Monday, 24 September 2012

A bow to truth

We have just enjoyed a Sangha weekend retreat in a luxurious barn conversion tucked away on the North York Moors. We had a very simple weekend, cooking together and sharing meals, meditating together and sharing mindfulness, walking together and enjoying the gorgeous scenery and a beautiful clear sky, which revealed an outstanding Milky Way! We also discussed Buddhism and ecology, using Thay's Intimate conversations with Mother Earth as a basis for examining how we behave as ecologists, what more we can do and what we can do as a Sangha. I found it very heartening to realise, especially as a Sangha, there is a lot we do, whether it is sharing harvest from our gardens, recycling, sharing information about co-operatives and other ventures, or just sharing teabags! We are very fortunate.
Here are my reflections from the weekend.

Arms wide open.
Receiving all,
good, bad and indifferent.
Accepting all,
no judgement, criticism or condemnation.
Rejecting none,
generous, compassionate and loving.
Smiling to life,
welcoming, grateful and free from fear.

May I be blessed to be so open-hearted.
May I look with the eyes of compassion.
May I hear with the ears of equanimity.
May I receive all with loving-kindness.
May all be happy, peaceful and safe.

© 22 September 2012

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Welcome Autumn

Welcome autumn!
Dripping wetness from the trees,
leaves just about holding onto greenness
with the expectation of a
glorious blaze of colour yet to come.

Surprising sunny days,
reminiscent of summer,
but a chill in the air

log fires,
thick jumpers,
and comfort food
hearty soups and sticky toffee pudding.

Darkening evenings and sparkling clear nights
and the faint promise of
cosy winter evenings tucked up in a quilt,
Bonfire night
and Christmas.
Wondering if it will snow.

© 20 September 2012

Thursday, 13 September 2012

A Homage to Thay

Breathing in, I am aware of a busy mind.
Breathing out, I let the breath blow through the thoughts.

Breathing in, I recognise a mind full of thoughts.
Breathing out, I let recognition give space to the thoughts.

Breathing in, I accept a busy mind.
Breathing out, I let acceptance reveal the thoughts for what they are.

Breathing in, I smile to the jumble of thoughts.
Breathing out, I let the smile dance through the thoughts.

Breathing in, I watch the mind settle, like a glass of juice.
Breathing out, I accept the settling mind.

Breathing in, I am aware of the present moment.
Breathing out, I dwell happily in the present moment.

© 13 September 2012

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Rescued by Thich Nhat Hanh

A roller-coaster ride of a day.

I have received feedback that
violently hurled me from
where I thought I was
into a maelstrom of
uncertainty, doubt and despair.
Trying to recover my footing
I vacillate between
'I can't do this'
'it's not as bad as it seems' and
'everything will be ok'.
Moment by moment I hop
from one thought to the next
like a fidgety flea that cannot settle.
What can I do to recover peace?

and accept the uncertainty.
Easy to say,
harder to practice.
I struggle on through,
step by step,
trying to come to terms
with this new situation.
I talk with a friend
who is reassuring and calm.
I acknowledge hiding my head in sand
will not solve the problem.

The mindfulness app on my phone sounds,
providing a breathing space.
I smile gratefully at the inanimate object
for reminding me there is more than just thoughts.
And then I read,
'If we do not have peace and joy right now,
when will we have peace and joy -
tomorrow, or after tomorrow?
What is preventing us from being happy
right now?'
And I breathe deeply
and smile at my foolishness,
in believing the thoughts.

© 5 September 2012

Sunday, 2 September 2012

My own personal Buddha

Walking back to the car
head full of meandering thoughts,
flitting butterfly-like from
one notion to the next.
Head buried in a hood to
keep out the blustery wind.
And then I see you,
my own personal Buddha,
standing on the street-corner
smiling beatifically
and offering a bearlike hug of greeting.
We exchange pleasantries and move on,
but this meeting is more than
a brief conversation.
Your smile reminds me to notice
the sun is shining,
there is more than wind
and it has stopped raining.
I was there and you were there
my own personal Buddha,
to remind me to see the beauty
present in that sunny, blustery autumnal evening.

© 2 September 2012