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Blue Monday

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Wednesday, 16 Feb 2022, 00:04

I am feeling a bit depressed today. 

Certainly this is not a pleasant world to exist in, there’s not much love in it really, can be a bit harsh and lonely. There’s always someone making us feel guilty or ashamed. We have all become masters at criticising one another, pointing out each other’s faults, and we are especially good at criticising ourselves as well. I am trying my best to reprogramme this behaviour as I do not find it helpful. If I can make it through my Buddhist training to be wise and skilled enough to teach one day, I think I will do things a little different and focus much more on friendship and connection. But that’s just me, I’m different, we are all different, yet also the same. As when one understands one’s own mind, one understands all minds; and when one has befriended one’s own being, one finds it easier to make friends with other beings.

Depression sucks, it can be hard to feel any joy or pleasure at all. I gave up trying to generate joy in meditation earlier and just went straight to equanimity. Sometimes joy comes easy and other times it feels like asking the impossible. The spiritual path is challenging and sometimes I wonder if I am cut out for it, but I persevere. Being a human is not easy. I hope I can do enough to not have to come back to this world again, it is not a pleasant place, at least not in my experience it hasn’t been. I understand some people really like it here and actually want to come back. Different strokes for different folks I guess.

My son and I saw a beautiful pheasant in the yard. I think it had escaped from being shot, (I often hear the shotguns going off nearby in the fields and woods). It opened my heart up to see it, and I felt a connection with it and I could see its sentience, it felt like our consciousnesses merged for a moment and we understood one another. I am hoping it will stay and take sanctuary in our garden and the nearby meadow and not go back to where it came from as I fear if it does it will get killed by hunters. Why anyone would want to shoot such a beautiful being is beyond me. But people travel from all over to come here and shoot birds - mad world.




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Shape of self

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Thursday, 17 Feb 2022, 17:23

It is interesting how we all rub off on each other, every person we connect with changes us in some way. We truly are all the people we meet. 

What self is there?

Our bodies are changing, slowly ageing.
Sensations are changing all the time; like a white-noise of continuous data we either feel as pleasant, unpleasant or neutral.
Our perception of life's myriad objects changes.
Our thoughts, memories, emotions, and the story of self we narrate, about who we are, and our life, is always changing. I am not even the same person I was five minutes ago when I sat down to write this. 
All these events change our consciousness like light-reflecting ripples on the surface of a pond. Consciousness too is always changing. 

This is what I think Buddhism means by emptiness, by no-self.  It is saying there is no fixed unchanging entity or soul, just a fluid dynamic process, a flowing stream that's different from one moment to the next. 


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Sun notification

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This music reminds me of what I sometimes feel when I become serene, still and lucid in meditation. It feels like an otherworldly place I visit that's safe and warm. Like a golden boundless heaven that exists simultaneously with this world, only you have to slow your consciousness down and tune it in like a radio to get there, and just like a radio it suddenly pops into awareness and then ah there it is! A soothing expansive bliss, a profound feeling of contentment and ease, a feeling of security, of love, peacefulness and pleasant breezes. Something timeless, enigmatic, and a feeling of home, filled with radiant beauty and consciousness untainted by the material world. Like when the rain is falling, but you are sheltered from it and enjoying the sound of the raindrops. So hard to put into words, but I find that sometimes music and paintings will take me there via the language of colour and sound, and this is a song that reminds me a bit of that state of mind.



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Square-shaped day

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There's a teaching in the Suttas where the Buddha gives lay disciples advice about what to do with money. He advises them after they have met their living expenses, to divide up any remaining money into four equal parts. Part one should be invested in something. Part two should be saved. Part three should be donated to a charity/noble cause. And the fourth part should be spent on oneself, so one can enjoy some of what they have earned. 

I thought this was great advice. And I have adapted it to also work with time, by dividing my day's activities into four equal parts. For the first part I study my university degree. For the second part I do some painting. For the third part I work on my dhamma studies (Buddhist lay disciple training). And the fourth part I spend working on my website. This division of time seems to work well for me so far (-: And I wonder in what other ways this division by four may come in useful? 

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Rubbish art

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Some funky bubble wrap painted in acrylic. Was thinking it will be good for wrapping up paintings with for postage. And the recipient may decide to keep it, which means one less piece of plastic in the ocean.


