New Leadership (Covid-19.4)

Wise words from Amita Schmidt, a dear friend:

You might wonder after a pandemic, “Who is going to lead?” A president? The millennials?  Wise elders? Philanthropists? Corporations? Criminals?

Instead of “who,” wonder “what?” What in me is going to lead? Fear? Worry? Selfing? Pushing? Controlling? Thoughts? Emotions?

This is a time for new leadership.  Lead with your inner stability.  Lead with your quiet, empty, aware nature. Lead with stillness, wisdom, and connectivity.  Lead with the absence of “you.”

The Buddha insisted, “I have stopped, why don’t you?”

And Psalm 46:10 invites, “Be still and know that I am God.”

Stop. Listen. Experiment with social distancing from the streaming device between your ears. Wash your hands of the insatiable push to do more.

Simply stop, be still, and effortlessly rest in the core of your inner being. Each day, surrender to your inner being, and listen. It will tell you everything you need to know.

Follow the quiet, away from fear. Follow the simplicity, away from complexity. Your mind will lead you into a maze of illusion. Remember your unborn nature. When you come out of quarantine, leave the matrix of “I” behind. Then, only awareness remains. Awareness is always leading, not you.

Expect no one to lead. Let your steadfast inner stillness lead.

 Visit Amita’s website here

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New Audio (Covid-19.3)

During a recent Home-Online retreat with friends of Dharma Zephyr (Nevada) certain talks spoke directly to important aspects of our Covid-19 situation. Perhaps you’ll hear something of practical benefit. You can access through Kevala Retreat’s new Audio Library.

Subscribers to this Blog may not have received emails recently. I hope to have fixed that glitch. If this is the first email you’ve gotten from us in a while, the glitch is why.

Be well, be wise, be kind.

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Dhammic Safe Harbor (Covid-19.2)

“Retreating to safe harbor” is a theme Ajahn Buddhad?sa employed to caution against mindless progress. Careening forward out of habit is never wise. There are many times when we must pause and take stock. He borrowed the term from Southern Thai culture: toi lang kao klong, literally “back up into the river.” Klong, in the South, are both human dug canals, as in the rest of Thailand, and the rivers that descend from the mountainous spine of the peninsula to make their brief runs to the Gulf of Siam. The fisherfolk where he grew up would bring their boats up into the local Klong Pum Riang when storms were brewing. Here, there was more protection from strong winds and wave surges.

There are times to venture forth for earning a living, learning about the world, seeking Dhamma training, and otherwise engaging with the outside world. And there are also times for seeking refuge from storms such as social strife, widespread immorality, wars, and pandemics. Wisdom discerns when it is time to toi lang kao klong.

Like the breathing there is a natural rhythm and balance between our outer activities and inner spiritual work. Students of Buddhism heed this need and take the opportunities that life presents for periods of quiet, solitude, and contemplation, whether 30 minutes in a busy day, a weekly wan phra (sabbath), or days of retreat. With the Covid-19 strictures that health officials are recommending and governments are enforcing, we can make this a voluntary toi lang kao klong. This is wiser than chaffing at the restrictions.

In this physical, social, and economic world there is no ultimate safety. For that we turn to nibb?na, the ultimate refuge. The Three Refuges of Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha guide us to such safety, if we truly take refuge in them. We toi lang kao klong to seek the inspiration and guidance of Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha and cultivate the noble path of freedom from suffering.

Spiritually, we retreat into the safe harbor of our practice of ethics, meditation, and insight. Dhamma practice is not meant to be easy and it will challenge us deeply, even shake us at the core, but it never harms us. Rather, it frees us from the mistaken beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors that actually harm us.

May each of us retreat into our safe harbors and help our sanghas, communities, and societies begin to understand Dhammic Safe Harbor.

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Sane living … year round (covid-19.1)

Avoiding Covid-19 and flattening the curve are on our minds. As many of us will catch it, surviving it is also on the table. Those of us who will experience cold or perhaps flu-like symptoms have healthy choices to make. How do we get through that without taxing the underfunded, strained healthcare system and adding to the emotional chaos? Here are common sense general behaviors that will benefit now and overall (modified from an email forwarded by wise friend):

How to be a bad host to illness:

1. Drop Fear because it suppresses your immune system.

2. Three S-words: get Sleep, stay away from Sugar, and Stress.

3. Get some Sunlight; it energizes your T-cells.

4. Exercise. Walk a lot. (also helps with anxiety)

5. Get a Massage or Energy Work or adjustment in the body.

6. Nutrients that boost include zinc, vitamins C, D, and echinacea.

7. Get good Sleep because stress hormones go down.

8. Meditate.

This is the first of posts from Kevala Retreat as we learn and adapt with the causes and conditions known as Coronavirus disease 2019.

view from cottage porch
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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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