Monkey Mind: The Bell

Monkey Mind: The Bell

In, out, in, out, in, out, in, out, in, out, in, out. *cough* in, out, in, out, in, out, in, out, in, out, in, out, in, out, in, out, in, out, in, out, in, out,  in, out, in, out, in, out, in, out, in, out,  in, out, in, out, in, out, in, out, in, out,  in, out, in, out, in, out, in, out, in, out,  in, out, in, out, in, out, in, out, in, out,in, out,  in, out, it must have been a good ten minutes by now, in, out, in, out, in, out, in, out, in, out, in, out, in, out, in, out, in, out, in, out, in, out, in, out, in, out, in, out, in, out, in, out, in, out, in, out, in, out, in, out, in, out,  in, out, in, out, in, out, in, out, in, out, in, out, in, out, in, out, in, out, we’re only sitting for 15 minutes are we not? It must be getting close. I wonder if he’s forgotten to ring the bell after 15 minutes. in, out, in, out, in, out, in, out, in, out, in, out, in, out, in, out, in, out, in, out, in, is he not keeping track of time?! what if he’s so zen right now he’s forgotten time. This may never end! out, in, out, in, out, in, out, in, out, next time I’ll ask to be in charge of the bell ringing, in, out, in, out, in, out, in, outin, out, in, outin, out, in, out, in, out, in, out, just have to wait for the bell, then this meditation is done, in, out, *drops noting*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ *BELL RINGS* damn it, it was just getting good. 

This was a comically inclined Monkey Mind Monologue, hope you enjoyed it and thanks for visiting the blog 🙂 

-dharmacaterpillar 


We are that which is breathing;

We are that which is breathing;

I often think about this as a way to conceive of meditation in the mystical sense. The breath is the thing — the prime mover. The meat that forms around it and generates the electrical impulses that form sensation, thoughts, and the construct of self, are mere […]
Check out the rest of this wonderful muse by following the link below:

http://glassgrimoire.org/2017/03/21/we-are-that-which-is-breathing/

Have you had your meds today?

Have you had your meds today?

I came into meditation, like many others, because I had a problem; something I wanted to fix about my existence. At the time, my whole world had been shuck up with my daughter’s brain condition being diagnosed as something the medical world didn’t know much about and couldn’t cure. That fed into more chronic underlying conditions of mental anxiety and physical manifestations of that with systemic psoriasis. I wanted to do something about me, so that I could do more for others. I wanted to fix things. 

No doubt. No doubt at all, after only a few months things had changed, the mental activity and physical actions of my daily life had shifted profoundly. The world looked, smelled, tasted, sounded and felt different- lighter. 

My meditation practice became regular and often, and as that happened, I found that I was no longer doing it for anything, I was not a project to fix or complete. And when people asked, “Why do you meditate?” I found it difficult to answer because I couldn’t relate to the question as much, I would reply “to meditate”. 

Meditation may seem like medication at first, but you may find, as I do, that it’s more like a part of a healthy, balanced diet, not a plastic pill. 

A lotus for you, a Buddha to be,

a dharmacaterpillar

The New You is the True You

The New You is the True You

Many of us harbour both a desire to begin a more sattvic life in order to unravel tensions and bindings- to be at peace- and also innumerable conditioned habits both physical and mental. These habits can obstruct our most venerable quest. These habits are also best at binding us to our ego self. 

Perhaps take some time now to write a list of things that make you- you. Anything that comes to mind, write it, don’t hesitate or hide or even clarify anything. Things you like to do, to eat, things you dislike, bad habits, and good habits. These are often the excercises of our life, reinforcing the notion of our ego being separate and unchanging; because habits are things that don’t seem to go away. I hear a lot “I am, who I am and nothing will change that” and this idea is one of habits.

We already into the 3rd week of the new year, and perhaps New Years resolutions have already been forgotten, maybe they’re still hanging around. But in terms of the practice, this desire to lead a more sattvic life, living in accordance with the dharma, meditating, where are we at? 

5 things to consider 

  1. For now, since we are residing in the world of conditioned phenomena, let’s not ignore time. Get out your diary and schedule. Find a time in the day where time may be allocated to meditation. Find a time for this everyday, so that it can be a regular practice. Maybe make it part of your morning routine? Or otherwise pair it with another daily activity.
  2. Be specific. What meditation? For how long? Why? Be sure to be prepared for what you’re doing, and always remind yourself of intention.
  3. Compassion. Don’t be shameful or cultivate self-guilt if you happen to oversleep and therefore miss the morning meditation in order to get to work on time. Treat it as a great opportunity to cultivate some compassion.
  4. The time is now. Starting a new habit on the 1st of the next month is fair enough but what is there to really prevent you from starting right now? Or at the very least tomorrow?
  5. Be diligent and patient. Your meditation is not to get anywhere, but to realise where you are.

Enjoy the practice friends,

-dharmacaterpillar

Breath Poetry

Breath Poetry

I use poetry in my daily practice, reciting the verse in rhythm with my breath. In this way anchoring mind and body with mindful awareness. 

