kinds, it was magical, but now it is like a watery graveyard, an oceanic desert. The sea here is dying and nobody else seems to notice or care. I read that now one in four species of bird in the UK are on the endangered list, and insects have been steadily disappearing, every summer there's fewer and fewer.

 Then there's refugees drowning at sea escaping all kinds of different horrors in the world caused by the greed, hatred, and delusion of the West; while the super rich just compete to be the first to reach outer-space so they can colonise dead planets, their rockets like penis extensions, ignorant of the poverty and environmental destruction their greed has caused. 

And the government is determined to vaccinate everyone, is obsessed with it; but if they really cared about saving people's lives why don't they help those who are now homeless in the freezing cold of Winter after been kicked out of their houses by banks who repossessed their homes after lockdowns destroyed their incomes. And why don't the government help the old people abandoned and dying alone in care homes and hospitals? I thought all this pandemic and vaxxing was to save their lives, but it seems to be more about destroying them.

I am sorry for the rant dear reader. I feel so unhappy just now, sometimes writing it out of my system is the only relief I get. (Albeit temporary.) I wish I could feel hope and write something uplifting, but I feel there is something terribly wrong with the world just now.

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Knowledge of suffering

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Wednesday, 15 Dec 2021, 18:07


Feel the pain and grief.
And let it give you power.
The momentum to move forward.
To go beyond this empty world.
Beyond the tears of Samsara.
On to the other shore. To higher things.
To the deathless, and the freedom of nibbana.

Use the sadness to break the illusion.
To see through the delusion.
As Mara crushes your heart and mind.
Smile with equanimity at the rain, the pain.

Strength through adversity.
The first noble truth.


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The four foundations of mindfulness

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Saturday, 25 Dec 2021, 15:08


Here is a summary of the four foundations of mindfulness that I chant every day to help me remember the Satipatthana Sutta (The Buddha's famous teachings on mindfulness).

I find chanting to be a powerful tool for instructing mindfulness on what it needs to be paying attention to. After practising a while you will find that sati (mindfulness) works on its own volition like a trusted guard at the gate, a powerful ally, working independently of the narrator mind. I find the phrases I regularly chant  will often pop up out of the blue during the day to remind me of important teachings.

It is important to also bear in mind that simply being aware of these four foundations isn't all there is to the practise. One does so in combination with Right effort. Which in a nutshell is about four practise principles 1. Preventing unwholesome states of mind arising. 2. If prevention doesn't work, one abandons unwholesome states of mind as soon as one notices they have arison. 3. One generates and brings into being wholesome states of mind. 4. One cultivates those wholesome states of mind so that they grow and develop and become continuous, i.e. one's default behaviour. 

I have borrowed heavily from the Birken forest monastery chant book. And changed it in places, adding some extra bits that I find helpful in my own spiritual practise. Particularly in mindfulness of the body, where I have added an extra three elements (space, consciousness, and interdependence) to the traditional four primary elements of earth, water, fire, and air. I also simultaneously practise awareness of the seven chakras that correspond with the seven elements found in kundalini yoga. Which is not what the Buddha taught, but is something I find helpful in my own practise.

 I have also changed the part on cemetary contemplations, to the five remembrances, as in the West we don't have charnel grounds to visit where we can observe a rotting corpse and reflect on death. But I have added a bit extra to the chant to help with the contemplation of death. 

I have also added the eight worldy winds and the brahma viharas to mindfulness of feelings.

Be aware this is very much a chant I have tailored to help me on my spiritual journey, and it may not be right for others, so please bear in mind that some of it has deviated from the original sutta in places. So I would advise the reader to check out the original sutta if they find it interesting. Or read the summary in the Birken forest monastery chant book. 

The four foundations of mindfulness

The Buddha addressing the sangha:

'This is the direct path for the purification of beings. For the overcoming of sorrow and lamentation; the disappearance of pain and grief. The true attainment of the way and the realisation of nibbana. Namely the four foundations of mindfulness: '

