rites

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Climbing the Wall

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Thich Nhat Hanh:

“Suppose there is a towering wall from the top of which one can see vast distances – but there is no apparent means’ to climb it, only a thin piece of thread hanging over the top and coming down both sides. A clever person will tie a thicker string onto one end of the thread, walk over to the other side of the wall, then pull on the thread bringing the string to the other side. Then he will tie the end of the string to a strong rope and pull the rope over. When the rope has reached the bottom of one side and is secured on the other side, the wall can be easily scaled.

“Our breath is such a fragile piece of thread. But once we know how to use it, it can become a wondrous tool to help us surmount situations which would otherwise seem hopeless. Our breath is the bridge from our body to our mind, the element which reconciles our body and mind and which makes possible one-ness of body and mind.

“Breath is aligned to both body and mind and it alone is the tool which can bring them both together, illuminating both and bringing both peace and calm. Many persons and books discuss the immense benefits that result from correct breathing. They report that a person who knows how to breathe is a person who knows how to build up endless vitality: breath builds up the lungs, strengthens the blood, and revitalizes every organ in the body. They say that proper breathing is more important than food. And all of these statements are correct.

“Years ago, I was extremely ill. After several years of taking medicine and undergoing medical treatment, my condition was unimproved. So I turned to the method of breathing and, thanks to that, was able to heal myself. Breath is a tool. Breath itself is mindfulness. The use of breath as a tool may help one obtain immense benefits, but these cannot be considered as ends in themselves. These benefits are only the by products of the realization of mindfulness.

“In my small class in meditation for non-Vietnamese, there are many young people. I’ve told them that if each one can meditate an hour each day that’s good, but it’s nowhere near enough. You’ve got to practice meditation when you walk, stand, lie down, sit, and work, while washing your hands, washing the dishes, sweeping the floor, drinking tea, talking to friends, or whatever you are doing.

“While washing the dishes, you might be thinking about the tea afterwards, and so try to get them out of the way as quickly as possible in order to sit and drink tea. But that means that you are incapable of living during the time you are washing the dishes. When you are washing the dishes, washing the dishes must be the most important thing in your life. Just as when you’re drinking tea, drinking tea must be the most important thing in your life. When you’re using the toilet, let that be the most important thing in your life.

“And so on. Chopping wood is meditation. Carrying water is meditation. Be mindful 24 hours a day, not just during the one hour you may allot for formal meditation or reading scripture and reciting prayers. Each act must be carried out in mindfulness. Each act is a rite, a ceremony.

“Raising your cup of tea to your mouth is a rite. Does the word “rite” seem too solemn? I use that word in order to jolt you into the realization of the life-and-death matter of awareness.”

(source: Thich Nhat Hanh, The Miracle of Mindfulness PDF p.41)

My Comment:

“The life and death matter of awareness”… These words are unusual for us. When do we consider awareness a “life and death matter”? When we realize that all violence that is done among the human population on this planet is because of lack of awareness, then it makes sense. I struggle right now to bring awareness to a situation with a person in our community to whom I have great resistance. This person seems so far away from my perspective that I do not see a bridge. It feels like I would have to force this person to open their reality bubble in order to find common ground. I know that that is not an option as it would only lead to more resistance on both sides. At present I am practicing mindfulness and performing every action as a rite, as a ceremony that I want to perform with great care and awareness. I am at a quandary as to what to do and so I am not taking any action – outwardly, that is – inwardly I am asking what to do so that I can be at peace with this person.

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explosive in its immensity

 

 

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Krishnamurti:

The symbol becomes more important than reality. The symbol
gives a shelter; it is easy to take comfort in its shelter. You can do
what you will with it, it will never contradict, it will never change;
it can be covered with garlands or ashes. There’s an extraordinary
satisfaction in a dead thing, in a picture, in a conclusion, in a word.
They are dead, past all recalling and there is pleasure in the many
smells of yesterday. The brain is always the yesterday, and today is
the shadow of yesterday, and tomorrow is the continuation of that
shadow, somewhat changed but it still smells of yesterday. So the
brain lives and has its being in shadows; it is safer, more
comforting.

Consciousness is always receiving, accumulating, and from
what it has gathered, interpreting; receiving through all its pores;
storing up, experiencing from what it has gathered, judging,
compiling, modifying. It looks, not only through the eyes, through
the brain but through this background. Consciousness goes out to
receive and in receiving, it exists. In its hidden depths, it has stored
what it has received through centuries, the instincts, the memories,
the safeguard, adding, adding, only to take away to add further.
When this consciousness looks out, it is to weigh, to balance and to
receive. And when it looks within, its look is still the outer look, to
weigh, to balance and to receive; the inward stripping is another
form of adding. This time-binding process goes on and on with an
ache, with fleeting joy and sorrow.

