Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Meditation in time of trouble

Years and years of meditation... 40 years or more; sometimes a meditation is peaceful and sometimes meditation is a continuous effort to come out of the thoughts revolving in my mind.  Then, just one morning, for no reason at all, along comes a totally different experience.  Unlooked for and surprising, it leaves a certainty that there is more to life than breakfast, lunch and tea.   Out of the blue my whole being is filled with bliss, every part; my body feels it, my mind delights and my heart is lifted to somewhere both new and totally familiar.  And this on a day when the news is bad, when there is grief and turmoil and stories of unrelenting aggression.  This on a week where each person I meet has a new ache or pain, has a sad story of loss, when telephone calls often elicit bad news and where it is clear that there is a realm of suffering which can't be denied.  And yet... one dip into this realm of untroubled joy tells a different story; it welcomes and invites discovery, it shows an unmoving benevolence which is there for everybody and where there is no fear or pain or loss or gain.  This is why people meditate, they meditate for their own self but I believe that each good-hearted meditator adds to the capital of goodness and creates a space in the otherwise seemingly impenetrable mist of everyday existence.  This gives hope that no terrorist, no bomber, no death can divide us from the realm of unconditional love which has the feel of encompassing the whole universe.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Sellotape and Meditate, Meditate and Sellotape!

Have you ever felt your equanimity slip!  Or are you so well balanced and detached that when you find the roll of sellotape has no findable end you realise that it is just a test of patience, rise to the challenge and just keep searching with your finger nails until you find something which gives.  Or, do you look at it with its round smugness, all curled round itself and giving nothing away and curse it. Today the demon of sellotape crossed my path.  It is now in the bin, never mind that it still has metres to go.  And you would think that a regular meditator would feel more patient wouldn't you?  Well I am patient about lots of things but sellotape isn't one of them YET!
The enemy

Friday, 5 May 2017

who arrives and who departs and when

Who lives in here?
life support
I have enjoyed watching that baby.  First, there was this teeny tiny red baby which needed every sort of life supporting care.  If she wasn't kept at a constant temperature, her body temperature might go down.  If she wasn't watched and monitored, she might just cease to breathe.  There wasn't much sign of a person in there although of course, we knew that there was starting to be someone there.  Now, there is a real being moving her arms and legs at will, smiling, connecting with her eyes and it is clear that although she needs care, she is there and she is participating.

 Coming into life
This Thursday morning I say goodbye to her and her mother in the kitchen and make my way from the quiet country village we live in to the great big city with honking horns and traffic lights and traffic jams.  I make my way across the great whizzing metropolis where by some extraordinary grace no-one bumps into another, where the stops and starts are governed by lights and everyone just obeys them; I make my way to see my 96 year old friend who is struggling to leave her now wasted and painful body behind and return to the place which is waiting for her.  I think that this is the same place that the baby came from, it is where we all came from.  Some people call it heaven, some call it their eternal home and some call it nirvana.  I don't know quite what to call it and nor do I know at the moment what it is like but I do sense that it exists and that it is probably more familiar than the home I call home at the moment.
Tonight I hear that the dear and old friend has been able to leave the tired and wasted frame she has called ME for 96 years.  I feel that she is now free and full of the delight which I can see crossing the ever changing face of the baby who has come to live with us.


Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Granny gets a chance to pass on something she values

The teeny tiny baby is big enough to come and stay with us.

The parents settle her in, they bath her (in the same bath of her great grandmother as well as the present day grandparents), they do baby massage, they feed her, they sing to her and they read her a story and THEN they give Granny the monitor and the now respectable sized baby goes to sleep in the room used by those other children and grandchildren who were here before her and which has been made ready for her first night 
The doting parents go out for a well-deserved treat to the local pub.  Granny has the monitor and here is her chance to see if a little meditation practiced in the room where she can hear her beloved grandchild will deliver the goods it promises.  A good sleep, a contented child and an appreciation of the stillness which lies behind everything and every being in the world.  30 minutes and counting...... no disturbance, no crying, no need to even move from the meditation seat; we enjoy deep peace together, she asleep, me meditating.  
Why is this so important to me and important to other meditating Grandmothers?  
It is important because we have seen the troubles which come and go in everybody's lives, we have seen success turn to failure just as failure may turn to success.  We have seen health and happiness disappear with age and illness and we want to give all those we love a way of dealing with all that life stuff in a peaceful way.  We hope that if the beloved grandchildren can find a peaceful way to meet whatever they have to meet, to meet gain and loss, to meet success and failure, to meet friend and foe with a degree of steadiness in themselves, it will make their passage along the way much easier.  And it will probably make them into very useful citizens as well.
So, give your Granny a chance to pass on whatever tried and tested methods for dealing with life in a way which she has found helpful.  She clearly only wants the best for you all.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Grandpa missing his grandchild and meditation