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Difficult but not impossible

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Tuesday, 8 Feb 2022, 14:37

I have been practising a strategy I heard in a dharma talk about preventing negative states of mind arising. And I have been getting some success with it, although I still get caught out at times, but it makes sense to me and the concept is easy enough to understand.

What one does is say to oneself 'for the next five minutes I am not going to get irritable.' or swap it for any unwholesome state of mind ' I am not going to get angry... stressed... criticise myself... feel any ill-will. I am not going to cling... I am not going to doubt... I am not going to be greedy... I am not going to be conceited... I am not going to be lazy for the next five minutes.'

Or try the inverse 'For the next five minutes I am going to be content... generous... kind... clear-headed... lucid... calm... mindful... interested/curious... persevere... smile.... be serene...be still... be equaminous,' and so on... just pick one mind-state to work with at a time - keep it simple.

Make it into a game you play with yourself. It doesn't matter if you don't manage the whole five minutes and rubber 🦆 it up, even a few seconds of getting it right is enough to begin the process of training the mind. And the good news is, just doing it once even for a few seconds is enough to get the ball rolling, and means you can do it again, and again, and find your way back over and over and the effect will snowball and get stronger, and in time with repeated practise it will become easier.

If it fails and a negative state of mind does arise and manifest itself, then it's no bother, one simply moves on to the strategies for abandoning/letting go of the negative state of mind and then just have another go (-: 

One is just training the mind, creating a new habit, it's nothing intellectual, one doesn't need to be a rocket scientist to do this. But one does need to be determined, patient and persevere. Like anything we learn in life it takes lots of repetitive practise, and if you mess up it's okay, just try again. Don't be hard on yourself, give yourself some encouragement for trying, be kind to the mind. Eventually the mind will get better at it and you will get a nice flow going.

I like this idea anyway, this strategy is hopeful, gives one the power to change oneself and not be fettered to the psychic irritants of: wanting, aversion, stagnation, agitation, and doubt. Those are the five unwholesome states of mind that cause all the problems in our psyche and disturb our peace. The good news is one can fight back, and make a stand, things are not hopeless, we do not have to be at the mercy of unhelpful past conditioning, we can change ourselves, train our minds, master our emotions and become happy and free. 


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Rain God

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Saturday, 5 Feb 2022, 21:54

A shimmering cold and wet walk in the rain. We have had so much of it lately I feel like I am living in a water world. Future models predict this exact location where I live is to get even more of it in the coming years as the weather changes, which is odd. It reminds me of something my Gran once said to me when I was little. She said she knew I was coming to visit her because she could see the rain-clouds coming over the horizon. I used to wonder if I was a rain God. I remember a character in a book by Douglas Adams (can't remember the title for the life of me). But there's this character who is a rain God and everywhere he goes it rains, with rains of all different kinds: drizzle, torrential, serene. And it is the rain-drops paying homage to him only he doesn't realise and is constantly grumbling about the weather (-:

There is also a strange story in the suttas where the Buddha narrates a tale about an elephant that has the peculiar ability to make it rain, and people from other lands request the king that owns it to send them the elephant to cure a drought they are experiencing so their crops can grow.

If I really am a rain God, then that might not be too bad a life, touring the world, visiting all the places that need rain, sitting there with my umbrella and a cup of tea (and a spliff if I am lucky). Making people happy because I bring the rain (-: Hahaha



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Water

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Friday, 4 Feb 2022, 19:48

Sky go from lush blue to ominous grey, to crying a river of rain.
Soaked to the skin, a part of me almost grumbled
But I remained content, calm and at ease
A spiritual lesson in equanimity I thought
And smiling took shelter under a nearby tree
Soaked shoes squelching on the shimmering
Pavement-become-puddles as little birds 
Flew-danced across my path
Chasing each other's tails.


