Usually I post on my book blog, ExploringthemagicherosJourney.com, but I felt this post fit better here.
I have done a meditation practice for a long time. Like decades. I’ve used many different tools, with varying results, but usually I feel I do OK. Recently I heard a podcast in which a young man explained how he created his own mantra with help from an experienced meditation guide. When I tried what he explained, a mantra came to me and meditation has been easier than ever before (Dang, this reads like an infomercial….)
Listen to Justin Michael Williams’ podcast on Sounds True here. From the transcript,
“He just says, “Close your eyes.” He asked me, he said, “If you could be bathed and soothed by any energy and if that energy could help you become the person that when you close your eyes you know you were put on this earth to be, what would that energy be? If you could get it out of an ATM anytime you needed it, if you could let it fill you up and bathe and soothe you in every crevice of your inner and outer being, what would that energy be? Name it. Use one, two, or three words and name it.””
My mantra came in an image first and then words.
[Pause…] Thoughts: Should I say what mine is? Is a mantra too personal? Would it reveal too much about me? Would it influence others’ experience? Would I be embarrassed by what I think it says about me?
Oh, my! Am I not the most fascinating thing in the entire universe?!
The mantra that came to me was first the image of a prism with light coming in and a spectrum coming out. The words next were, “I am the light; I am the prism.” Using both the visual and the words on my in and out breath have been a unique experience meditating. I am very grateful for it.
This post from Very Smart Girls made me stop and think and then think some more. Asking that question is a powerful practice tool.
I’m tired. What if the opposite is true?
I’m smarter than her. What if the opposite is true?
He’s only doing that to make money. What if the opposite is true?
I have to get that done today. What if the opposite is true?
Interesting results! Feeling certain of beliefs and, well, anything, limits my growth and experiences.
Give this practice a try.
I put this week’s post on my poetry site, Poetiosity. All about trust.
There were under a dozen people at the Village Clerk’s office when I went in late this afternoon to vote. The election volunteers were polite and helpful. I’ve voted. Voting early was one of the smarter things I’ve done lately.
I’m ready for Fall. I think. Like I have a choice in the matter or any way to control the change of seasons. It does seem early, though, to see leaf changes. I expect the real changes to be in October (the best month).
I don’t have nearly the problem with winter that a lot of people do, and it makes me think of the Serenity Prayer: “the things I cannot change.”
Unlike what most people think of as the goal of a prayer, I think this one is always talking to my self even though it starts out with the word “God.”
My biggest problem, of course, is the lack of that “wisdom to know the difference.”
I posted a new poem on my other site. A welcome poem for my new Grand Nephew.
A volunteer plant showed up in a flower bed at work. These are corporate flower beds with Stella D’Oro daylillies, dwarf yews, and well-trimmed flowering plum trees. I noticed what looked like the biggest dandelion seed puff I’d ever seen.
I had to look online to see what it was. Salsify. A root vegetable that tasks somewhat likes oysters, supposedly. I’m regularly reminded how much variety there is in our planet’s flora.
I don’t think this was planted intentionally — there are two plants in the bed — but they haven’t been pulled out by the corporate “gardeners.” Unlike a home gardener, maybe they don’t know it doesn’t belong.
What is it with signs? It must be a low-level, human mind feature, since it’s been well documented since — well, since we’ve been documenting ourselves.
Saturday, driving to Chicago and whelmed by my pirates, this sun halo rode along with me. along I90. Sure, it’s light refracted through the ice crystals of the cirrus clouds that morning. Is it also a sign of a benevolent universe? Is it a message from a higher power?
How about something I noticed on my body just recently? A couple weeks ago I was reading Ruby (by Cynthia Bond – superb book BTW). A wise-woman character grabs Ruby’s hand, points to her palm, and says she has the Star of the Mystic mark, that she can’t avoid her fate. I glanced over at my own right hand holding the book. I see a star shape in the lines on my own palm.
“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” – Henry David Thoreau
Of course, I’ve looked at my hands all of my life and not seen that. Does it matter? Does it mean anything? Or is it only valuable because I see it and I think it does?
Do you believe you can be kind and be clever and witty, too?
A friend was visiting me for the last week and we did a lot of remodeling tasks. On his second day here he brought me a piece of German chocolate cake from the Piggly Wiggly along with a treat for himself. I thought for just a moment about telling him about my experiment, but I didn’t. [What should I be calling this? Sobriety??]
When I ate the cake, I felt a calm in my chest and then my perspective pulled back and I felt a distance – a separation from myself. Now I was watching myself from the outside. I continue to have that perspective, blended with a dollop of shame, as I continue to eat candy (ice cream, cookies, etc.).
My pain now is coming from withholding the truth from my friend. I did finally tell him I had done my experiment, but put the timeline slightly different so I didn’t blame him. The story I told myself was I didn’t want to hurt his feelings when he brought me the cake. . . blah, blah, story, excuse, blah.
Truth-er: I knew this was coming before he got off the plane. I didn’t tell him ahead of time deliberately to have a jump off point.
This morning I read this note from Cheri Huber, the Zen teacher:
“This is just the latest in a long series of offerings aimed at getting people who want to wake up and end suffering to move out of ego’s comfort zone. In support of the merits of this current challenge, someone sent me an article from New Yorker Magazine about an extraordinary athlete, Kyle Korver, who understands very well the benefits of such challenges. Here’s part of the article:
But [Korver’s success at basketball] also has something to do, these past few seasons, with a Japanese ritual called misogi. According to Janine Sawada, a religious-studies professor at Brown University, the word misogi dates back to eighth-century Japan: it originally described a mythical taboo journey to the underworld, and, later, in medieval Japan, the painful but purifying deeds of ascetics. Korver practices a decidedly modern version: “Once a year, you do something that you’re really not sure you can do.”
Read the whole post at http://blog.thezencenter.org/from-the-guide.
I have done something this year I didn’t think I could do. I went over 60 days with no candy and I took almost every moment of craving to explore the feelings of desire and loss that came up.
The phrase, “Now what?” keeps coming up. I’m thinking that he left a Snickers in the freezer because he’s not the kind of person to take a bag of snacks for the flight home to Arizona. I don’t know if I’m more grateful for the five windows he put up in my sunroom or the tearful lesson that cake is going to bring me.