Bliss Bestowing Hands

 

Buddha

Entering the city with bliss bestowing hands,

the last of the ten Ox herding pictures of Zen Buddhism,

represents the culmination of the process of individuation:

“And now having moved to the stage of emptiness,

and also having seen God in the world of nature,

the individual can see God in the world of men.

Enlightened mingling in the marketplace

with wine bibbers and butchers,

he recognizes the inner light of “ Buddha Nature” in everyone.

He doesn’t need to hold himself aloof

nor be weighed down by a sense of duty or responsibility,

nor to follow a set of patterns of other holy men,

nor to imitate the past.

He is so in harmony with life

that he is content to be inconspicuous,

to be an instrument,

not a leader.

He simply does what he what seems to him natural.

But though in the marketplace

he seems to be an ordinary man,

something happens to the people among whom he mingles.

They too become part of the harmony of the universe.

Suzuki, Manual of Zen Buddhism

 

 

Fire in the Belly

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

All the maps  to the authentic self tell us,

we must remain in the dark night of the soul

until we reach the very bottom of despair.

Only then do we discover

the seeds of renewal

blindly pushing their way up

through fertile loam

toward the yet eclipsed sun.

 

The lowest point on the journey

is paradoxically the womb.

For nearly a week I been weary, incapable of action

Finally I sit, wait and listen

for what I do not know.

Then somehow on the other side of sadness,

I hear a deep  unhurried symphony

My spirit burrows deep into the fertile silence

rests and is refreshed.

 

Words by Sam Keen, A Fire in the  Belly 1991  pg. 147

 

 

Everyone Loves a Bear Story

bear of apple valley

“10 years ago or so, I was mountain biking in a forest near where I live. It was a beautiful October afternoon, mid-60s, peak foliage,  crisp air.  I stopped my mountain bike on top of a hill in a very remote part of the forest, and saw this beautiful oak tree about 50 feet off the trail. I was doing a lot of yoga at the time and  I was really deep in my mindfulness, yoga, meditation practice. So  I sat down under a tree, I pulled my hood up over my head and closed my eyes  and  started to meditate. It was a  good time in my life. I was feeling a lot of gratitude and I just started praying.

I asked my divine Spirit to come and share in my gratitude with me. I was saying ” thank you” and I  invited Spirit to come and sit with me. And those were my words that I spoke out loud in that moment.

A few seconds later, I heard footsteps in the forest and I thought it was somebody hiking, so I just continued to meditate. And then I noticed that the sound was getting a little closer, and closer and  I started to wonder what was going on. But I remained still.

Then I heard a twig snap right behind the tree, like two feet behind me. And I heard a loud exhalation  and all the hair on the back of my neck stood up and I knew that there was a bear right behind me.

I slowly turned my head  to look over my shoulder  and about 15 inches behind me, I could see, from the shoulders to  rump of a really large black bear.

“Do I run? Do I get up? Do I yell? Do I climb a tree? ”

Immediately I had the sense that the best thing to do was just remain calm. So I was just sitting there, breathing and meditating on my fear essentially, and my fight-or-flight response. And then, the bear came around to my right,  about  a foot  away from me.

It  settled down and actually sat right next to me.

That  bear and I were sitting next to one another.

When the bear got up to walk away, I was relieved.

When it  was 20 feet away, it turned to  look back at me

and we made eye contact.

When I stood up, my legs actually gave out.

I  shot out of those woods on my bike but at the same time

I was  feeling so much gratitude,

it was  the most amazing thing that’s ever happened,

such an impressive, wild being.”

 

An edited version of Micah Mortali’s  bear story, Daily Good  Jan 14, 20

Smoke

typee She loves heartwood smoke , it’s medicine

and she walks with it through the rooms of our house

and when I come home,

the  sweetness  of the smoke revives my  prayer.

“Smoke doesn’t give her gift only to some,

forgiveness and healing is for all.”

 

The white man and red man where meant to walk together.

Historical trauma and unfelt grief

keep us unreceptive,

like hard packed land that won’t take in a seed.

 

These words are from  Braiding Sweetgrass  (pg. 207)

“After all these generations since Columbus,

some of the wisest elders

still puzzle over the people who came to our shores.

They look at the toll on the land and say,

“The problem with these new people

is that they don’t have both feet on the shore.

One  is still on the boat.

They don’t  seem to know whether they are staying or not.”

Perhaps our relentlessly materialist culture

is the fruit of homelessness, a rootless past.

For the sake of the peoples and the land,

the urgent work may be to set aside the ways of the colonist

and become indigenous to place.

But can Americans, as a nation of immigrants,

learn to live here as if we were staying.

With both feet on the shore?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meditation on the Guru

Banks and monkey

“Imagine a realized being standing before you,

someone to whom you feel particularly attuned.

This being is radiant

with eyes that are filled with compassion.

See yourself reflected in those compassionate, nonjudging eyes.

despite all of the impurities to which you cling,

despite all your feelings of unworthiness,

such a being loves you unconditionally.

It’s ok to carry on imaginary conversations with this being,

the exchange opens you to compassion, tranquility and warmth,

to all the qualities of a free being.

The beloved is a mirror of your own beauty.

Ultimately you become that kind of love.

You’re living in that space

and don’t need anyone to turn you on to love

because you are it.

You become more and more the statement of love,

you fall into love with everyone.”

 

An excerpt from Ram Dass’s  Book Polishing the Mirror  pg. 135-136

He suggests mediating  with Christ, Mary, Ma, Mohammad, Hanuman or your guru.

 

Tell the Truth and Love Everyone

Ram-Dass

My husband  is starting to look like this

Like a wild Ram Dass.

While giving blood on Christmas eve,

he told me that he reached out

and touched

the “presence” that was  in the room.

And the  people there,

turned to look at him

as if it were about  him,

not what was already there,

that he was just touching it.

 

Ram Dass tells a story  from his youth

of  living in an ashram in India

with his beloved guru, Maharaj-ji,

who advised him to” Tell the Truth and Love Everyone”.

One day having walked in the heat,

hungry and pissed off,

Ram Dass’s  anger escalated  to a full furry.

He was so furious at everyone

that he began to sob without end,

on and on

The Guru fed him milk, patted his head and

tugged on his beard, crying with him.

 

The tenderness of the  guru knows

that  “acceptance”  was already in the room.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Betty the Goat

Betty the goat (3)

Betty, the neighbor’s goat died. I just found out.

She was  the one I looked for, trailing behind the herd as they rushed to eat our compost.

Bow legged  and slow,

I’d call out ,” Hi Betty”

As wide as she was high with  heart shaped lips, oh my!

Betty was my mother’s name.

She taught me the pleasure of words, passionately reading a  poem

Giving it all she had  as if  someone’s life depended on it.

My mother wore a  corral colored lipstick, “for courage.” she once said.

I wish I could remember the name of that color…..

“Wildly wonderful  You”  perhaps.

As my daughter says, “This is not a dress rehearsal”