POETRY

For Friday, I offer some poetry.

AWARENESS

Blood

on your. . .

on many hands

Ring the bell, sister

Ring it over

mountains

waterfalls

blue sky nights

no moon shines

on too many

Ring the bell, brother

gateless gate

open wide

make the sign:  hold the lotus

she blooms in mud

dense

dark

elements of all our lives

frog

on a lily pad

shares your skin

Ethiopian, silken, dark face

an empty bowl land

get out of your

mercedes,  the congo. . .

Agni’s coming, a hot wind blows

Ring the bell, my mother

my father

hold out your hands

cooperation is riches

compassion made an ocean,

deep and wide,

every drop – none lost

every living thing has eyes

Ring the bell, Thay

We are listening

Lilie Allen

Aug 29, 2013

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MASTERY

Some time ago, I went to my meditation teacher for some advice.  I believed I was having some difficulty with a person in my life and just didn’t think I knew what to do.  So, I began my tale.  He interrupted me, not rudely, just asked me, “You have practiced taekwondo, haven’t you?”  Yes, I said.   “And, you have studied and practiced yoga for many years, right?  Vinyasa yoga, even, true?”   Yes.  I have.  “What are your practices like, describe them – taekwondo first.”  I did, in detail.  He said, “The same every time?  Taekwondo and vinyasa, the same every time?”   Yes.   “Are your masters good teachers?”   Yes, very much so, both of them.  “Why are your practices repetitive?”  To master our bodies, our brains with our minds.  To improve our reflexes, focus and concentration.  To improve speed and conditioning.  “Uh huh.  Yes.  So, when you repeat your tale of woe, what does that do for you?  What does it improve for you, what do you master?  Can you recall these wrongs with more speed, and conditioning?”   Hmmm. . .

“Perhaps, when these thoughts come to you, you could mentally practice your taekwondo, or your vinyasa – meditate upon those.  You might quicken something.  You might gain insight and mastery.  When you speak of taekwondo, of yoga, your face is pure joy, and your voice changes like love for a child, do you know this?  I’ve enjoyed the time we have spent.”

Yeah, got it.   Hope it helps you, too.  It took practice, it takes practice, but WOW it works.  Train your mind.  Peace to you, and thanks for stopping by.  Lilie

ANGER


When you feel anger, don’t dismiss it or shame it. Acknowledge anger as the message it is. Emotions send messages, information that we need. Anger can tell us something needs to change; anger warns of injustice. Anger spurred such changes as important as the civil rights movement. Anger in the mind of someone skilled at its interpretation: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. So, we can practice being skilled, as well. When you feel it, realize it is a feeling, and that its message is that something needs to change, or to be addressed. Now, use your skillful mind to discern: what is your skillful, contributory approach? Practice, practice.

 

CHANGE

I’ve wanted to write this for a long time.  Haven’t quite gotten it to gel in my mind, so many loops to follow with this discussion.  Many years ago, the relationships in my life were, well let’s put it nicely – unsatisfactory.  At least, exploitive, if not downright abusive – and some were abusive, including physically.  Why, why did I have these relationships, these friendships?   With meditation, I began to feel and then to realize what my part was in all this.  I had accepted it.  I didn’t deserve it; wasn’t being punished; but, in some sense I was attracting this.   And, I realized I wasn’t good friend material at that time myself.

The first barrier was the past.  As it is with way too many of us, I grew up in a seriously psychologically and physically abusive environment.  The code of the family, then, was  that it was ok to hurt me – physically, emotionally, psychologically, and especially if it benefitted others.  I was expendable.   I didn’t ‘think’ then.   I agreed.  And, I was a child, so it wasn’t like there was much in the way of choice, at that time.  As I grew up, I still didn’t  ‘think’, didn’t review this attitude, or challenge its validity.  I did not act in my own best interest.  When I did question what my life had been, the reply was basically to suck it up, that was a long time ago, forget about it, or the really original – your past doesn’t affect your present, or your future – uh huh.

Using the traditional religious model of forgiveness, I failed miserably and was in turmoil.   With years and beginning a regular meditation practice, I realized it wasn’t about forgiveness it was about the truth.  The truth was, that I now had an accurate view of what my life had been and the present and future would be up to me, with regard to my choices of people with whom I would associate.    I decided to accept what was, as what was, and to practice discernment from that point on.   You don’t have to hate people for what they were  (or are), nor do you have to continue in the same dynamic.   Your forward movement in your own life, your investment in a more confident, skilled you concerned with healthy interaction to be the person y-o-u intend to be will draw you in other directions – away from what was.

With continued practice, I began to see what my strengths and interests were, and what my participation in my situation had been.     I applied myself to my strengths and interests.  I invested in me:  developing my mind and abilities.  I had the added incentive that I was now coping with constant pain.   During this part of the process, I experienced times of  being worried that soon, very soon, some of these relationships were going to come to a head and have to be dealt with.  I so did not want confrontation.   But, I was changing.  Interestingly, the more I came to know myself, invest in those insights that supported me, I noticed that my efforts at enhancing me were helping others, and connecting me with others in a very different dynamic.  Now, those dysfunctional relationships tended to drop away – no longer any interest.  I was no longer attracted to dysfunction, and dysfunction was no longer attracted to me.  No confrontations, no ugliness, those relationships just seemed to move farther into the background.   Is it always easy?  No.  Sometimes, you might have to speak up and separate yourself  and that does make most of us anxious.  I have also learned, if you continue in a sincere, disciplined practice, you will feel more confident in handling communication in difficulty.  And, you understand more fully (and accept) that you can’t control how the other person will receive or react.   In refusing one thing, you make space for another.

