Compassion

 

“In order to feel compassion for other people, we have to feel compassion for ourselves. In particular to care about people who are fearful, angry, jealous, overpowered by addictions of all kinds, arrogant, proud, miserly, selfish, mean, you name it—to have compassion and to care for these people means not to run from the pain of finding these things in ourselves.”

Pema Chodron

 

Self-compassion is not self-pity. Rather, it more fully enables one to embrace the suffering of all beings as one’s own. Acknowledging and gently accepting our own misery and unhappiness—without running from it—begins to open us. Un-cage the soul. Melt our protective shield.

It has helped me begin to view differently what I have mistakenly regarded as happening to others or to anyone outside  myself.

Buddhism encourages the acceptance of one’s own pain and ugliness along with being understanding and forgiving of others. To realize that others are merely an extension of ourselves. Mirrors. Opportunities to soften our own hearts rather than harshly blame, project, and judge. How we view others is how we view our own pain. A heart-led alternative to care for, care about, and embrace.

Having temporarily tasted my share of spiritual awakenings—the temporary ah-ha’s; the brief glimpses of otherworldly light; the brief steps beyond the door to alternative realms, I sometimes wonder then, why again and again I become stuck.

In my own conditioned mind.

My patterned way of thinking.

My rusted thoughts.

Easy Judgments–about what’s good or bad about me, others, the world.

Time to overcome these  Oh-Lord-I am-not-worthies etched too deeply within my Catholic brain. Time to open my ears and heart and lovingly embrace this  wonderfully human, yet totally divine Being called me.

Compassion begins with me. It’s that simple–it’s what the road to enlightenment is all about

 

 

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Fear

Lone tree

“Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth.” Pema Chodron

Then I must be making progress. My fears are constant, though I call myself a spiritual seeker. I harbor anxiety. Financial fears especially. Fear of losing my home due to inflation and/or the deterioration of my living space.

Of  Alzheimer’s–

of endless  daily stuff.

I’m plagued by the “what-ifs”.

Recently, there are hints of a breakthrough, thanks to the beginnings of a blessed AWARENESS of my fears.

Thanks to a gradual, moment by moment awakening.  To a fresh way of looking at the woman in my mirror with loving compassion. To the growing acceptance of who she has become in the moment.

Beyond fear is coming a calm knowing. . . A choice for calm. Joy. Hope.

A letting go of any attempt

to hold anything together.

“Things Fall Apart”, by Pema Chodron, reminds me that the collapse of whatever I most cling to,  is but an opportunity for rebirth and renewal.

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Evolution of a Treehouse

A cluster of trees across the way regularly intrudes itself into my morning meditation.

Challenges me to capture it in a drawing.

Daunting because I’m an impatient artist and like to do quickies, this one has too much detail.  So far, I’ve come up with three, progressing from the most complicated to the simplest.

Too many lines and too self-conscious. . .

trimmed trees

More comprehensive, but still not there. . .

Trees 2.jpg

Yes!

Tree 3.jpg

Hmmm . . . perhaps a little color. . .

Lines on my Mind

It only took a day at my sister’s place on the coast to fire up my art again. My sketchbook and paints have lain dormant for too long.

We walked the beach, shared dinner with a friend, consulted the Tarot, and chatted into the night. And she showed me her sketchbook.

After I returned home, I got out my own drawing tablet. Ta-DAh!

 

kitchen shelves.jpg

Brain Scramble

CurlsJuly 18, 2018

It’s been a complicated and frazzled week setting up my new laptop. On my own. Absolutely no technical help. It’s been a hit-and-miss process, but I’ve almost figured it out. I’m quite proud of myself, although I’m still trying to access my second email. Supposedly a simple process, but not for me.

It’s also been a year since I began plowing through A Course in Miracles, which has further scrambled this old brain of mine. Both challenges have kept me on my thinking toes. Maybe it will help keep me from succumbing to Alzheimer’s.

Hint of Unhappiness

The following was my written response to a former nun friend, who recently commented that she hoped she hadn’t detected a “hint” of unhappiness in what I had written her.

 

My response:

“Of course, and for reasons not unlike your own, I sometimes feel as if I don’t belong on this earth. Followed by an immediate sense of guilt because, to all outward appearance, I have nothing about which to complain.

I’m blessed with caring friends, relatively satisfying—though often distant–family connections, more than adequate provision of my basic material needs, and an abundance of enriching opportunities for learning and growth.

For these, I am deeply grateful.

Below the surface often hovers an unsatisfied yearning.

For something.  More.  The eternal.                                                                                              For what lies beyond.

Looking back, I would have described this broader sense of longing in my book. The underlying reason I felt “called” to the convent.

I certainly hadn’t recognize this spiritual unrest as a child, but simply longed for something beyond Marriage, Family, Children, Career.

The ways of nuns fascinated me. How they concealed themselves behind mysterious walls and deviated from the prevailing style within long black garbs. More  importantly–how they came together as one  within a world where everyone seems separate.

How intent they seemed on forging a communal way to what lies Beyond.

My communal dreams live on. Thus my marriage, various partnerings and joinings–all in attempt to find a way to come together–none lasting forever.

Community life is an art, demanding honesty, guts, and lots of give and take. A challenging blend of togetherness and solitude. The appeal remains strong.

So, yes, you’ve caught me being restless or unhappy.  When I persist in seeking happiness outside myself, and in the ordinary. Even within the ideal  community or  partnership, and within the most ideal personal and world-wide conditions, happiness can be elusive.

In the meantime, I concentrate on letting go, taking a deep breath, and trusting. . .

Myself and the Divine,

 

 

 

 

Momentary Enlightenment

Image result for black and white ant image

Today, I practice ACIM Lesson 124: Let me remember I am one with God.

As I close my eyes and attempt to concentrate on my oneness with the Divine during the recommended half hour meditation, my mind itches like a pocketful of ants.

Ego pesters, asking why I’m not “enlightened” by now. I’m long overdue for at least one small, tingling moment–a flash of light–a temporary out-of-body dangling, that would finally prove I’m making progress.

Somehow another Voice breaks through and assures me I’m already there—wherever it is I think I need be. Says I’m  already One-With.

Do the many shining moments (holy instants?) over my lifetime, wherein I feel slightly Cherished and On Board for  a Quick Glimpse of the Eternal, count for nothing? Perhaps I am on track.

Ants and all.