Ruminating On Rumi

As you start to walk out on the way, the way appears.

~ M. Rumi

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Thoughts on Tidiness (Rather Longish)

As i was cleaning and reorganizing my living space this morning, a memory came to me. It was a gentle reminder that i have always been meticulous, some would call it anal. If it needs to be labelled, i would prefer to call it attentive to detail. The memory was of living in our big, old turn of the century house on Atlin Avenue in Prince Rupert.

Being the eldest, probably to the chagrin of my three years younger sister, i got the largest bedroom. And to further exasperate her, i had to walk through her bedroom to get to mine. There was absolutely no reason she would need to go into my room (unless invited). So i don’t know how that stack of 45’s (an ancient term for the smaller size of records that spun at 45 revolutions per minute) got accidentally knocked over and swept under my dresser. 
My room was larger then Mom and Dad’s on the main floor. It took up nearly two-thirds of the top floor. i can exactly visualize it in my mind. The main portion of the bedroom is larger then my living space here on Faithful Street. There was a very large alcove, a walk-in closet with window, two large windows and ,to a child’s great delight, a wonderful attic that you could crawl through behind the walls of my sister’s room. Her room not only had a large attic space but two extra large attics, one of which was her playroom and the other, the length of my bedroom and about half as wide was where the parents’ kept their treasures and memories. It was in that attic where i would look through Mom’s photo albums and i even found and read some of her diaries. (It seems snooping was popular on the top floor of 1919 Atlin Avenue.)
I could go into much more detail. I won’t. As you can read, even the description is precise. My room would be spotless. i would rearrange all the furniture on a fairly regular basis, like every week or two. My parents allowed me to paint my room and my wicker furniture. For awhile my room was mauve and the furniture was purple. i would constantly sort through and purge my belongings, either giving them away or selling them to my sister. With her money, i would most often go out and buy my brother and sister little gifts. i would categorize and sort books, records, treasures, everything.  This activity, for me, was and still is, very comforting. Yes, it certainly does smack of a control issue. It was a way that i could, and still can, feel safe in my environment. 
Even though, i had a few friends, i spent much time alone. I read, cleaned and spent time in my room with music and books, writing and thinking and playing guitar. It seems that from a very young age ,i had found a way to self-soothe. As far as i can remember, i have been a very sensitive person. Too much stimulus either outer or inner could and, occasionally still does, precipitate much anxiety. When i enter places that are crowded, disorganized and cluttered, i feel a rising sense of panic. If i am able and it is okay, i will release that tension by offering to clean or organize. 
In 1997 an article, i wrote was published in a “green” parenting magazine called “Natural Life Magazine”.  i went searching for it just to illustrate how i have attempted to accept a degree of messiness. Have i succeeded? Not really?  Are my children, as adults, now self-directed in their own tidiness? Well, it’s all a matter of degree.  If anything, i believe they are accepting of how clean, or not, their living space is. 
Perhaps, the greatest difference is i try to use my tool of tidiness in a positive way and not as a anxious response. Note the chosen word, “try”.  I also try not to demean myself for when i am unable to be impeccably organized and tidy. This being, me, with conditions and responses is both perfect as is and still a work of art in process.
Anyway, for a laugh here is what the article said.:

The Messy Room
By Linda A. Boulter
Here are some positive reasons to let your kids’ rooms stay messy until they decide to clean them!
  • First, it enhances their coordination. The children get to practice their balance, a sort of tight rope walking, dance-like movement through and around mounds of toys and clothes without breaking or slipping on anything.
  • It contributes to developed memory skills, better than “The Memory Game” (and definitely more real). Now where is that purple sock? It could be under the bed, stuffed in that dollhouse.
  • They learn practical, handy person skills. They can develop the fine art of unsticking drawers that are jammed full of clothes stuffed in every possible space.
  • They learn the clever art of positive thinking. “The room is fine; I like it the way it is.” They learn the power of persuasion. If they share a room with a sibling, they learn how to persuade the other to help clean. Parents learn how to mediate a non-violent, cooperative effort.
  • They learn that they too have rights, that they can have their own space, their own privacy, a place that parents won't violate with their values and standards of cleanliness.
  • When and if they finally make the decision to clean up, they learn the art of discrimination, sorting dirty clothes from clean ones, useful junque from junk junk. They may learn creative thinking. They may organize a system of orderliness that is uniquely their own, not imposed from without.
  • And – this is a biggie – they also learn one of the easiest ways to punch their parent's buttons. This was one of my biggest emotional buttons until I readjusted my thinking. I gave them power by showing them that a messy room can inflame to high levels of passion and anxiety.
  • But, in the end, the key is that they do learn. And we learn that learning cannot be imposed from without because it only has true value when it comes from within.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Mind Your Own Business ~ MYOB

