Attachments to rituals and thoughts on the pandemic

 

Attachments to rituals.  I’m looking at that right now.  Grabbing my cards at 2 am on a Saturday night to help with a decision.  That’s going to help me to get to sleep.  Wait.  What am I writing about?  This coronavirus scare has my energy off a bit.  Should I buy more toilet paper?  (just kidding). No that’s not the problem, although my gosh one does begin to wonder if the stores don’t restock what a mess it could make of things.  Yeah, let’s not go there.  It’s the gym, you know?  That’s what’s got me out of bed so my mind will shush up about it.  As the fear began to loom about the virus and with a strong desire to do my part for my fellows, I skipped my gym time on Friday.  Yet, today I dashed in after notices on the gym’s website that they are taking all these precautions with cleaning and providing extra wipes and sanitizers.  I felt guilty doing it but I was craving cardio and did a vigorous hour on the spin bike.  The crowd at the gym might have been a bit smaller than usual today, but not that much.  YET, now the governor of our state has closed all the schools for 2-weeks.  The gym did shut down certain gatherings and is limiting the number of members allowed in classes and our library has canceled all group type meetings and activities for 2 months!  I’m taking my temperature each day.  I felt like my luck was being pushed by getting a few more groceries the other day.  I’m rationing the stray cat’s food (there are 5 of them!) and find myself holding back from eating what’s in the freezer and cupboards.  Hey, and that’s a good thing.  I’ve gained near to 5 pounds over the winter.

Yeah and now I’m looking at giving up my gym time and cringe when envisioning . . . well, let’s say that its likely to be another damn test in letting go and non-attachment.  Contrast that with the PBS Evening News weekend edition report from Italy where some people are dying in their homes and they are being left there due to fears of collecting the bodies and spreading the virus further.  Many older adults are being triaged and not treated due to not enough respirator equipment to keep them alive.  The entire country is being told to stay at home unless an emergency and the police are enforcing by violators being jailed or fined.  Imagine being given a citation for being out of your home.  Intense and really scary!  And then there’s me boohooing about missing my workouts!  I feel ashamed.  Like many people are doing, however, there’s that part of the mind that says, nawh, that’s not going to happen here; everywhere else maybe, but not here, not us, not me.  

I’m certainly not alone with this struggle right? Now I want to delete this blog feeling ashamed to even be writing it!  But, full disclosure.  I just completed a 40-minute vow meditation — vowing to sit in complete stillness without moving at all.  In this deep metta-meditation,  the concentrated focus involved in not moving a muscle, and the tonglen (exchanging self for others) were all offered (the merit and energy) for any and all who may be in fear or in any way suffering especially in relation to this coronavirus.  Point being just had the thought that maybe tonight’s earlier meditation will balance things out with my selfish gym concerns.  Who knows.

Lifting weights 3 times a week in a group choreographed releases is addictive!  But if I spread a virus as a carrier without knowing (they say you can have it and not know it), then oh no!  I better not go. Right?  I take my temperature every day and feel fine, but still . . . right?

Anyway, do you get the feeling that the authorities know more than they are telling us about the virus?  I watch the news but still feel there’s something missing there.  Here’s a gross report.  One TV reporter said that the virus came from bats and then tonight I read about it originating from snakes.  Ugh. Let’s let those thoughts go; shouldn’t have mentioned it.

Stress is not good for anybody, right?  Therefore, I must stop stressing about this question and my attachment to the spin bike and the weight lifting classes must be handled.

Right; well then.  A quickie. Turning to my cards.  Yes or No spread.  Is it in everyone’s best interest, including my own, if I avoid the gym until they sound the all-clear?  Yikes; That could be months!  There go my mental withdrawal symptom alarms at the very thought of that!

Such an oxymoron, right?  Going to a gym and working out is supposed to be a healthy thing to do!

Right.  Anyway. The cards.  Okay. Here we go . . . No, let me add timing to this question.  I will ask for one week and then decide weekly thereafter.  Here we go . . .

The revised question is this:  Is it in everyone’s best interest, including my own if I do NOT go to the gym for one week? Yes or No? 

Alright.  It’s a YES.  Ace of Swords, Three of Cups, Ace of Cups.

(Ace in the 3rd pile of 13 cards is the strongest indicator of YES and the Ace of Swords in the 1st pile of 13 adds to it.

The middle pile of 13 cards displays the Three of Cups which adds to the meaning.

