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.
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.
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.
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).
The intention of renunciation (letting go),
the intention of non-ill-will,
the intention of harmlessness and non-cruelty.
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.
I will abstain from killing any being (including myself).
I will abstain from taking what is not given.
I will abstain from sexual misconduct.
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.
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.
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 (-;
Buddhism can be summed up as overcoming the three poisons of Greed, Hatred and Delusion. (These three can also be phrased as worldly-desire, aversion, and ignorance).
Delusion is composed of three things:
1. Lack of information
3. and Disinformation
This creates wrong ideas about ourselves and others, about the world and the nature of reality, which gives rise to greed and hatred.
If we allow greed and hatred to flow through us it will increase our delusions. And vice versa, our delusions will increase greed and hatred. Which is why greed, hatred and delusion is often portrayed as three animals chasing each other's tails (see the famous image below), who in their ignorance are perpetually creating the unsatisfactory and painful samsaric existence.
But if we can spot and become aware of greed and hatred as it manifests within us and prevent it from arising, or abandon it ASAP if it does, our fundamental perceptions and attitudes about the world and reality will change. And eventually once one no longer has a trace of greed, hatred or delusion in them that person is then a fully awakened/enlightened being who is no longer generating a samsaric experience; but instead has gone beyond samsara into a state of perpetual freedom known as nibanna, a liberated state of mind that cannot be reversed.
In a nutshell, nibbanna is what the mind becomes when it is no longer fuelled by greed, hatred and delusion. And practising the noble eight-fold path is the training one undertakes to accomplish this goal.
The Wheel of Life.
The image is a famous depiction of samsara called BhavaChakra in Buddhism.
The monster at the top is Yama, the God of death and represents impermanence.
The Buddha on the outside shows that liberation is possible and points to the centre to show the root of the problem.
In the centre, greed is depicted as a rooster, hatred as a snake, and delusion as a pig - they perpetually chase one another's tails and generate karma (represented by the second circle), which in turn generates the six realms of samsara (the third circle).
The outer circle represents the twelve links of dependent origination.
Is there a way to generate joy that doesn't depend on anything outside oneself?
Without it I feel like a bird with a broken wing, who longs to fly but can't take off.
Held down by the gravity of a crap reality.
The pain of separation, of living in a world that doesn't give damn.
A dream within a dream within a dream.
What is real anyway?
Is it the world out there? Or the world within?
So confused, which is a sign that I am holding to a wrong view. I feel the Buddha's presence with me though despite all my failings. Not sure how that's possible when he has gone on to nibbana, and I don't know why he encourages me with his presence. I feel like giving up, it is so hard to train this mind. But then I look at the world and I can't go back to it I feel no joy in the things of the world anymore. It is all so shallow and consumerism is dissatisfying. My ego is changed and no longer finds pleasure in what it used to. The things of the world just bore me now. I care not for the world of man anymore.
I feel a bit stuck on the path and alone in my quest for enlightenment. But the Buddha is with me, I don't know why, I could think of many who are much more worthy of his presence than me, yet he believes in me for some reason. I hope I don't fail in this quest and let him down. I wanted to get enlightened for the sake of mother Earth and all beings. Because things are so dark at the moment here on Earth at this time 2021, and look like they are going to get darker. I wanted to be a light and help preserve the dharma and bring peace and freedom from suffering to all beings, or at least as many beings as I can before this body dies. Though my flame is not bright at the moment and nearly extinguished I will keep persevering on the eight-fold path. By myself if I have to.
Is it wrong to feel so sad? I can't help but feel this sadness sometimes. This human world is so cold cruel and crazy. I am so useless, why is the Buddha with me? I am grateful for his support.
Is this a delusion? I don't know, today I felt so lost and alone. Sat here and I felt his energy support me, it felt real. I don't want to let him down.
Friendship is impermanent and subject to change just like everything else. One should learn to be fearless without needing friends by their side. I think the Buddha once said (at the time of his death) that we should become an island on to ourselves, we should take refuge in ourselves and the dharma. We shouldn't be dependent on anyone else, we should be our own teacher, our own guru, our own best friend. We should question everything, even what he says.
Don't get me wrong, it is nice to have friends, but life and the nature of change can be a real bitch sometimes and the reality is people aren't always there for you, and there are shitty days where you will feel separated, disconnected and alone. Connections don't last forever, nothing does, and it is everyone's fate (whether we like it or not) to one day become separated from those we love.
The only thing you can really depend on in this universe is that everything is changing, and it is up to you to free yourself from suffering. Friends come and go, but you will always be with yourself. So try to make a friend of your mind, and perhaps that can help ease the pain of separation. Besides one only feels lonely when they think: 'I am lonely'. It is just a state of mind, part of the story we tell ourselves. There are beings all around us, so noone is truly alone. It is all bullshit in the end anyway, none of it is real. At least that's what I am telling myself, I feel lonely as fuck just now, but I don't care anymore.
Found a bumble-bee struggling on the road earlier today, wasn't moving and seemed barely alive. I put my open hand next to it on the ground, and to my amazement it clambered on, and I carried it home.
I was taking part in a meditation and writing retreat with a Zen group via Zoom. So I sat in Zazen meditation with it cupped in my upright hand. Where it just rested and warmed up, and over the course of the meditation it perked up and started cleaning itself and stretching. Then began crawling from one hand to the other, seeming to become more and more alive, its feet tickling my palms. At the end of the meditation (30 mins), the group leader on Zoom rang the bell, and the bee started buzzing excitedly and I got the sense it was ready to leave me. So I went back outside and stood on my doorstep, felt it vibrating as it buzzed on my palm. And from my open outstretched hand it took off perfectly, and flew away, seeming to be in good health and happy. I wished it well.
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.
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.
Research seems to support the idea that believing everything is one and connected changes people's psychology to make them more inclusive of others, including different species of animal. The article seems to suggest this belief could be beneficial for human society. (*N.b. no belief in God required)
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