Saturday, February 11, 2017
Several years ago I made a mandala which was created to symbolize me and my part of the universe and it still does today - very powerfully. It is circular, about 14 inches across with an outer perimeter of juniper twigs. Within the twigs is a background of deer skin with a central tuft of bear fur. Above the bear fur is a point (arrow head) that I was given. Attached to the fur are several feathers of songbirds, hummingbirds, hawks and eagle. All of these animals have been big parts of my spiritual journey. A coyote tail is hanging from the circle symbolizing the jokester, somewhat anti-social, trickster part of me. It is a very good meditative tool and reminder of my path and past.
Friday, February 10, 2017
My wife and I began unpacking and distributing our paintings, photographs and accumulated art objects today. Each of the objects symbolize part of our history and who we are today. For example there is a beautiful black and white photo of Mount Humphries in Flagstaff, one of the sacred peaks of the Navajo and Hopi. That mountain and what it represents changed my life. The mountain was a big part of my sweat lodge experience where a Native American man approached me and told me "The spirits want you to build a lodge and the Navajo elders approve". A Navajo elder built that lodge and that action was a "song that began to sing me" as Sue Monk Kidd puts it in what she wrote "You create a path of your own by looking within yourself and listening to your soul, cultivating your own ways of experiencing the sacred, and then practicing it. Practicing until you make it a song that sings you." Up until then I was more or less a normal white boy.
My wife and I just returned from our mid-week visit with her family and during the visit it occurred to me that they had very little idea of what I’m about, my life. They are "doers", meaning that they focus on doing things and completing tasks. My focus is on "being", enjoying the process and my life in general. For example with my cooking I enjoy the process of creating and being with the food as it forms. I also enjoy the final result and eating. The fact is that I don’t do much - just what is in front of me. I strive to stay present. I am not interested in trying to convince others of the value of what I do.
Thursday, February 9, 2017
The reason that being disabled and having chronic pain does not usually bother me is that there is no self for it to "stick" to. I identify more with the eternal, "I am", part not my transitory, physical body. As Nisargadata puts it "Get to know that "I am" without words which arises in the morning. Knowing the Self, abiding in the Self-knowledge, is not a mere intellectual knowing. You must be that, and you should not move away from it. Remain firm." At times, like when I am very tired, I do identify with my transitory, physical body and at those times I feel my pain more acutely and become very aware of my lack of coordination.
Tuesday, February 7, 2017
I often feel brain dead since I care nothing about things like competition, sports or take offense at things that bother most people. I do care very deeply about feelings like love, equality or, compassion and also relationships. In the last few days I have had several middle age or older women go out of their way to help me since I am disabled and have poor coordination. I just feel grateful and not that I should be able to take care of it myself. I do wonder, with some amusement, "is it that obvious that I need help!?". I am reminded of a comment by Mitchell that "‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they already see God.’ Seeing God means they have died to self, since ‘no one can see God and live’ (Exodus 33:12). Not that selfish concerns don’t arise for them; but they aren’t attached to these concerns; they have no self for selfishness to stick to; hence they can be carried along in the clear current of what is."
Monday, February 6, 2017
I still make regular use of the three questions I describe in my book; would I do this in front of God, or whatever you call that power/force?; is my name really on it or is it really my responsibility?; will this increase the integrity of the universe, or is this loving? I find it quite entertaining that virtually every time I use the questions my ego or that part of my brain tries to rationalize some sort of self-gratifying behavior which, if I follow, leaves me feeling a bit "dirty" and knowing I did the wrong thing. For example today I wanted to suggest to someone that they "quiet their mind" more completely in order to listen better. The ego part of me told me to word the suggestion in such a way that made it clear that I have overcome the problem of a noisy mind, thus showing that I was superior. I have not - and I stated that it was something I work on constantly.
Sunday, February 5, 2017
During the first part of the day we went to a Friend’s (Quaker) meeting and I felt peaceful, loving and contemplative - normal and good. We then spent several hours running errands and visiting Maria’s family, things I didn’t really want to do but decided to go along since it seemed right and we were both using the same vehicle. Toward the end of that period I started to feel judgmental and a bit impatient so I kept quiet, knowing that speaking up would not "increase the integrity of the Universe". When that period was over I rested some and quietly read and worked on the yard, beginning to feel peaceful, loving and contemplative once again. I am pleased that I felt my feelings and made the choices I did - a good day.