Bodhi Day – wake up…

Over 2500 years ago, deeply moved by the suffering he saw in life (sickness, aging, and death), disenchanted with the excess from which he came, and the practice of extreme ascetism, the historical Buddha (Siddhartha Gautama) set out to meet life face to face, as it is. He sat until he woke up. And in waking up he became the Buddha, which means awakened or awakened one. Seeing the middle way – not running away from or grasping at life, rather meeting life with an open heart – he found freedom from suffering.

Today, December 8th, we Buddhists commemorate the Buddha’s awakening under the Bodhi Tree, as Bodhi Day. A day to remember the event, but to also be reminded that we too can wake up, we too have within us the ability to be with life as it is, to be free and at peace.

This morning I practiced, I sat and meditated, and then painted this “wake up” enso to honor not just this one man who decided to sit beneath a tree and meet life authentically with an open heart, but to honor all who sit, all who practice, all who meet this passing life with all of its beauty and heartbreak with an open heart.

May we all wake up to the preciousness of this life, may empathy and compassion be born from our open hearts, to light the world with our love.

~j

12.08.17

nature and connection…

if we spend time with nature, watching and listening without agenda, our hearts open. there is a natural reverence that springs forth from this connection. we see its intrinsic sacred nature. we perhaps sense our connection and if we look deeply enough, we may open to the insight of our interconnection.

unfortunately, disappointingly, what we are currently seeing is the result of a disconnection. only disconnection can allow greed to surrender the beauty and generosity of nature’s resources to an abuse for commercial and monetary gain.

i’ve heard the claim of States’ rights and Federal overreach which although may have a foothold and value with some audiences, must seem like a tragic irony to our Indigenous sisters and brothers, who’s ancestors understood interconnection and were here long before this land was colonized by outsiders. Long before this newest grab at sacred land, they have known the bite of loss and disenfranchisement.

~j

#MonumentalMistake #MonumentsForAll #TheLongArc #PlantingSeeds #MeditateAndResist

maintain sanity…

I began meditating nearly a decade ago.  Similar to now, my meditation practice was mindfulness of breath as taught by the Vietnamese Zen Buddhist Master Thich Nhat Hanh.  Soon after I had started my meditation practice, I had a very valuable friendship fall apart.  At the time, it was quite devastating.  Looking back, it was a pivotal growth moment in my practice.  I didn’t know a lot about meditation or Buddhism at the time, but I did know that the only way I was going to get through that period of time, those moments, was to find a way to BE with what was happening in a balanced way – to not run away from it, but to also not live out the storyline of what was happening over and over again, replaying it in my mind. To hold that person and friendship in love with no ill feelings, but also to completely let them go.

Just sitting with my breathing at times was too painful and overwhelming, so taking the lead from Thich Nhat Hanh who uses “gathas” or verses, I wrote one for myself to use with my breathing.
The verse was:

(breathing in – saying silently in my mind)
May I have the capacity of heart to hold the entire world and all of life
(breathing out – saying silently in my mind)
And the wisdom of mind to let go

I would sit with this verse and for quite some time it was my only practice.  I would sit for 10 mins, 20 mins or a half hour, breathing in and out, repeating this verse.  I would picture the friend, as I thought the first part while breathing in, and then picture them fading off into the horizon as I thought the second half while breathing out.  I wasn’t immediately relieved, but within time, I grew more and more at ease, the burden was lifted and I felt some peace.

Though the anchor of my practice is still simply sitting and breathing, at times when life feels overwhelming, I will come back to this verse and use it.  I have in recent years changed the “I” to “we” understanding that we are all in this together, sharing in suffering, sharing in joy, interdependent as a community.

We seem to be living in a time that is quite chaotic and can feel overwhelming.  I would like to offer this verse to you for practice.  If it’s too wordy, a simple version could be:

(breathing in – saying silently in your mind)
May I hold all of life in love
(breathing out – saying silently in your mind)
And in love, let it go

My gut says we are in for a long haul, my friends.  We need sane people doing good work to counter that which is harmful.  We need bearers of light and healers in love.  We need bodhisattvas. Even as the world spins around you, hold to center, maintain your balance, maintain your sanity.

Breathe.

May all be at ease and free from suffering.

~j
11.30.17

maintain your sanity…

let go enso orange

 

It doesn’t really work to let go of things in the abstract. Letting go takes place in the chaos of life, knee-deep in the mud, when we feel like we are drowning, with that all too familiar, desperate feeling to cling, to find some security.

So we practice letting go in meditation. Grounded, balanced in our breathing. Thought after thought, feeling after feeling, we let go. They arise, we recognize them and let go. They fall away. We do this thousands of times.
It never stops. No real extraordinary effort. We just show up, we stop, we allow space, and we let go.

It’s an act of bravery, it’s an act of generosity, it’s an act of peace.

We still have goals, we still work to benefit, to reduce harm, to end suffering. But we do so, with an openness and non-attachment to the results. It is an act of trust, trusting that the seeds planted – seeds of love, seeds of empathy, seeds of compassion, seeds of justice, seeds of equality, seeds of peace – will come to fruition in their time, when the appropriate conditions arise to support and nurture them.

This will be how we maintain sanity, in this time. Show up, act with love, let go, and get to work again, and again.

~j
11.27.17

#NetNeutrality

NetNeutrality

 

at its most benign the repeal of #NetNeutrality is a greedy hand grab by network providers to limit speed, bandwidth, and content for the purpose of charging consumers more money for better, higher quality access.

at its most harmful, its repeal is a way to manipulate and control access to communication, shared knowledge, and community connection – squashing grassroot movements, and further creating a class system in regards to connection and knowledge.

whether your focus is on the consumer or on the principle of equality, the repeal of Net Neutrality is harmful.

access to the internet should be equal and should be considered a common use form of communication.

fight the repeal of Net Neutrality. make your voice heard loud and clear.

~j

practice gratitude…

Compassion Meme
aware that the history behind “Thanksgiving” is really not something to be thankful for, especially for the indigenous American community, I instead like to call this day “Gratitude Day”…which is worthy of celebration, and available everyday.

there is so much to be grateful for.
I am grateful for family and friends both near and far.

I am grateful for my practice, the stillness within the chaos.

I am grateful for nature, so humble and present just by Being, pointing us to the inherent beauty of all things.

I am grateful for empathy and compassion, which break down walls and borders, both from the outside and from within our own making.

I am even grateful for the darkness, which provokes and challenges our light from within to come forth.

may it come forth.

may the gift of gratitude, the practice of gratitude, expand our ever opening hearts to a world in need. may we journey forward in that love, together.

grateful for you all. may you be happy, may you have peace, may you be free from suffering.

~j
11.23.17