Archives for category: Buddhism

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SACRIFICE, by Cheri Roman. Cover by Leslee Hare.

SACRIFICE cover by Leslee Hare.

ECHO, by Tracie Roberts. Cover by Leslee Hare.

ECHO cover by Leslee Hare.

BLUR, by Tracie Roberts. Cover by Leslee Hare.

BLUR cover by Leslee Hare.

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Day 2 of the 5-Day Art Challenge – digital illustration!

Thanks soar from my keyboard to Cheri Roman and Tracie Roberts for asking me to illustrate their book covers: the stuff of my most dearly held life-long dreams.

Sacrifice (Cheri Roman) is mostly painted in Photoshop with some digital collage elements; Echo and Blur (Tracie Roberts) are photo manipulation with added special effects. Title and cover layout concepts for Cheri and Tracie’s books are by the authors and Renu Sharma.

All About Enlightenment: two draft covers for my own book, still shimmering tentatively in the cryptic coding of Word documents and CreateSpace uploads…

There’s an on-going debate about which cover to use… Preferences?


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Choosing Pain and Mortality

15 March 2014

Lately I’ve been feeling a quandary about experiencing pain. Is it a choice we make?

I’m aging, I can accept that: it’s pretty undeniable when your body clearly changes, showing signs of wear and increase. I can also accept that aging might be alright… Except in my case, it seems to hurt.

No need for detail on that here, because the point of this post is to explore a decision that seems to be facing me.

Over the past few years, I’ve visited a few conventional Western medical doctors out of curiosity, to learn what they can tell me about any causes of the pain from their point of view. Not much news, aside from of course hearing once again that I need to lose weight, get more exercise, and eat foods that doctors believe help lower cholesterol. Seems simple enough.

The dilemma is that when I do these things, I feel worse and it hurts. A lot.

Again, I’ll spare you the detail. The choice looms between following conventional recommendations that might prolong my life, or continuing with approaches arising from intuition and my Guides.

If I follow the first, I can pat myself on the back for “doing everything I can” in the eyes of others, and learn to enjoy hardly being able to move when I wake each morning, continuing to creak throughout the day. Day to day life becomes what… a quality of [large] enduring?

If I follow the intuition and inner guidance, I go back to eating the cholesterol-laden red meat and rich cheese (along with all the wonderfully “healthy” things I eat), and drinking alcohol. I know, sounds crazy, but after a couple years of experimentation, these keep the pain at bay sufficiently for me to manage the exercise part without much complaint.

I feel the spectre of “family responsibility” hovering over me like a magpie waiting to peck at my head if I don’t do what others expect.

My gut tells me that’s no reason to hobble along a path that’s just, well, longer. Not necessarily better. Hmm.

On the other hand, if I continue to follow my gut, I might not be here in ten years. Or sooner (which, come to think of it, is of course true for all of us anyway…).

I have no fear of death. I love my family. So… and but… why choose pain? Why choose pain (or any debilitating discomfort, including emotional) for a still uncertain outcome or lifespan?

Why choose any route that’s torturous just because that’s what others do, or it’s accepted?

I’m sure many folks have found themselves in this spot and worked through it, whether for them it was about life-partner and gender choices or religion or politics or career… But I admit I never thought of it as being willing to choose a possibly more rapidly approaching death, over pain.

Something happened this week that drove this home for me and brought these words to the surface. I received, online, some lab results from some bloodwork, and for 36 hours I thought I had Chronic Kidney Disease and perhaps 10 years to live. Fortunately, it turned out that I read one of the numbers wrong (folks with numerical dyslexia really shouldn’t read lab results alone…). But what floored me was that I was okay with thinking “Wow, this really might end before I’m in my 90’s. What a relief.”

Oops.

No, I’m not suicidal, and my depression is soundly in remission. I don’t hate life. I’m okay. Again, I love my family.

The results of my meditation experiences have brought me to this place of irony: Once we understand that this one lifetime is but a moment in an eternity of experience, and our families in this life are our friends and lovers and enemies in other lives, and that we will certainly see them again soon, death takes on a whole new significance. It becomes not the end. This is what I have seen, what I know and feel in my bones, more deeply than anything else I know.