Thinking of this in the you-niversal sense of the word, i remind myself it is also MMOB. Mind My Own Business. This is very tricky business. As is natural, i look outward and also as is natural, i look outward sometimes from a place of compassion, sometimes from a place of frustration, sometimes from a place of suffering, sometimes from a place of wanting to be liked by others, sometimes from a ...? 
Often, this inclination is focussed on right and wrong with the thoughts “i can fix others”, “others need fixing”.   And, from experience i know what a fiasco this can be. When i perceive that others need fixing, i am actually viewing them as broken or not whole. How demeaning is that? How do i feel when someone else thinks i need fixing or i am broken?
 i am reminded of Byron Katie’s wonderful observation, “I can find only three kinds of business in the universe: Mine, yours and God's. (For me, the word God means “reality.” Reality is God, because it rules. Anything that’s out of my control, your control and everyone else’s control — I call that God’s business.)” 
My business is my own, just as your business is your own. I have no business involving myself in your business. This does not mean that i do not respond to injustice or inhumanity or indifference or intolerance. However, it does mean that i have the responsibility to respond from my own true self to injustice with justice, inhumanity with humanity, intolerance with tolerance and so forth. From this place, when action is required it will spontaneously arrive from a place of equanimity and non-judgement, from “authentic me” with no ulterior motive. Perhaps, if it is possible, from an experienced sense of ultimate oneness but with the knowledge that oneness manifests in many different forms which are perceived as separate. 
Perhaps it was best put by Mahatma Gandhi and the now slogan like quote. 'Be the change that you wish to see in the world.'
There it is. Be it. Embody it.  This is my business. To empower, honour, forgive, trust, love (list your own virtues) me is my business. It is both easy and hard. i am learning to “begin within” and then through different eyes, perhaps compassion, love, etc i look without. Not from a perspective of fixing, (no thing truly needs fixing) but from an understanding that each one’s experience of life is both valuable and personal. Why? Because it is so. Byron Katy’s wonderful book, “Loving What Is” says it all, both in the title and in the quote "The only time I suffer is when I argue with what is.” 
From a place of inquiry and experience i ask , “Isn’t seeing others “suffer” the ultimate reason i want to help.” Yet sometimes my “help” causes more suffering to myself and the recipient. Certainly, when i take on what i perceive as someone else’s suffering, i do suffer. Yet sometimes, when asked to help it does not add to suffering. That is the difference. I believe that help is only helpful when it is asked for and when it empowers. And, who decides what is empowering or not? The being as an individual. 
There are many, many souls who have shared experienced wisdom of “being the change” so here are the lovely words of Saint Francis Of Assisi.
Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace. 
Where there is hatred, let me sow love; 
Where there is injury, pardon; 
Where there is doubt, faith; 
Where there is despair, hope; 
Where there is darkness, light; 
Where there is sadness, joy. 
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek 
To be consoled as to console, 
To be understood as to understand, 
To be loved as to love; 
For it is in giving that we receive; 
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned; 
It is in dying that we are born to eternal life.  
i will continue to practice tuning me as an instrument.  This especially so when i get the inclination to “fix someone for their own good.” 

What do you think?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

"What you are looking for is what's looking."

Yesterday on I watched a lovely documentary called “Spiritual Revolution”. One of the participants quoted St Francis of Assis, “What you are looking for is what’s looking?” 

