How we are

I have a friend who is going through a tough time at the moment.

And it’s made me very aware of my desire to improve my listening skills, and also to provide more comfort and wisdom – in this specific situation, and also future situations.

It’s easy to get caught up in worrying how to address someone’s suffering….. what advice to give, and the fear of either giving the wrong advice, or just not providing the level of comfort that we would like to, and not being able to relieve their pain.

I’ve come to realise though that what a person who is suffering most needs is our presence.

What they most need is someone who will “walk alongside” them in their suffering.

And the level of comfort that we can provide to them along the way is largely a reflection of how we are.

“How we are” is influenced by our perspective on life.  Our experiences of joy and suffering.  How we have addressed those in our own lives.  And how they have changed us.  

How we are is also largely dependant on our ability to sit with our fears.  Our fears of inadequacy and the expectations we place upon ourselves.  And then release these fears and expectations.

And ultimately remain compassionate, loving and receptive towards the other person.

 

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A blessing of compassion

Each morning I re-establish my intention for my spiritual path, and indeed my whole life.

I have dedicated my life to helping others, and saying this blessing helps me to re-affirm my goal.

 

May everything I do today be kind

May I adhere to my spiritual practice throughout the day, and through this practice may I gain more confidence in the wisdom and compassion of my true nature.

May every contact I have with others bring us both benefit – relieving suffering, bringing healing and happiness, and furthering us both along the path to freedom.

May kindness, compassion and wisdom increase in the world, and through my efforts today may I contribute to the betterment of life for all.

 

 

Much metta to you all ♥

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Everyday Wisdom #77

Listening skilfully is challenging.

To listen fully – with complete attention is a discipline.  It requires attention, practice and resolve.

It requires gentle persistence.  And the ability and desire to get ourselves back on track with our attention wanders.  

And it requires an ability to listen not only to what is being said, but what is not being said.

Listening fully and deeply is something I am very passionate about, and passionate about learning more about .  So in coming weeks I will be exploring this topic further.  I would love to hear your experiences on this topic.

How are you a good listener?  What do you think makes a good listener?  

Be well my friends ♥

 

“The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them.”

— Ralph Nichols

 

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Winter blessings

I feel so fortunate to have been taken away on a surprise holiday this week ♥

It was 4 days of relaxation, and sunshine, and laughter and love.

And it gave my batteries a much needed recharge.

So today’s blog post is dedicated to my love – who organised this beautiful mini holiday.

And it’s also in gratitude to the universe.  For all the blessings in my life.

 

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How blessings brighten as they take their flight.
Edward Young

Meditation Los Angeles

I’ve been reading, nay, browsing, through Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind. It’s such a delightful book. Lots of gems on what I’d call the “non-dual stuff.” For instance, this, on the challenge of sitting:

….If you want to obtain perfect calmness in your zazen, you should not be bothered by the various images you find in your mind. Let them come, and let them go. Then they will be under control. But this policy is not so easy. It sounds easy, but it requires some special effort. How to make this kind of effort is the secret of practice. Suppose you are sitting under some extraordinary circumstances. If you try to calm your mind you will be unable to sit, and if you try not to be disturbed your effort will not be the right effort. The only effort that will help you is to count your breathing, or to concentrate…

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Everyday Wisdom #76

For everyone there is challenge and loss.

And there is the possibility of meeting those challenges with kindness and compassion.

Kindness and compassion both for oneself, and for everyone else.

This transforms our minds and hearts and allows us to feel empathy for others.

 

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Accentuate the positive

Living with a positive perspective has immense benefits.  You live up to your potential –you develop the capacity to embrace all opportunities with enthusiasm, and you allow the simple things in life to lift you. 

Plus living with positivity allows you to become free to enjoy every day, and every pursuit, even when facing great challenges.

Here are some tips for staying positive:

 

Keep calm and carry on.  Try to practice acceptance: approach each situation with equanimity, and a sense that it is neither good nor bad.  It just “is”.  This way you are not riding a constant roller-coaster of emotions with every event that happens in your life.

Look for the silver lining.  There’s always something positive in every situation.  Sometimes you just have to look for it (sometimes very hard!). 

