return to your practice…

This is the moment to return to whichever practice reinforces our moral clarity, so that we do not wake up one day to find it eroded beyond recognition.

~ Sofia Ali-Khan

…yep, this seems like an appropriate time 🙏🏻

#TheLongArc #PlantingSeeds #WakeUp #EngagedBuddhist #JMWphotography #photography #JinpaLhaga

2020, to begin anew…

2020, to begin anew…

 

I begin each year with a new enso and new haiku, poem, or mantra to reflect on through the year. It usually is a response to how life has been in the previous year.

Keeping it real – 2019 was a struggle for me.  In addition to the communal struggles of the state of our country, the world, the environment, 2019 saw new and continued health struggles for dear friends and my parents. I, too, have seen an over health decline from workplace stress and exhaustion accumulated over years, and culminating in what felt like constantly moving structural changes.

A lot has suffered due to this – my meditation practice, my art, my friendships, connecting with nature, and the joy I usually feel in life.  All the while, life seems like it is flying by in a whirl and I’ve been distracted by pressures outside my control.

2019 felt like a year out of balance and has left me diminished.

To be fair 2019 also brought highlights of gratitude and happiness – my mom’s positive response to cancer treatment, getting to play in West Side Story at Moonlight, and taking my Buddhist Refuge Vows with my meditation teacher, Susan Piverand the Open Heart Project Sangha, and of course so much Star Wars (which I love to share with my nephew).

The latter is a reminder that even in the struggle and exhaustion, there was an undercurrent of strength and buoyancy throughout the challenges this past year. My practice, even when inconsistent, was my refuge and my anchor, and was a source of sharing, offering, and connecting through my mom’s cancer treatments.

Life is change and life can be very hard. The truth is, it’s always out of our control (even though we like to feel like we have some control) and it’s always a little bit hard, a little bit sad, even in the best of times.

We can choose, however, how we participate – to engage and make beneficial, balanced choices through the chaos. We can choose NOT to also be chaosourselves, within it.

2020 for me will be about making new choices and engaging in life in a way that doesn’t diminish my joy, doesn’t move in fear or reduce my light. 2020 will be about beginning anew, and not forgetting the Love that is always available, always present, always within and carrying us. Today I began with a recommitment to my practice with a 21 day meditation challenge, and recommitment to the 5 Buddhist Precepts.

A new enso for 2020, and a new haiku to accompany it as a daily reminder for me and an offering to you:

to begin anew – 
without fear, luminous and
abiding in love

Wishing everyone all that is good and much happiness in 2020.  You are loved.

~j

#HappyNewYear #2020 #BeginAnew #NoFear #Luminous #Love #TheLongArc #PlantingSeeds #EngagedBuddhist #Zen #enso #JMWart #JinpaLhaga

the mundane as sacred…

the mundane as sacred…

“Zen does not confuse spirituality with thinking about God while peeling potatoes. Zen is just peeling potatoes.”

~

Alan Watts

i love this quote. i suppose it can be perceived as a bit provocative. some may shutter a bit when first reading it. it shakes you loose a bit, as Zen often does.

but what is provocative about recognizing the sacred in the ordinary?

if we cannot find the sacred in peeling potatoes, in washing the dishes, in sweeping, then where can we find it?

it is easy to find the sacred in what we perceive as beautiful, but what about the things we perceive as mundane? can we find the sacred there as well?

in Zen monasteries, novice monks are given toilet duty, cleaning the toilets. can we find the sacred in cleaning a toilet? there is a reason some Zen Masters continued to do it even in old age.

in the Khuddaka Nikaya, the Buddha stated, “In your seeing, there should be only the seeing. In your hearing, nothing but the hearing; in your smelling, tasting, and touching, nothing but smelling, testing, and touching; in your thinking, nothing but the thought.”

so the question remains, can we be with our life as it is right now? in Zen, that is sacred, not some other place, being some other person, doing some other thing. it IS here and now. it is in the doing, in the being, it is the journey.

when we open to this, when we are aware of the freedom and responsibility of this, we find our balance, we see our interconnection, and we open further and further, embracing this fleeting world and our fleeting relationships with love.

