Monthly Archives: January 2013

memories emerge

Memory is valuable for one thing, astonishing: it brings dreams back.

There the good and silent spirits of life are waiting for you,

and one day they will carry you to a garden of eternal spring. ~Machado

leaf waterfall

Although we know that after such a loss the acute state of mourning will subside, we also know we shall remain inconsolable and will never find a substitute.  No matter what may fill the gap, even if it be filled completely, it nevertheless remains something else. And actually this is how it should be.  It is the only way of perpetuating that love which we do not want to relinquish. ~ Freud

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grief … walking alongside memories

… he himself was what he was seeking

fine silvery threads

fine silvery threads

Oh death, go and strike my body: I have millions of bodies to live in. I will dress myself in moonbeams, in the gauze made of fine silvery threads, and pass my time in tranquil rest.  I will sing my songs in the form of hill, streams, and brooks in the form of the rolling waves; I will move on.  I am the soft-footed wind which walks on in ecstasy.  I am the ever-gliding form which goes on as time.  I descend as waterfalls on the mountain slopes, reviving the faded plants.  I made the roses burst into laughter.  I made the nightingale sing her mournful ditties; I knocked at the doors and woke up sleeping ones, wiping the tears of the one, blowing the veil from the face of the other.  I teased those near and also far.  I tease you.  I go, I go, I go, with nothing in my possession. ~Swami Ram Tirth*

Larry and Margaret  … January awakens the past; grief calls me to walk alongside memories. 

*cited in

Graceful Exits, S. Backman

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a secret hiding place?

If some great idea takes hold of us from outside, we must understand that it takes hold of us only because something in us responds to it, and goes out to meet it. ~C.G. Jung

back alley art

back alley art

Seeing is primarily associated with the gathering of information.  We do not see understanding, but rather concepts.

ideas,

notions,

perceptions,

impressions,

theories,

hypotheses.

beliefs

discontinuity

discontinuity

A discontinuity in the brick patterns (upper left corner) awakens a curious mind seeking resolution through the creation of a wide array of stories drawn upon differing ideas, notions, perceptions, hypothesis, and beliefs.

 A secret hiding place for one’s money, drugs,or maybe, one’s journal, favorite photographs, treasures?

I wonder how many stories, conclusions, beliefs, ideas, theories become absolute TRUTHs through imaginative endeavors absent of participation?  Could there be many TRUTHS beyond our imaginative abilities?

… we can think of [God] in two distinct yet complementary ways.  We can speak of God as the Creator of the universe, thus conceiving of Him as a ‘Being.’  On the other hand, we can speak of Him as the creative Force that gives existence to the universe, thus conceiving of Him as an abstract ‘Principle.”

Actually, both ‘principle’ and ‘being’ are approximations that we use because the mind has no categories into which it can place God.  It may be that a third, intermediate category would be a better approximation, but the mind has no example of it.*

*cited in:

Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, Inner Space

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seeking the rose within a rose

rosesign

My understanding of Buddhist psychology beings me to an understanding that the personal self that we experience, perceive, and conceive arises from five material and non-material elements: our bodies, feelings, perceptions, thoughts, and consciousness.  These five categories of self introduce us to the nature of our being. We are the five and the five are us. Whatever we identify with, whatever we hold on to as self, falls within this collection. Together they generate the whole array of thoughts, emotions, ideas, and dispositions in which we dwell, “our world.”

These five elements, neither singly or collectively, compose any self, nor is there to be found any self apart from them.  For example, when we hold a rose we see that it is composed of multiple elements, some tangible – leaves, stem, thorns, petals, stamens – and others intangible – scent, color.   If you were to remove any of these constituent parts, would you find an entity know as “rose”?  As we are unable to find the rose in the absence of any one of these parts, we are also unable to find an enduring solid rose in any one of these elements.   Hence the belief in a permanent solid self proves to be a mere illusion as we find a self riddled with gaps and ambiguities that appear coherent because of the monologue we keep repeating, editing, censoring, and embellishing in our minds.

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wisdom to free the mind

a winter stroll

a winter stroll

A few years ago I stumbled upon one of Alex Berzin’s taped lectures, The Two Truths (http://www.talkingbuddhism.com, 2005). My understanding of his presentation has provided me with an effective process by which to clarify if what I hold to be true about my self, “I am . . .”, is in fact true.  This intellectual method has provided me with an experiential release of suffering subsequent to the letting go of a false belief about one’s self.

