Rarely do I write a post directly on this subject, meditation, but today I begin teaching once more, having taught a number of times before in different places. There has been a good response to the only ad I put out, a free one in the community column of my local weekly paper The Bayside Bulletin, which covers a large area of the SE of Brisbane.
I am grateful for that service as it allows me to gauge the local need for meditation without a significant, to me, cash outlay. Part of the arrangement is that I don’t charge for the meditation instruction, which suits me fine as I prefer to keep money out of the process as much as possible and my costs are reduced to a few phone calls and a bit of ink and paper.
The key to the meditation I teach is to ‘recognise the need to slow down and relax the mind from the stress of negative thinking and emotion.’ It is the only prerequisite to learning this form of meditation really. Without it there is no ‘real’ need and it would be too simple and so boring to the mind that’s looking for another form of excitement or entertainment.
This is the very practical work of stilling the mind so living can be enjoyed in its simplest form, the senses. It is practical because it works. It works by the practise of some simple exercises that enable the transit from mental emotion living, or being, to being in sense – as the sensation inside where it is always a pleasure, and the senses that reveal the wonder of the earth. Anybody who is willing can do this.
Sensation is best described as grains of sand in space, inner space, seperate and immersed. It’s the actual feeling and not the image the mind would make. There is space between each grain and space in and behind. Look into it until there is nothing else but that.
Or it could be dots of light in the darkness inside, appearing and disappearing in inner space. A pressure, a pulsing, whatever it is for you is what you focus on – the actuality. The mental image is not the actuality.
Space, inside and ‘out’ – everything occurs in space, see it, sense it, allow it to be. Everything else passes.
There is a distinction between the earth and the world. Earth is magnificent, where we can see the wonder of the stars at night and the beauty and magnificence of the flowers and insects of the garden by day, the clouds as they pass on by and the rain or sun on our skin, all forms of sense. Sense is simple, there’s no problem in it, it’s a pleasure that everyone experiences at some time, especially when young. The simple pleasure of sense only becomes eclipsed in time by the emotion generated by experience when the truth of the matter is not known or understood. This emotion, and the thinking it generates, which begets more emotion, accumulates until it is enough of a problem to do something about it.
Mind is where all problems originate, mind as rampant or unbidden thinking and emotion. Mind as seemingly endless associative thinking that stirs emotion which generates more thinking in an ever worsening spiral of negativity until it just can’t be tolerated any more. That’s when a solution ‘must’ be found and the realisation may occur; my mind is the problem, it’s not ‘out there’ at all – and nobody else can fix it but the one realising it.
When this meditation is practised properly for long enough the transit from the occupation with complicated mind to the simplicity of sense is effected and living, what was once a pain, becomes a pleasure, or a love – and what other purpose is there to it ‘all’ …
That’s the beauty of it, once the solution is known nobody can take it away. It also eventually dawns; ‘I’ am responsible for my life – I do it or I don’t do it.
The way of stillness or ‘no-thing’ is difficult at times, and invariably rewarding.
The long dry spring come summer ended with a massive thunderstorm, fittingly – the dry spell to, well, dry out, and the rain to impel the life-forms to rise up anew.
I was outside in the field when I saw the storm coming, darkening the sky until I was in between the afternoon light on my right and night-time dark on my left where all the street and car lights had come on of necessity – a thin line.
The sky was black grey and it started to rain as I got home, pouring down soon enough. The lightning would flash and the thunder did follow, the time it took between them indicating the distance to the centre. In a short time the lightning flash was followed immediately by a thundering clap of the air – attention.
Right outside my window, the surrounding storm electrifying; it’s coming an exclamation, it’s passing a sign of the new to come. And as it passed I stood out in the rain, the pleasure of the clean cold water washing away the dusty days. In the few days since there has been cloud and rain and damp so some bees, and others, have come into sense once more, heralds of the new year – angels of a kind.
Magical brew … and just as I finished the necessary work in the garden.
The weather here in my part of Oz has been dry a long time now, months without rain, and it is apparent in that there are few creatures of any kind about, especially insects. Still there are some, here and there, hanging on in the face of great adversity – to them, being also under assault from incessant human activity.
But there’s enough wild water to keep things going in the surrounding scrub bush and managed suburban gardens do help the little creatures survive another day, especially if there is accessible clean water – that they won’t fall into and drown.
Late afternoon recently a rare bee flew into the house, to the cool darkness of the basement. It was trapped against a window for a while, trying to get out, so I caught it but it was too late to release it.
I kept it in a huge jar and slid a sugar laced flower in with it and that way kept it healthy until daylight when it could fly away without the danger of the night.
She didn’t seem to mind at all, this Domino Cuckoo bee – was probably attracted to my bee hotels for somewhere to lay her young.