The first impression in seeing that card was about how being with the other women (oops, guys in the class too) lifting weights to music week after week is group power and fun.  And there’s the community and bonding stuff going on.  I see this card as a validation of the question that is being asked… women lifting cups, bonding.  Me lifting weights and doing the same at the gym.  Get it?  It’s like the cards are telling me that they hear the question, loud and clear.

But with this decision, the Three of Cups card also indicates that there are joyous possibilities that can come from my withdrawal. I will find a way to do cardio and increase at-home yoga to not lose my fitness level.  THAT will be a challenge but what can I say?  I may actually really enjoy that — yeah, well, keeping an open mind, I will re-asses in one week.

Done and done!  Right now I’m going to say that I’m going to bed.  My mind will shut up now.  The decision’s been made.

My heart extends to all who are suffering from the effects of this pandemic.   May you, reader, be safe and protected.

PS —  image at the top of this post was a random photo but that looks like one of our group power moves, actually chest press is my favorite and my bar is loaded with 3 plates too and we lay on the bench just as the people in the photo; probably my 3 plates are not the same weight as the people in the photo but looks the same anyway… yeah, it’s late and I’m not making sense now.  Goodnight; didn’t intend to go on and on so long.

 

 

Words from the Life of a Psychic and Form is Emptiness

Form is nothing but emptiness

Emptiness is nothing but form

Word from the Heart Sutra which holds my life together.

Form is Emptiness
Form is Emptiness

Here I go again–using this blog to sort out my personal life.  Therapy for an “off” day here and there I suppose.  Maybe that’s it.  Write it out and it is released.  Not energized further.  No.  Released, that’s all–sorted out and seen for the silliness that it is, the illusion that it is.  Maybe this post could be called something like ‘The Life of a Psychic’ or some such.

BLOG INTENTION, ASPIRATION:  Yeah, but in the spirit of Tonglen, knowing others out there feel this way from time to time or there are those who know this feeling right now just as I do.  Hello to you and may this feeling for us all and package it up and see us all being free of it, having compassion for you and for all those who feel a bit disoriented or perhaps are also in the midst of a move… whatever it is you are experiencing may we know that we are not alone… there are always many others who also go through this and may we all be relieved of this suffering or uncomfortable feelings such as they are… and may we all come to contentment and peace and may I be part of that process through my love and compassion for us all as we move through uncertain times. May this blog in some way be helpful to you.

Here it is, this feeling I’m sorting out or trying to heal.  And the internal feeling comes from attachment to  STUFF, yeah, form appearances–things.  Actual material things.  I told you this is silliness being sorted out here!  I already feel better really looking at this using some logic and intellect to soothe the …. well, the what?

Beyond what words can show, it is.  How about a picture to describe it?  A bit like the scarecrow from the story ‘The Wizard of OZ’.   That scene where parts of him were over here and over there and some he didn’t know where!

No, I’m not falling apart but rather I am realizing this whole Buddhist thing about the non-self and yeah, attachment too.  How can part of me be in a storage unit (we took a lot of boxes and things, forms) and loaded them in the vehicles and unloaded them into a storage unit.  As I tried to fall asleep last night I kept flashing on the dark rainy rows of storage structures and the number on my own with the lock and my things inside.  Yeah, it felt like parts of me were there, haunting my ‘things’ in some way.

Another part of me was hanging around my sister’s apartment, haven spend some hours at her place over the weekend helping her clean and pack.  Yet still, another aspect of consciousness was hanging around the new apartment that we’re going to that is getting updated appliances, new carpet, paint and so forth–do I really belong there?  Where is my place when I also see flashes of the last few things leaving this apartment unit.  I’m all over the place!  Like I said, silliness in the life of a psychic.

I’m feeling a wee little bit like crying (its mild), but have no real down-home authentic reason but for the fact that I’m feeling homeless and even without a self, more like a floating spirit neither here, nor there, everywhere and nowhere.  And the Buddhist teachings speak of emptiness in view of it holding form and formlessness such that everything is actually non-real as if it were a Moon’s reflection in the water.

I think again of that song of enlightenment, “All these form, appearance emptiness; like a rainbow with a shining glow…”

And one of the other lines is “Just let go, and go where no-mind goes.”  

Taffy pullI guess I’m having to do that a bit as I feel pulled in many directions like taffy.  Pulled, stretched, thinning out…. and definitely no place to ground.  The lessons of impermanence and non-self and forms being emptiness by appearing just the same… these are all being re-enforced within me.

At the same time, it feels like my solar plexus is torn a bit.  Here I am looking at an application, another one, for an apartment that I applied for on April 2nd and last week I found out my application was nowhere to be found.  I now have to fill out a new one!

