No Mud? No Lotus! Downstairs Neightbors and Spiritual Awareness

 Lotus Flower

No Mud? No Lotus! 

That quote came over my Facebook Timeline recently attributed to the often quoted and well-respected spiritual teacher Thich Nhat Hanh (the Vietnamese Zen Buddhist Monk).

That’s put so simply that it startles one—or it did me.  I collect images of the lotus flower and really love that symbol related to spirituality.  Then I had to break out laughing thinking how my downstairs neighbors from India are like my mud and tonight when their voices trailed up alongside me at my computer desk… the quick, choppy straining human voice sounds began to distract while I was writing.  No mud, no lotus I thought.  Likely, I’m their mud too in reverse.  We hear each other mostly because they do not put on their air conditioning to muffle the sound and have no furniture to absorb sound and the floor has no sound proofing!

I had a message for a client this evening and there was a reference to using others in relationships in order to process mental energy.  Suddenly, I wondered if this is like the two Indians beneath me—maybe they have to ‘talk it out’ all the time in order to process busy intellects.  Sounds like venting; releasing — lovely.

It’s neither their fault nor my own that there is no insulation and that we are living in essentially a mocked up tent and that they love the heat (apparently) and don’t run air conditioning.  The maintenance guys tell me that Indian apartments are stifling.  I sometimes resent that I run my unit to keep their noise down and they don’t and their heat rises to my upstairs apartment—no mud, no lotus.

I’ve essentially been dealing with the neighbor issues much better—although no one would know it but me; it’s all an inside thing.  Tonight was a mild setback—their incessant talking got to me.  But Nhat Hanh says that dirty dishes, red lights, and traffic jams are spiritual friends on the path to “mindfulness”—the process of keeping our consciousness alive to our present experience and reality.  Same for the boisterous and talkative downstairs Indian couple—when they go at it, it brings me to the present reality too.

Should be this way since I have Saturn transiting my 3rd house in Scorpio now; well, maybe not ‘should be’ but the location of the planet of lessons in the house that represents neighbors does explain a few things.

I’m going to turn to Nhat Hanh for more spiritual teachings because I do like that one–its simple, direct and profound:

No mud.  No Lotus.

No challenges.  No spiritual evolution.

Okay, I still wish they would go away…  meanwhile, mindfulness of the present reality is what it is.

PS–I must be growing lots of lotuses by now!

Living an Energy Efficient Life Compliments of Pluto in Capricorn and Saturn’s 2nd house, 3rd house Influence – Kua 28 EXCESS

I few words are ringing my bell here about today’s (whenever you read this) divination message, and you may ask what do ‘obsession’, ‘overload’, ‘burden’, ‘excess’ or living with the laws of nature have to do with a major rent increase and shutting off my cable TV? Aren’t we all being encouraged to examine what is wasteful and what is really necessary in these economic times? Pluto is in practical minded Capricorn after all and just a glance (dare you to do more!) toward Capital Hill in the USA and you will see the ongoing debate about exactly that—what we need and what we can do without. This isn’t a political blog by any means but the world and US economy are pretty much going thought the Pluto-in-Capricorn restructuring. (Saturn/Capricorn rules structure). And my Saturn just kicked its way out of my 2nd house of what-is-valued (the money house).

Saturn will restructure the value system for sure and that’s been happening for the past few years—and so perhaps the god of practicality/reality left me a parting gift as he exited house 2—a rent increase. I was thanking him a few months ago for a new (used) car.

And now that Saturn has reached my 3rd house it is causing me to examine what is practical and necessary by way of communication too. I just took a step in the area of communication that I’d been threatening to take for the past year anyway—disconnected the cable TV. That compensates at least partially for the rent increase but it also cuts away excess and anything that is unhealthily obsessive—which TV watching can be anyway. What will I do on long, cold winter nights now? What will the lord-of-practicality and restructure demand of me in the area of communication as Saturn has just entered the 3rd house of communication? Maybe get to that book written that I’ve been threatening to write!?