Three different individuals doing what weevils do, wandering around in the fulfillment of their nature, what else. Not a problem in sight.
The nightmare is Man’s alone to make and break, zombie dogs at the window, nowhere to hide. Vampires running the show.
Analogies, actualities or realities … What a strange world we have made, that has so little to do with our simple nature.
Phew! It was just a dream after all …
We’ve had some rain recently and no shortage of sunshine, but today was a remarkable day for the creatures of the garden. The first visitor was a bronze lizard, about 4” long, which came into view as I was sitting at the computer, zipping along the floor. The second was a Snowy Egret, a tall slim elegant bird that landed in the garden looking for a meal, keeping an eye on me as it strutted around.
The third was a Blue Banded Bee that, while I was watering some plants, came and hovered in the spray from the hose – made me smile that. And the fourth was a Water Dragon that appeared from beneath a pile of broken branches from a tree and sat there while I sprayed it, elevating its rear body while dropping its head to catch the water that flowed down towards its mouth.
They all have two things in common. They appeared in (my perception) the house or garden and I didn’t get a picture of any of them – this time. I let the little lizard wander about the house, no point in trying to catch it – probably do it damage. When the Dragon had enough it climbed into the pile below the trees and disappeared, for now.
The bee, along with all its flying kind, buzzes around the garden supping from the many flowers and when I went to look where the Egret was investigating I found what I had thought might be the case. Death, what else …
The leopard beetle I saw tucking into the flowers heart yesterday was gone. I found a piece of its carapace on one of the sunflowers broad leaves. No doubt the Egret will be back, along with the rest.
It’s a pleasure watching the garden grow, the life that comes and goes.
See the Sun rise through the trees, feel the wind blow all a-flutter, flowers reaching for the light, the smell of rain soaked earth, sounds of various birds a-stutter. It’s nice walking in the garden early morning in the still cool shade of the paperbark trees greeting, in a certain way, the emergents of my little patch.
It’s a matter of acknowledgment, if I don’t give my little earth attention it will surely die. As it appears to be on the grand scale by the world’s exclusive focus on making money, the acquisition of power and influence over people and things that means nothing ever really changes for the good, and means little to nothing in itself.
The simple good that any man or woman can realize in their ordinary life, given time and reminded to – by words such as these perhaps. And that’s the simple truth, you can observe the utter insanity of ‘Our Way of Life’ – on the TV or inside, because ‘we’ made it, that’s just knowing your self – and still nurture the space of inner peace by deliberately giving the rest of your available attention to the reciprocal as the simple earth.
Knowing what you are doing.
The garden and its colours and forms, the smell of flowering plants calling through the air, feel the elements of heat, cool and wind. And when that’s not nearby focusing on the simple sensation inside will make it easier to do the next time.
A reminder in a world of distraction, if you need it – Meditate.
When I get up, usually sometime in the morning, I have in mind to take a look around the garden. Not only because gardens require some tending, more that the sense of nature is soothing to the psyche and when put first, the sense, it has the effect of diminishing the mentality, the thinking and emotionality engendered by modern living.
It’s a good way to start the day. It helps resolve any lingering dream. And when I have been quiet enough for long enough I can come to things, inside, that nag at me to do something about it – whatever it is. It is tempting to gloss over what hasn’t been resolved, comfortable even, but that is not the way to peace of mind. It’s got to be about peace of mind first …
On the way around I check the water buckets, where I let it sit to evaporate off the chlorine. I check for trapped or drowning creatures that don’t need to be so, and amongst the others there was a honey bee on its last legs. I lifted it out by putting my finger under it and raising it out of the water, as I do with them all, and I could see by some small movement it was still alive.
It had been raining for days, and cold, so I left it on my finger to warm up and dry out. It didn’t seem to be in any hurry so I got the camera and performed a few contortions to get a few shots. Eventually it woke enough and I put it down in a sheltered spot to gather its strength, fed it a little sugar water and next morning it was gone – back home or back to the hive, who knows. But not yet time to die.
Did it succumb overnight to a creeping cold malaise or return to its vital instinctive self, given enough life left in it to do so. You just never know, and that state of not knowing is one of the beauties of truth. Because truth, or love – that beautiful state of bee-ing, is beyond the knowing mind.
Nature can be reflective … of the low and the high.
The garden is ripe with flowers for the visitors to feed on and some are taking up residence, as if it might be a place to fulfill their instinctive little lives, to do all the seemingly insignificant things they do, and reproduce.
That seems to be the fundament of existence, reproduction. Every thing and body does it one way or another, from the repetition of a single thought form, through the species, to the rotation of the planet around the sun, the sun around the galaxy. Everything that grows does so on a preceding cycle of events, from the small to the large.
