The Tao of the Self — Six

August 12th, 2011

valley_of_flowers_uttaranchal_full_view
The Valley of Flowers, in northern India’s state of Uttarakhand

Be open and empty, like a great valley;
Be receptive of the world like a mother is to her child.
Be open to all things, soak up the rain and the sunshine.
And accept the fog and mist that rolls in sometimes,
If you are always open to life, that spirit will never fail you.

– The Tao of the Self — Six

Happy Summer!

June 21st, 2011

Welcome to summer!!

Meditation Garden — Inspirations

January 7th, 2011

meditation garden from http://www.talesoftheearth.com/

Because of their abilities to heal, sacred landscapes provide inspiration for the design of gardens in therapeutic health-care environments. Gardens designed for contemplation and healing are likely to be most effective and responsive to the needs of its users when the elements of the sacred landscape are applied. The following design elements constitute such a landscape:


Being of favorable context -
it is sited to take advantage of positive attributes,
and mitigate negative effects
receiving auspicious life-forces
given by the earth, sun and moon;
It is contained – a distinctive form in space,
a distinct space surrounded by form;
It is coherent – clearly defined and ordered
to help things make sense;
It is composed – enabling one to pay attention;
It has clarity – made simple in format
to help develop concentration and insight.
It is an artistic expression of contemplation -
quiet and light inside,
enabling one to listen to the heart sing.

Being of favorable context, the sacred landscape is located in an auspicious setting. It mitigates potentially negative effects, and takes advantage of the environmental attributes of its location, gifts offered by the earth, waters and skies, the sun, moon and stars.


“At a true site…there is a touch of magic and light.
How so, magic?
Here the breath gathers and the essence collects.
Light shines in the middle and magic goes out on all sides.
Try to understand!
It is hard to describe!”

So, I’m thinking of turning an available space in my back yard into a meditation garden… anyone have interesting inspirations, ideas for what should go into a meditation garden space, etc? I’m thinking California natives for the plants, and looking for good ideas for seating, lighting, arranging the space, etc… all thoughts, ideas, comments, photos of nice spaces, etc welcome!

Solstice

December 20th, 2010


Winter Solstice, Brigitte Lopez

“In the depths of winter I finally learned there was in me an invincible summer” — Albert Camus

“Sometimes our fate resembles a fruit tree in winter. Who would think that those branches would turn green again and blossom, but we hope it, we know it.” — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure in the
landscape – the loneliness of it – the dead feeling of winter.
Something waits beneath it – the whole story doesn’t show.
- Andrew Wyeth

Of winter’s lifeless world each tree
Now seems a perfect part;
Yet each one holds summer’s secret
Deep down within its heart.
– Charles G. Stater

“One kind word can warm three winter months.”
– Japanese Proverb

“In the summer I have this friend who I am closest to, and sometimes, in the winter, I long to call her up and say, come here and live with me, in this cold place. But we are summer friends. There is a rule it seems, that summer friends don’t get together in the wintertime. Now, sitting here, waiting for her, I realize that I have never seen her in a winter coat, and for some reason that makes me sadder than anything else in the world.” — Jacqueline Woodson

Now the seasons are closing their files
on each of us, the heavy drawers
full of certificates rolling back
into the tree trunks, a few old papers
flocking away. Someone we loved
has fallen from our thoughts,
making a little, glittering splash
like a bicycle pushed by a breeze.
Otherwise, not much has happened;
we fell in love again, finding
that one red feather on the wind.

– Ted Kooser, “Year’s End”

“I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December
A magical thing
And sweet to remember.

‘We are nearer to Spring
Than we were in September,’
I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December.”

- Oliver Herford, I Heard a Bird Sing

Enjoy the lunar eclipse tonight as the Solstice begins, if you are fortunate to have clear skies. We’ll have clouds and rain here, so I’ll miss seeing it tonight.

Autumnal Equinox

September 22nd, 2010

full-harvest-moon12

Merry Mabon, Happy Mid-Autumn Moon Festival, And Happy Autumnal Equinox! Plus we have a gorgeous full moon coming tonight! Yay!

Meditation

August 20th, 2010

Getting into some new meditation CDs and doing some guided meditations — anyone have any favorites that have been good for you?

What lives within us

April 25th, 2010

Thoughts for the day, based on Thoreau and my past blog posts….

