What Do You Think?

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I read time and time again, “The Body Heals Itself”.  What do you think about that?  Do you believe that the body is wise and eventually under the right circumstances rights itself and moves back to a state of healing?

Do you believe that we are born perfect and with time, wear and tear, and age, grow less perfect and more diseased and aged?

Do you believe that we are born with potential and grow and thrive?

Are we talking about the body anymore or are we talking about the whole of human existence?

Can we be healed but not cured?  Can we be unhealthy in body but stellar in mind and spirit?

If we have an affliction of the body, are mind and spirit automatically affected?

If any part of us, mind, body, or spirit is affected, can we be whole, healthy, perfect or perfectly good?

Do certain parts of your body hold certain emotions or messages for you?

Do we hold stress or fear or other strong emotions in our body or are our bodies a reflection of our psycho-spiritual state?

I’ll be honest.  I am not sure what I believe anymore.  My training was to believe that under the right circumstances, people moved toward healing.  With support in place, a container to maintain their needs, a safe space to explore, people healed that which was ill and that it was the lack of these things that created dis-ease in their lives.  But I’m not sure.

I’ve come off a time in my life, well, a “past life” so to speak, where I saw the worst in people.  I saw everyone hustling, playing the system, you know, working it.  I saw people always taking the path of least resistance and sometimes actually running away from opportunities for growth or nurturance.  It shattered all my beliefs, all that I had come to hold true and dear.  If you’ve read other posts, you know I’m on a search and creating a new life.  Part of that new life is looking at what I believe and throwing out what doesn’t work anymore and reconnecting with truths that still hit me in my core.

So I’m asking you, what do you believe?  Are we innately wise beings that find our way to healing?  Are we created in the image of something divine and whole and no matter what we are in this world, we are whole and perfect in another world?  Do you believe that we’re dealt a hand of cards and we are nothing more than muscle, tissue, synapses?

Until the next blog post,

May you be healthy and thriving.

May you be filled with light and joy.

May you reconnect with the little things that bring you great happiness.

May you have peace of mind and be on solid ground.

May you love and be compassionate while being loved and shown great forgiveness.

May you be at ease and at peace.  

 

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Powerful Prayer

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One of my favorite prayers is actually not a prayer, well, not what most of you would think was a prayer.  It’s what is called a gathas, which I learned years ago when I became a student of Thich Nhat Hanh, a wise Vietnamese Monk who has made a huge difference in my life.

The words are simple and easy to remember, as easy to remember as “Now I lay me down to sleep. . . ” that we all remember learning as children.

I have arrived

I am home

In the here and

in the now

I am solid

I am free

In the ultimate I dwell

There is a translation of the gatha in the book “I have arrived, I am home:  Celebrating Twenty Years of Plum Village Life” by Thich Nhat Hanh.  There is also some simple sheet music and if I am not mistaken, there are a number of recordings of the gatha being sung on YouTube.

But, I have no singing voice despite being in choir as a child for 5 years so I use the gatha as a chant, with or without a mala.  Gathas, like mantras, can be powerful in helping a person deal with anxiety or panic.  Like affirmations, reciting a gatha (or a mantra) helps to focus your mind, fill your mind with positive thoughts, and help snuff out negative, self-limiting, harmful, or unhealthy thoughts.  They are also helpful when dealing with pain or disease like cancer (or coping with treatment).

This prayer reminds me of so many things.  First and foremost, I’m whole and right just as I am.  Every present moment is perfect and for a reason.  I haven’t always believed that but I think I do again.  If I don’t believe it, it is a belief I want to have.  If not, what’s the purpose?  I tried to be an existentialist and all I found is a lot of angst.  Instead, I choose to see the world from this point of view and believe there is meaning and purpose in the way things are.

When I was first introduced to this prayer, I cried and cried as I recited it because I felt so far from home.  I had moved away from my home state and felt like a stranger in a strange land.  I longed for the sun and seashore and felt so land-locked in the horridly flat and scorched plains I found myself living in.

But then I realized that it wasn’t about my home, my birthplace, and the millions of street corners and houses or sea shells I had left behind.  It wasn’t even about the people who I had loved when I lived there and the souls who had left me before I left.  It was about me and that I could be at home with myself, in myself, and that I could find solid footing anywhere my seat was.

And over time and because of circumstances, my chronic pain and other things I’ve written about in other posts, I got away from the practice of either chanting this gathas or taking time throughout the year to write about what this gatha means to me.  And that’s the great thing about gathas. . . each time you sit with them, well, over time, they come to mean different things.  They seem to unleash their wisdom in the moment, where you are in your life.  They are kind of like tarot cards in that they give you something to think about, something to reflect on and in return, they act as a mirror for what your interior experience is at any given time.

