A Couple's Journey Through Alzheimer's
by Olivia Ames Hoblitzelle
Enjoying Your Own Deepest Experience
by Sally Kempton
We had a small group in our local sangha for our discussion last time, but a larger one when it was time for meditation, with a light and dry snow drifting down outside, which is what it’s doing now. I’m thinking of Billy Collins’s poem, “Shoveling Snow with the Buddha,” You can hear him read it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCrDVIfoKYY
We read and discussed the chapter, “Liberation Through Nonclinging,” in One Dharma.
Goldstein touches somewhat lightly on the skandas, or aggregates that form consciousness out of “direct cognizing of the object itself,” as he puts it, and then goes on to explain how our minds get clouded with ignorance. What does he mean by “ignorance,” you ask? Here are his words:
“It is when we are caught up in wanting, attachment, fear, or aversion, when we are lost in thoughts of past and future.” Notice his words CAUGHT UP IN and LOST IN. Of course we do want, and dislike, and think of the past and future. The ignorance comes in when we don’t REALIZE what’s going on. But when there is that little gap of awareness, that we’re free from the being caught up in, free from the lostness.
Goldstein quotes the Buddha: “Nothing whatsoever is to be clung to as ‘I’ or ‘mine.’ Whoever has heard this truth has heard all the Teachings, whoever practices this truth has realized all the Teachings.” Goldstein calls this the essential unifying experience of freedom.
“Suffering is rope burn,” says Goldstein. We try to hold on, and it hurts.
Why are spiritual people characterized as having vision? Vision – a glimpse of an idea of how good things might be – requires a long-range perspective and a caring and compassionate attitude.
Silence is filled with positive energy. Our spirits flourish in silence, have space to breathe. I treasure these still moments. Unobscured by noise, a spiritual connection can be felt more easily.
I truly enjoy silent time, and extended silent time on retreats. It allows me to listen more deeply to my own thoughts. Using silence to listen to our own thoughts is a step in the right direction, but silence means more than refraining from speaking aloud; inner chatter is still chatter and not yet silence.
Language is the immediate neural-mental building block of thought. Spiritual people tend to embrace silence because when we generate or process language, we automatically activate thought processes; and our thought processes are neurally yoked to a self-representation.
Since the 76 nested meditations in Divinity in Disguise were published (two of which are included below), I’ve been asked many times how I write them. Many people are finding that the nested form of poetry is accessible and helps them move, in a few words, from surface observations or feelings into deeper layers of experience.
I have an exercise. First, I try to imagine the moment when Moses met God on Mount Sinai, as described to me by a friend in the clergy. He told me of one interpretation of that moment: There was an instant when God's back was turned, and as he passed in front of Moses, just for a moment, Moses saw the world through God's eyes.
Choose a sacred word as a symbol of your intention to consent to God’s presence and action within. Choose your word during a brief period of prayer asking the Holy Spirit to inspire you with one especially suitable for you. (Examples: Lord, Abba, Father, Mother, Amen, Love, Peace, Shalom.)