Foundation one - mindfulness of the body

  • Mindfulness of the four postures: walking, standing, sitting, and lying down.
  • Mindfulness of the breath.
  • Mindfulness of the present moment.
  • Reflection on the different parts of the body. Hair, nails, teeth, eyeballs, skin, muscles, blood vessels, mucous, nerves, internal organs: brain, heart, lungs, stomach, kidneys, liver,  gallbladder, spleen, pancreas, intestines, bones, bone marrow. 
  • Contemplation of the seven elements:
    Earth element both inside the body and outside the body.
    Water element both inside the body and outside the body.
    Fire element both inside the body and outside the body.
    Air element both inside the body and outside the body.
    Space element both inside the body and outside the body.
    Consciousness both inside the body and outside the body.
    Interdependence both inside the body and outside the body.
  • The five reflections:
    I am of the nature to grow old, I have not gone beyond ageing.
    I am of the nature to become sick, I have not gone beyond ill health.
    I am of the nature to die, I have not gone beyond death.
    I could die at any moment, and that is normal; people die at all different ages. And when I die I will become a rotting corpse and return to the four primary elements (earth, water, fire, air), this is a natural process and the fate of all living beings. Every body has an expiry date. I should not fear death.
    Everything I hold dear and everyone that I love will become separated from me due to the nature of change and impermanence.
    I am the owner of my karma, the heir of my karma, born of my karma, related to my karma, abide supported by my karma. Therefore should I frequently recollect that whatever actions I do for good or for bad - that is the karma I will inherit.

Foundation two - mindfulness of feelings 

(n.b. in Buddhism feelings also means physical sensations as well as mental ones.)

  • Mindfulness of pleasant feelings.
  • Mindfulness of unpleasant feelings.
  • Mindfuness of neutral feelings (something that you are neither grasping for nor pushing away).
  • Mindfulness of worldly feelings. The eight wordly winds: pain and pleasure; wealth and misfortune; success and failure; praise and blame.
  • Mindfulness of unworldly feelings: metta (loving-kindness), karuna (compassion), mudita (joy in another's happiness), upekka (equanimity), samhadi (deep state of stillness, focus, absorption), jhana (profound state of samhadi), nibbana (liberation of mind that cannot be reversed).­­­­­

Awareness of the manifestation, arising and disappearance of feelings.

Foundation three - mindfulness of the mind

Understanding the mind as:

  • Greedy or not.
  • Hateful or not.
  • Deluded or not.
  • Vulnerable or not.
  • Conceited or not.
  • Collected or scattered.
  • Developed or not.
  • Focused or not.
  • Liberated or not.

Awareness of the manifestation, arising and disappearance of these states of mind.

Foundation four - mindfulness of dharma categories

­­­­­­The five psychic irritants:

  1. Wordly desire
  2. Aversion
  3. Dullness and fatigue
  4. Agitation and worry
  5. Doubt (lack of confidence)

Awareness of the manifestation, the origination and disappearance of the five hindrances.

The five aggregates of clinging:

Clinging to:

  1. Material form
  2. Feelings
  3. Perceptions
  4. Thoughts, memories and emotions
  5. Consciousness

Awareness of the manifestation, the arising, and the dissolution of the five aggregates of clinging.

The six external and six internal sense bases:

  1. Eye and visual objects
  2. Ear and sounds
  3. Nose and smells
  4. Tongue and tastes
  5. Body and tangible objects
  6. Mind and mental objects

Knowledge of them, of their arising, and of their abandonment (letting go); and the future non-arising of the fetters that originate dependent on both.

The seven factors of enlightenment/awakening:

  1. Mindfulness
  2. Investigation of dharma
  3. Energy and perseverance
  4. Joy
  5. Tranquility
  6. Samhadi
  7. Equanimity

Knowledge of their presence, their arising, and their development.

The four noble truths:

  1. Knowledge of suffering
  2. Of its origination
  3. Its cessation
  4. And the path that leads to the end of suffering (the noble eight-fold path)

