Monastic Basketball

Also via Kenley Neufeld, check out this really wonderful short video of a Monastic Basketball game:

(“Playing basketball on Lazy Day at Deer Park Monastery in mid-June.”)

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Critters (Long one, sorry!)

American RoachI was delighted to find Gabriel Cohen‘s article “Night of the Cockroach” on Shambhala Sun‘s website.  It appeared in the July 2009 issue, but as magazines are a luxury purchase at the moment, I only stumbled upon it a few days ago.  It’s a quick read, and I recommend it.  If you want to read it with “ambiance” – read, cockroach photos all over the page – check out Cohen’s .pdf of the original article on his website.

Cockroaches and other small critters have definitely played their part in the daily Practice of my life, and it’s good to bump into other people thinking about the potential struggle they provide.

Let me tell you a little bit about my house, and I’ll explain what I mean. Continue reading

Lyndon Harris and his Path to Forgiveness

From the Christian Science Monitor: "People Making a Difference: Lyndon Harris"(no copyright infringement intended)

I found an interesting and inspiring article over at The Christian Science Monitor‘s site detailing Reverend Lyndon Harris’ struggles with forgiveness in the wake of 9/11.

Finally, Harris says, he could hear these words attributed to Nelson Mandela: “Not to forgive is like drinking a glass of poison and waiting for your enemies to die.” Harris admits he drank deeply of that poison – mostly, he says, “because it tasted so good.”

Rev. Harris met Alexandra Asseily who had:

begun a movement to plant a Garden of Forgiveness in her beloved Lebanon after its civil war, which claimed more than 300,000 lives. The greatest gift to one’s children, Ms. Asseily teaches, is to become a better ancestor. And that, she says, is done through forgiveness.

I’ll save the rest of the story for the article, but I will say that since then Reverend Harris has become involved in a movement to plant a Garden of Forgiveness in New York City and even more abroad (in Rwanda, for instance).

In researching this blog entry I found a film called The Power of Forgiveness, which features Ms. Asseily and others working for forgiveness in the world.  I’m sorry to say I missed it’s showing on PBS in 2008.  Hopefully I’ll get to see it soon.  ^_^  In the meantime there are some interesting resources on the film’s site, including outreach tools and forgiveness resources.

Being Where I Am

You Are Here

So, life continues to be interesting.  I struggle with how I feel about the difficulties that keep cropping up.  We are well off, by whole world standards, but not well off by American (US) standards.  (I’ll spare you the details, but I do not think I’m being false by saying lots of things are a current struggle.)  It is difficult to feel comfortable in my own skin right now, so I have whittled down my practice to simply trying to accept where things are and to be joyfully mindful of being alive.

Equanimity

If this embed doesn’t work, and you’ve yet to see Susan Boyle‘s performance (it went viral this weekend on the ‘net) – please click here and watch this all the way through:  YouTube – Susan Boyle – Singer – Britains Got Talent 2009.  (You could also click on the image above to get to it.)  I think you’ll be glad you did.

From from chapter 22, “The Four Immeasurable Minds,” of Thich Nhat Hanh‘s The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching:

The fourth element of true love is upeksha, which means equanimity, nonattachment, nondiscrimination, even-mindedness, or letting go.  Upa means “over,” and iksh means “to look.”  You climb the mountain to be able to look over the whole situation, not bound by one side or the other.  If your love has attachment, discrimination, prejudice, or clinging in it, it is not true love.  People who do not understand Buddhism sometimes think upeksha means indifference, but true equanimity is neither cold nor indifferent.  If you have more than one child, they are all your children.  Upeksha does not mean that you don’t love.  You love in a way that all your children receive your love, without discrimination.

Upeksha has the mark called samatajñana, “the wisdom of equality,” the ability to see everyone as equal, not discriminating between ourselves and others.

Balancing Rest and Meditation Time

…this is something I struggle with right now.  The way things are scheduled, I get up 5 days a aweek at 5:30 with my Eldest, who leaves for the bus stop at 6:18 (Don’t ask, but trust me, it works. ;P).  I then have a busy day that lasts until I wind down at around 9:30 or 10.  At this point I usally take a bit of personal time to read, watch a little boob tube, or maybe play a game with Da Man.  I pretty much figure I need half an hour to an hour to chill at night – things are just hectic until then, between working for Da Man (Hee-hee.  ^_^ Actually we have a business together in the home.) and taking care of Da Kiddos and House Stuff – I stay busy and I need time to decompress.  (Well, usually.  I feel a little guilty writing that, because today has been a bit shiftless – I’m tired and have been fighting a cold all week.)

Anyway, the point is I just don’t get an adequate amount of sleep right now, during the week.  At best I’m getting maybe six hours a night.  I’m sure to some that seems an abundance of riches, but I really seem to do best with 7 to 7.5 hours of sleep a night.  I know, I’ve experimented with it.  So right now, I run at least 5 hours of sleep short a week.

To get to the point – I’m trying to decide exactly where a regular sitting time for meditation might best fit.  Maybe in the morning between bus and getting Middle and Youngest up?  But then I would lose any padding I have for the unexpected and I am concerned I would have a lot of rushed mornings, which is no way to start the day.  Perhaps I should get up half an hour ahead of time?  But then I would lose another 2 to 3 hours of sleep during the week.  Should I sit in the middle of my workday, since I have the luxury/curse of working out of the home?  I am concerned that this would be hard to set a regular time for as every day is different for me, between work and parenting, and that some days this would be very easy to drop.  Should I do it at night, after Da Kiddos have all gone to bed?  Well, this seems like a possibility, but I often find myself drooping by this time, and it would be nice to not bring a constantly tired mind to the cushion.

I know I’m over-complicating things, but I have yet to come up with the best answer for myself.  I’d love to hear from you, if you have time.  How do you schedule your meditation time?  Do you have a regular sitting schedule?  How do you manage a busy life and Buddhist life?  How do you integrate your practice into the everyday?

Guess that’s a lot of questions.  ^_^ Meh – I’m full of them lately.

Many

Molly Brown, over at Destination the Journey, today broached something that is a strong component of my practice.

While you sit reading this, someone is giving birth, another is dying, another grieves the loss of a love one. Everything in the breadth and depth of daily human experience is happening right now.

As I move through my day, I do my best to bear this in mind, and honor all these beings and their experiences with my behavior. It doesn’t always work, and I am constantly having to pull myself back to this thought, but I try to do my best.

When I begin to pity myself or my situation, I find remembering that many of my brothers and sisters are in far worse places returns me to center. I pray for peace and strength of heart for them, and then also for myself.