What I have seen directly contradicts what’s generally accepted by the culture I live in. And it offers me more freedom to choose how to follow the path I’m on. I know this path will continue into my next life, just as it currently continues into my other lives. And I will never be lost. I think that’s totally cool.

So the choice seems simple, actually.

I reflect that in the past ten years I’ve made similar choices about other decisions, but they were all somehow different, perhaps leading up to this one. And this one probably leads to another.

So here we go, you and I, in this dream together. I’m going to take the path that resonates with my deepest being, and enjoy my time here to the fullest. I’m happy you’ve joined me for the moment, and I look forward to continuing this manifestation as long as we can.

Who knows what delights and lessons our next encounter may bring.


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For the past several weeks my interests have been focused on understanding better how we appear in this world…

How do we, as physical beings, arise in a world that is a dream…

And if we do in fact appear in just that way, how do we reconcile ourselves to experiencing conflict?

Does conflict always arise from within?

I was given the analogy of water.

Flowing (following) from the words in the sketch above:

The river and the vapor are similar… Not separated by “matter”.

If we are the water – if mind is akin to a water molecule – then what are the air and the earth, plants, animals…

Ah, you’re seeing it… The water pervades everything, eh?

Vapor & water: water molecules (mind) are free to move about within certain constraints. Within bodies – plant or animal – water is contained, restrained…

Boundaries.

Mind has boundaries…

When it’s in a body.
If there were no bodies, rocks and stones, mind would have no self-awareness.

Is this a choice mind makes?

Your Ultimate Nature – of mind – is the infinite field of “water molecules”.

So, in a body, minds move like water molecules… evaporating, flowing, condensating… One mind is made up of infinite minds?

If each thought, impulse, emotion is a mind, a water molecule… yes.

So all of those – many – converge into a water droplet which is…

Awareness. Before incarnation.
Awareness requires aggregates – no need to re-invent the wheel, just quote Wikipedia…

Molecules are aggregates? There are many aggregates…

Yes.

But all water molecules are the same…

Are they? And are you sure all aggregates are not the same?

Checking…

Good. Please do.

A molecule is a model, made up of atoms, which are models….

No human eye has directly beheld a water molecule or a hydrogen atom and recognized it as such.

It’s all theory…

Precisely. So we can make assumptions, too.

Okay, so we can presume that our water molecules can be as varied as aggregates… And they gather…

Yes, thank you. Diagram skandas from Wikipedia. Let’s continue with the water anyway. Please abandon overwhelm. Stop envisioning how much time things will take. Stop thinking of time.

Okay. Atoms are skandas (aggregates), water molecules are individuated minds… (Yes) Electrons, protons, quarks… are… ?

Let’s say quarks are Very Subtle Mind, particles are Subtle Mind.

Works for me. So, along these lines, even in a river, ocean, vapor: individuated minds converge and yet are discreet…

Yes.

And even within a body’s mind, there is a collection of gross minds.

Yes.

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(Transcript of notes in sketch at beginning of post: “Leslee” did not create this world. But an aspect of yourself did. Ref: We are all One – but explain in more detail. That aspect is up the tree, so to speak… Upstream. And “Leslee” is just a rivulet. One River.

spring from within….

From a spring… into a river, then streams, then to an ocean…. And from precipitation, gathering into streams, rivers, oceans…

clouds – vapor – to rain drops or snowflakes… rivers to ocean

and clouds to drops to aquifers to springs…

It all comes from the drops, the molecules of water.

…and what I saw was cycle after cycle, layer after layer of water changing phase, it’s bits and parts moving though the air, the plants and animals, into the soil, through the rocks, and emerging again into the aquifer, emerging as a spring, flowing into a river to the ocean, to evaporate and rejoin the air as vapor again…

…and vapor condensing into rain, falling onto earth and forming rivulets that gather into streams and eventually flow to the ocean also…

…through the air, through the earth, along the surface… mind, like water, pervading all things…

…any aspect of any of us is part of all of our selves… we both create and abide in peace amongst all the virtual atoms and concepts…


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(HHDL in Santa Clara, CA, 24 Feb 2014)

From Elizabeth Drescher’s essay at Religion Dispatches:

In this light, the soft-spoken challenge of “universal
compassion” His Holiness throws down, which “involves gradually expanding one’s circle of concern until it finally embraces the whole of humanity,” is a pedagogical one: How do we learn to move beyond the commodification of education, of wisdom teachers like the Dalai Lama, of compassion itself? Does the Dalai Lama as mega-brand, as rock star, as spiritual presence, reinforce such commercial constructions or invite their dismantling?