Interestingly enough, the phone company just changed which reduced my monthly phone bill by around $40 per month, so that Saturn and Capricorn energy is really restructuring my whole system of accounts receivable and accounts payable as well as what I do with any free time in the evenings. No TV will be liberating and I will turn to more practical (Saturn/Capricorn) types of communication (3rd house). Those are some basic archetypes astrologically that could play out in other ways too—time will tell.

Sometimes too much of a good thing is too much of a good thing! It creates pressure that either comes from within or without but anything excessive needs to be changed and restructured eventually. The question becomes do you deal with the ‘handwriting-on-the-wall’ as the saying goes, and stop while there’s time or do you go down in flames? I’d prefer to avoid the flames as stubborn as I can be at times. I’m looking at other ways where I am wasting energy—I’ve recently put weather-stripping on the windows and am more aware of where I may be wasting electricity.

The whole question that we should ask periodically (and that’s what this message today is about) is, “Am I living in accord with the laws of nature? Am I functioning like a robot in some areas, remaining asleep (too much TV can do that for you by the way) and am I living in alignment with my own truth?” That’s the bottom line with today’s divination message from Kua 28 which is called EXCESS. When we are being temporarily restrained by life, it gives us an opportunity to awaken further and fill our time with useful activities—one’s that are in alignment with our inner truth and integrity. My integrity may be different from yours but when we are not living to our own inner integrity, we need periodic adjustments. Sometimes those are forced (as in my case with the rent and TV and other things) but always we can use them as opportunities.

One  message for today is this. “Life becomes more energy-efficient when we are in touch with our own rhythms and needs.”

What has reached the breaking point in your life? Where are you overloaded in your life and what needs a little restructuring? That’s the point of contemplation for today.  And if something is forced on you to restore balance, simply be grateful for it; it’s a blessing!  (try to see it that way if possible)

If obsessive worry is where you are overloaded, release the burden and deal with only what is necessary–worry never is necessary. One thing I do is to say  myself, “Are you doing the best that you can Joy?” And if I answer  to that is honestly, truthfully “Yes”, then the next thing I say to myself is, “Then you are not allowed to worry!” This may sound silly and childish,  but it happens to work for me in the moment so that I can release the burden enough to recognize my next step using my intuition.

After all, look at that image above… all those burdens on the guy’s back; no wonder he’s exhausted and had reached the breaking point. The Cherokee tell a story of going for a walk and picking up a fist sized rock for every problem you have and before long you will see it is impractical to walk carrying those rocks. Put them down!

One last thought. Lately I am reading a book about the Mound Builders of North America – our ancient ancestors. It’s a book about archeology that goes back to the time when Asians came to North America on foot over the Bering Strait and while the information is gleaned from the Mounds or burial sites (I have one right behind this house that I rent, thus my interest!) examined by archeologists, there is plenty of information about how our earlier ancestors lived in pre-historic times.

So far I’ve read  to about 1,000 AD and find it fascinating. It certainly makes the way I am living in the present seem like a castle in heaven. At least I don’t have to rebuild my hut every 2 years because the wood and grasses become rotten or blow away and I don’t have to have to smoke the bugs out of the dwelling because the little critters inhabit the thatch roof and walls! Talk about perspective!  🙂

Maybe having to pay more rent and deal with the month-to-month uncertainty of being self-employed, in comparison to our oldest ancestors, I’m really feeling pretty grateful.  Just look at that place!  Okay, so they’d dig a floor in the earth about a foot deep…but still. Remember THAT next time it rains or snows Joy! <– said to myself.  And I do really; I honestly do have faint memories of living like that in a distant past that get triggered when it rains hard or snows–am then most thankful for the solid roof and walls I live beneath and within most especially then.  But we try to be grateful for all of our blessings all of the time the best we can, right?