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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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

I’LL BE THAT

I thank everyone for their kindness, thoughtful words, and their insight at the passing of my friend, Jack.

I am hoping that I will tell his stories, and remember.   The most important remembering I want is to live the things about him that I so admired.  I think that just may be the reincarnation thing.  When we see certain qualities in a person, admire those qualities and live them out in our lives; well, that person lives on, and on.

When we admire courage, compassion, acts of kindness and interest in others, passion for social justice, and we have the courage to stand up and say, “I think I’ll do that.  I’ll be that, I’ll be kind.  I’ll wait and see before I speak.  I’ll forgive first.  I won’t allow the injury or oppression of another by word or deed.  I am here for all that.  I’m here.”  Well, who knows what good could come; how far that could ripple  We don’t have to wait for the people we love and admire to pass, we can accept those qualities right now.    It’s their gift to us – right now.  I have this feeling that if we do that, when we do that, there might be another person watching who decides to become that, as well.   Pretty soon, you have a world full of people becoming compassion, kindness,  and love.    We are assured the people we have loved carry on.

I’ll do that.  I’ll be that.  The best I can, I will.

May you be the fullness of all you have admired in those you love.  Thank you for stopping by.  Lilie

SHENPA, GO HOME!

In Buddhist writings, ‘Shenpa’ is the distracter, that chattering inside your head, always something to say.  This is one idea for coping with ‘Shenpa’.

a nice day, in the mid50s

walking into the early morning

Shenpa begins talking

wonder and worry

and all the other things

mind has to say

gray rain cloud forms a low ceiling

over this valley

to the mountains and beyond

a deer jumps, then sprints into the thicket

chipmunk runs the rails of a fence,

and skitters off

the dam seems quiet this morning,

beaver must have slept in

birds fly out from the bushes

surprised by the sound of footsteps

the sun tries to part the cloud,

for a moment,

with his big, round, bright face

moment by moment

this is what we have

what deserves our attention

let Shenpa get his own ride home!

from the book, A Perfect Blossom, by Lilie Allen

copyright 2010

HYPOCRITES!

“I don’t believe in God because Aunt So-and-So, or Grandpa, or the neighbors, or the people in the church I went to are hypocrites!”  Ever heard that?  I have.  Hmm.  Even as a fairly young person, that didn’t make sense to me.  Basing your choice of belief, or unbelief, on what other people do.   Actually, there are no ‘other’ people.  People are just like you.  Sometimes they do good things, sometimes not so much.  Are they hypocrites?  Well, my definition is a person who knows that they are doing wrong, and has some agenda or motive in doing it, so they continue – fully aware.  That’s a hypocrite. They are using organizations or people, religious or otherwise, to further their own ends.   The rest of us, most are trying our best and that has to be on a daily basis.  Some days go well, some days. . .

Or, “I don’t believe in God, because I believed He promised me that such-and-such would, or would not, happen.”  One young man told me that he didn’t believe in God because his grandfather died on Christmas day, a day when he was hoping to see this important person in his life one last time.  It’s ok to be angry at the loss of someone you love, be careful whom you splash that on.  Make sure it fits.

For me, I don’t base what I believe, or don’t, on anyone else.  I don’t base it on doctrine, one particular source, philosophy or ideation.  I listen, observe, study and decide.  What do I think and feel about what I have absorbed?  In most instances, I have learned to use critical thinking.  Am I never influenced by others?  I am influenced by others, and I realize human nature.  If I had to believe in God, in order to dictate or control my behavior, I wouldn’t believe.  If I can’t be who I am, decide on who I am going to be, my moral path, my duty to others and self, inside my own self – then, what good is belief?   If you only have control over your thoughts and actions by believing someone else controls them, or someone is watching you and may punish or reward you, what do you have?

I mentioned I was raised in a rather rigid Christian church, and continued that through my young life.  Even got myself into a situation of attending, not really by choice, an even more rigid church (from which I literally escaped after about 10 year, that’s when critical thinking became important).  I prayed all the time.  I prayed for others, for my family.  I had certain prayers that I learned as a child, and repeated those prayers for loved ones, and self.