Algie, Grandpa
Butty, Grandson of Algie

We can't explain to him where his grandchild called Butty has gone, he just knows he isn't here.  He, Algie is crying quietly on the sofa!  He comes up and puts his head on my knee and looks mournful.  After all, he and Butty  have lived together for nearly 4 years which is as old as Butty  now is.  We know that it is jolly sad when you don't see your children and the grandchildren you love but it isn't so bad for us as it is for the dogs because we aren't expecting to see them all the time, we have already let them out of our sight and we know because of Skype and FaceTime that we can be in touch with them anytime if we or they want to hear or see us.  But that option isn't open to Algie, and nor can we tell him where Butty is and why he isn' here, we can't tell him  that Butty is on his way to the vet to have an operation.  We can't tell him  that Butty also cried all  night, separated from his nearest and dearest.  The grief Algie is feeling comes from the not knowing and I suppose that for us, because we know that those Singapore, Dubai and Jakarta babes are fine and we are in touch with what is happening to them, we can rest easy.  The once-in-a-spaceship-now-living-at home tiny baby lives so near that we see her often and we know she is fine.  The grief that any grandparent, canine or human feels for their grandchild comes when there is a disjoint and like poor old Algie, the grandpa doesn't know where or how the grandchild is, what he or she is going through, what he or she is thinking.  Now that grief is the sort which preys on you, wakes you up with a start of missing a person, with an anxiety for their welfare, it is for that reason that Algie keeps being reminded of Butty's absence.  
We have the meditation option but Algie doesn't, although he knows about it and must feel something of its quiet peacefulness when he and Butty join us in the morning for our half hour meditation.  We meditate and they lie stock still until 30 minutes is up and then they spring into action.  They absolutely know half an hour when it is up and it is time to go out.

meditation hut

Sunday, 16 April 2017

When He comes, everyone says Whoopee!

Rise to your full stature says the Lord
and He does.  That's Easter for you! 

I have borrowed words written today by Father Laurence Freeman who is a bit of a hero to me.  I have borrowed them  because they express the change that you experience when transformation happens.  My Lent wasn't as disciplined as the desert dwelling he talks about suggests, in fact it rather collapsed when I visited a real desert which is now Dubai in the middle of my period of abstinence and I somehow never retrieved the energy to complete it although I meant to.  So, when Easter morning started even before I was awake, I found myself dreaming that He had come back, the one I was waiting to see and I woke up extremely happy.  Now that is what Easter is about, when the dusty dry time represented by Lent is over and we catch a little glimpse of who someone really truly is.  You suddenly realise that He or She is the fullest and best part of themselves and when that person comes out of the desert and comes to play, you rejoice.  In the dream, happiness was a kind of rejoicing.  A dreamlike Whoopee which lasted through the day!

And Father Laurence says it better when he writes that: 

For forty days and nights – and more – we have been in the desert. And now, on Easter Day as the sun rises we have put the most difficult part behind us.
The way we see the desert is now transformed. We see the same things, life’s routines continue as before, the trees and clouds are what they were before, politicians and bankers, artists and therapists and monks do their thing as before. Nappies still need to be changed and petrol tanks filled. The pilgrimage of meditation morning and evening continues.
But our Resurrection – and it is ours no less than his  -  has changed the way we see life in this realm of existence. The veil between us and all the other realms of the cosmos is now shimmering.
If we still have fear, we do not need to. If we are still clinging to resentment, we do not need to. To fully change, we need only to see him. Not hear about him or talk about him but see him. It is he who makes the new creation shimmer.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

If He came today, who would He be

We have been told that He will come again to put the things which have slipped into poor condition back in order.  I am given to wondering how he would come back.  I think he could do well to think about becoming a Harry Potter model because Harry Potter has somehow gained admittance to our thinking as someone half human and half supernatural.  Harry, though a fictional character, has supernatural powers and magic and we have accepted him as a natural hero.  I know this is true because while planning for my grandchildren's summer holiday I am looking for tickets for my grandsons to see the Harry Potter play, the Cursed Child in the summer.  My daughter is as wedded to the story of Harry as her brother is to Star Wars.  So I am given to wondering if someone who could excite the interest of young people while maintaining a serious understanding of the difference between good and bad and be prepared to fight to re-establish goodness might be just the ticket for these times.
I hope that he might help us to remember these tips for living, two of which are quite easy, two of which are very very difficult.  These are the four of them.
1. To friends, be friendly. (not so difficult)
2. To all those in need show compassion. (natural but fairly easy)
3. To those who succeed, delight in their success.(not so easy but common sense.)
4. When faced with those who hate you, show equanimity.  (This is the real work).
So when YOU come back to help us, help us with this one please.