Tuesday, 28 June 2011

140 Characters: Notes to Self

Private Notes To Self
  • Four things we all know but don't put into practice: 1) Smell deeply!, 2) Drink copiously!, 3) Perform brilliantly! & 4) Live intentionally!
    17 Nov 08
  • 1) Give up Untidiness in All its Forms. 2) Focus Intention on your Purpose to be your Best. 3) Push to the limit using Creative Imagination.
    16 Mar 09
  • 4) Think & Do what you are Passionate about and at every Moment BE Passionate about what you Think & Do. In other words...Follow your Heart!
    19 Mar 09
  • Goals: 1) Wake Early. 2) Look inward for Value & Purpose of the present moment. 3) Vision for Now, Next & Pivot of Time when we must finish.
    21 Mar 09
  • To open yourself to Goodness, Love & Light is easy. What is difficult is not to be distracted by desires, drama & doubt but follow the path.
    19 Apr 09
    » (credit: GlowWings on Yahoo Answers)
  • Remember always that you are under the authority of something greater. Under the guidance, tested by and on a mission for something greater.
  • Greater still than nations, armies, teams, bosses or even friends that try to supplant this allegiance and harness it for their own purpose.
  • It is a powerful tool. Let it be harnessed. But remember always the silent one that is greater still. Hush now & Listen... It is your Self!
    23 Apr 09
  • Intense stillness. A state of increased processing power & reduced processing. Increase the processing power & reduce what needs processing!
    1 Jun 09
  • When tomorrow comes, today is past. Fill yourself with silence and you shall find life & flourish like a tree that stands in a sunlit field.
    4 Jun 09
    » (credit: Proverbs of Amenemope)
  • This moment is all we have. It deserves our everything: our courage, our love, our respect. There is no time for petty fears & distractions.
    4 Jun 09
    » (credit: itsallinasong on Multiply)
  • What is the most nourishing thing for the soul? A single date shared between two lovers, with any of the three definitions of the word date.
    5 Jun 09
  • Stop thinking! What does it really mean? It means walk on water...don't swim and you can't drown, don't even get your feet wet! Just Do It!!
    6 Jun 09
  • The key is love. The goal is omnipresent. The ladder is imagination. To effect a change requires a commitment. List what you can start with.
    23 Jun 09
  • Common Sense is what remains when all the knowledge from books of learning is forgotten. Wisdom is what remains when even that is forgotten.
    2 Aug 09
  • Life's pleasures & life's joys are but a canvas pure fresh & peaceful for life's great deeds like a sleep that washes clean & reinvigorates.
    7 Aug 09
  • How should one travel? How should one be? Just sense energy. You can't? Me neither. Just try. Pretend you can. And who knows maybe you will.
    11 Aug 09
  • He is wise who looks after himself. She is loved who loves everything. Blessed are they who make all tasks one task & leave the rest to God.
    24 Aug 09
  • Express Mind in Ideals, Ideals in Purpose, Purpose in Thought, Thought in Sincerity, Sincerity in Action, Action in Fun & Fun in Everything.
    27 Sep 09
  • What is a diary? A dated index of things & thoughts that, when stuck, I can review the referenced memory & in remembering be refreshed anew.
    9 Oct 09
  • Security in oneself is the foundation of inner power, recognizing accepting and knowing Self through experience. Insecurity breeds distrust.
    15 Oct 09
  • If you live in a prison with the lock on the inside to keep criminals out, it's still a prison. Be brave! Find the key & Set your self free.
    30 Nov 09
  • Do what is fun! Not what you're addicted to. Know the difference: desire acting with pure intent without wanting versus habits perpetuating.
    22 Apr 10
  • Sometimes a gap opens, a primeval yearning at the pit of the stomach that seeks fulfillment. The gap must be filled with the will. Consigue!
    22 Apr 10
  • What to do at moments when you are disheartened or ego-bruised? Dance skilfully! Loosen wilfully the desire for control. Revise your Vision!
    22 Apr 10
  • Be a Servant of Love, a Master of Destiny, an Idolator of Good & an Idol to the World. But if any ask who is this One? Vanish! It is No-one.
    22 Apr 10
  • 4 truths: Love, Art, Philosophy & Science. Accessed by: introversion/extroversion, intuition/sensing, thinking/feeling & perceiving/judging.
    23 Apr 10
  • What raises Man above animal? What is his purpose? Aristotle said the Good. What is Good? It is realization of the infinite from the finite.
    23 Apr 10
  • The moment of attention is a prayer of the spirit communing with the divine, but it's later in distraction that the divine manifests itself.
    18 May 10
  • That which is limited in time or bounded in space cannot exist in isolation. Finitude must be understood within the context of the infinite.
    5 Jun 10
  • No-one can take anything away from you. An antidote to the clinging mind. Do not lose yourself in the object, it's the subject that matters.
    6 Aug
  • In between repression & acting out, there is something wise, profound & timeless. Transmutation of the emotions brings a great sense of joy.
    1 Sep
    » (credit: Pema Chödrön)
  • Each out-breath is accompanied by a movement of energy. Can you make it sink or rise? Direct intent on the out-breath! Feel it deep arising.
    7 Jan
  • When there is no immediate external purpose, we may wonder what's the point? That's the moment for internal purpose, the moment of creation.
    19 Jan
  • We take pride in our sense of struggle that justifies our right to succeed. But success comes when we stop struggling, have fun and just do.
    19 Jan