This resonates deeply within my being. This seems to be at the core in all spiritual, mystic and, yes, even religious teachings. It has been spoken about, alluded to, pointed directly at and lived by all the world’s sages, teachers and buddhas. 

This bag of bones, this meat suit, this impermanent form is only a vehicle for transformation and consciousness. With the tool of our brain we have the opportunity to move beyond the functions of brain. 
Self awareness, consciousness sparked in the brain, nourished with knowledge and experienced points to the realization that that which we are seeking is that which animates all. When we get a taste of this, then life naturally guides us to a different purpose. Living, for a short time on this physical plane, in a way where we honour the wonderful diversity through the eyes of unity. Individuation, accepted and celebrated, cared for and nurtured, is a skill that ultimately points us to a lived “knowing” of oneness. 
I stumble in wording this, perhaps Albert Einstein said it best, “
"A human being is a part of a whole, called by us 'universe', a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest... a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty."

Last little contribution from self, "Universe, truly means You-niverse."

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Eye Wonder

Sitting cross legged in this big, comfy chair
Through the window sun envelopes 
This body in a warm embrace
Eyes squint 
Seeing small pillows of baby clouds shape shift
Across the afternoon sky
Bigger clouds billow and congregate on the horizon
The sun appears to briefly disappear
The warm embrace loosens, body cools
After some time a full embrace
A warm glow from head to toe
A small breeze chases a leaf across the lawn
Leaf hopping like a bird searching for worms
Now as late afternoon on this nearly official spring day
Draws longer shadows on the wooden back deck
Nudged by a deeper breath of breeze, the back deck door 
Closes, then opens, then closes, then 
The breeze becomes a soft, long drawn in sigh and equally long exhale
Leaving trees and branches to slow dance to and fro
Swaying as the sun shrugs lower in the sky
Vast endless sky blue
Lazily white clouds float in the blueness
Deep green coniferous trees 
Bare brown trees tipped with the green possibility of spring
Express the whispers of the wind
Sitting still
Feebly searching to word the wordless
Trying to grasp what never can be held 
In stillness behold  

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Reflections on the tao te ching ~ Chapter 2

tao te ching 
a new english version by Stephen Mitchell 
When people see some things as beautiful,
other things become ugly.
When people see some things as good,
other things become bad.
Being and non-being create each other.
Difficult and easy support each other.
Long and short define each other.
High and low depend on each other.
Before and after follow each other.
Therefore the Master
acts without doing anything
and teaches without saying anything.
Things arise and she lets them come;
things disappear and she lets them go.
She has but doesn’t possess,
acts but doesn’t expect.
When her work is done, she forgets it.
That is why it lasts forever.
~ ~ ~ 
At the VZC we chant “Affirming Faith Mind”.
Essentially, the chant, for me, addresses this and that, and our inclination to discriminate. From the discrimination, we wish to cling to that which we “like” and push away that which we “dislike”. It suggests, “If you would clearly see the truth be neither for nor against. To set up likes and dislikes is nothing but the mind’s disease. And not to see the way’s deep truth disturbs the mind’s essential peace.”
The translation of the title tao te ching is essentially “The Book Of The Way.” The “Affirming Faith Mind” reminds us of “the way’s deep truth.”  Byron Katy invites us “to love what is.” Why? Because it is what it is. This is the way. When we go against the nature of the way things are, the cycles of life, the changing of the seasons and so on, we suffer. Even though we can see experientially the impermanence of all things in this world, we deny this truth. When we experience change or death, we are shocked. We are plucked from “happily ever after” and placed smack dab in reality which is where we always are whether we want to believe it or not. Birth is a death sentence.  
When we wake up and accept the inevitable, that all things are impermanent, we begin to live in harmony with the way. Accepting the way things are is not an endorsement for nihilism. Being keenly aware of what is enables us to act with appropriate skillfulness no matter the situation. Death, instead of being a foe, as a friend always reminds us that this moment is transient. This very moment, both fleeting and precious, is the many faceted jewel that is life. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Sisters of the Skeleton Leaf

In which Ssarah & Mommy found, in separate locations on separate occasions, skeleton leaves and thus the Sisters of the Skeleton Leaf was born. 