So I invite you, to sit with paper and pen, on your favorite chair or meditation cushion, in your car before you walk in from your day at work or when you take your lunch down to the river. . . and allow these words to fall over you like a warm mist.  Let them sink into your pores like a thick rich moisturizer and let your body and soul drink in the nourishment.  Allow the words to take their time and do their job.  There is no right or wrong way for you to relate to the words and perhaps they mean little to you, though, if you are reading this blog, even by chance, I know that the words will hold a special magic or a message for your soul.

Please share your thoughts, feelings, or comments about this gathas or share other prayers or sayings that touch you and give you pause to reflect.

Until the next time,

May your pen and paper be the vehicles for great freedom.  May your soul feel nurtured and cared for.  

May you have time in your busy-ness to reflect and ponder.  

May you remember to raise your eyes from your computer or phone screen and see what’s in front of you with soft eyes.   

May you be at ease and free from suffering.  

May you be surrounded in light and warmth or any other conditions that soothe your spirit.

May you be at peace or any other state that is congruent to your healing.

 

Self-Aggression

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I wonder if there is a fundamental self-aggression in humans or is it fostered over time? January is a particularly distasteful month for all of our self-annihilation, believing we aren’t healthy enough, not thin enough, too stressed, etc. But what if we have just been fed a line to make us want, to make us search? What if we have been trained to not be satisfied with what is going on here and now? People can’t sell us books, potions, or other snake oil charms if we are satisfied.

I’m reading a book on meditation, The Wisdom of No Escape by Pema Chodron and have all kinds of things going through my head tonight. It’s part of what happens when you live with chronic pain and meds make you so tired that your days and nights get swapped. It’s quiet now so it’s hardly a bad thing. I can actually hear the questions I ask myself.

As children do we think we are less than or not good enough or do people tell us that? What makes us believe them? Why do we think anyone else could know how to be us any better?

Meditation seems to be about sitting and accepting what is, in any given moment. So I wonder if this is one of the reasons so many people run from the zafu? Where I spent all my time before I saw a lot of people running around trying to be busy and it seemed like those people were the ones who took things or used things to hide from what was going on, like they used their busy-ness to hide. I wonder if it was this primordial dissatisfaction with ourselves and our world that made them run and run? And is it really any better to sit and sit?

Practicing Meditation

When you begin to touch your heart or let your heart be touched, you begin to discover that it’s bottomless, that it doesn’t have any resolution.  You learn that this heart is huge, vast, and limitless.  You begin to discover how much warmth and gentleness is there, as well as how much space.

 

First Post. . .

So, this is my first night.  My first post.

I started watching Eat, Pray, Love tonight.  Only because I didn’t want to watch tv with my family.  I needed some time away.  As I was listening, I felt a kinship to where the character was in the beginning of the film.  Luckily, not a failed marriage and fling, but unfortunately, a failed life.  Well, decade or decade and a half.

I’ve been dealing with chronic pain for the past 15 or so years.  At first it was episodic but as I lost my way, it became chronic, daily and it became torturous for me and everyone around me, friend and foe.  But now, I have some time for myself, some time with myself, and some time to reclaim life.

A phrase during the movie hit me, “Ruin is the way to transformation” and like picking a tarot card out of a pile, I knew what I needed to do.  So here I am.  Please know, there will not be perfect grammar, perfect ideas, perfect posts.  They might not be pleasant, but I hope they are honest.  I’m not here as a professional, a student, an angel, or anything more than a person whose searching and experiencing a lot of pain.  I’m searching for healing, not curing, but healing.  And if you’re not sure what the difference is, maybe you’ll want to join me and explore it with me.

I am grateful to people who I have met along the way.  I have a few friends that have been family to me and I love them with all my heart.  I also love my close family and am grateful to them.  I am so filled with love for the various mentors and teachers I have had throughout my life and I am so bereft of their continued support.  I hope that in working on this blog, I can reconnect with the gifts their lives have brought me.

The photo above was from a drive during a freaky storm I experienced a little bit ago.  I was chasing the storm or being chased by the storm; I know longer remember.  But I felt it was a good depiction of what life has been like for quite awhile now.

I am searching for a better way.  An old way, a new way, but a way of being that brings me into the present moment and into peace.

Please join me while I wander through the ruins and seek out that invincible spark that is always seeking wholeness.