Sunday, 26 June 2011

The Waking (Marceline Desbordes-Valmore)

This is a reading of a new better translation of "Le Réveil" by Marceline Desbordes-Valmore (1786-1859). My old translation of this poem among others by her can be found in my previous post. There is precious little by her in translation either published or online for reasons explained there.

The music is Rachmaninov playing the end of Chopin's Nocturne Op. 9 No. 2 in E Flat Major.

The Waking

Upon this bed of reeds, could I go back to sleep?
I sense the fragrant air surrounding your body;
Your mouth, it is a flower whose perfume devours deep;
Come closer, oh my treasure!, engulf only me.
Awake to my melody!

But this breath of love, this kiss which I desire so,
On your lips I still dare not relish. I wait by.
With your heart’s consent, I would rise and heaven know;
Yet your sleep goes on, and this waiting makes me die:
I dare not relish what is nigh.

Under banana trees, we’d find a shady place.
The birds will sing at the sight of our lovers’ play.
The sun is jealous; in a cloud it hides its face,
It is in your eyes only that I seek the day:
Come light my love! I will stay.

No, no you sleep no more, you share my violet flame;
Your kisses are the nectar whose pollen makes bloom.
Your heart sighs; do you know my spirit feels the same?
Here take it from my mouth; it would dispel your gloom.
Hide me under your perfume!

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Jung - The Way of What is to Come

Jung - The Way of What is to Come

For those of my friends interested in The Red Book by Jung, but unable to find a copy (it seems few libraries have it and it's exorbitantly expensive)... I took some photos myself from the library and made the above video, where you can see Jung's illustrations, together with an extract from the beginning of the book.

A 180MB file of the full text without illustrations may be found by following the links from here...

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Joyful Practice (Pema Chödrön)

This is a continuation of the teachings of Pema Chödrön, accompanied by the music of Chopin. The focus is on the third boundless quality: finding joy. The music is Chopin's Ballade No. 2.

"Let the flower of compassion blossom in the rich soil of maitri, and water it with the good water of equanimity in the cool refreshing shade of joy." (Longchenpa)

As we practice, we gradually feel more joy, a fundamental openness which we begin to trust and a happiness which is completely devoid of clinging or craving. This is joy without a hangover!

How do we cultivate the conditions for this joy to expand? We train in staying present. In meditation, we train in mindfulness and maitri, steadfast with our bodies, emotions and thoughts. We stay with our little plot of earth, and instead of looking for a more comfortable place to be, we turn the soil with patience, trusting that it can be cultivated, and confident that we can deal with any rocks we might uncover. The joy comes from not giving up, and experiencing our great warrior spirit.

Joyful training has nothing to do with goals and achievements. We can begin by rejoicing in our smallest blessings. By taking care of ordinary things – our pots and pans, our clothing, our teeth – we rejoice in them. This combination of mindfulness and appreciation connects us fully with our reality and brings us joy. When we extend this to others, our experience of joy expands. Watching Trungpa Rinpoche set the table for breakfast one morning was like watching someone arrange flowers or create a stage-set. He took such care and delight in placing every detail. Since then, even though I usually only have a few minutes, I appreciate the ritual of setting the table as an opportunity to be present and rejoice. Everything we see, hear, taste and smell has the power to strengthen and uplift us. As Longchenpa says, the quality of joy is like finding cool, refreshing shade.

We can go on to practice empathetic joy or mudita, rejoicing that a person who was ill is now feeling healthy and cheerful, or a child who was lonely now has a friend. We are encouraged to try to keep it simple. The point is to find our spontaneous and natural capacity to be glad for another being, whether it feels unshakeable or fleeting. This aspiration to rejoice can feel feeble compared to our resentment, envy or self-pity. We know how easy it is for these emotions to hook us and shut us down, so when we get caught it is helpful to remember the teachings, to contemplate the causes of our suffering, and to use insight to break through our barriers.

Rather than struggling with and nurturing our dissatisfaction, we can go to the non-verbal experience of the emotion. What’s happening in our heart, our shoulder, our gut? Abiding with the physical sensation is radically different from sticking to the story-line. It is a way of relaxing and softening, so the joyful ground of our basic goodness can shine through.