~j

#TheLongArc #PlantingSeeds #EngagedBuddhist #Zen #Buddhism #sacred #mundane #enso #JMWart #JinpaLhaga

what child is this?

what child is this?

the child is our neighbor, the immigrant, the hurting, the outcast, the poor.

may the transformative message of the Christmas story not be lost on our hearts – that what is divine and sacred came to us in the humble form of a baby who with his parents was poor, an outcast, a refugee fleeing violence, seeking shelter and safety.

the wisdom of this message continues to be relevant today.

may we open our hearts to all who are Christ among us, all who are poor, outcast, fleeing violence, seeking refuge, shelter and safety.

wishing you a Merry Christmas friends. may your every day be surrounded in friendship and love, bringing happiness to your heart.

~j

#Christmas #TheLongArc #PlantingSeeds #OpenHeart #light #EngagedBuddhist #Zen #enso #JMWart #JinpaLhaga

this is the moment to stand up…

all moments call for our attention, for the power of our presence to bear witness to what is happening around us.

there are moments, though, that are so filled with the fire of urgency, they call upon our presence, our open hearts, our fierce compassion, our voices, hands, and feet to respond. our answer to the call is vital to the well being of others and our collective future.

this is one of those moments.

~j

#TheLongArc #PlantingSeeds #WakeUp #EngagedBuddhist #Bodhisattvas

the power of presence…

the power of presence.

the past is over. we can learn from it, but we cannot return. when we try to return, it may look similar and share some similar qualities, but it is actually something new with only shadowy remnants of what was once life.

the future is yet to be. the future is an illusion. we never really arrive. for what is the future, other than a present we have yet to live? and even then, our thoughts of the future are illusions colored by our own desire, not reflecting all the variables and diversity of life. if we attempt to live in the future now, we are cheating ourselves out of life where it actually is – here in this moment. here and now as it is often said. in short, we aren’t really living.

so it is in this moment, in this place where we rest and offer our presence. it is in this moment, in this place where we can make choices that heal the past and plant beneficial seeds for the future.

what better way is there to live in gratitude for the life we have been given, than to offer our presence back to life? we cannot go back and offer a past that has happened. we cannot jump ahead and offer a future that has yet to be. we can, however, offer this moment which contains both our past and our future.

to be here, is to be present. in all of its joys and bliss, in all of its pains and suffering. only in the present can we act to bring transformation of these things, to bring healing, to bring renewal.

our power is in our presence, which is only available here in this place, in this moment.

to be here, is life.

may it be offered with generosity, with insight, warmth, and wisdom.

~j

#TheLongArc #PlantingSeeds #presence #life #EngagedBuddhist #Zen #enso #JMWart #JinpaLhaga

#SandyHook 7 years later…

7 years ago.

26 human beings shot dead in a mass shooting where the overwhelming response was “Never Again.”

i read that there have been 2000 mass shooting since that horrific day in Newtown.

20 of this lives mowed down were children between the ages of 6-7.

i’ve known some individuals who have fallen for and taken up the lie that the Sandy Hook mass shooting was a hoax performed by crisis actors. is there anything more delusional, filled with paranoid fear, or cruel?

if the slaughter of 20 young children didn’t shake us awake, what will?

i grieve this failure of ours as a species. we are not reflecting the sacredness of life. we do not act with humility, gratitude or respect for the gift we have been given – to breathe, to hold this fleeting incarnation with love.

i recall the Zen admonition:

This night your days will be diminished by one. Take heed – do not squander your life!

there are bright lights though. human beings who are grounded, open, filled with love, connection and a fierce compassion. i look to them. they give me courage and they show that there is reason to hope.

~j

#TheLongArc #PlantingSeeds #SandyHook #NewTown #G