I have been ill recently (the lack of posts reflects this) and seeds of pain and discomfort have been watered in my mind-body. So this verse arose out of necessity;

 

Upon feeling the burning flesh

I hear the cries of a thousand cells

Rest dear body, rest dear mind 

A thousand cries? Or mindfulness bells? 


There is no use ignoring pain and trying to move on without proper and appropriate acknowledgement of the pain. This only leads to further tightening and entanglement. The body is prone to all kinds of maladies, but held, embraced gently, it has a tremendous healing capacity. So wherever I am, tuning into the body with this kind of verse, using mindfulness of the breath as my anchor into Reality, healing and wisdom are possible, for me and you.

Wishing you all well on the path,

-dharmacaterpillar

On the 7th Day of Christmas…

On the 7th Day of Christmas…

On the seventh day of Christmas, my True Self gave to me;

7 Factors of Awakening;

(6 Paramitas; 5 Indriyana; 4 Noble Truths; 3 Dharma Seals; 2 Satyas; and the Buddha by the Bodhi Tree)

Within the store consciousness there is a seed of Awakening, of Buddhahood, waiting patiently to be watered. This seed has already been watered in you, and has now began to sprout. A sapling of awakening, with seven tiny limbs, branches, each representing one of the factors of awakening- that support the integrity of the growing Tree.

The Seven Factors of Awakening are:

  1. Mindfulness (smriti)

  2. Investigation of phenomena (dharma pravichaya)

  3. Diligence (virya)

  4. Ease (prashrabdhih)

  5. Joy (priti)

  6. Concentration (samadhi)

  7. Equanimity (upeksha)

Developing these factors in daily practice, we help nurture the Bodhi Tree within, whose figs of pure perfection once fruited will nourish our very being in all that we do and all that we don’t do.

I have already mentioned a little on some of these factors in relation to there appearing in other Dharmic lists, so will focus on those not yet explored. The constant message though is that looking deeply into and touching the essence of one, the others become apparent.

Mindfulness is the energy by which I cultivate through the aid of the breath, it anchors body and mind within whatever is happening. It feels as though their is limitless capacity in this space; it’s the only space where I feel I can ever truly make a decision. And equally, the only space any of the other limbs can be respectfully cultivated. I can investigate truths, I can look upon something with the openness to truly learn, to let whatever it may be speak to me, in whatever voice it may have. To let those who are suffering speak to me, without ever having to open their mouths.

I am an optimist but not at the expense of denying the aspects which the pessimists focus on. Because in the present moment, submerged in the subtleties of mindfulness and investigating whatever is there, with a gentle ease and diligence, so that I don’t give one thing any more power than anything else, it is clear that even when there are things that cause suffering, there are so many beautiful and joyful aspects of being. Falling in love with being. Widening one’s perspective like this, made easier, natural in fact, with mindful energy activated one can generate joyful energy, and it’s this that will birth creativity in situations where one may otherwise feel trapped between a rock and a hard place.

This is where we see flowering on the Tree of Awakening, four huge flowers where one can sit and abide in for meditation, of the Four Brahmaviharas, one of which is joy, another equanimity. Again, this is best practiced by being able to widen one’s perspective, upeksha means “to look over”, to look over a situation, to look over a person’s harsh words and see something else, or rather to see yourself. Equanimity relies on a non-discriminating mind- how would you react to offensive words if you didn’t take this concept of “other” very seriously at all? With the energy of mindfulness, having practiced diligently, and cultivating joy in seemingly sad times and seemingly content times, having an ease of being, investigating and dissolving into experience, the quality of equanimity is just second nature.

Until your Mum has a right good go at you…

I jest. Of course certain situations are easier than others to let the fruits of the practice shine through, and often it is with those we are most intimately related to where we may find it most difficult in practice. But I find if I diligently keep the momentum going, with a sense of ease of course, the Tree of Awakening within consciousness fruits more often.  

Thank you once again for visiting Only Yoking

-dharmacaterpillar

 

On the 5th Day of Christmas

On the 5th Day of Christmas

On the fifth day of Christmas my True Self gave to me…

5 Indriyana/balani

(4 noble truths, 3 dharma seals, 2 satyas and the Buddha by the Bodhi tree)

Close your eyes. Let the colours settle. Let the noise settle. Now from the silence and the quiet allow an image to emerge- a meadow. Not just any meadow, but the meadow of your consciousness. What is the ecosystem like in your meadow? Is it vibrant and colourful, full of beauty and stability? Or is it an ecosystem in decline, torn by the invasive plants of kleshas?

What have you (allowed to be) sown? What have you (allowed to be) watered?

The 5 Indriyana, or bases, are the seeds of your native nature and they will, no matter what, always be present even just as dormant seeds in your store consciousness. The 5 balani, or powers, are the manifestation of those seeds, the growth- the action of an increasing health of consciousness into Buddhahood. It is important to note straight away that though we call these 5, when watered by daily practice they all grow, they all fruit.

