The Bodhi Tree is a type of fig tree (Ficus Religiosa) so during the time it is bearing fruit there is much life in the tree as birds and chipmunks are attracted to the tiny figs. October is one of those times so I was fortunate to be able to gather some of the seeds that had dropped from the tree. These can be planted easily and will grow very well in a tropical climate, or as house plants further north.
There is something that comes before all other contemplation, that if it is lacking whatever time and energy is spent in studying is as good as wasted. I’m referring here to a clarity of mind that grasps what’s being talked about, and that can understand it and make connections with our own life, at least to some extent. If we are not moved inwardly by what we hear or read, then something essential is missing.
Enjoy this Santa Xmas meditation, overflowing with generosity and good wishes by Adam Moes.
THE PERFECT TIMEView Post
Some people are beneficiaries of a system that enables certain individuals to amass inconceivable riches while countless others are condemned to lives of squalor and disenfranchisement. And while Buddhism extends its systemic lenses on a much wider framework of human suffering, the in-between area of the immediately near us is sometimes neglected.
We almost never think to question our story or to investigate the nature and origins of our inmost sense of self. As a result, our attention remains locked onto the drama of our unfolding life and we remain none the wiser right up until the time it is about to end. Most of us are not even aware that we are fixating on a drama which is neither true nor real and we are accustomed to living almost all of our lives this way. For us, what is nearest and true, as our inmost nature, has become but a distant dream and what is dreamlike and passing is the obsessive focus of our day to day attention.
What to do when no place feels like home? I chose to open myself freely to whatever happens outside while being in an inward retreat, which means I try to protect my mind while knowing the absolute ridiculousness of dwelling, getting attached to thoughts, emotions and the dream-like world.
The tendency to take life for granted is an obstacle not only for spiritual practice, but actually stands in the way of being happy in our situation right now. We think life is no big deal, we do it everyday, and everybody is doing it, and the fact that we will surely die is taboo, we don’t think about, we don’t talk about it. But our life actually is a big deal, it could end any moment. When we look at the great miracle of creation; the wonders of the earth, our own human body and the sacred mystery of the universe around us and within us, we can not help but being inspired and feeling blessed to be part of it.
The lack of what might be called, as Jung suggested, soul connectedness, to the deeper aspects of our interior world, has become replaced instead with endless distraction and continuous, immediate, bombastic stimulation, and it is exhausting. We are not only constantly struggling with what assaults us daily, by the minute, in fact, but, instead of seeking out another with whom to commiserate, or a field of others to simply enjoy some real human connectedness, we are now trained to seek further stimulation and excitement, only to find it as empty of substance and dry of human touch.
While working with techniques to release sexual energies in a healing manner, it is important to support this work with a healthy diet. The first step towards a healthy diet is not just the choice of what to eat, or to follow particular instructions from different health experts. It is actually to make oneself aware that the unfortunate condition of today’s society is that the primary goal of big businesses is to create profit. This means that food companies do not primarily focus upon the benefits of their products on the human body. They focus upon ways in which they can make people buy their products, and continue to buy their product, no matter if they are healthy or not.
According to Tibetan medicine everything has its origin in the mind which is the creator of the internal and external phenomena and the five elements which constitute physical reality. According to Buddhism, the mind is like a pure crystal which is obscured by temporary ignorance of its own original primordially pure state and by the subsequent karmic formations.
As the body crumbles, the soul awakens. This is why dying people always tell the living to follow your dreams. Don’t wait for sickness or death. Do it while there is still time. But now, here is the mystery. There is no path because everything is the path; and inside of that everything, there are two important distinctions: our master path and our secondary path. The master path is our inner path, our path of meaning. The secondary path is our outer path, where we put that meaning into action out in the world. The master path is about being and the secondary path is about doing.
Studies find that people in more diverse countries, countries with great numbers of immigrants, rely on smiling to build trust and to build cooperation. A simple reason for this is the fact that we don’t all speak the same language. But there is a different, and I think, more meaningful reason for smiling in countries with more immigrants, and that is that smiling is a way to bond socially. A smile is a rather universally understood thing. Surely we can recognize a fake smile, a genuine smile, a wicked smile, a forced or sarcastic smile. But we know a smile when we see it.
Why do we allow this daily rampage to go on and on? Changing the law, by itself, won’t entirely solve the problem. But praying for peace and wishing for all others to renounce their violent habits and tendencies also will not soon solve the problem. This problem is not solely within our minds, and not solely environmental and cultural, or legal. It is the interplay of all of these: it is our collective karma to live in a society that glorifies the ability to violently defeat others.
In Vajrayana Buddhism, we learn to see ourselves and all others like this, as essentially divine, transparent beings of light. We interact continually with others and this world, receiving blessings and responding compassionately as needed. At first we do this as an act of imagination, but gradually we learn to see that this is how things actually are, all by themselves. At that time, what we call prayer, in thought, word, and action are entirely natural.
Ever since, I took up yoga, it has tapped my inspiration deeper and refined my personality. Yoga gives me an incredible high for my creative expression by easing my body, quieting my mind, and getting in touch with my true self. I have always been passionate about art from an early age and yoga influences the type of art work I create, by allowing me to doodle my thoughts with ease on sheets.
Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga is an intense practice, and it tends to attract people who are somewhat driven. You have to have a certain amount of passion to get on your mat each morning and sweat through a self-directed hour and a half of postures and actually enjoy the practice. But I’d like to clarify a few points, because Ashtanga sometimes takes a bad rap where it’s not deserved. Here are a few of the more common ones you may have heard.
Hello again, lovely and deep bright Star readers!
There is much going on this month and I want to largely focus on one major cosmological dynamic happening: a Grand Cardinal Cross. I will move through some other points for the month, but that configuration, particularly the opposition between the Full Moon/Pluto in Capricorn and Sun/Mars in Cancer will get the most attention, as it is psychologically juicy.
It’s a moon which asks, do you get it? It’s time! Something will always be let go of with every full moon, as a natural time for something to come to a sense of completion, culmination, full awareness and a time well suited to let go of something that it is natural to let go of, as it has reached its time. What is greater can be welcomed and have freedom and space to give it’s song to you, and plant seeds in you and around you.
The process that I went through to come to my current appreciation of making offerings is a worthwhile lesson in curiosity, diligent investigation, and the development of evidence-based faith. I need things to make sense. I need to know that what I am doing has a purpose and leads to a measurable outcome. I’m not fond of hypothetical constructs, blind faith, magical thinking, adherence to protocol, or unquestioning obedience to authority. If somebody tells me to do something “because it’s good,” but then offers no reasonable explanation as to why it is good, I tend to walk away.
So, my friends, what is it you are putting your feet on Earth for? In what way are we going to use our senses and our practical aptitudes to bring benefit? How are we going to treasure and care for Mother Earth? How will we make whatever garden it is we are growing in our lives flourish, so that others may share in our riches? And what are richness and wealth?