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.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Have YOU worked out who YOU are?

Have you worked out who YOU are?  Here are some clues which may help by eliminating who you aren't!
Are YOU always skiing?
Are YOU always playing golf?
Are YOU always doing yoga?
Are YOU always looking after your baby?
Are YOU always in a house? an apartment? a train? an aeroplane?
Are YOU always working in an office? driving a car?  Are you always going on holiday, eating continuously, always drinking, spending all the time dancing, meditating, sewing, sleeping or sailing a boat?
YOU aren't just that are YOU? and yet YOU do do those things don't YOU?
So, you aren't only a skier, an eater, a golfer, a yoga practitioner, a mum or dad, a banker, a property owner or dweller, a flyer, a driver, an holiday maker, an eater of food, a drinker of beverages, a dancer, a meditator, a seamstress or tailor, a sleeper or sailor, at least YOU aren't just that are YOU?
So, what are YOU?  YOU who I love so much your name is tattoed on my heart.
YOU are the one who just plays at all these things.  YOU ski through skiers, dance through dancers, ,  meditate with meditators, travel with travellers and sail with sailors.  YOU are both none of them and yet all of them, YOU are the untouchable beloved within each of these people and it is for YOU that the son is loved, the daughter is loved, the husband, the wife, the mother and father, the teacher and the friend is loved and is loving.  YOU are that person in the heart of each person and that is why I love YOU most of all.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Who do I write it for? I write it for YOU of course

Do you wonder who I write this blog for?  I write it for YOU of course.  I write it for YOU who are  far away just in case YOU might need to know that I am always thinking of YOU and yours.  YOU aren't really so far off though because when I write the blog, YOU are right there in the centre of my thinking, right there in my sight, I can see YOU there better than on Facebook or on WhatsApp or Instagram because I have YOUR name tattooed on my heart.   (I thought about the word tattoo and wondered if I should have put written on my heart but then it struck me that writing might come off or be changed but I have always heard that tattoos are there for life).  I know that sometimes YOU are up a mountain, sometimes YOU are on the sea or river, sometimes YOU are driving along in the weather of the place YOU are, sometimes YOU are with family and friends and sometimes YOU are alone.  The days go past and we appear to be the same people, getting up, doing stuff, eating and drinking and Grandpa and I will be meditating.  But for us now it is more Badedas and ibuprofen after gardening, less wondering which restaurant we will visit, more nodding off in front of the telly, less concern with things of the everyday.  Now not so sharp of hearing, wearing our spectacles on the top of our heads or tucked into the jumper, our friends not so much dropping in as dropping off the perch, visits to the GP and advice now given by those who we once advised, life is changing and the really important things come to the fore.  That is just the way life goes and YOU, so far away and doing well, we miss YOU and look forward to seeing you when you come home.

Sunday, 2 April 2017

What did I do to deserve this?

Today's thinking is full of blame and it is jolly easy to buy into that.  Complaining is so easy!  You just have to find a few things that have gone wrong, you had the wrong parent, you went to the wrong school, you married the wrong person, the government are rubbish and altogether you have had bad luck all along.  I can dig away and find a few nuggets to pull out and make dance before my inner eye if I want to be cast down and feel as if I have been swimming in a pool of bad luck!   If I tell myself the stories of bad luck or tell them to others, there has to be a response and the desired response is sympathy, a shaking of the head and sharing of misery and the effect of that is not good, not good at all.  What does it bring with it?  If you feel sorry for yourself you find you have to make amends to help yourself feel better and what better way to do that than opening a bottle of wine, dipping your hand into a box of chocolates or buying yourself a new pair of shoes/a dress/a new house/a holiday.  It can persuade you to change things, to change your husband, your car, your friendships because after all they don't really understand how simply awful your life is!  Does this ring a bell for you?  And more important do these changes produce the lasting relief you hoped for?  Certainly there is mostly regret at the chocolate and alcohol soothing because you just put on extra pounds!
Monk on mobile phone!
One of the things which can pull you out of this popular thinking and it takes a real effort to shift your thinking especially when so much of your apparent identity is riding on it, is to meet someone else who just doesn't carry that burden and to find that they are happy and free and don't need to escape from any past, real or imagined.  I found that the monks at St Catherine's Monastery woke me up to the silliness of complaint and more to the joy and wonder to be found in simple things and it made looking around at what there is around a different experience.  I think to myself what did I ever do to deserve the way daffodils grow, dogs love their masters, that there is sun and rain and spring brings great bursts of growth.  What did I do to deserve good health, a family, a comfortable bed, the kindness of a good night's sleep, friends who don't fail me, to live in a peaceful country where there are laws to make things work for people.  Did I do anything about building the Churches, the Cathedrals, the temples, the Monasteries, the hospitals or the schools?  Of course not, so perhaps instead of complaining about anything I don't like about them or about the people who have built and maintained and taught and nursed and healed in them, I should be thinking about how to help them.

These two are friends as well as Monks.
These monks who live in Sinai, they don't appear to complain, they just keep the gateway to heaven open by saying prayers, lighting lamps, intoning the psalms and not many chocolates I don't think. Anyway I didn't see any chocolate wrappers sticking out of their habits! And being there in the monastery guesthouse made me appreciate the simple clean air, the blue blue sky, the almond blossom and also how unusual it is to see those things when most of the time, I am immersed in a world constructed by me.  If you want to read more about the monks of St Catherine, click on the picture of these two.

Almond blossom in the garden of the Monastery

Saturday, 25 March 2017

A Mother's day Meditation

Mother's Day has history.  In the days when young girls were in service in big houses, they were given a cake and a day off to go and visit their mothers for the day.  It has another bit of history which is that it is about 9 months before Christmas and therefore it connects to that particular and special birth and to that particular and special mother.

My recollection of seeing my first child and experiencing the immediate love for that particular child was knowing that every mother felt this love for her child, it was as natural as spring coming every year.  Watching a daughter become a mother, you see the whole of love in action possessing those joined together by nature completely.
love is freely available and plentiful as oxygen.
Mum's get recognition and thanks for being Mums on Mother's Day but perhaps we Mums should be thinking of the gift of love we felt when we became mothers and how huge that love is and that we tap into it, we don't own it.  Here is a poem from one of Alexander McCall Smith's characters as a Mothers Day gift to my children and any other person reading this today.  This is from The Revolving Door of Life (the 44 Scotland Street Series) and it is the second verse of  the painter, Angus Lordie's poem at the end of
the book.   It is also a thank you to all those who have loved enough to work in the National Health Service to do all they can to bring well-being to people.  Of course particularly this week, the response of the doctors and medical staff from St Thomas's Hospital and in our case, those who have looked after my own Mary and her baby for so many months, in and out of the spaceship and now home and healthy.

The remarkable thing about love
Is that it is freely available,
Is as plentiful oxygen
Is as joyous as a burn in spate
And need never run out
And yet for all its plenitude
We ration it so strictly and forget
Its curative properties, its subtle 
Ability to make the soul-injured
Whole again, to make the lonely
Somehow assured that their solitude
Will not last forever; its promise
That if we open our heart
It is joy and resolution
   That will march triumphant
     Through the gates we create.