Archive for the Nonsensical Category

What’s arising?

This title refers something my friend Ben discussed with me not so long ago. And that was why do people say they are this or they are that, i.e. I am insecure, I am lonely or I am happy etc. His point was that usually when we say these things to ourselves we treat them as permanent qualities of our personalities as opposed to something that is being felt in the here and now. So instead of saying I am an insecure person, I say insecurity is arising in me now. This adds a whole new perspective on the emotion and it can be then treated as an opportunity for learning as you try to observe what is creating the emotion that is arising.

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence

Since I adopted this approach I have change considerably. I no longer end up on a downhill spiral into the abyss as I beat myself up for feeling the way I’m feeling. So specifically in my case I am insecure … aheem … insecurity arises when I am around dominant intellectuals as I did not chose the route of formal education and instead opted for a life by trial and error which has given me strengths in lots of area but general knowledge isn’t one of them.

So now whenever a feeling arises I try and remind myself that it is most probably a reaction to something in my environment. It happened very clearly yesterday when I met some friends on the harbour wall. I was consumed with a feeling that was quite debilitating and decided to be still with it in the moment and observe. Later, on reflection, it was very apparent where that feeling had arisen from as I empathised with the thoughts of my friends there. I wont bore you with the detail.

So I felt quite chuffed with myself that instead of beating myself up, which is what I usually do when I feel like that, I turned it into a opportunity for growth with a positive outcome. That’s a major plus in my book. On further reflection regarding insecurity, I don’t feel that way when I’m on the beach by myself, or with certain other friends or riding my bike so what is it about this moment that is different. If I can remember to stay calm & step back from the intense feeling I guess there will always be a lesson to be learnt.

Another area that has changed the way I think quite dramatically is contemplation and specifically to wonder about the origin & source of any particular thing and as many different components that brought this thing into being. This doesn’t have to go back to the beginning of time but back to the limits of my own knowledge in the material world. For instance, an apple, to imagine it being delivered to the local supermarket by a large lorry, the lorry coming from the depot, the apple arriving by plane from Italy, being driven to the airport from the plantation, being hand picked by a local who is paid how much, back to the tree, the seed, who planted the seed, etc. There are an infinite number of avenues to wander down when pondering like this and each one raises my awareness to some degree and keeps me grateful for the thing in mind.

I’ve found this a great way to tackle impatience too. So if I’m rushing through the washing up or the cooking, because for some reason I think I can spend my time better elsewhere (totally irrational thought), all I have to do is try and imagine how this water got to my tap. The infinite network of underground piping all throughout the UK … the world, the purifying plants, the streams, rainfall, clouds, evaporation and the water cycle … and before i know it I’m not splashing the water over the edge of the sink any longer or trying to clean 6 forks at once.

Off to yoga now to try and slow the thoughts down somewhat and see what I feel, or if its a good day, to feel what I see.

Al lawago …

The path to contentment; an achievable goal?

Striving for happiness is an unachievable goal in my view. This might sound a little morbid but hear me out on this one. As soon as I wish I were happy I am breaking one of the most fundamental natural laws of which the consequence is unhappiness. To wish I were something or somewhere else is to grasp. To grasp is be with the voices in my head. That’s known as samsara and until I stop the voices happiness will rarely and only fleetingly appear in my life. That’s because happiness is my natural state, and all goings on in the head cloud the delight of happiness from my experience. Well that’s how I comprehend it and in practice it works for me and obviously for plenty of other people who spend time dissolving the mists of inner chatter to glimpse & if your lucky feel the state of well being that arrives when a state on non-thinking is achieved. No-thing in mind just happens to be being & feeling every-thing .. isn’t that bizarre and the less you think the more you experience. That’s not to say there isn’t a time for thinking but when I am thinking I can be more focused because I know there is less in the way.

Being the most I can be, seems to me, to be being calm in a state of observation and that observation can either be accompanied with active thinking – the art of contemplation or without – the being of meditation. I cannot do meditation, I can only become meditative. Its a bit like saying I can do stillness, obviously not, you can only become still or I am confident, wrong, you are lacking in fear. Confidence is the natural state. I cannot do something that is the natural state. The sky doesn’t become blue, the clouds clear, the sea doesn’t do a mirror, it becomes one when the wind and waves abate.

So that is why when a thought comes, just like a wave, the wind or a cloud we are told to observe and let it go, observe & let go, observe & let go. And as long as we do not attach to these ripples, the turbulence or the mist, we do not exasperate its appearance. But these distractions come in many different forms & guises and some are just too appealing to ignore, like the chocolate & raspberry moose in the fridge, the film watched last night, that sexy beast in my yoga class etc.

And so I can see how even the best meditators are only as good at meditating as their last moment and it can go tits up at any second. But I’m sure as you practice the same patterns emerge and we are less likely to be tricked. How many different strategies can our mind have for gaining our attention? … and who is it tricking?

So what is behind the veil, the mist, inside the vase … my guess is there is a bright mirror on which I can know & feel everything. I’m starting to understand the concept now after several years of flirting with this stuff. I’m starting to understand that we all have those mirrors and the more still we become internally the clearer the picture, the more enhanced the feelings, the more appreciative I’m going to become & the more connected I’m going to feel to everything & anything.

So maybe this is why people practiced in the art of meditation seem less needy, maybe they are more independent and are able to spend long periods in isolation. Is this because many of their needs are met by nature itself and those that do not feel this connection have to rely more on other people to be able to gain a reflection.