Watch your language.  Make a conscious effort to only speak in positive terms.  At first it will be an effort, but once you start speaking positively, you will begin thinking positively.  And it will become second nature.

Don’t keep it to yourself.  Just as bad moods and negativity are contagious, so are good moods and positivity.  A fun and optimistic outlook on life is contagious.  And it makes you a joy to be around.

And remember:

 

  • Have fun
  • Laugh often
  • Care about others
  • Listen fully
  • Smile – and really mean it!
  • See the possibilities

       and

  • Focus on, appreciate and embrace Life

 

 

Reach for the moon if you miss you will still hit the stars.

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Another wonderful post from Angela. This resonated with me so much ♥

Zen Being

Making the world around us a better place starts with transforming our mind-based thoughts into pure consciousness.   Meditation, over time, helps to raise one’s energetic vibration and helps to protect one from absorbing and holding onto the negative vibrations of others (e.g., anger or irritation, fear, shame, chaos, etc.) via  Metta–the practice of generating kindness and goodwill towards all beings.  Compassion neutralizes negativity, because love generated within the whole being, from the sub-cellular level outward, neutralizes fear-based thoughts, actions and reactions.  Metta cleanses as it radiates.  We can carry what we learn from Metta into our daily actions and activities, thereby increasing our Mindfulness, as Mindfulness and Metta go hand-in-hand.

The Monkey Mind will often make us leave the spaces we enter into in a more chaotic state.  When we are hectic or worried or angry, the spaces we enter into carry will be affected.  When we live without Mindfulness…

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Everyday Wisdom #75

Sometimes it’s better not to wonder. Not to assume, nor obsess.

But to have faith.

To just breathe, and be kind to yourself.

And to trust that everything will work out for the best.

To trust that there is a greater plan that you are not aware of, and that better things are on their way to you.

 

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Everyday Wisdom #74

“The way to overcome negative thoughts and destructive emotions is to develop opposing, positive emotions that are stronger and more powerful”

The Dalai Lama 

 

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Acceptance

I’m going through some personal problems at the moment, and it’s made me deeply realise how tenuous and fragile my practice is.

It’s so easy to fall back into old patterns.  

I’ve been able to feel myself fully consumed in this current challenge.  And yet I haven’t been able to step away from it.  

Although I am grateful that at least this time I can recognise how fully “caught” I am.  Which is a huge step in the right direction.

Because to acknowledge it means that I can do something about it.

And tonight I’ve realised what is causing a great deal of my suffering – apart from actually fighting against it, and the pain I am feeling, I am also fighting against acceptance.

I’ve come to realise that when we are facing a problem, we have two choices: accept what is happening, and look for the positive.  Or fight against it, and decide not to accept it – and be miserable.

So I am choosing acceptance.  

And I’m choosing to see the lessons that are available for me to learn from this.

Love & blessings to you all

Everyday Wisdom #73

“Of course there is no formula for success except, perhaps, an unconditional acceptance of life and what it brings.”

~Arthur Rubinstein

 

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And the results are in….

The tumour is:

Benign

Thank you to each and every one of you, who have sent love and blessings my way.  Who have sent healing prayers, and kept me in your thoughts.

I have been so humbled by the outpouring of love and light I have received.

And I know this has made all the difference.

I am blessed to have such wonderful support around me in this community.

Much love & blessings to you all

The difficulties you meet will resolve themselves as you advance. Proceed, and light will dawn, and shine with increasing clearness on your path.
Jim Rohn

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Everyday Wisdom #72

Forest Meditation

Stop for a moment, and imagine you are part of the forest

Begin the meditation by closing your eyes.

Visualise yourself at the edge of a forest.

As you stand there, ask for permission to enter and then take your first steps along the path in front of you.

Notice the aroma of the rich earth beneath your feet.  Take a long, slow, deep breath.  Filling your lungs with the vitality and life of the forest – the scents of pine and cedar.

Visualise the beauty around you.

As you breathe out, relax into your body, and feel the inner peace you experience as you nourish yourself with the fresh, clean air.

Visualise yourself looking upwards.  At the canopy of the trees towering overhead.  Shielding you, and offering you strength as you enter this temple of nature.