The noble eight-fold path

  1. Right view: Use the four noble truths and the other dharma categories as a guide/tool to help one spot, prevent, abandon and uproot the three poisons of greed, hatred and delusion from the mind.
  2. Right intention: The intention of letting go (renunciation); the intention of non-illwill; the intention of harmlessness (non-cruelty).
  3. Right speech: I will refrain from false speech; I will refrain from malicious/divisive speech; I will refrain from harsh speech; I will refrain from pointless/frivolous speech.
  4. Right action: I will abstain from killing any being (including myself); I will abstain from taking what is not given; I will abstain from sexual misconduct.
  5. Right livelihood: Having abandoned wrong livelihood, one continues to make one's living with right livelihood. A livelihood that does not cause harm to oneself or others.
  6. Right effort: One generates the desire for the prevention of unwholesome states of mind, by making effort, rousing energy, exerting one's mind and persevering.
    One generates the desire for the abandonment of unwholesome states of mind, by making effort, arousing energy, exerting one's mind and persevering.
    One generates the desire for the arising of wholesome states of mind, by making effort, rousing energy, exerting one's mind and persevering.
    One generates the desire for the continuance, non-disappearance, strengthening, increase, and full-development of wholesome states of mind. By making effort, arousing energy, exerting one's mind and persevering.
  7. Right mindfulness: Having removed longing and dejection in regard to the world.
    One abides contemplating the body as a body, ardent, clearly-comprehending and mindful.
    One abides contemplating feelings as feelings, ardent, clearly-comprehending and mindful.
    One abides contemplating mind as mind, ardent, clearly-comprehending and mindful.
    One abides contemplating dharma as dharma, ardent, clearly-comprehending and mindful.
  8. Right samhadi: Quite secluded from worldly pleasures, secluded from unwholesome states of mind. One lets go of the story of self and enters and abides in the first jhana. Which is accompanied by applied and sustained thought, and has the rapture and happiness born from seclusion from the world and letting go.
    With the subsiding of applied and sustained thought. One enters and abides in the second jhana, which is accompanied by self-confidence and unification of mind. Is without applied and sustained thought, and has the rapture and happiness born of concentration (samhadi).
    With the fading away as well of rapture, one abides in equanimity. And mindful, clearly-comprehending, still feeling pleasure with the body. One enters and abides in the third jhana. On account of which the noble ones annouce: 'One has a pleasant abiding who has equanimity and is mindful.'
    With the letting go of pain and pleasure and the previous disappearance of sadness and joy. One enters and abides in the fourth jhana. Which has neither pleasure nor pain. And has mindfulness purified and born of equanimity.

The Buddha addressing the sangha: ' If one were to properly practise the four foundations of mindfulness for seven years; or in some cases just seven days. One of two results can be expected for that person. Either one gains final liberating knowledge here and now in this very life. Or if there is a trace of clinging remaining, in the next life one is reborn in the higher heavens and gains final liberating knowledge there. In both instances, one is never again born into this world. '


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I take refuge in Sangha

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I tell you something I do love about Zen. Is the focus on friendship and inter-relational practise. We truly are all awakening together - stepping through those dharma gates together. It warms my heart. 

The feeling of Sangha is strong in the Zen tradition. And I am learning how taking refuge in the Sangha is a beautiful powerful thing. 

The best way to learn the noble eight-fold path is with good friends and companions (-: 

We learn and grow together. 

 To learn the path is to see it embodied in others and others to see it in you; we change and shape one another. 

The circle of practice ⭕


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Phasing

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Tuesday, 30 Nov 2021, 22:01


Tired.
And caught up in the things of the world. 
Hands up, it was me.
I lost my equanimity.
But feel closer now,
closer to the other shore,
Knock knock knocking on heaven's door.
Everything is insubstantial, empty,
just like you and me.
always changing,
rearranging.
Phasing.


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Strange times

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Tuesday, 30 Nov 2021, 18:03

When a friend went to get her jab, she was given a medical consent form to sign, which had a box she had to tick saying she understood that the vaccine was an experimental medical procedure and if there are any adverse effects, neither the people administering the jab, nor anyone else will be held liable for any damage caused.  

So basically, if one does have an adverse reaction, which many people have (check out the data on the yellow card scheme), one is on their own, with no compensation and no-one who can be held accountable for any injury caused by the vaccine. 

So I think people are well within their rights to refuse these experimental COVID vaccines and shouldn't be made to feel bad for declining. All this mass pressure and coercion to get vaxxed is wrong. 

The new COVID variant: Omicron, which sounds like a transformer, (maybe it's a decepticon). The scientist credited with discovering it Dr. Angelique Coetzeep was speaking to Julia Hartley-Brewer on Talk Radio about omicron, and said:

“Patients I’ve seen with it had mild symptoms and recovered. None were admitted and no oxygen was needed. The hype makes no sense to me at all.”

So why are the media and government hyping it up?

Is there something fishy going on? If I question it, I just get labelled a conspiracy theorist, ridiculed or made to feel bad for practising some critical thinking. 

Bad governments like to have a war on something, it is a classic way to distract the people, used throughout history.

 By choosing to be unvaccinated I am harming noone. And if I do get seriously ill from catching COVID I will accept it, I won't put any pressure on the NHS and won't go to the hospital for treatment. And if I die I won't feel any regret for declining the jab, I have done nothing wrong, it is my choice. I am not a bad person for doing this.

 I am no threat at all. 

