The Perfect Cup of Coffee

The power of our mind to search for perfection has been unleashed with all the possibilities contained with the Web search engines.

Within seconds of conceiving of the desire for the best cup of coffee we can surround ourselves with myriads of promised perfections.

That is how the mind words in default mode: we search for happiness. It’s a never ending search, until we choose to end it.

We want control of life.
It can not be controlled.

An Olympian can spend her entire life for one ultimate performance, yet slip on the ice. Her performance always happens now, only now.

The so called perfect performance we will play over and over in slow motion on TV or in our minds. Idealizing it.

Yet our ultimate performance is always happening NOW. That is all we have and the circumstances can not be controlled.

Today’s sales presentation may have been practiced for weeks, yet it happens now, whether the coffee is cold, the Boss is in a bad mood or the projector fails

Or everything falls into place.

We can train ourselves in meditation to let go and as Ram Dass said ‘Be Here Now’ and live this moment

Boredom

When we can be with ourselves, a little more, don’t have to create some kind of stimulation for ourselves, we may feel boredom.

It is fantastic!

We are enjoying fully everything around us
seeing it as it is

Uncolored be our desires
blue is blue
frogs croak
we make love
eat potatoes
Feeling butter melt.

Open, Spacious, Relaxed-Emotions, Emotions, Emotions

Our culture happily gives most favored nation status to ‘Emotions’.
We celebrate the exquisite highs and lows of our emotions
and search high and low for whatever brings them to us:first kiss, chocolate, loss of weight, recognition, ‘perfect’ Vacations, praise

And

do whatever we can to avoid: getting the burnt cookie, losing, shame, bad haircuts, introducing mad Uncle Festus.

It is exhausting work to stay in the ‘Zone’ of happiness.
For a long time I looked into this. I found out it is bogus, an illusion that can not be maintained for long.

Emotions are simply thoughts.

We can let them come and go loosely
As any thought.

We can attempt to madly hop from one good thought to the next
But it won’t work for very long.

The delicious lobster
once eaten is gone.
Eat another
It will be gone also.

Get a promotion,
an award
the recognition falls away pretty quickly.

If our ’emotion’ thoughts are focused on anger
and these thoughts are closely following one after another:
We’ve just been fired, diagnosed with an illness, lost all our money, jilted.
then I acknowledge what is happening, try to feel it completely, really focus on it rather than try to dodge it.
and then let it go.
For myself, I work on creating space around the Emotion.
Often by going outside, often by walking or getting some kind of exercise, perhaps arranging flowers or baking.

The simple awareness that is us
can just be.

Post Meditation

I once heard a long time practitioner say that he had just realized he firewalled his meditation practice and study from the rest of his life.

The daily practice of meditation and insight is not some sort of hobby or entertainment.

In our meditation we can begin to see how our preconceptions of the world create our world. We can begin to look at that and work with that.

We can begin to see that our circumstances are much more workable than they seem. It’s not that everything is all soft and fuzzy like a teddy bear, but that life is a lot more spacious. Our world is not as concrete hard as it seems and we do not have to exhaust our mind thinking it is so.

We do not have to cling, avoid or ignore as much as we do.

Impermanence

One of the basic tenets of Buddhism is impermance- everything passes.
Our thoughts arise then fade, then a new thought arises. Where did the thought come from, where does it go to? In actuality, no one knows.

Chasing after the fundamental particle of existence? A big joke, for everything that exists is made of parts.

Moment by moment this life passes. We are powerless to stop that. The most powerful, most famous, most wealthy, most connected; all bow before Death.

The most beautiful chinaware will eventually scratch, chip, break, be put up for sale, given away, forgotten.

A popular Buddhist saying:

Good, bad, happy, sad
All things vanish
Like the imprint
Of a bird in the sky.

Even when we meditate
I was taught
Only 25% of my attention was to be on my breath.
To touch in,
and then let go.

To be fully present
then let go
fully present
then let go

Over and over

When we die
we are fully present
then we let go

into the next…

Devotion

As a Buddhist, I work at paying attention to what is going on in my mind. I may not always have the full picture of what’s going on, but I’m paying attention.

Devotion is something of an old fashioned word, but it applies here, on this journey. What we set our mind on, what we fill it with, is how we are training our mind.

Like the leaves of the geranium growing in my living room, I point myself to the sun of the teachings, to working with them.

I hope you find some time today to look at your mind and work with it.

Cactus Spines/ Not ‘not’ just ‘no’

This morning, on the coast in Cape Elizabeth, Maine it’s 30 degrees out.
I pulled back the heavy insulated drapes to let in the mornings light and snagged a potted cactus and sent it tumbling.

Jumping out of the pot, it made a leap for freedom, stones, dirt, pieces of cactus cascading behind files, lamps, down to the carpet.

It’s spines are fine like fiberglass insulation, every touch leaves some embedded in your hand.

After broom and vacuum, repotting and watering, back to normal.
My hands full of little itchy, embedded spines.

It is import to realize that we can not identify ourselves by saying ‘I am this’, ‘I am a….’
Nor can we say ‘I am not this’ or ‘ I am not a….’

All these listings are handy in our day to day world, yet ultimately take us nowhere. And they are very necessary for our life and livelihood.

However, we are simply ‘no’.

We don’t exist in opposition to anything else, or in contrast to anything else.

Like little spines in my fingers, my mind takes every thought and attempts to conjure ‘me’. Big, healthy, manly, literate ‘me’.

Being nothing, ‘no thing’ gives freedom.

It takes tremendous amounts of energy for us to continually sustain our persona, to sustain ‘me’.

It takes us far, far away. Far from being present.

Itchy little spines. I want to scratch my nose. I’ll have to use a q tip!