The thing is we have to be more intelligent than merely instinctive, significant and intelligent as that is. We need to be able to step, by an act of cognition, out of the machine of repeating parts. Cause, if you look around you, we can’t go on reproducing – thought, emotion and things or bodies – in a finite world. Not if we want to enjoy peace of mind.
Peace of mind, from mind, such a simple though elusive state of being. It’s easy enough to make a start, when enough inner conflict has been experienced. It’s another thing to realise it and keep it real.
That’s all that really matters to me, and it’s done in all the ordinary ways of living a life – each a unique expression, then meditation – to start with.
Walking in the nearby woods recently I saw a fly that wasn’t inclined to take off. I don’t know why, maybe age or injury, but anything is possible within the gamut of experience.
I took some time to get a few shots while the fly moved this way and that, sometimes sitting still long enough for me to take my time, sometimes not.
You never know when your number is up until it’s already called, though you can sense it coming, the signs are unmistakeable.
I’ll add the rest of this series so they are on site for future posting.
As I daily pass along the garden’s various coloured inhabitants I often notice the visitors. They can stand out and are sometimes camouflaged. It’s only when I get down to them do I really see what it is – another wonder of the earth.
It was late afternoon and this was the only one of its kind about so I took a chance and picked the leaf it was on and brought it to some more interesting background/s, to show it off – as it should be in these times of ignorance, of our beautiful nature.
The ‘trick’ to seeing the beauty of our nature is to spend time in and about it. That way its true nature grows inside while the other stuff dies off, fades away. It’s a matter of value, whether simple beauty or mental emotional activity is attended – because one is surely not the other, and two things can’t occupy the same space.
A jewel lingering in the minds eye, or repetitive mundane intellectual activity. It’s a choice, when it is.
… has to be the opposite of a white knight, no? A white knight is the one who kills the dragon, saves the damsel, fights for the justice of the people, and battles the evil from beneath the dark mountain. So a dark knight is a powerful force opposite to that – so it would seem.
Where is this dark knight? Is it an ephemeral entity that can only be seen by the shadow it throws across the land? Or can a finger be put on it, to start to stay its power? Is there a way to recognise it, understand it and diminish it?
Everything we think or do must have its origin somewhere, and if I look ‘outside’ I always come to the same wall – ‘I’ appear before any sign of a knight of either hue. ‘I’ am the seer before the seen. What moves first moves inside and casts the first shadow.
‘I’ am not what moves while I see it. I am not the dark one, though I must be it to pass through it while seeing to separate. And I am not the one of light, not at least until I have passed through the dark. And who knows when this journey ends – the only real journey.
Who am I then, at the beginning and end of time, upon which the dark and the light play?
With the spiders having lasted the winter so well they are now set up in the garden to reap an early explosion of tiny life – the small forms upon which the bigger are built.
That’s the way it is here, everything feeds off something else, so everybody dies – imagine if they didn’t … And life goes on, in another form, endlessly – our infinitude.
At present the warmed morning air is filled with miniscule flying creatures and the webs are everywhere, apparently strategically set up to make the most of it.
I am often tempted to interfere and rescue a bee, though rarely see one caught, or destroy a web if it gets too big – but I don’t. Everything needs its time.
Time to move on, always moving on … in the endless work of learning to fly.
No matter how dark the clouds or hard it rains the sun always comes out, in time …
This little bee made it to the next act in the play of its life, to fly and eat and do what bees do untroubled in my garden.
… the bugs, that is. The sun is shining, the climate is mild and getting warmer, the garden is in flower and still all I find is spiders. Nothing wrong with spiders, but they are not bees.
So I dug one up, out of the bowels of the computer. One I haven’t posted before, from a time I had a good session of shooting – because I was present to do so and nature presented, the two are not exclusive.
It’s the same bee as this one – http://beingmark.com/2013/06/15/bee-odyssey/ – that had moved about in the heat of the sun and stranded where it landed if the sun went in or shadow overtook it. That’s what happens when cold, they stop.
Much like us if we were subject to the same relative conditions, except the bees never complain or blame, never feel hopeless nor despair. It’s their nature, instinctively bearing all that comes their way, not a thought for why but just to get on with what they do.
It’s their intelligence, their being a bee, in its perfect place …
Over the year the visitors to the garden vary according to the season, the weather, heat, rain, food, shelter, breeding cycle and probably other conditions we can’t know or measure – we don’t know it all, that’s for sure.
So I spend time in the garden tending the plants – which is its own practical value for peace of mind – and often I will come across a little wonder of nature, our nature. These are just a few.
And it only happens because I am present to see – and can still get back up off the ground where I usually shoot them, everything else is imagination.