“What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lives within us.” ~Henry David Thoreau

When we are unhurried and wise, we perceive that only great and worthy things have any permanent and absolute existence, that petty fears and petty pleasures are but the shadow of the reality.”
— Henry David Thoreau

I would rather sit on a pumpkin, and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.” — Henry David Thoreau

To say that a man is your Friend, means commonly no more than this, that he is not your enemy. Most contemplate only what would be the accidental and trifling advantages of Friendship, as that the Friend can assist in time of need by his substance, or his influence, or his counsel. Even the utmost goodwill and harmony and practical kindness are not sufficient for Friendship, for Friends do not live in harmony merely, as some say, but in melody.”
– Henry David Thoreau

If the day and night be such that you greet them with joy, and life emits a fragrance like flowers and sweet-scented herbs, is more elastic, more immortal –- that is your success. All nature is your congratulation, and you have cause momentarily to bless yourself.” ~Henry David Thoreau

“The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready.” — Henry David Thoreau

“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land, there is no other life but this.” — Henry David Thoreau

“I would give all the wealth of the world, and all the deeds of all the heroes, for one true vision.” — Henry David Thoreau

“It is only when we forget all our learning that we begin to know.”
–- Henry David Thoreau

“I am tired of frivolous society, in which silence is forever the most natural and the best manners. I would fain walk on the deep waters, but my companions will only walk on shallows and puddles.” — Henry David Thoreau

What lives within you?

Rock and Roll!

April 4th, 2010

A major earthquake occurred at 3:40:40 PM (PDT) on Sunday, April 4, 2010.

The magnitude 7.2 event occurred 26 km (16 miles) SW of Guadalupe Victoria, Baja California, Mexico.

via Recent Earthquakes – Info for event ci14607652.

Nothing to get you living in the moment and aware of nature like an earthquake!

And sadly, the day only got worse and weirder from there — this happened on the next street over from our house… there were sheriffs’ cars all over and two helicopters overhead for hours. Our family was not affected, but we’re very sad for our neighborhood tonight.

Deputies kills Poway gunman suspected in 2 slayings

A Poway man thought to have killed two of his neighbors was shot to death by sheriff’s deputies Sunday night, authorities said.

The identities of the three, who lived on Olive Grove Drive west of Community Road, were not released.

Sheriff’s Lt. Dennis Brugos said two sheriff’s deputies responded within 2 minutes to a 6 p.m. call that shots had been fired. They confronted a man with a rifle or a shotgun, and he was fatally wounded at the scene, Brugos said.

Deputies later discovered that the man also was carrying a handgun, Brugos said.

A search of a house in the neighborhood revealed the bodies of a dead man and woman, Brugos said.

Digging Deep: Creativity

February 8th, 2010

A lot of us still think that in order to be creative we need to pen a great piece of fiction, compose a symphony, build a skyscraper or design magical gardens. This isn’t true. Creativity is not restricted to being specifically creative in terms of one area of expertise or talent. The ultimate goal is not to be more creative, but to learn how to live creatively. Simply put, it is much less about what you do with your life; rather, it is how you go about doing it.

Living creatively means approaching each moment as a new opportunity. It’s about exploring, trusting your instincts, and owning and expressing your unique style. It means being true to your needs, experimenting, taking risks, staying flexible, and not always having to rush to conclusion. A person living creatively is always pushing towards new growth, as the psychologist Rollo May says, not without fear, but in spite of it.

via Digging Deep: Creativity.

Blooming

February 5th, 2010

A person with true self-acceptance is “a person with full awareness of self in body, mind and spirit. This person’s center of consciousness (Hsing – “Heart Flower”) is in full bloom, ready to receive power from above, openly relating to and being reflected by others.”

“Find the seed at the bottom of your heart and bring forth a flower.” — Shigenori Kameoka

“To see a world in a grain of sand and heaven in a wild flower Hold infinity in the palms of your hand and eternity in an hour.” — William Blake

“Break open a cherry tree and there are no flowers, but the spring breeze brings forth myriad blossoms.” — Ikkyu Sojun

“Remember to be gentle with yourself and others. We are all children of chance and none can say why some fields will blossom while others lay brown beneath the August sun. Care for those around you. Look past your differences. Their dreams are no less than yours, their choices no more easily made. And give, give in any way you can, of whatever you possess. To give is to love. To withhold is to wither. Care less for your harvest than for how it is shared and your life will have meaning and your heart will have peace.” — Kent Nerburn

“The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.” — Thich Nhat Hanh

“If, instead of a gem, or even a flower, we should cast the gift of a loving thought into the heart of a friend, that would be giving as the angels give” — George MacDonald

Loving thoughts to all today… with thoughts of spring coming soon…

The Way of Elegance

February 4th, 2010

“Something is elegant if it is two things at once: unusually simple and surprisingly powerful. One without the other leaves you short of elegant. And sometimes the “unusual simplicity” isn’t about what’s there, it’s about what isn’t. At first glance, elegant things seem to be missing something… Elegant ideas—products, services, performances, strategies, whatever—all have some degree of these four elements: symmetry, seduction, subtraction, and sustainability. ” — Matthew E. May

“For me, elegance is not to pass unnoticed but to get to the very soul of what one is.” — Christian Lacroix

“Be patient, do nothing, cease striving. We find this advice disheartening and therefore unfeasible because we forget it is our own inflexible activity that is structuring the reality. We think that if we do not hustle, nothing will happen and we will pine away. But the reality is probably in motion and after a while we might take part in that motion. But one can’t know.” — Paul Goodman, “Five Years: Thoughts During a Useless Time” via Whiskey River