The 5 Indriyana/balani are:

  1. Faith (shraddha)

  2. Diligence (virya)

  3. Mindfulness (smriti)

  4. Concentration (samadhi)

  5. Wisdom (prajña)

How do these help? 

By cultivating these qualities in your consciousness, you will become empowered. They are called powers after all. There is great energy locked up in the fruits of these 5 and this energy is required for daily practice. Otherwise, whatever you may be doing, it will likely be a facade- whether you know it or not- and Mara will arrive and it will be so easy to wander off with the Great Tempter.

Instead with these great powers cultivated, the strength of practice also increases and Mara can b e recognised more easily, and perhaps we can invite Mara in for tea instead.

Faith. Is the path worthwhile? What brought you to read on the Dharma today? Why do you choose to sit on the cushion in the half lotus at the crack of dawn in the morning? Why? Because you have faith. Faith in what? Personally, I have faith in Life (Love is synonymous in my own understanding). I have faith that I am basically ok, and so are you. I have faith that by sitting up straight and settling into whatever is there, I can do the good work. I have faith there is a seed on Buddhahood deep down in the soil of consciousness that we must all water.

Where has this faith come from? Is it blind? No. I have been touched by moments of true awe, I have seen in the eyes of others this basic goodness, felt the energy of  teachers and masters of the path, and most importantly- I have practiced and this has only increased my faith in the practice. Like a scientist who has ran experiments, observed and recorded phenomena, collected data, ran statistical tests and made several inferences (and a fair amount of assumptions by the way) and now have great confidence that they have identified a new drug target or new drug compound. It is still not certain whether it will work in practice, but clinical trials increase the faith in the new drug. So faith here is not listen to me and then believe it. It’s try it and see what happens, have your own trial run. But most of all, cultivate faith in yourself– that you are basically decent- but don’t take my word for it.

Diligence. Ok at first I had a little bit of faith. I was attracted to the dharma through an introductory meditation class and was advised to go to that for my anxiety issues by a friend who has benefited in a similar way from meditation. I had faith in my friend, I trusted their experience and having tried it myself, I trust my own experience. There’s something in this. My anxiety is causing less problems and so my faith in the practice increased, and last week I meditated for my longest run- 90 minutes- but it’s been 6 days now and I haven’t meditated since. I feel my anxiety creeping in again, and I’m afraid it will gain control over my life once again. I don’t understand. 

Diligence is not how long you can sit, but how easily you can come back to the present moment. The energy from diligence may come from faith, and increased diligence may reinforce faith since it often depends one’s practice. But diligence is not difficult, it’s not an effort or a fight- it’s holding the hand of ease (prashrabdhih). Always. What we need to be diligent of is specifically our own business, but more generally whether we a residing with mindfulness whatever we may be doing. Diligence is not torturing oneself on a zafu until one is burnt out and subconsciously never wants to sit on a zafu again! Be easily diligent of where you are, come back and settle, wherever you are. The practice is joyful.

Mindfulness. Most people I have spoken to these days are familiar with the term mindfulness. The Sanskrit means “remembering”. Personally, the breath is an auspicious anchor of mindfulness, because it is always present and often the pattern and nature of the breath is closely related to your mind state and body state; when I am anxious the breath may become shallow and fast, when calmer the breath seems much deeper but yet hardly moving at all. Becoming intimate with the breath, the breath inside and the breath outside, is another way in which energy for diligence can arise and of course mindfulness is a practice in itself. Let us not live in forgetfulness, but remember, remember, remember.

Concentration. Now sprouts concentration. There are nine levels of meditative concentration, and I hope to explore each soon in a series of posts. For now, what is concentration (samadhi)? I remember being asked, rather impatiently, by teachers at school when I way a young child to “concentrate” and I would do as they told me to, and I would concentrate hard. I would reaaaally look at the equation. And Eureka! I got a headache. So I went to the nursing room and got out of doing maths. This concentration is not what samadhi is. Concentration is not something you do in meditation, it’s something that diligent and mindful practice fruits or sets in motion. It’s a state of dissolving into experience with a flavour of natural attentiveness. Clarity has never been clearer, and wisdom awoken.

Wisdom. Wisdom cannot awake without faith, diligence, mindfulness and concentration, and faith, diligence, mindfulness and concentration are supported and energised by (the potentiality of) wisdom. Wisdom is born and awakes when these other powers are cultivated. What is not wisdom? Understanding that doesn’t guide and lubricate the way/flowering of peace and liberation is not prajña (wisdom). With wisdom sprouting in the meadow of consciousness, in a stable ecosystem of flowers of shraddha, virya, smriti, and samadhi, whose roots are all intertwined essentially one super-organism, the possibility of Buddhahood is realised. Wisdom, I feel, is best left to speak for itself.

The Five Indriyana/balani if cultivated, if carefully and respectfully allowed to manifest, and move and grow and inform our actions both internal and external, Mara will be recognised as an old friend, and we will know in our own way who each of us is at the core. And it is nakedly beautiful.

Thank you for visiting Only Yoking,

A lotus for you, a Buddha to be,

– dharmacaterpillar