Rather than dwelling on what was, turn the image just a bit, see it from the angle that you have choices and you can begin making them.  A whole different dynamic based on who you want to be can happen now.  Pursue that.  It is worth your thought.  Thanks again for reading, for stopping by.   A day of choices awaits.  Lilie

SAY THE SIMPLE THINGS

Sometimes we’re too concerned with the ‘marketability’ of words and ideas, rather than taking an interest in their substance.  A pet peeve with me, lately.

So, let’s make this short and sweet.  Love yourself.  I don’t mean in some emotionalized, surface, affirmation-spouting demonstration.  I mean the deep and abiding love that seeks the best interest of the self which means the inclusion of the best for others.   The purpose of your life is up to you.  Find what you are good at, what you have interest in and pursue it to the very best of your effort, and go beyond.  Learn, learn, learn, make it a habit.  In whatever circumstances you find yourself, learning can always be part of it.

When you love yourself, you watch your ‘mental talk’.  You begin to make choices where you didn’t notice them before.  And, I have found, you encounter respect from others, often.   Those who don’t treat you with respect get less notice, and seem to drop by the wayside.  This, I have found, is due to the fact that you are managing your time, and you won’t have time for those who are working out their problems on others, rather than facing them honestly and constructively by taking responsibility for themselves.

Love yourself.  Begin now.  Begin tomorrow.  Begin.

May you make respectful choices all day.    Thanks for reading.  Lilie

REWARDS AND RECOGNITION

I see comments like, “you may wait a long time before you see your kindness pay off”, or the medical benefits of kindness listed – as if we must be strung along to that path, enticed – that kindness in itself is not enough.   I don’t want to throw cold water on any of that.  I accept those words as the intention behind them – to be encouraging.

AND,  Kindness is enough.  If you practice acts of kindness, you will become that.  It will be your habit.  Kindness will be your first action.  Whatever else comes (and there are truly many benefits), kindness:  doing kindness, being kindness, thinking on kindness, working at kindness – that’s a most worthwhile pursuit.  It is a reward.

Thanks for reading.  May you be a constant witness to kindness, and its aware recipient.  Lilie

WEIGHING WORDS

When it comes to writing for my blog, I sometimes feel stymied – thinking about the subject that is my interest, well, everything that can (or should) be said, seems to have been.

Meditation is my interest, passion more likely.  And, often, I see that treated as the latest hip, slick and cool thing to do, or to claim one is involved in.  There are all kinds of challenges, retreats, spas, etc., all having the latest take on meditation and very, very expensive -guessing here that this would be the benchmark for how valuable it is – not to me.

Nothing wrong with making a living, but it does seem, to me, these days that every idea, every word that comes out of anyone’s mouth is fodder for a new enterprise.  The first consideration – how much can we charge, how much would people tolerate paying?  How and to whom do we market?  It sickens me.  I see meditation often marketed as an opportunity for greater prosperity – do this, this way and you’ll be a millionaire in a month.  Oh, please.

What about, learn to think, learn to think for yourself what your own thoughts truly are and feel better.  What if learning to think and know your own thoughts allowed you to be more at ease in yourself and in your relationships.  What if you had more of you, a deeper, more centered you in all areas of your life.  That’s the meditation I’m talking about.  I have no concern or intention to turn anyone into a millionaire. Billionaire is the target now, isn’t it?

It’s a simple process, a simple truth – doesn’t require a commitment to a lifelong guru, surrendering your will or identity to another person, which I AM NOT a fan of AT ALL.  For me, meditation was the open door.  It was my way to living a full, open life.  I had great difficulty coping with, let alone trying to conquer, chronic pain.  I didn’t want the current western medical model:  antidepressants, muscle relaxants, anti-anxiety drugs, etc.  I wanted a clear, strong, creative mind.  I didn’t want to watch $$ flying out the window pursuing every silly, snake oil idea out there.

I found meditation.  Practiced, studied, practiced, took classes online, went to classes, studied some more, practiced, read every book I could find and got results.  My results were surprising to me, initially.  The first, I realized I was experiencing moments of inner peace – I hadn’t had that before.  And, then stringing together, more and more spaces of time spent in true happiness – regardless of my current environment or situation.  I just felt enough, equal to the challenge, whatever it might be.  I lost my worry.  I became better at planning, but lost my worry.  I’m not looking for him, either. . .

Anxiety was the next to lose it’s grip.  Oh there still may be triggers, but they don’t get a hold anymore.  They are recognized for what they are, and seem to fade out.  How does that help chronic pain?  Well, my pain did not go away.  But, I have more energy and more ability to manage the pain.  It is there, I’m aware of it, I don’t deny it, but it’s just there period, that’s all.  It is a reality, just like having blue eyes – but you don’t spend all day thinking about your eyes.  I have more success planning and using my energy to its best effort.

I see so much potential for meditation – of course, there have been many cultures who have known this for thousands of years.  I want to see schools able to offer meditation – it’s good for any person, and I think would be excellent for the bullying problem – bullies and the bullied, alike.  I’m not teaching a system, a religion, or even a philosophy – My goal is to teach others what I have learned:  Your mind is your own, and the thoughts you hold are there because YOU thought them, and decided to keep them and make them your subject – it is that simple.  Learn to know your own mind.  Learn who you want to be.  Learn why you allow some thoughts to continue and whether that is useful to you, or not.  Learn that you can change at any moment, and then change again.

So, let’s weigh our words.  Let’s look at the profit in our words as the ‘prophet’ in our words first.  Weigh them in your mind, are they useful?  Are they helpful?  What feeling do they promote?  It’s up to you.  Thanks so much for reading.  Lilie