The vaccine does not stop a person catching or transmitting the virus. These vaccines only protect the person who has been vaccinated not anybody else. The viral load for a vaccinated person is pretty much the same as the viral load for someone who is unvaccinated. Being vaccinated does not stop the spread of the virus or protect those who are vulnerable, (other people can still catch COVID off you, even if you're triple-vaxxed). There is absolutely no need to vaccinate everyone, especially young people who get COVID mild. In fact children are at greater risk of harm from the vaccine than from the virus. It makes no sense to me, it is very strange and illogical, and the media is full of double-speak and misinformation at the moment. 

I also heard on the radio that many people in care homes have died, something that isn't been talked about much. They didn't say what the cause of death was but hinted it could be due to lack of staff.

Maybe there's not much use to writing my thoughts on this. I have no power to change what is happening in the world, it is outside my control. And I certainly don't want to divide people with my words, just merely offer my thoughts for whatever they're worth. The only control I have really is the choices I make for myself. We will all have to wait and see how this plays out in the end - time will tell.

 All my Buddhist friends have been fully-vaccinated, and they don't agree with my stance but they also don't judge me. 

It can be lonely being someone who stands on the edge and doesn't follow the herd. But sometimes I think people like that are necessary.


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The noble eight-fold path

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I try to chant this at different times throughout the day, and it can sometimes be a powerful tool for overcoming difficult thoughts; as well as a helpful way to remember the Buddha's teachings. I chant it either in my head, or out loud depending on where I am. It can also be a good way to start a meditation practise and gather and settle the mind.

The noble eight-fold path

This is called the noble truth of the way leading to the end of suffering.  

Right view

The four noble truths.

1. Knowledge of suffering

2. Of its origin. 

3. It's cessation.

4. And the path that leads to the end of suffering (The noble eight-fold path).

Right intention

The intention of renunciation (letting go),
the intention of non-ill-will, 
the intention of harmlessness and non-cruelty.

Right speech

I will refrain from false speech.
I will refrain from malicious and divisive speech.
I will refrain from harsh speech.
I will refrain from pointless (frivolous) speech.

Right action

I will abstain from killing any being (including myself).
I will abstain from taking what is not given.
I will abstain from sexual misconduct.

Right livelihood

Having abandoned wrong livelihood, one continues to make one's living with right livelihood. A livelihood that does not cause harm to oneself or to others.

Right effort

One generates the desire for the prevention of unwholesome states of mind; by making effort, rousing energy, exerting one's mind, and persevering.
One generates the desire for the abandonment of unwholesome states of mind; by making effort, arousing energy, exerting one's mind, and persevering.
One generates the desire for the arising of wholesome states of mind; by making effort, rousing energy, exerting one's mind, and persevering.
One generates the desire for the continuance, non-disappearance, strengthening, increase, and full-development of wholesome states of mind; by making effort, arousing energy, exerting one's mind, and persevering.

Right Mindfulness

Having removed longing and dejection in regard to the world.
One abides contemplating the body as a body. Ardent, clearly-comprehending and mindful.
One abides contemplating feelings as feelings. Ardent, clearly-comprehending and mindful.
One abides contemplating mind as mind. Ardent, clearly-comprehending and mindful.
One abides contemplating dharma as dharma. Ardent, clearly-comprehending and mindful.

Right Samhadi (Concentration, meditation, stillness, absorption, a deep serenity)

Quite secluded from worldy desires. Secluded from unwholesome states of mind. One lets go of the story of self, and enters and abides in the first jhana. Which is accompanied by applied and sustained thought; and has the rapture and happiness born of seclusion from the world and letting go.

With the subsiding of applied and sustained thought. One enters and abides in the second jhana; which is accompanied by self-confidence and unification of mind. Is without applied and sustained thought, and has the rapture and happiness born of concentration (samhadi).

With the fading away of rapture. One abides in equanimity. And mindful, clearly-comprehending, still feeling pleasure with the body. One enters and abides in the third jhana. On account of which the noble ones announce: 'One has a pleasant abiding who has equanimity and is mindful.'

With the letting go of pain and pleasure; and the previous disappearance of sadness and joy. One enters and abides in the fourth jhana. Which has neither pleasure nor pain. And has mindfulness purified and born of equanimity.

...

I don't expect anyone to understand it all. It takes a while for it to click (at least it did for me), and is best done under the direction of an experienced Buddhist teacher (online or offline). But if Buddhism is something that interests you, some sanghas I recommend are: Appamada (Zen), Just This (Zen), and Birken Forest Monastery (Theravada), but there are more out there, so just do some research and find a good fit for you, many are available to connect with online now.

Peace and equanimity (-;


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