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Never undersell yourself

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Tuesday, 1 Feb 2022, 22:22

Great article about how artists should never under-price themselves; and some advice on how to decide what to charge for your work. She recommends that if you feel even a twinge of resentment selling your work at a certain price you need to put the price up till you feel no resentment at all.

https://www.artpal.com/community/77/5-art-pricing-lessons

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No separation

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Tuesday, 1 Feb 2022, 18:29

I know that your higher mind is always with me.
Just as my higher mind is always with you.
These small monkey minds are only a tiny part of the whole.
The mind is much bigger than the one narrating the story of self.
With its limited conscious awareness and capabilities.
These physical bodies are not all there is to us. 
But our physical side can get in the way of seeing this.
We get so caught up by the things of the world.
By our past conditioning and culture.
And the erroneous thinking of our modern age.
The truth is much of the mind is unconscious to us.
And what we are conscious of,
is just the tip of the iceberg.
T
here's so much more to us than we realise.

Our being interacts and is connected on a much deeper, more ancient level.
Greater than our briefly existing physical parts are able to see.
And when you look into the core of your being.
And trust the purity of what you feel there.
You will see that this energy is real.
I am you and you are me.
Interdependent.
Unified.
One.

No separation.

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Abstracto

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Monday, 31 Jan 2022, 17:17

Not sure what this one will turn out to be yet, reminds me of a dragon taking a shower (-:


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Greeting cards

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Sunday, 30 Jan 2022, 21:11

A link to a page on my website where one can purchase some funky greeting cards.
All the best and thanks for looking ((-:

https://thestonecub.wordpress.com/greeting-cards/


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Angelic clouds

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A stained glass moment whilst looking out of the window at what appeared to be angel like clouds and a feeling of being in the sublime abidings.




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Dispassion

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Working with a negative cycle of the mind just now. But practising not getting entangled and caught up in the story about it all. It is hard work, the bad mood can be sticky like superglue and hard to shake off. But one has to persevere.

The breath can help, feeling the cool air going in, the warm air going out. Bad moods have unpleasant sensations, so focusing on something neutral can bring some relief. Especially if one is unable to feel or generate any pleasure, a neutral feeling can feel pleasant after a negative mood.

Paying attention to the breath can help with abandoning unwholesome states of mind; but more often than not you will need to talk your monkey mind into a more chilled out zone of thinking before it will even settle with the breath. So one has to reason with the mind, I sometimes do this out loud (when I am alone of course). I have a conversation with myself like a crazy person. Hey don’t judge me, it works!

This evening I was experiencing intense agitation, anger, sadness and mental pain. I went for a walk and as I walked I thought about what this unwholesome state of mind was: just sensations, feelings, thoughts, memories, emotions, so what? Why am I so bothered about them? Why do I need to tell myself these stories about it? I know nothing lasts in this world, everything is always changing, other people, me, the weather, society, time, day, night, seasons, this body is ageing and dying. Everything is impermanent, and loss and separation is fated for all, which makes it all feel a bit disatisfying and stressful. Which is the first noble truth: ‘there is suffering.’

The second noble truth is about the origin of suffering. I reflected on our attachment to things, things that are always changing, we chase and want what we think will make us happy, only to find when we grasp for them that there’s nothing but phantom air, just an insubstantial moment that is gone. Our mind comes into contact with something external, which triggers a sensation and a mental feeling, which triggers a perception of like or dislike, which triggers craving or aversion, which then becomes grasping for, or pushing away; and the thoughts and stories we tell ourselves about the world and who we are, which becomes our consciousness.

When one looks deep into one’s being for a permanent soul, there is nothing there. We are just a process that’s always changing. The jewel at the heart of the lotus:l is emptiness. Because everything is changing there’s no substantial self.

I thought about the third noble truth: ‘there is an end to suffering;’ but I find that one difficult to reflect on as I have not yet experienced the end of suffering. So I tend to reflect on that one with faith – faith that there is an end to suffering. That it is possible to be free. There are many others who have achieved this throughout history, and they all say it is possible to put an end to suffering, so that gives me hope and faith.

Which leads nicely to the fourth noble truth: the path that leads to the end of suffering: the noble eightfold path. Which has led many people throughout history to enlightenment and the end of suffering.