So what gets in the way of the mirror is the first important question (the second being what the **ck is the mirror! We’ll come back to that when I know it better). Well it would seem its a myriad of different things mostly related to our needs on some level or another and that’s another episode too. The main point here is that to strive to be happy can be counter-productive in my view. I personally am setting my sites on the modest goal of contentment with the gut feeling that happiness will arise more often in that state and if its not arising, well at least I’ll be content with that.

Where to start?

Why am I finding it so difficult to get started. I’m thinking about what to write, who will be reading it, will it be interesting, can I be bothered. So I obviously need to set myself some ground rules before I start. (almost said “we start” then, that’s a nasty habit I confess to. (gosh .. already confessing to habits .. this really is therapy). More often than not I’ll refer to “we” instead of “I”.. I’m sure a psychologist would be able to tell me what this means.. ~COMMENTS PLZ~ .. Am I fearful of loneliness, or a salesman wanting to show that there is already momentum. Or maybe its my ego and me, the observer & the observed that apparently don’t exist according to Buddhism … That’s a duality they refer to that is a state of illusion. As is the thought that we … doh … I exist separately to to the outside world. This is apparently another form of duality. So that makes at least 3 entities in my mind … observer, observed, outside world … so this should be called the illusion of triality shouldn’t it? ~COMMENTS PLZ~

My friend Ben has just returned from a retreat centre in the north of the South Island of New Zealand with teacher Tarchin Hearn.
Ben has completed his second sitting of 5 months at this centre and is now back here in Pembrokeshire passing on his lessons to some of us. He held his first meditation session here at my studio … …last week at which 8 friends attended. It turned out to be a great 2 hour session with body movement, walking & sitting meditation where we had to focus on the breath in & out of the nostrils for 20 minutes. Its suprising how difficult this is and my mind was whizzing off playing all sorts of tricks trying to justify itself talking. Even as far as telling me (the observer, I guess) that we could do both at the same time, I can listen to my mind talking while simultaneously listening to my breath. I went along with this for a while and even convinced myself I must be clever. Then rational mind brought me back to thinking that the intensity of thought must have been diluted and split between the two and the point of the exercise was to focus 100% on the breath, not 50 or 60% but Ben never asked for that. He obviously didn’t need to!

Another great example of the mind tricking someone in the group… (I’m getting a little confused about who is tricking who now .. which bit is the mind, the ego, the I, the observer …. lets come back to this (tricksters) )… , without him even knowing it was when in the feedback & reflection discussion after the meditation the chap next to me said that he had been focused on his breath consistently for at least a minute. It was only when I blurted out “who was counting” that he realized that he hadn’t even achieved that. (giggle)

And that seems to be one of the most beautiful things about meditation. The dissolving of time. The more focused I become the less sense of time I have. (alpha state) What is the deciding factor that makes us think something took a long time or was no time at all. We all have experienced times when time seemed like no time and other times when time took forever, and isn’t this what we call boredom? So what is boredom “One that is wearingly dull, repetitive, or tedious.” ….

I have a distinct sense of flicking through lots of different subjects here … not quite sure what the best way to talk about all these interesting subject is. I’m going to add reminders in colour for me to come back to so that I can try and maintain a single subject for more that a sentence (scatter brain). Thats a great idea! Never-the-less I’m actually quite pleased that subjects are firing off and I’m having to find a logical way to manage them. WOW .. what a contrast to the mind set I was in when I started. The fear, the opinions, the self consciousness, the laziness .. yuck. It shows how our minds, MY MIND, can be so limiting and that if I can just get some momentum going, how this can escalate into only god knows what.

My yoga teacher’s told us quite rightly that the hardest thing in yoga is getting yourself to the end of the mat. I thought that was a very helpful observaton. Don’t think beyond that point if you have trouble motivating yourself as I do quite often. Isn’t that wy we do it in a group. So there is no option to quit and say … arrr bollocks .. I can’t be doing with this. This is bloody hard work you know, what do you think your doing?

I know Ben has spent a long time with boredom. Tarchin’s advice when Ben asked what to do when he gets bored was “Focus on the breath”!!! It had never occurred to me till that point that you can tackle boredom by focusing on the breath. How profound. So boredom must be caused by a lack of focus, a lack of attention …

(this might all seem obvious and I am sure it will seem like you always new these meanings when you read the description, coz all you have to do is agree or not agree, but I have been continually suprised by how people I talk to, my friends (you know who you are!!!) ..don’t know the full meaning of words that they use on a regular basis. And these aren’t stupid friends either you know! (Pooh Bear) (i.e. the difference between having pride & to be proud (. I’m told one of them is a deadly sin .. oooeerr .. is the other?) ~COMMENTS PLZ~

Interlude .. PONDER ON THIS … a question for you all. I got this from Tim Shmit’s (Director of the Eden Project) article in resurgence.
“How many things do you have opinions about that you know nothing about?” ~COMMENTS PLZ~

… back to boredom for a minute … so why is harder to be bored than to to be focused. Is it because boredom is actually when one is scatter brained and thinking about lots of subjects as opposed to none. I’ve always associated boredom with a lack of things to think about not the opposite. That makes more sense to me. Like a firemans water hose flailing around without anyone guiding its stream and the relief there is once it is under control.

I’m going to sign off my 1st ever blog now and have a look to see what it looks like once its published. I have to say its been a truly pleasurable experience and I’m actually looking forward to returning and expanding. I’ve been suprised at how much is in waiting to get out and how just by writing I am already beginning to self assess and learn more about myself. My typing seems to be speeding up too!!!

Lots of love to who, where and why.

Chow 4 Now…