The Receptivity of Being Empty

empty room

I want to make myself an empty room:

Quiet whitewashed walls with slant sunshine

And a fresh breeze through open windows.

Some days are extremely fluid, and all possible courses of action are equally attractive. Rather than do something arbitrary, it is far better to empty oneself completely. Then the more subtle currents of life may be felt. One should avoid the mistake of random action.

Arbitrary action will most likely be out of accord with the times. It is artificial, a structure that we impose from our own thought. Such movements are invariably stilted and wooden; they do not have the fresh perfection of the natural.

We do not have enough peace. Yet peace will never be attained by perpetual action. Stirred water never has the chance to settle clear. A tree buffeted by winds can never grow straight. Give up all unnecessary activity. Give up all arbitrary actions. Make yourself receptive. The peace that you seek shall be quickly at hand.

-Deng Ming-Dao

empty

*photos in order of appearance:

girl with light, http://vestidoslindosatelier.tumblr.com/post/42690429819

window with curtain, by Alan: https://www.flickr.com/photos/weardaleone/2728024132/

Looking Within

within

Heaven and hell:

Our subconscious.

Meditation opens seldom glimpsed areas of our subconscious. When that happens, extraordinary thoughts and awareness come to us with seeming spontaneity. We realize truths that were opaque to us before; we perceive events that were previously too distant. But no one ever became superhuman because of meditation. They only opened their own latent potential. Everything is locked inside of us and need only be opened That is why it is said that heaven is within us.

In the same way, the pains and the struggles of the past sometimes haunt us with astounding vehemence. Problems and conflicts are difficult to exorcise. Although we may practice spirituality and move on to new endeavors and relationships, past hurts still come back in our memories and dreams. These are not demons from another world, nor are they karmic manifestations of previous lives; they are scars in our subconscious. No matter how diligently we try to make progress, there still are pains that curse us day after day. This is why it is said that hell is within us.

We ourselves are the battleground for good and evil. There is no need to look beyond our world. Everything to be understood is within us. All that must be transcended–the pains and scars of the past–is within us. All the power of transcendence is also within us. Tap into it and you tap into the divine itself.

-Deng Ming-Dao

*artist Yogeshh Goel,

 https://www.flickr.com/photos/yogeshh_goel/

Heart Fires

heart fires

All the paths
I have wandered
Always lead home
Where heart fires
Warmly welcome.

My soul has been whispering to me today to look and listen more deeply to the love within myself. I have felt alone a lot in my life, but the more I come back to my essence the more fulfilled, connected and joyful I really am. In my meditation this morning, I came across the words of Zen master, Thich Nhat Hanh, “When you are carried away with your worries, fears, cravings, anger and desire, you run away from yourself and lose yourself. Live your daily life in a way that you never lose yourself. Life is only available in the present moment.” I paused after those words and knew clearly that this year that would be my theme. No more waiting for some magical moment to appear…life isn’t gonna be like I want it to be, but I already have enough to be happy now.

So, I wrote a list in my journal of all the things that I was happy about right in that moment: a red gerianium looking out the kitchen window, Jill, my tabby, sitting beside it like a domestic goddess, watching fluffy, white snowflakes flying by horizontally on the wind, the pines quietly standing in the their wisdom across the way, my children sleeping in their rooms, a white French country table standing in the turquoise kitchen, the pen scribbling out my heart’s contentment onto the page, the gift of sight, the knowledge I’ve been blessed with to heal myself and others, Thai’s teachings of mindfulness, mysticism, and Tao, the Yaqui heritage of my ancestors, shamanic whispers of ‘old soul’ wisdom always with me, my lungs filled with air, and the present moment. Yes, I already have enough to be happy now.

I will rise to tantalizing heights this 2015 and fly on the wings of my highest potential into the space of my own unique spirit. What about you? What makes you happy in this moment?

IMG_1843

*photo ‘Loneliness of the soul’ by Kondakova Tata, http://thewinterhome.blogspot.it/2012/10/magia.html

Be Relentless

Drops

Water cleanses,

Gathers in the earth.

Tender. Invasive. Subtle.

Emerges a shining river.

When small, it is weak.

When great, it tumbles mountains.

Rendering great cliffs

Sand.

drops

Classic wisdom says there is nothing weaker than water, yet when united, it can become a titanic force. Like a tidal wave. Or a river that cuts through gorges. This is called yielding overcoming the hard.

Let’s look at it another way. Water does not overcome because it yields. It overcomes because it is relentless. It perseveres and does not give up. It is constant. Rock can block water. Rock can even hold water in a lake for thousands of years. Why can’t the yielding overcome the hard then? Because it cannot move. It cannot work its magic of being relentless.

Just as water must be able to express its true nature in a relentless way, so too must we simultaneously and relentlessly express our true natures if we are to be successful in life. Otherwise, we will find ourselves hemmed in by the hard walls of reality, and we will never be able to break through.

But how we we acquire such perseverance? We start small. As drops.