But to look, to see, to listen, without this consciousness – an
outgoing in which there is no receiving, is the total movement of
freedom. This outgoing has no centre, a point, small or extensive,
from which it moves; thus it moves in all directions, without the
barrier of time-space. Its listening is total, its look is total. This
outgoing is the essence of attention. In attention, all distractions
are, for there are no distractions. Only concentration knows the
conflict of distraction. All consciousness is thought, expressed or
unexpressed, verbal or seeking the word; thought as feeling,
feeling as thought. Thought is never still; reaction expressing itself
is thought and thought further increases responses. Beauty is the
feeling which thought expresses. Love is still within the field of
thought. Is there love and beauty within the enclosure of thought?
Is there beauty when thought is? The beauty, the love that thought
knows is the opposite of ugliness and hate. Beauty has no opposite
nor has love.

Seeing without thought, without the word, without the response
of memory is wholly different from seeing with thought and
feeling. What you see with thought is superficial; then seeing is
only partial; this is not seeing at all. Seeing without thought is total
seeing. Seeing a cloud over a mountain, without thought and its
responses, is the miracle of the new; it’s not “beautiful”, it’s
explosive in its immensity; it is something that has never been and
never will be. To see, to listen, consciousness in its entirety must
be still for the destructive creation to be. It is the totality of life and
not the fragment of all thought. There is no beauty but only a cloud
over the mountain; it is creation.

source: Krishnamurti’s Notebook PDF pp. 55 – 58

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Not Far from Buddhahood

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A university student while visiting the zen master Gasan asked him: ‘Have you ever read the Christian Bible?’

‘No, read it to me,’ said Gasan. The student opened the Bible and read from St Matthew:

‘And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow. They toil not, neither do they spin, and yet I say unto you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. …Take therefore no thought for the morrow, for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself.’

Gasan said: ‘Whoever uttered those words I consider an enlightened man.’

The student continued reading: ‘Ask and it shall be given you, seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you. For everyone that asketh receiveth, and he that seeketh findeth, and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened.’

Gasan remarked: ‘That is excellent. Whoever said that is not far from Buddhahood.’

(source: PDF Zen Flesh, Zen Bones, 101 Zen Stories, # 16)

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create focus for consciousness

Image result for indra's net of jewels

 

 

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Origin of entertain:

Middle English entretinen from Old French entretenir, to maintain, hold together from entre (L inter), between + tenir from Classical Latin tenere, to hold

We hold ourselves together when awake with entertainment. Consciousness needs form and so we create out of ourselves form – that is our nature as consciousness. To be without form is much too uncomfortable. It is actually against the nature of consciousness to be without form. Continue reading

moving at your own pace

Image result for indra's net

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Everybody is moving at their own pace together – kept in sync by the Mysterious Principle whose outer expression is the sun. There is in this movement perfect alignment of the disparate and it is a movement in continual flux. What is out of balance with this alignment is the motor of all movement as the Mysterious Principle strives toward greater and greater coherency with Itself. It is a movement from maximal fragmentation back to unified Being. We are in the phase in which the call from our deepest Being is being heard and all are moved to give up their disparate opinions and behaviors and to come into harmony and alignment with the Ultimate. Every phenomenon that is out of alignment triggers creative ways to bring about alignment. This is ‘auto-correction’ and every situation will auto-correct if we allow it the space and step back and just observe as the alive Presence.

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breathing prevents dispersion

Image result for meditating frog

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My Comment:

In this section of the wonderful booklet “The Miracle of Mindfulness” the meditation teacher and Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh leads us into the value and practice of breathing as a way to re-connect our thoughts to our body again. Much, if not all of our modern-day discomfort has to do with our thoughts being somewhere else than our body. Since we are a body-mind complex, when that happens we lose contact with our Essence. I find that re-connecting with my breath in a very direct way – with no thoughts in the space of breathing – shifts my consciousness immediately.  Enjoy this teaching! Continue reading

remarkable statements

drop on grass blade

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“Everyone is a suicide. The eternal, blissful, and natural state has been smothered by this life of ignorance.”

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Ramana: Look, the Self is only Be-ing, not being this or that. It is simple
Being. Be – and there is an end of the ignorance. Enquire for whom
is the ignorance. The ego arises when you wake up from sleep. In
deep sleep you do not say that you are sleeping and that you are
going to wake up or that you have been sleeping so long. But still
you are there. Only when you are awake you say that you have
slept. Your wakefulness comprises sleep also in it. Realise your
pure Be-ing. Let there be no confusion with the body. The body
is the result of thoughts. The thoughts will play as usual, but you
will not be affected. You were not concerned with the body when
asleep; so you can always remain. Continue reading