Meanwhile, I am trying to visualize how I will fit all my necessary “stuff” into the master bedroom of the apartment that I’m sharing with my sister and her daughter, a teenager!   I feel grateful to have a place to go.

GRATITUDE:  I CAN DO this, of course I can and am so grateful to have some shelter so that I’m free to go without having to break a lease just as soon as I get a call from one of the many places upon which my name is on the list.

fill out the formAnd so the story goes.  Maybe I feel a bit better for writing it out?  My tummy is still topsey-turvey but I’m telling myself to enjoy the experience such that it is.  I’d better get that application filled out (another form—“all these forms”— and anyway get it resubmitted.  Forms are only emptiness.

 

“…just let go. And go where no-mind goes!”  

Form is nothing but emptiness

Emptiness is nothing but form

Impressions, Imprints, Cyber-footprints in SAMSARA

samsara2
SAMSARA and IMPERMANENCE

Impressions!  Imprints!  Cyber-footprints!

I don’t think about that often enough.  Or so I recently realized!  I tend to work through my rough days on my blog, hoping that as I do so that a reader out there somewhere may be helped through the insight that I, myself, seek.    But before going further, there must be an understanding conveyed.  One that I don’t convey as often as I should; one that should go without saying but that I forget to say–perhaps even forget to say to myself!  But look, it’s not easy to stay awake sometimes!  Life is full of … well, the most efficient way to say it is through one word SAMSARA.

Let me get an official Buddhist definition of that word [SAMSARA] and this from Wikapedia seems as good as any others from Google:  Saṃsāra (Sanskrit, Pali; also samsara) is a Buddhist term that literally means “continuous movement” and is commonly translated as “cyclic existence”, “cycle of existence”, etc. Within Buddhism, samsara is defined as the continual repetitive cycle of birth and death that arises from ordinary beings’ grasping and fixating on a self and experiences. Specifically, samsara refers to the process of cycling through one rebirth after another within the six realms of existence where each realm can be understood as either a physical realm or a psychological state characterized by a particular type of suffering. Samsara arises out of avidya (ignorance) and is characterized by dukkha (suffering, anxiety, dissatisfaction). In the Buddhist view, liberation from samsara is possible by following the Buddhist path.

I use divination to help me find peace because the process of  looking for insight puts one in the mental framework wherein one shifts or better said begins to detach from the mental affliction long enough to look for insight. [My profession involves divination after all; its a habit.  LOL.]

I’ve been conversing through private text on my Facebook account with a blog follower who summarized the last few years of my life in a few lines that made me startle a bit, thinking ‘Man o man, my life really sucks!”   But of course it doesn’t, and it is full of just as many ups, downs, attractions and aversions as anyone else’s here in Samsara!  No better or no worse, at least potentially, as anyone else’s life who is aware of their mind where it is all located anyway!

Here’s the last bit I wrote this morning, sharing a paragraph from the communication that I’ve been having with a reader:

I think one comfort is that we are never alone in what we experience since the human condition seems very universal… in that no matter what kind of dilemma one is in, one can always find so many others going through the same illusion or experiencing the same dream (or nightmare); so that on some level there is comfort when we can do as the Buddhists do which is Tonglen … basically to say, ” May all of us, may we join together , all of us, and may I be the one to gather it all up here, now;  and then may we all be free of our delusion and wake from the dream and be liberated! And how does the liberation happen”?

What kind of  liberation? Mental–for that is how it all occurs anyway, in the mind.  So, to look at life and hear, see, experience it without aversion or attachment, either one… to just say “Oh, now it is this and now it is that or now it is ‘not’  this and now it is ‘not’  that… hmmmm… okay… and that’s how it is or isn’t…. and now I notice that there is a regret thought, or a memory thought, or a judgment thought, or a happy thought, or a silly thought, or a sad thought, or whatever it is.”   Just looking at the mind.  Well, that’s pretty simplistic  sounding, but most Buddhist teachings are and that’s why I, for one,  like them. LOL I may blog this. Don’t be surprised if you see this text again!

Some  last thoughts:  IMPERMANENCE!  This is a good one to reflect upon too.  That helps put it all in perspective as well… the Buddhist perspective of the “precious human life.”   I have to often remind myself not to become caught up in self-cherishing; this, too, being the source of difficulty and suffering.  And then if all else fails, I hit the pool and go swimming to focus on my kick, stroke and lap times while everything else falls away!