~Deng Ming-Dao~

*photo from: http://adropofpleasure.tumblr.com/post/19445857748/there-are-no-facts-only

Heaven’s Temple Stair

ImageChill morning, stone steps.

“The path to the temple is steep.

We may stumble at times,

But we must always get up again.

Spiritual cultivation is a daily activity. No matter how much we achieve one day, we must continue the next. Progress is often so subtle that we may feel the effort futile, and it is hard to get up each morning and try again with the same enthusiasm. Yet this is precisely what we must do.

If we have the benefit of guidance, talent, and the proper circumstances, then the bulk of our attention has to be paid to such simple day-to-day effort. No person ever leapt to heaven in one bound. Spirituality is achieved by steady climbing, like a difficult journey to a mountain temple. The number of steps is in the thousands; the way is steep. It takes a long time to get there, and we must content ourselves with the panoramas along the way and think that the view at the summit will be the best of all. If we fall, we must pick ourselves up and get back on the trail again.

Success in spiritual life is measured not by spectacular events but by daily devotion. This iron will, this deep sincerity maintains our ascent.”

~Deng Ming Dao~

*photo Found on 500px.com

Positioning in Awareness

Today my meditation was about positioning, after I share the words of Deng Ming-Dao I will add my own inner reflections.

Image

Heron stands in the blue estuary,

Solitary, white, unmoving for hours.

A fish! Quick avian darting;

The prey captured.

“People always ask how to follow Tao. It is easy and natural as the heron standing in the water. The bird moves when it must;it does not move when stillness is appropriate.

The secret of its serenity is a type of vigilance, a contemplative state. The heron is not in mere dumbness or sleep. It knows a lucid stillness. It stands unmoving in the flow of the water. It gazes unperturbed and is aware. When Tao brings it something that it needs, it seizes the opportunity without hesitation or deliberation. Then it goes back to its quiescence without disturbing itself or its surroundings. Unless it found the right position in the water’s flow and remained patient, it would not have succeeded.   

Actions in life can be reduced to two factors: positioning and timing. If we are not in the right place at the right time, we cannot possibly take advantage of what life has to offer us. Almost anything is appropriate if an action is in accord with the time and the place. But we must be vigilant and prepared. Even if the time and the place are right, we can still miss our chance if we do not notice the moment, if we act inadequately, or if we hamper ourselves with doubts and second thoughts. When life presents an opportunity, we must be ready to seize it without hesitation or inhibition. Position is useless without awareness. If we have both, we make no mistakes.”  ~Deng Ming-Dao~

A few things struck me about this meditation, first, understanding something about stillness in direct relation to our own personal flow. We have to cultivate stillness in such a way with our everyday lives in order to recognize when it is appropriate and when it is appropriate to take action. Many times this has to do with balance. Where are we when it comes to balance in our lives?

The next thing which impressed me was ‘being in the flow.’ It is important to identify what that means for ourselves.  No one can do that for us. We are responsible for growing that inner knowledge. What kind of flow do we allow in our lives? What kind of flow do we need or want in our lives? What kind of flow keeps us healthy and balanced? It is about fertilizing an inner knowing of how our own inner energy flows in relation to the rest of life. Recognizing what nurtures our soul and letting the rest go. What brings us joy? What brings us sadness? How open are we? How closed are we? What makes us angry? When do we feel fear? As we begin to recognize our own energy, we also begin to recognize and listen to our intuition. When that begins to happen, a natural wisdom begins to blossom so that not only are we “being in the flow” but we begin to learn how to position ourselves in the flow.

The last thing which caught my attention is that:  All this takes patience, first and foremost with ourselves. This is born out of nourishing a self-love, honoring our essence on a daily basis.

I wish you all joy in the journey.

 

Sieving through Life

Imagephoto found on Stuart Limbrick’s pinterest board: http://www.pinterest.com/stuiebaby/nostalgia/ 

A coarse sieve catches little.

A fine mesh catches more.

If you want the subtle, be refined,

But prepare to deal with the coarse.

The irony of spiritual living is that you become more sensitive and more subtle. Therefore, you become intolerant of the coarse. There is not much choice in this. If you want to catch the subtle things in life, then you must become refined yourself. But the coarser things will then accumulate all the more quickly. A coarse sieve in a rushing stream will hold back only debris and large rocks. A fine mesh will catch smaller things, but it will also retain the large. 

Some people attempt to cope with this by becoming multilayered. They set up a series of screens to their personalities, from the coarse to the subtle so that they can deal with all that life has to offer. This is quite laudable from an ordinary point of view, but from the point of view of Tao, it is a great deal of bother. 

What do we do? If we remain coarse, then only the coarse comes to us. If we become subtle, then we gain the refined but are plagued with the coarse as well. If we become multilayered, then we create a complexity that isolates us from Tao.

The solution lies in floating on the current of Tao, uniting with it. That way we no longer seek to hold or to reject. 

~Deng Ming-Dao~

Imagephoto found on: persephonesunset.tumblr.com