Each day, and each evening , I would pray for the safety and protection of friends and family.  During that time, a close  friend shot himself to death, another was killed in a climbing accident, another dove off a cliff and broke his neck and died, a friend was murdered by her half-brother, and my fiance was killed in a motorcycle accident, two of my business contacts committed suicide.   I also worked in a clinic and saw all around me the devastation of minimal, or no, access to healthcare.  I saw poverty and hunger in people who worked hard and had nothing.  Inequality, injustice and abuse.   And, I believed in cause and effect – some people cause and it can affect you. You also do the same, words and actions matter – you don’t always know where they will wind up.   I grieved and felt heartache, each time.  Seasons of  life.

If I continued to base my belief on outcomes, I would have none.  I learned through these experiences about grief and loss, about anger and passion, the value of compassion and love.   I learned that belief is not about outcome.  It’s about what is right now.  What you can do.  We have invented something very clever (and sinister, I think) in standing back and saying, “pray about it”, “God will help you”.  Then, we have no responsibility.  The truth is we are the God that’s coming.  We are the rescue, and the help.  It is given to us to care for others, friends or strangers.  That’s why we are here – not to collect and achieve.  Few get it.  Few live it.  Few want to.

If you believe in God, and that adds strength and peace to your life, good.  I encourage you in that, I admire it.  If you do not believe, and that gives you stability, courage and the desire to do good and be compassionate to self, and others,  good for you, as well.    I have known the faithful of varied traditions, and the nonbelievers, both.  The trajectory of their lives seems to have no difference, in my observation – they have the same amount of good fortune and tragedy.  It seems to me, the worth of life is in what you choose to do with it.  How you choose to live, whether someone is watching, or not.  How you choose to send your intentions, by prayer or holding good thoughts in your heart, regardless of outcome.

No matter your circumstances, no matter the tragedies, injustices or disappointments (that’s life, the seasons of living) you have the free will to choose who you will be.  That’s up to you.  Rich or poor, famous or not,  you can choose integrity, courage, faithfulness any time you want to.  You can make that the course of the life you have.  It’s never going to be about the things that happen around you, or to you; it’s always going to be about who you decide to stand up and be.   Hypocrites, real or imagined, don’t make your decisions.   You do.  You always do.
I apologize for the length.  It’s something I’ve been wanting to express.  I thank you so much for listening, for stopping by.  Lilie

THINKING, OR HABIT?

Did you know?  The simple act of thinking (or, maybe not so simple?) sends more blood flow to your brain?  Yes.  And, the expression “changing your mind” is not just an expression, but really does happen.   It’s from the momentary, and less monumental,  I’ll wear red instead of blue, to choosing the positive over the negative.  Repeat a choice often enough, your brain changes.

We have many choices before us all day long, every day of our lives.   Often, most of those choices are made by habituation.  We don’t even realize we aren’t really deciding.  It’s what we have done before so many times that our brain repeats the action.   Sometimes, that works for us:  riding a bicycle, writing, learning forms in taekwondo.  We probably all have had the experience of driving somewhere and not realizing how we arrived there?  Please, do less of that.  We can see that some habituated behavior can be a good thing.

Then, there’s the habituation that isn’t.  If every time we trip over the rug in our living room, we get angry and swear about it, the brain is going to remember to do that, by habit.  We are no longer going to notice that we aren’t deciding or choosing to do that anymore – it’s habituation.    Prejudice, anger, rigid beliefs can happen in the same way.  We don’t even know why we cling to them, we  “just do”.  Our brain has recorded that information and repeated the action – without thought getting in its way.  How about sending more blood to that brain, increase thinking – it’s a healthy lifestyle project!

How may we accomplish that?  My personal mental exercise:  Meditation.  It gives us that sliver of space between thoughts to examine; to ask ourselves questions.  What do we want to be thinking?  What would we want to  become a habit?  What beliefs are true for us, in a thoughtful way?  How do we want to live our lives, for self and others?  That space where we breathe and decide has greater power than just about anything else we accomplish – because, it’s the way we accomplish anything – by rote or by choice.   You decide.

Thank you for stopping by.

Check out:  hughasia.wordpress.com, janbeek.wordpress.com, affirmagise.wordpress.com, liberatedway.wordpress.com, for just a few people who are ‘thinking’ their every day, every moment lives.