Observe the sounds around you.  The crunch of dry leaves beneath your feet.  The rustle of small animals.  The bird song.  The buzzing of insects.

Look around you, and take note of the growth surrounding you – the plants, vines, and trees.

Acknowledge that all of nature is one evolving web of life.  You are an extension of this forest.

Notice the strength that seeps into your veins as you marvel at the power in the forest.  As you begin to sense that this is where you belong.

As you continue to look about take time to absorb the spirit of the forest.

Hear the sounds of nature and let your body acknowledge the rhythm of movement that surrounds you.

Allow it to become a part of your heartbeat.  Can you feel that you are connecting to the spirit of the forest?

Give yourself permission to feel peace in this forest.  A place of life, tranquillity and life.

It is now time to retrace you footsteps back on the path out of the forest.

As you reach the clearing from where you set off, notice the bright sun on your skin.  The blue of the sky.  And the open space around you.

When you are ready, slowly open you eyes.

And remember – you can return back here whenever you want to.

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Everyday Wisdom #71

 

You create your world,

By the way you think, and by your intentions.

Your beliefs create your realities.  

You have the ability to create your life and your world as you desire.

The thoughts that you ‘feed’ will become your reality.

Everyday Wisdom #70

Affection and a calm mind are important to us. A calm mind is good for our physical health, but it also enables us to use our intelligence properly and to see things more realistically. Affection too is important because it counters anger, hatred and suspicion that can prevent our minds from functioning clearly.

Dalai Lama

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My realisation

I came to a realisation today….

….after a phone call that did not go as I was hoping.

On Friday I spent the day in hospital.  Something that I have done once a year for the past 3 years.

I have more than 20 breast tumours.  

Each year I spend the day in hospital having them measured, and biopsied.  

Today I had a call from the specialist, following up on a biopsy that was done of a new tumour.  She asked me to come back in for a more invasive core biopsy.

It was not the news that I had been hoping for.

And my initial reaction was to panic.  Something I do quite well.  

However I realised something….

I don’t want to go through this.  I mean REALLY don’t want to.  However, there is a positive.  

Each difficult experience that I go through helps me to grow.  It helps to provide me with a greater capacity for empathy and understanding, so that I may help other people.

And already I am looking beyond this.  To how I can help other women in a similar situation.

So for this, I am very thankful.

 

A loving heart is the beginning of all knowledge.
Thomas Carlyle

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So very true ♥

50 times = enlightenment

I’m very interested in the practice of mindful eating, and have written about it previously.

However this wonderful post “Zeke + Buddhist Monk + Almonds = Enlightenment!” brought it to the forefront of my mind once again.

In the above post, David quoted a passage from one of Thich Nhat Hanh’s books.  Part of this passage included the following advice:

To eat well, we should chew our food about fifty times before we swallow.  When we eat very slowly, and make the food in our mouth into a kind of liquid, we will absorb much more nutrition through our intestines.  If we eat well, and chew our food carefully, we get more nutrition than if we eat a lot but don’t digest it well….Eating is a deep practice. “

 

This really intrigued me.  

I can honestly say I have never chewed my food 50 times before swallowing.  And I was keen to try it out.  So tonight I did just that whilst eating my dinner.

And it was a lot more challenging than I was expecting!

I am used to eating my dinner on the go.  Most of my meals are eaten in front of the computer whilst working.

So tonight I sat down.  With no other distractions.  And practised chewing each mouthful 50 times before swallowing.

It was surprising how much my mind resisted this practice!  At first I struggled to overcome the strong urge to swallow my food, and quickly take the next mouthful.  To ease my hunger.  And because it tasted so yummy!

I kept persisting.  I even closed my eyes so I could fully concentrate.

I got to 30.  Then the next mouthful 32.  Then 40.  Then eventually I got to 50.

The whole practice was completely fascinating.

From my resistance to eating slowly and calmly.  To the effect on my mind and body (and taste buds!) when I did patiently stick with it.

The food tasted amazing!  As Thich Nhat Hanh promised it would.

And afterwards I felt satisfied, but without the indigestion I usually feel.

It was an immensely satisfying experience.  And very calming!

I urge you to try it, and let me know what you think!

 

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