Sisters Of The Skeleton Leaf are present in the day-to-day miracle. They look around, up and down, and notice the wonders of life. Anyone can be a sister, no discrimination here, even brothers, although they need to agree to be a sister in spirit (SIS). Through the Skeleton Leaf, the sisters honour that that which is of the nature to be born is of the nature to die. Become familiar with the skeletons in your life! 
You like; you join!!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Oddest Thing

The oddest thing... the new home of the picture of my Mom on the credenza is placed in such a way that the glass in the frame catches the light from the kitchen. From the corner of my eye, when i am only being and not thinking, the reflection looks like a candle burning. It calls to my heart in a way that reminds me Mom resides in my heart, always.
This weekend seeing Adyashanti in Vancouver was another call to the heart. Many calls in fact, in Adya's clear manner he points time and again in many different ways to that which is always present. My being experienced all feelings in joyous equanimity. It would be impossible to put much of it into words. "You had to have been there." (You are already here.) 
A few pointers, i savoured.
~ being in a human form is an "act of love" 
~ from the word transcendence - my mind saw trance end dance
~ from the word avoidance - it got a void dance 
~ when Adya was talking about the eyes of the ego, a slip occurred and he said "through the lies of the ego"
Even before the event, this little word play arrived in my mind.
This is it. The human experience/exploration/experiment/intuition/insight/integration/awakening/transcendence/spaciousness/consciousness/presence/isness
Truth's right before your very eyes. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


Often enough, i struggle with the passion of wanting to put ideas and thoughts in words, to both understand and explore the esoteric questions. Yet, i sense that a certain amount of these mental meanderings is senseless, meaningless, bs. In some respects, just being still and silent is enough. Then the inspirations come and with them words. i am grateful for this gift of words. i just can’t settle for believing that i can do anything more then barely touch what really wants to be said. The words limit; the mind discriminates.
Today, i finally attended to some of the stains on my zafu. Upon wiping them off, i noticed a seam that was soon to be a hole. I took black thread and needle and reinforced the place. Simple, see a need and then attend to it. 
Sparky the silky, found a shaft of sunlight streaming through the french doors. A need to be in the warmth of that spot beckoned him. He lay soaking up the golden rays of the sun. i very much doubt he questioned the validity of the sun or the meaning of why now here.  
Although there is no way i can go back to the animal consciousness. i certainly can learn much if i don’t over analyze. When i come back to the question, “What is the meaning of life?” i still answer, “Life, is the meaning of life.” And on a deeper level, i know that life is a journey and every moment is a golden opportunity to wake up to what is always present.  The quality of how i live this life is a choice. i choose to live from my heart. i choose to both sit in centred stillness and act from the same place. i will care for my consciousness as i did my zafu, as sparky did in the golden light of the sun. 

Sunday, March 4, 2012

An Early Morning Meander

Most Wonderful Collage by Greg Evans

Be a tourist in your own life. Everything you need to know/do/be is present in this exact moment.  Just show up for it with intention. Then the answer, a teacher, an opportunity, an experience, an epiphany, an awakening will find you.  I am the embodiment of All.  All i need to do is to wake up to that which is always present.  Cultivate curiosity. This is the play. This is the mysterious nature that makes each moment so worth living. There is only this chance to make this choice for this moment right now.  

How powerful that we can create so many blocks in life, so much suffering.  This takes a lot of energy.  Imagine freeing up that energy to just be the inherent beauty, mystery, divinity in and of everything. No exception. The picking and choosing, the clinging and aversion that is the source of both the suffering and upon realization of this, a pointer to go beyond. Instead of what's next ask what's now.  In our diet all flavours are necessary to sustain a healthy body. So too in all the flavours that are the whole, the totality of all experience. Life pokes us to wake up by gyving exactly what is needed and asked for.  The paradox is that to truly see that we always get the experiences we ask for, we need to wake up. In waking up, we truly “know” that we are not living a life, we are life. In the state of reverie in the fertile field of our imaginations, we plant the seeds for flowers or weeds. It's all simply a matter of perception. The illusion is separation. This is the garden of Eden. We are not living a life; we are life. Consciously co-create by choice.