And there you have it, talked myself into feeling a bit calmer about it all. I focused on dispassion. Dispassion for my senses, my feelings, dispassion for my emotions, dispassion for this body, this life, the dramas, the ups and downs, the beautiful and the ugly, dispassion for this world and the things of it. Every time a thought popped up in my head and before I got entangled in the stories I just said the word: ‘dispassion’ to silence them. It became like a mantra and did help to quiet the mind. When I got home I even wrote ‘dispassion’ in big letters and hung it on my wall. And you know what it worked! At least sufficiently enough to weaken the unwholesome state of mind so I could then move onto invoking a more wholesome state of mind in its place. Equanimity felt natural at that point, so I worked with that, brought it into being, and cultivated it, equanimity is one of the seven factors of enlightenment. I kept saying the word like a mantra, filling my mind with equanimity, until it all felt a bit like water off a duck’s back and I finally let go, settled into a meditation posture and enjoyed the breath.



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My first website

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I have now got a free Wordpress website up and running. Going to post my paintings and writing on there. People will also be able to download good quality scans of my paintings and print them for free for their own personal non-commercial use. People will also be able to buy the original paintings from there and there will be links to where professinal quality prints and other merchandise featuring my artwork can be purchased. Also a donation button for anyone who can afford to and wants to support my work.

Not got much on it just now, two posts so far, one a painting and the other an article, but I aim to try and post stuff on there regularly and over time gradually get all my paintings scanned and on there and available for download.

Website address is: https://thestonecub.wordpress.com/

With metta

Richie

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Balance

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Wednesday, 26 Jan 2022, 17:52

Have been listening to dharma talks a lot lately. Especially when out walking with my headphones on. I wear headphones in the town as I find the constant sound of traffic and construction wears my awareness down into a dull grey fatigue. I am practising though, sometimes I don't wear my headphones, and I suspect my aversion to industrial noise is to do with what the Buddha called: 'unwise attention to the fault.' (N.b. there is also 'unwise attention to the beautiful.' The gate swings both ways. ) 

In the first of the four Right Efforts of Buddhism, one works at preventing negative states of mind from arising. This is done by becoming aware of unwise attention to either the ugly or the beautiful and changing it to wise attention. As it is what we attend to in our consciousness that becomes the stories we tell ourselves about the world, which in turn generates either craving or aversion, which then entangles us in unhealthy unhappy states of mind. 

If one fails to prevent negative states of mind arising, then this is where the second right effort comes in, which is to abandon negative states of mind when one becomes aware of them. There are different ways of eliminating them. Some suggestions by the Buddha are to try to invoke the opposite, i.e. wanting and desire comes from a feeling of lack, so the opposite of lack is to cultivate a feeling of contentment. One can also reflect on impermanence, observing how everything is always changing, this can help with developing some equanimity towards it all and dampen the craving a bit. The Buddha also advises one to see the negative mood as a great stain on one's personality, and to imagine it being like having a dead snake around your neck that you want to remove post-haste as you are about to go to dinner with some people you respect and admire. Other techniques are: to distract oneself till the mood has passed; talking oneself out of it; or the last resort, suppress the mood until it is weakened enough to allow one to use some of the other elimination strategies.  

The third right effort is bringing into being wholesome states of mind. And the fourth right effort is cultivating those wholesome states of mind so they thrive and become continuous and fully-developed. 

The hope I get from this is that no-one has to be a prisoner of who they are. We can change ourselves if we want to. Transformation of one's consciousness and emotions is possible; but we are the ones who have to put in the right causes and conditions to make this happen. And do so with equanimity, with the right balance of energy - the middle way. One should not push oneself so hard as to burn out and become unwell; nor just sit on the couch and do nothing. One needs to find a sweet spot, which maybe means something a bit different to each one of us, it doesn't have to be perfectly in the middle. I imagine it as a dial with a section in green that I try to keep the needle steady in by making necessary adjustments; and with two red areas at the extremes of the polarity which I am trying to keep the needle out of. I know its a daft metaphor, it occurred to me while I was adjusting the water pressure for our boiler, but visualising it like that seems to work okay for me.


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Rapture, serenity, a blackbird, and the mountain of awareness

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Monday, 24 Jan 2022, 11:20

I have found a nice spot in the Winter gardens which provides adequate shelter from the rain. And I have made friends with a blackbird that hangs out there. It came to say hello as I was meditating, and perched on a stump directly in front of me, watching me in its intent birdish way, at one point it did this cute cartoon-like yawn that opened my heart right up, and then there it was, a great whoosh and rush of something that swept and carried me off in the strength of its current and for a moment took me away from it all, leading to a free-floating spacious rapturous serenity which was a very pleasant state of mind.