It is my understanding that in order for an “I am . . .” statement to be true one needs to answer, “yes” to two questions.

Question 1:  Is the statement, “I am . . . ” been true/present throughout the entirely of my life? If no, then the self statement is false.  If yes, process the second question.

Question 2:  Do all living beings, from the bird outside my window, those close to me, as well as the strangers I encounter while shopping, relate to me as an …?  If yes, then the statement “I am . . . ” is true.

If your answer is “no” to one or both questions, it may be beneficial to explore if the belief is more reflective of one’s current and transitory feeling state than reality.

It is important to note that the application of these two questions are never applied to the identification of feelings; e.g. “I feel . . .” How we feel at any given time is never to be negated through the use of The Two Truths.  Emotional maturity may reflect our ability to acknowledge the 1) arising of a feeling, 2) presence of the acknowledged and identified feeling, and – in due course – 3) fading of this feeling, and 4) absence of the feeling.

Our feelings are known through an awareness of a continuum of physical sensations often identified as: interest, happiness, shame, fear, surprise, anger, sadness, dissmell*, and disgust.  Each of these feelings are experienced as having different shades of intensity, and known through an appraisal of our physical sensations; for example, increased heart rate, blushing, furrowed brow, dry mouth, shallow breathing, clenched jaw, butterflies in the stomach, and trembling knees and hands.

Initial feelings activate emotions.  Emotions in turn trigger thinking.  Also, thinking stirs up feelings, which then can stimulate emotional reactions.  This could create an unending cycle of suffering create by false beliefs.  It is also important to explore if one’s feelings of guilt, worry, and anger, are secondary feelings as they are triggered by beliefs, thoughts, reflections, and/or defense mechanism outside the realm of real life experiences.

We often confuse our feelings with our thinking process. Feelings are generally put into sentences that begin with “I feel . . .” Thinking sentences begin with “I think  . . .” , “I believe . . . “, “I suppose . . .”

A good way to test if a sentence is a feeling sentence or a thinking statement is to change “I feel . . .” to “I think . . .” or to change “I think.” to I feel . . .” (e.g., changing “I feel sad” to “I think sad”). If it makes more sense to say, “I feel . . .”, it is probably more an expression of how one is feeling than what one is thinking.

* cited in:

http://mentalhealthnote.blogspot.com/2008/07/dismell.html

If disgust is a word indicating a bad taste, dissmell, Tomkins says, is his analogue for a bad smell. The facial characteristics are upper lip wrinkled and head pulled back. The body may also withdraw distancing itself from the source of the bad smell. Dissmell is an early warning of noxious substances. Dissmell and disgust may operate independently or together at different intensities.

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weekly photo challenge: resolved

forgotten

forgotten

The Fourth Noble Truth

The way leading to cessation of suffering,

as a noble truth, is this:

It is simply the noble eightfold path,

that is to say, right view,

right intention; right speech, right action,

right livelihood, right effort,

right mindfulness, right concentration.

~ the Buddha, Setting Rolling the Wheel of Truth

 

forgotten ll

forgotten ll

The Noble Eightfold Path is the middle path between two life-style extremes; one a life of intention to fulfill sensual desires and the other, a life of self-torment.  This path divides into three branches, wisdom, morality, and diligence which when traveled brings one to a greater understanding of suffering and the cessation of suffering.

The figurative expression “path” does not imply that suffering ceases as one advances step by step in sequence after successfully understanding and implementing each of the eight “rights.” What I have found is that to emerge from the darkness of despair requires a right intention to be guided by the principles of right mind, speech, action, and livelihood.  The degree by which this intention is successful frees me to live a life with less tension and discontent, and thus I am able to engage more fully in understanding the concepts of right mindfulness and concentration.  The identification, containment, and bare attention of the five hindrances grants me the power of acquaintance to single-pointed tranquil absorption through a daily meditative practice, as well as through a personal investment in time to read and study various schools of thought.

Right view is forever impermanent as my transitory comprehension undergoes a transformation with each new encounter, each spark.

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