“Elegance is not the prerogative of those who have just escaped from adolescence, but of those who have already taken possession of their future.” — Coco Chanel

“Desires are many, needs are few. Needs can be fulfilled; desires, never. A desire is a need gone crazy. It is impossible to fulfill it. The more you try to fulfill it, the more it goes on asking, asking, asking….Once you start learning how to choose the peaceful, a small room is enough; a small quantity of food is enough; a few clothes are enough; one lover, a very ordinary man, can be enough of a lover.” — Osho, “Everyday Osho”

“Can anything be so elegant as to have few wants, and to serve them one’s self?” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

“To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not, rich; to listen to stars and birds, babes and sages, with open heart; to study hard; to think quietly, act frankly, talk gently, await occasions, hurry never; in a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common – this is my symphony.” — William Channing

What if deep poetry flowed through your day-to-day life? What if writing that poetry was a path to enlightenment? Basho, the grandfather of haiku poetry, named this path, “the Way of Elegance” because it connects you to grace and fills your life with subtle beauty….

One of the key concepts on the way of elegance is “furyu.” Basho discovered in his life of reading and thinking and wandering and teaching and writing that all of these things contributed to Furyu which literally means “in the way of the wind and stream”. It is putting yourself in the traffic, launching yourself into the action, not necessarily as a player, but deliberately, as the eyes and ears and taste buds and sense of smell. Furyu is a powerful tool that shows you what you like, and also what you love.

When a person has followed the Way of Elegance for a while she reaches a state where all she wants is to attend to quality moments with focused acceptance. Such a stance is hard to amintain; her family and friends will push her to distraction, pressure her to be normal. If you see her in this situation, enter her sabi, show her your wabi. Encourage her to follow furyu with you.” — Richard R. Powell, “Wabi Sabi for Writers”

“Furyu” is composed of two characters meaning, “wind” and “flowing.” Like the moving wind, it can be sensed but not seen. It is both tangible and intangible in its suggested elegance. And like the wind, furyu points to a wordless ephemeral beauty that can only be experienced in the moment, for in the next instant it will dissolve like the morning mist.

“The simplicity of wabi-sabi is best described as the state of grace arrived at by a sober, modest, heartfelt intelligence. The main strategy of this intelligence is economy of means. Pare down to the essence, but don’t remove the poetry. Keep things clean and unencumbered, but don’t sterilize. (Things that are wabi-sabi are emotionally warm, never cold.) Usually this implies a limited palette of materials. It also means keeping conspicuous features to a minimum. But it doesn’t mean removing the invisible connective tissue that somehow binds the elements into a meaningful whole.” — Leonard Koren, “Wabi-sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets and Philosophers”

As a human being, I can only say that the future is yet to be made. Let us go forth and make it, but let us make it as beautifully as we can. The degree of elegance is determined by our will and the perfection of our own personalities. — Deng Ming Tao, 365 Tao

What our ash tree is becoming…..

February 2nd, 2010

It was a pleasure to meet you Saturday.
I have been working on the first ash bowl. It’s a natural edge.
The wood is still wet. It will be a few days until I can get a finish on it.
When I do it would be a pleasure to give one like this to you.
The wood on this piece should warp as it cures giving it character.

Allan Schiro
San Diego Wood Turner

Nature

January 3rd, 2010

Wherever you find that society is in conflict with nature, choose nature—whatever the cost. You will never be a loser.

The thinking up to now has been that the individual exists for the society, that the individual has to follow what the society dictates. The individual has to fit with the society. That has become the definition of the normal human being—one who fits with the society. Even if the society is insane, you have to fit with it; then you are normal.

Now the problem for the individual is that nature demands one thing, and society demands something contrary. If the society were demanding the same as nature demands, there would be no conflict. We would have remained in the Garden of Eden. The problem arises because society has its own interests, which are not necessarily in tune with the interests of the individual. Society has its own investments, and the individual has to be sacrificed. This is a very topsy-turvy world. It should be just the other way round. The individual does not exist for the society, the society exists for the individual. Because society is just an institution, it has no soul. The individual has the soul, is the conscious center.”

Everyday Osho — 365 Daily meditations for the here and now by Osho

I find American society to be pretty crazy-making. We are given so many conflicting messages, and made to feel like we must strive to be more, do more, have more. The message is never to simply enjoy what you have, to love what is already in your life, it is to achieve something else and become something else. I think we are happiest when we are simply following our own nature, doing what we enjoy and pursuing the things that interest us, rather than the things that make money for someone else.

We want to control nature rather than be guided by it. Tao turns this around and asks us to observe nature and emulate it, to follow the course of water and natural terrain and our own inner nature, to remember our souls.

Once you think of society as something that exists for you, it becomes a comfortable thing rather than a demanding one. I find it far easier to get along with other people now that I think of them as fellow souls rather than thinking of them in their societal roles. When you treat others as souls, valuing their unique spirit, rather than as the sales clerk, the voice on the phone, the coworker, you tend to develop real relationships rather than merely functional transactions. It’s far more human.