Once a cook at Gampo Abbey was feeling very unhappy. Like most of us, she kept feeding the gloom with her actions and her thoughts; hour by hour her mood was getting darker. She decided to try to ventilate her escalating emotions by baking chocolate chip cookies. Her plan backfired, however - she burned them all to a crisp. At that point, rather than dump the burned cookies in the garbage, she stuffed them into her pockets and backpack and went out for a walk. She trudged along the dirt road, her head hanging down and her mind burning with resentment. She was saying to herself, 'So where's all the beauty and magic I keep hearing about?'

"At that moment she looked up. There walking toward her was a little fox. Her mind stopped and she held her breath and watched. The fox sat down right in front of her, gazing up expectantly. She reached into her pockets and pulled out some cookies. The fox ate them and slowly trotted away. She told this story to all of us at the abbey, saying: 'I learned today that life is very precious. Even when we're determined to block the magic, it will get through and wake us up. That little fox taught me that no matter how shut down we get, we can always look outside our cocoon and connect with joy."

"To make things as easy as possible to understand, we can summarize the four boundless qualities in the single phrase "a kind heart". Just train yourself to have a kind heart always and in all situations." (Patrul Rinpoche)

We can do a version of tonglen practice described in the last post whenever we experience feelings of joy or pain. If we feel ourselves closing down on our pain, then we can breathe into our heart with the recognition that others feel this pain also. When we experience pleasure or tenderness, we can cherish and rejoice in it, and wish that others could experience it also. When life is pleasant, think of others. When life is a burden, think of others. If this is the only training we remember to do, it will benefit us tremendously and others also.

A woman wrote me about practicing with her daily misery in traffic, and through this practice, she had developed a kinship with those around her and even looked forward to her daily “traffic jam tonglen”. To make these connections is an act of bravery, which is what it will take to heal ourselves and our brothers and sisters on the planet.

Even the simplest things can be the basis for the practice – a beautiful morning, a good meal, a shower. Although there are many such ordinary moments in our days, we usually speed right past them. So the first step is to stop, notice and appreciate what is happening. Even this is revolutionary! Then share the joy.

Video: Chopin's Ballade No. 2 played by Tzi-Huei Lai.

aspara121: Beautiful music by Chopin. Excellent teaching by Pema Chodron. Thank you for posting these little treasures at BT, Okei. Each one is real pleasure to read and contemplate. :)

lilleke80: This resonated with me first cause I love Chopin, second cause I love Pema, third cause I had a small incident of synchronicity that will always stay with me- feeling joyous, starting my walk home, seeing a sign "felicity fox" and straight after seeing a fox beside me who followed me home like a faithful companion. It taught me one thing- if you are present then everything is a symphony, everything manifests, everything follows from the joy of yourself. Thanks okei!

kityhawk99: lilleke80 wrote: "if you are present then everything is a symphony, everything manifests, everything follows from the joy of yourself. "

(((♥ )))

Thanks Okie, I do enjoy Pema Chodron and Chopin, very much. 

okei: Thank you Carrie, Hille & Lin! Sorry I didn't get to a computer sooner...

Thanks especially for sharing that lovely story!!!

The blog originally appeared on Buddhist Travelers.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Chu Yuan - Great Summons

I just learnt about dragon festival day on the 5th day of the 5th Chinese lunar month, which is today! 

So in honour of the poet Chu Yuan whom this festival celebrates, here is his "Great Summons".

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Shelley - Invocation

RARELY, rarely, comest thou,
Spirit of Delight!
Wherefore hast thou left me now
Many a day and night?
Many a weary night and day
'Tis since thou art fled away.

How shall ever one like me
Win thee back again?
With the joyous and the free
Thou wilt scoff at pain.
Spirit false! thou hast forgot
All but those who need thee not.

As a lizard with the shade
Of a trembling leaf,
Thou with sorrow art dismay'd;
Even the sighs of grief
Reproach thee, that thou art not near,
And reproach thou wilt not hear.

Let me set my mournful ditty
To a merry measure;
Thou wilt never come for pity,
Thou wilt come for pleasure:
Pity then will cut away
Those cruel wings, and thou wilt stay.

I love all that thou lovest,
Spirit of Delight!
The fresh earth in new leaves drest
And the starry night;
Autumn evening, and the morn
When the golden mists are born.

I love snow, and all the forms
Of the radiant frost;
I love waves, and winds, and storms,
Everything almost
Which is Nature's, and may be
Untainted by man's misery.

I love tranquil solitude,
And such society
As is quiet, wise, and good;
Between thee and me
What diff'rence? but thou dost possess
The things I seek, not love them less.

I love Love—though he has wings,
And like light can flee,
But above all other things,
Spirit, I love thee—
Thou art love and life! O come!
Make once more my heart thy home!