 I think an elusive feeling I have been trying to pin down for a good year or so now in meditation, is in fact rapture, which for me at least is a better description of what one is trying to invoke in meditation than joy. Rapture is much more ecstatic, it carries one away in its intensity. With plenty of rushes, tingles and otherworldy feelings, there is a slowing of time that makes sensations exquisite with pleasant trails and echoes as they rise and fade away like the tide of the sea. Rapture feels like a connection to the divine, to the heavenly realms.

I reflected on what one-pointed attention is. Remembering what I heard in a dharma talk that it means an embodied awareness, a wholeheartness involving the whole of one's being paying attention. One should be aware of the whole body, of one's presence while paying attention to the breath. Using the metaphor of attention being like the peak of a mountain. When one is looking at a mountain, it isn't just the peak one sees hovering above an invisible land-mass, one sees the whole of the mountain. This understanding of what one-pointed attention means, and my encounter with the blackbird brought a genuine feeling of rapture which lead to serenity and a happiness that felt otherwordly and freer than anything I have encountered before in the material world.

I left an offering of sunflowers seeds on a nearby stone for the blackbird. Nature has often been a teacher on my journey to enlightenment.

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Bullish Divergence

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Sunday, 23 Jan 2022, 17:10




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A song for a friend

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Saturday, 22 Jan 2022, 21:48


"All I ask of you is forever to remember me as loving you."


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Birds fly by flapping their wings

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Saturday, 22 Jan 2022, 20:39




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Serenity, a change of career path, and big mind

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Saturday, 22 Jan 2022, 18:00

I went for a walk and sat down and meditated for a short time on a sheltered bench in the Winter gardens here. And I managed to steady the mind enough and reach a point where I felt quite serene, then feeling better from my anxiety and worries I went home. And suddenly ping! The idea came that I should get on with building a website, and I could use WordPress to quickly get a free one up and running, that way it doesn't matter that I don't have any capitol to invest in it just now. Once I got a wordpress site ready I can then use my knowledge of web design to tweak it to how I want it to look and feel, then upload my paintings on there, and try to sell them through that, as well as offer free downloads of my paintings that people can print for free on their own printers at A4 size (which is the original size of the paintings). And if anyone wants to have a bigger or more professionally done print, I will put a link to some sites that will print larger sizes for them and also offer the paintings on other products. And I will earn a small amount of income each time a print is sold there. I think it is roughly 15 - 20% or something like that, maybe less, but if there's enough sales it could add up. Anyway I will try to think of other ways to make money with a free wordpress website. Trying to think of multiple streams of income. I have a (payme) paypal link I could use so that visitors can both buy the paintings or make donations towards the free downloads of the paintings I will offer, but no obligation, just if they can afford to, with no judgement for anyone who can't. 

Anyway enough of the boring waffle about my sudden flash of insight into what I could try to improve my financial situation and create a livelihood to support myself. The magic thing about it was as I was sitting there in front of my computer working out the design for the site, I felt this serene feeling and warmth in my heart, I have felt it before when I was doing web design during one of the assignments in a previous module. And got a strong feeling that perhaps this is what I should be doing, that I am better suited to web development. I think the serenity and warm heart was like big mind confirming this to me, that I should give this a go. So I have decided I am going to change my career path to web development instead of software.

 I can do a little bit of coding, enough for website design anyway; but the maths and kind of complex coding I am learning to do at the moment is too difficult for me and my mind doesn't feel good about it, I do not enjoy it or understand it very well. It does not give me the happy serene vibe I feel when it comes to website design. 

Anyway it seems that meditating and getting nice and serene taps into the deeper mind, the unconscious, or big mind; which gives it the opportunity to talk to small monkey mind and this produces insights, but only if monkey mind is still enough, quiet and steady enough to be able to listen to what big mind is saying (-:

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Livelihood, kindness and equanimity

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The cost of living has sky-rocketed here. Food and energy bills are a lot more expensive than they were this time last year. We are really not able to live within our means anymore and have become dependent on generous family members to help us out. I feel ashamed, but also trying to balance that, as I know from experience self-loathing is no help at all. The other extreme is also unhelpful:  too much self-grandiosity. So one has to get as close to the centre as possible with these states of mind. (I imagine it like a needle on a dial, where I am trying to keep the needle in the green area.) But do so with kindness towards oneself, this makes the experience all the sweeter and easier I am finding. The mind works better when it feels loved, especially by oneself. 

