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

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.

 

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

WHEN IT’S TIME TO GO

Today, my husband retired.  He’s a few years short of retirement, but he has MS.  I haven’t been able to tell anyone outside of family and some very close friends because he would have lost his job.  He is in good health, has been on MS meds now for about five years, (has been diagnosed for 20) but he worked in construction and doesn’t need to be doing that any longer.  So, it’s a time of transition at our house.  Fortunately, we have each other and some good tools we’ve both learned.

It’s a time of excitement; it’s scary and there is some sadness.  We think of all others in similar situations and we send our intentions for all to have their needs met.  And, it is our intention that we may always be ready to meet the needs of others in whatever way we can.

We are very grateful for all we have:  friendship, love and support – particularly.

May you be well.   Thanks for stopping by.  Lilie

ALL THE STITCHES LINE UP

Again, thank you to those folks who hang in there with me.  The heat has definitely affected me this year, I bet many of you can say the same.  I have to blog when I can and take time out from the blogosphere to regain momentum.

While resting this time, I worked on a shawl that I had been knitting.  I came to a place where the stitches were no longer correct.  I worked the pattern, over and over.  Then, I remembered that definition of insanity:  You know, the “doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result”,  well, that was me.  But, sometimes we do need to review.  We need to go over the steps, see where the pattern is.  Finally, I had to disregard the pattern and just look at what the stitches were intended to accomplish.  I followed that, built my own pattern and it came out correctly, voila shawl done!

We have to follow a path, review, pay close attention to where the patterns are, and what we expect to find in them.  In this instance, I wanted a shawl that had a certain type of stitching.   I got that, but I had to re-think, reorganize and examine.  I decided what was important about the project and how best to arrive at the desired result.  I had to stop trusting the written instructions and work on experience and intuition.

I think living with chronic pain is like that, as well.  We need wise counsel, information and education to form a plan.  And, we need to learn when to make adjustments, what to keep and what to discard.  It’s a process, doesn’t stay the same for long.  It’s been an ongoing lesson in learning how to trust myself.  Learning how to trust myself – even when I’m wrong.  Yes, even when I’m wrong – that I will see I’ve been wrong; be willing to admit I’m wrong (regardless of ego-attachment involved), and that I will regain a path toward positive result.  It’s easy to trust ourselves when the instructions are clear and correct.  It isn’t as easy, when the instructions don’t give the result expected and we must find our own way through.  Trusting ourselves in difficulty, that’s the challenge.  That’s the one I’m presenting to you.  What will you do when your plan goes off course?  Fight it,  or find it?  Here’s that choice thing again.  You can trust yourself in uncertainty just as you can when all the stitches line up.  You have to choose to find it.

I hope you’re taking care, staying as cool as you can.  Thanks for stopping by.  Lilie

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

What about you?  Do you do what I do?

See, I’m asking you here to work on suspending judgment in order to be a mindful observer – get the facts, then make a decision.  Help the world’s people out a little, hold on and think it through.  That includes about you.  I’m asking that.  So, do I do it?

I’ve been the worst critic of myself; the worst judge.  Now, being a critic is not a negative thing.  In writing, you want a critic – someone with a keen eye who observes and comments, in order to help you improve.  If you are that kind of critic of yourself, well good.  I wasn’t.

When we keep that bitter gall pent up against ourselves, it comes out in other places, toward others.   What you teach your brain, it does.  It doesn’t distinguish, you do.  Your mind does.  You must teach your brain about that judgment thing.

We don’t want to live ‘anything goes’ lives devoid of conscience.   We want to feel that ‘ouch’ and smarting feeling when we hurt someone with our words or actions.  We want to be compassionate folk in our thoughts, words and actions.  We want to be fair in our dealings with others.  How to do it?

This is what I am practicing:  In my meditation, I take my time to get quiet inside (you don’t have to throw all thought out of your mind, you can’t), And, I watch my thoughts.  I watch my thought processes.   I reframe them in the light of truth, as I can best define that in my experience.  I observe where I have not been the person I am working toward.  Rather than harshly condemning myself for my mistakes or missteps, I ask myself some questions:  1) How have my words or actions served to lessen suffering?  2) How have my words or actions promoted the transmission of knowledge for self and/or others?  3) How have my words or actions promoted goodwill?   4) If  it has been necessary, how have my words or actions, respectfully, defended self or others?

If my thoughts, words,  or actions have skipped the mindful observer’s approach and moved into mouth-over-mind-now-insert-foot mode, here’s an opportunity to train my brain toward better habits, toward leading the life I expect from myself.   Begin the practice of humility.  I need to say, “I’m sorry.”  PERIOD.  Unvarnished – just I’m sorry.   Best said in person, if at all possible.  But, say it.  Know why you are saying it, so that you will make the changes necessary.   We can put this into practice in all ares of our lives.  Humility does not mean weakness.  I think of it as the ability to withstand anything, and doing it truthfully.  I think of it as encouraging strength.  When you practice humility to the point that it is part of you, that’s an indomitable spirit.  A person who accepts his/her imperfections is indomitable.  A person who seeks to see his/her life truthfully is indomitable.  You can handle the embarrassment of having to apologize.  If you really don’t like that, that’s incentive to change.  You don’t have to apologize so often that way.

You can’t make another sorry for what they may have thought, done or said to you.  Don’t bother.  Again, use your mindful observer.   Consider the person, circumstances, and action first.  Is this habitual on the part of this person?  Then, perhaps it isn’t, at this time, a relationship to invest in.   Is this what happens to all of us:  Some days you’re the person who is the jerk, somedays the other guy is?  If that’s it, you have some choices:  You can let it go.  Or, you can breathe, get calm, reason and speak.  Say what you feel.  You can do that respectfully.  Then, breathe, calm, think and decide.   You can change that decision, as you move on.

It isn’t about allowing people to treat you badly.  My experience has been, when I have been the ‘mindful observer’ of myself, I seem to have had a shift in the relationships I attract.  I feel more calm and happy, most of the time – even when things externally may not want to go along with that.  I find myself less and less subject to external events.  I find myself  less and less worried by the ‘what ifs’.  I believe I can handle what comes.  It’s in there.  I just need to be aware, to watch and know that I am able.  You are, too.

So, what about you?  What do you do?

Thanks so much for stopping by.   Thanks to the bloggers out there who are making such positive contributions to themselves and others.  Keep writing.   Lilie