To read the article: http://www.religiondispatches.org/archive/culture/7633/his_holiness__inc__the_dalai_lama_as_a_spiritual_mega_brand


20130427-113735.jpgI found this little forest of magical stupas in the San Juan River one morning… The lapping water froze and formed them overnight. A few days later, they appeared in a dream I had…


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(To skip ahead to the Dream Instructions, please scroll down about 12 paragraphs, past the conversation.)

Lately I’ve been grappling with some frustrations over wanting more clarity about several decisions I see hovering in the coming weeks.

I’m dancing around Springtime energies, which for me seem as disruptive as fat bamboo bursting through Georgia clay.

As I was walking home a few nights ago, I tried my best to focus on figuring out what I was even asking for. I’ve spent a couple months sitting down, asking to connect, to be shown something, anything, that might give me some direction.

I confess I’m nostalgic for the days from three springs ago, when the words of All About Enlightenment flowed through the pendulum and pen for hours a day, for six weeks. Those days burst with energy and purpose, but they also brought great trauma and deep disruption in my family life and relationships. I received the connection I longed for, and the assignment I craved, at the price of a semblance of a “normal” life.

So in the aftermath I’m comparatively cautious about what I ask for, and how strongly I stamp my feet when things seem a bit quiet for my taste.

I seem to get more clear answers through dreams than meditation, and recently my meditations have been pretty darned dull. This week, I’m terrifically encouraged by some suggestions I received on April 22 for dreamwork. So far I’ve tried this for three nights, and each attempt has yielded information I asked for. So I’ll share the steps below, in hopes that you might find them helpful.

Meanwhile, back to my walk home and its results.

To put this in context, I was griping to my Guides about some physical constraints I was feeling. In that light, I was fantasizing about having my ET friends come and whisk me into an easier circumstance. It started out like this:

“Is it possible for You to appear in physical form, to my physical form?”

No.

“So let’s suppose there are ETs that might… Possible?”

Yes.

“Are they Enlightened?”

Yes.

“But so what? Let’s say a ship lands tomorrow. What are they really going to do?”

I’ll elaborate on the rest of the conversation elsewhere, for the sake of staying on topic. When I settled down for the evening, here’s what I got.

“I need to make specific dream requests. I want to learn how to go to particular ‘places’, meet with specific beings, and reach an understanding of specific things. Possible?”

No. You need training.

“Can You please help with this?”

Yes.

STEPS

1. Generate a peaceful mind. Demanding won’t work. Visualize yourself already knowing how. (This would be so cool if I could share this tomorrow after having it work!) This takes the most practice.

2. Place the request to meet. Hold the idea of a Being very loosely… Do NOT visualize. Prepare yourself to accept whatever arises, and TRUST.

3. Place the request for information. Try to hold this in the most generic terms possible. Yet have a sense of [forth] the specific feeling you wish to experience when you return ‘here’. What will ‘accomplishment’ feel like?

4. If it feels appropriate, visualize the ‘golden cord’, from your Pineal to your High Heart, especially if your mind wanders while trying to do the other steps.

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5. Consider your requests: where, who, what to discuss/learn, why to meet. Choose one as a priority, in case all requests cannot be met simultaneously.

6. Request how much to recall.

I fell asleep trying to recall the steps, and before I could envision the golden cord. Perhaps holding it as an intention was enough.

My main request was to learn/see something that would help me understand very clearly our relationships to guides, and how this world appears so ‘real’… Illusion… Understanding how the illusion is produced and sustained, and how it relates to other dimensions…

I’ll share the details of the dream that followed in another post (probably on Bandaid Buddhist), but I was amazed at how precisely and extensively my request was answered!

As I mentioned earlier, I’ve continued to use these steps for three nights, and each night I’ve remembered at least one dream that responded to my requests. It’s taken some morning meditation and journaling the dreams to process their meanings more fully, but I’m really delighted with the results.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences, especially if you try this method too… If you give it a shot, I hope it yields some results you find useful. We all dream and envision differently, so please try try try, and listen for your own nudges about how to burst through the clay of daily life into the magical journey into other realms.

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