So I am finding myself stuck on the 'Right Livelihood' aspect of the path just now. I have discovered this year, rather unpleasantly and quite painfully, I do not seem to have much ability for maths or computing anymore. I really seem to be struggling with the module I am studying this year on computability and algorithms. I am suddenly not sure software development and coding is realistically going to be something I want to or can do anymore as a career.

I enjoy painting, but I cannot support myself financially with painting, I have not yet sold a single painting or a print after nearly a year of trying. I just cannot for the life of me do the marketing involved, I have tried and failed repeatedly. I do not seem to have the right personality and not really cut out for it. I just want to paint, not spend all my time in self-promotion, my mind just won't work that way.

 Sadly chronic pain and faitigue makes even shelf-stacking at the local supermarket impossible. I think from now on I will only be able to work part-time from home, which is not enough to live on these days. I am at a loss with how to realise 'Right livelihood' if I am honest, this is not an easy part of the Noble eight-fold path for me. I am very uncertain as to how to proceed or how I am going to support myself in the coming years. Again I have to be careful not to get overwhelmed by negative states of mind here. I must face all this with kindness and equanimity, remembering to cut myself some slack, because shame and self-loathing is no help either. It is important to balance my life with the other aspects of the path and not just spend all my time and energy focusing on livelihood. One must not neglect the other parts of the mind. If I do not look after the whole of the mind. I will be in danger of becoming burnt out, unwell and unable to do anything. 

Equanimity is a careful balancing act, which is itself balanced out by kindness. Metta (loving-kindness) and Upekkha (equanimity) are like a knife and fork, they compliment one another and support one another perfectly on the path to enlightenment. 


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Serendipity

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New blog post

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Metta moon

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Wednesday, 19 Jan 2022, 22:22

There was a truly majestic moon earlier this evening. It was large full and coloured with a reddish yellow glow that shone across the ocean in a line towards me - its tranquil light reflected in the rippling water. I had to stop for a moment, almost hypnotised by wonder and just look at it and send it metta - beautiful moon (-:

Very sleepy meditations today, I seem to be struggling with drowsiness just now in my sitting practise. Exploring, when I remember, the treacle-like surrealness that lies on the edge of sleep and the effort involved in staying lucid in that state of mind. Sometimes giving in to the songs of drowsiness only to wake suddenly with a start and feeling disappointed to see that not much time has passed on the clock with still many minutes to go. Then training myself not to feel disappointment whilst simultaneaously being kind to myself. This challenge is teaching me about the sleepy mind at least.

I am enjoying walking meditation a lot just now, there are moments when I get into a nice flow of footsteps, embodiment and breath that feels invigorating, and freeing when for those moments one realises that one has not been thinking. It is lovely to be able to just drop thought like that, to be fully in the body, in sync and flowing with the present moment, not clinging to any of the senses or caught up in the head. It is a bit like riding a bike, once the balance is right it feels effortless and enjoyable. However, once a thought does arise, one's balance starts to wobble a bit and if more thoughts appear the flow state suddenly pops like a bubble and it can feel a bit uncomfortable and unpleasant when this happens, the thoughts feel like torture and an unwelcome interruption to the experience and I then have to be careful not to get tangled up and involved in the stories or react to them. Instead just gently drop them without feeling guilt for not thinking about whatever it is; or that I need to tidy up whatever I am thinking about before I can get back into the pleasant flow state. It takes effort and a bit of will, and some kindness as well, without judging myself; but with practise and getting the balance right, I can just let the thoughts go  and return to the body and breath, the sensation of movement and the feeling of the outside air on the skin. Be with the feet and get back into the beat (-: 

Walking is a kindness to the mind, a rest from the incessant thinking and sedentary lifestyle that many of us lead in the modern world. So when walking one should set aside all the internal dialogue and busyness of study and work, and just enjoy the feeling of embodiment. It is possible to train oneself to do this, I have done it, and the monkey mind does become steadier and wanders less. It does get easier with practise - and then it feels wonderful, like one has gone beyond it all and connected to something much deeper and more real. 


   

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