Monday, November 30, 2020

Thoughts From the Sangha November 25

 Daily, the conditions of our time are us giving the opportunity for mindful practice; perhaps seeming to come to us as a barrage of arrows on our psyche and soul. Up close and personal, may come as illness, isolation and loneliness,the betrayal of trust by a trusted friend, the loss of a loved one, accusations or projected resentments. These may be ongoing conditions that we deal with daily or a sudden intrusion that elicits a gut wrenching response in  which  we may  feel helpless, out of control and anxious. All of these impacted by the continuing out of control virus and cultural unrest.

Whatever the form these may be taking, all of us are being challenged to redefine our identity, our values, concepts, perceptions, our sense of belonging, family and community; the core of who we are as human beings. 

A crucial question to be ask is,"What is the gift of this situation?  How do we reclaim our joy, our hope, our sense of safety and our trust in both ourselves and others?

These are the moments that bring us back to basics, as they have for our ancestors in centuries past. These are the moments for deepening our mindful practices, to focus and refocus on what anchors us. Painful as some of these moments may be, we seize them  to deepen our understanding of ourselves, our assumptions and our relationships in community.

Yes these are the moments for deep looking and discernment, trusting they hold the potential for deep healing, deep growth and transformation. 

Mindfully be gentle with yourselves and with each others with lovingkindness and deep compassion.

From my heart to yours


Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Thoughts From the Sangha November 17

 Reading Thay's stories in At Home in the world and another teacher in Meditations for the Love of It, I find a recurring theme: Joy. Another underlying theme is the sacramental nature of the ordinary. Recently my Sangha brother Jon Hart, hosting Wake Up Sangha, highlighted a teaching of Thay's, If your practice is not bringing you joy, it is not a good practice. This connected with another teaching from a sweat lodge; "the lodge is not an an endurance test but a teaching for life"

Taking comfort in the Three Jewels; the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha and with the awareness that Sangha and other meditative groups are in practice all over the world, I experience Joy. The persistent practice with awareness of the sacramental and sacre is a powerful act of love. 

What are the ordinary things that we love and take for granted that are a spiritual practice or that can become one. We work with what we know and already do. These daily activities are avenues of the holy, of healing, of transformation. These are avenues of joy.

There are the moments the right questions can take us deep. They inspire and challenge us, perhaps move us onto a new direction. My gratitude to Jon and the Wake Up Sangha for these questions.

What does your practice look like? How does in show up in the ordinary?

What are your feelings and insights when you finish? What do you come away with? 

Are there others you have not developed as strongly? 

I would add,What are the ordinary behaviors and the routine that can be transformed into sacred practice? Wearing a mask, washing the dishes, preparing a meal, building a shelf, taking a walk, holding your dog, checking on a neighbor?

Ponder these things in your practice.

With Joy

Saturday, November 14, 2020

 From the Sangha November 10

Listening with my heart to those close to me, to my own body, to social media and network television, I am hearing and feeling a common theme; deep exhaustion. This theme is coming with varying degrees of labels : isolation fatigue, burnout, traumatic stress and apathy. Alongside there is the expression of a host of feelings and emotions, ranging from numbness and a lack of feelings to rage and a despairing depression where one feels no motivation at all.
Regardless of how the crisis of these moments are being experienced by you, they all are a manifestation of a deep response of our being. The term I feel is the most descriptive is fatigue of the soul, not just individually but on a universal collective level. The world soul is hurting and exhausted with grief and hurt.
"We need a break", one said to me. Yes we need a respite from the hurts, from the grief, from the loss, from the dark energies surrounding us. However, most of us push obsessively on, and as one person described it, feeling guilty that we feel so tired and exhausted. Her label was fatigue guilt.
Acknowledging that as the human family we are deeply interconnected, we take refuge in the teachings of the ancients, the teachers and the mystics of many traditions who have came before. those who in prior times of crisis have shown the way. Our beloved teacher Thay drew upon these ancient teaching and spiritual practices as did the mystics of many other spiritual traditions. "Come away and rest awhile" they said. Come away and acknowledge the messages our bodies are sending us. Accept our bodies and our emotions as a very human response, claiming the moments and the space for rest, for sleep, for healing, trusting we can heal and be renewed. Claim rest as a Spiritual Practice.
Thay has been so clear in his teachings and practice that rest is a sacred practice that renews the body and transforms the mind. So let us claim the time and space to 'come away and rest awhile'. There we will find the healing for our exhausted souls.
I invite you to ponder deeply from your heart.

Friday, November 13, 2020

Thoughts from the Sangha November 5

    Acknowledging the very human feelings of fragmented isolation along with a multitude of physical and emotional responses, we gathered for practice in community, holding sacred space for those who gathered in spirit.
    The week has held moments of reactive overwork, moments of numbness, perhaps moments of reactions out of old trauma and habits, but also the moments of seeking comfort and grounding in silence, journal writing, creative arts and mindful connection with the natural world and even mindful work. In the midst of the dark storm going on about us, both up close ,personal and in the social/political environment, all holding dark draining energy, there have been the healing moments of silence, the island of sanity. These are movements and moments of deep healing and a deep turning. There has been the awareness of the Sacred and Ceremonial in our every act.
     Out of the silence came these thoughts shared by Ravenwolf in her unique poetic form and her Native soul.
There must be a balance of darkness and light
so the spiritual journey cab bear fruit of enlightenment
Darkness, home of the shadowdancer. guardian of all things hindering the souls journey to wholeness.
The light, the flaming swords bringing light to an often hidden story, the hidden power of true soul power
The Light, spiritual awakening , birthing The Child of Universal Consciousness
Do we embrace the creation of the Great I Am, embrace the Unknown ?
Can we come to full awareness that each soul can touch the Power of Light ?The Light that lies within our ability to go beyond death and rebirth.
Each soul having the unique imprint of the great Dance of Life; the light igniting an awakening becoming the Birth Child of Universal Consciousness. (Ravenwolf. 9/20/2000
Ponder these thoughts from the heart of the Sangha during these days.
Ponder with an open heart.
May our hearts be as ONE Namaste