Friendly, Loving Kindness for All Beings

On retreat in Thailand, the morning chanting ends with familiar words that still reverberate deeply …

May all beings, comrades in birth, aging, illness, and death,  
Be well and happy, without enmity and malice,
Be well and happy, without selfishness and harm,
Be well and happy, without bodily pain and mental anguish,
Be well and happy in body and mind,

preserving ourselves from all sufferings and dangers.

This must be the way forward for our species if we are to escape from our vicious cycles of violence and destruction; of atrocities in the name of economic growth, religion, and sovereignty; of banal greed, hatred, and delusion; of fear and self-centeredness. The biosphere has just about had enough and the climate is paying back. Do we descend into even worse greed, hatred, fear, and confusion? Or do we stop blaming and start helping each other out of this dire predicament?

Only when we are sufficiently well and happy and at peace with ourselves will we stop chasing the superficialities we mistake for meaningful happiness.

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Deeply into Fall

The colors turned late and marvelously this past week. Temperatures dropped yesterday and there was even a bit of slushy snow. Getting towards end of apple crop, yet delicious orbs still hanging on a few trees and on ground too (until deer get to them). Wood stove getting used again. And three retreat yogis enjoying it all.

Still outdoors work to do. New house construction going well. Horses are getting let out some, which they adore after being cooped up due to construction relocations.

Folks are scheduling for retreat through the end of the year and into next. Practice time away from hustle & bustle in natural surroundings is a blessing.

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On the Verge, always, of Terra Incognita

Inspired to post by seeing On the Verge (or The Geography of Yearning) by Eric Overmeyer at the Commonweal Theatre, a local treasure.

On the Verge is most definitely a dirigible of cool whipped delight with CoolCat wordplay, unless you’re in another decade, but always witty. Highly recommended.

Our lives journey in untold directions: outward, inward, geographical, temporal, psychological, upward, and depthward. Yet always moving and moving into what we cannot know. Sure, we guess, ponder, estimate, calculate, imagine, worry, and predict, but never really know, even when we desperately want to know and convince ourselves we DO know. But we never really do.

We often call it ‘the future.’ And many of us know how bad that is going to be. Climate destruction. Recession. Worsening sexism and racism. Fascism. We have the evidence. It screams at us from many sources and reverberates in our craniums and curdles in our hearts.

Yet, we cannot know. Cannot really know. However, this play reminded me that we can always touch the beauty of the human spirit — compassionate, creative, peaceful — now. Whatever I am on the verge of I can serve this Buddha-Nature without belittling the climate science, responsible government, and well-grounded activists. If I do not serve this best of what our species is capable of, I am likely to support what I deplore. The journey can never be us against them or me against everyone else, for that attitude degrades steadily and pollutes everything it touches.

‘The future’ may not be so dreadful when we remember what is most meaningful. We may make our peace with terra incognita.

May On the Verge help you there. Many thanks to the Commonweal Theater for another delicious production.

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Taking refuge, gratefully

Recent years have been emotionally challenging for myself and most of the people I know. Climate destruction, sexism, political nastiness, white supremacy, absence of ethical leadership, aging friends, death, my own physical vulnerability … the long list goes on. Yet, I am recovering from reciting the old lists and critiques, even those that are still valid and important. Rather, I must re-affirm Refuge in Buddha (Awakening within), Dhamma (Natural Reality-Truth we can discern personally), and Sangha (Community of ethical-spiritual practice, as our illusions of individuality are ‘all in this mess together’). Further, I take refuge in compassion, that is, opening myself as deeply as I can manage to the pain and suffering of people, wetlands, communities, insects, birds, frogs, icecaps … again too long a list. Opening and also committing to doing things I am capable of doing to address this massive suffering. And not judging myself for what I am not actually able to do or cannot do faultlessly. Plus, finding joy where I can, grounded in vulnerability and compassion. Lastly, bowing with profound gratitude for the Pali suttas, for Ajahn Buddhadasa’s guidance, to contemplative colleagues, to my beloved partner, and to our families both 2- and 4-legged. (Actually, never “lastly” as this is also a long list 😉

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Weather Wot-me-Worries

Somehow the polar vortex was national news, though it kills far fewer than gun violence. We have survived both, so far.

From very cold to rather warm to colder with freezing rain. I guess the weather is being designed in Vegas. Anyway, just so you hear from us, here are a few images. Including solar panels producing in sub-optimal conditions.

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