Slice of pie, a la mode

I have always thought it a good idea to be humble and act with humility. I’m proud to say that, on occasion, I may have approximated either a humble act or a sense of humility; but, I’m not positive about that.

I have however, felt humiliated any number of times. Especially during the times leading up to sobriety and a fair number of times in the ensuing years. In musing on these things this morning I realized that the difference between humility and humiliation is that one tends to approve of humility and also have strong antipathy to being humiliated, so far so natural. But, what I thought today was that the difference between these states of being/feeling is that we seek and try to cultivate humility (i.e. being humble), but hate being in situations were we feel we are being forced into learning something that may be humbling to us.

When the opportunity to be humble is presented in the form of a seemingly “outside” situation or circumstance, I tend to bristle, complain, argue, behave petulantly, and have even fought at times; rather than see the circumstance as a confluence of events that may be for my own good. A teaching moment, yet in resistance I call it humiliation.      The unwanted.

No, no, not Now!

Oh, god! Not now!!

Arghhhhh!!!                          Humiliation.

Acceptance of

Things as they are.  

What is good to know?

What is good to do?            Humility.

Hope for the best.

Expect nothing.

Do the possible.

How can I help?                   Humble.

 

singing in the cemetery…

Nice hot 4th of July in Walla Walla, WA. There is a smallish group of Buddhist leaning folks here that meet weekly for a meditation and sangha get together. Seems to be about 25 or 30 people that are active in the sense that I’ve seen them at the meditation group or at events they have held. So far my experience of them has been a big yard sale to raise money for the rental of their meeting location and to help support an effort to bring meditation/dharma into the Washington State Prison, which is located here.

Most recently I was kindly invited to the home of a couple in that sangha for a 4th of July pot-luck gathering. There were about 16-18 people there and it was a delight. Good folks, good conversation and a few sparklers being lit as the evening darkened. Someone said that it had been many years since they had held a sparkler and I realized I don’t think I ever had. My little friends and I thought it more celebratory to throw .22 caliber rounds at the pavement to get them to fire off.

Kind of a Darwinian thing, in retrospect.

In the mornings I’ve gotten into the practice of going for about an hour-long walk in a Cemetery near my house. Large, well maintained and founded 1853; so lots of pioneers, settlers, immigrants and the history of the region is written out in the tombstones. Of course like all histories it deals primarily with the culture that dominates, nevertheless it is a “living” story of humans and how we deal with death conceptually; in fear, worry, doubt, hope, assurance, insistence, punishment, reward and sometimes all of those elements together in the swirl of our karma’s.

This morning there were lots of joggers, even some biggish groups of them, and bicyclists and other singular strollers, as well as the maintenance crews doing the mowing etc: During one very quiet spell I heard a young woman’s voice singing and talking in a higher pitched tone and then I saw her, walking down the lane I was walking along, pushing a baby carriage fully equipped  for a long morning stroll; snacks, drinks, a little music (Nice mellow big band jazz, of which I approved.) and with a baby in it.

My heart bounced in Joy!

I had been listening to a Dharma talk in the first half of my walk given, by a good spiritual friend, to the Sangha in Sandpoint a couple of years ago. This talk was part of a series he did on the “Exhortations to the Dying and Dead”, which is a very important aspect and integral part of all Buddhist teaching, irrespective of sect or lineage.

Suddenly, or so it might seem, I was shown the totality of my experience and once again, the benefit of having a context for my life. Not the meaning, but the purpose of it.

The open circle we are not stuck in.

As I passed the young mother and her baby, I said, “A beautiful morning made glorious by a mother singing to her baby in a cemetery.” I often speak out of turn, and sometimes I really can’t help it.

She said, “Oh. Thank you.”

The wood is green then dries.

Used for good it burns as Fire.

Ashes left, fire gone. No

Sign of wood; ashes blow.

No fire now, it was just Time.

We pass through and change.

 

Da Nile of Apnea, is not a River…

Summer. The days in the 90’s the nights in the 60’s. Good sleeping weather when I sleep. For as long as I can remember I haven’t slept well, three or four hours a night with some napping in wee hours of the morn’ and that’s it. There was a time when I was bothered by that and would try to “power sleep”, trying to force sleep. Never worked. I’ve seen all sorts of sleep experts and about 20 years ago when “sleep disorders” officially became a “thing” I was evaluated.

One doctor explained that he would check me into a hospital and I would have different things attached to my body and my sleep pattern would be monitored by experts from an adjoining room. I repeated what I’d told him fifteen minutes earlier; that I only slept three or so hours at night in my own bed, and can’t sleep at all in hotels or the homes of others. He then said that they could send a team and their equipment to my house ( 2 small bedrooms 900 sq. feet.), and someone would be in my bedroom with the equipment monitoring my sleep pattern.  At that point I gave up and commenced to explore some alternative thinking about the conditions of sleeplessness.

Sleep disorders do exist and they can exact a heavy toll physically and mentally/emotionally and there are many effective methods to help those suffering from the rather wide range of sleep problems that present in our modern times.

However, I began to see my condition as partaking of a more spiritual aspect and as can happen, presenting in a physical way.   I know, I know; or the subtle ways of madness.

At some point, I started looking at sleep as a spiritual practice, I had read some Buddhist writings about the night-time as being the beginning of the meditation “day”. So, that bade me to go to bed and start to practice a body awareness and some scripture recitations and mindful mantra’s and to just be willing to relax and see what happens. That was to become a source of getting some sleep the majority of nights and a reduction of stress when I got up for an hour or two, or three; and just relaxed, perhaps read, or meditated a little, or sometimes worried (If warranted, sometimes just to keep my chops up), or just putter around and write nonsense, (Harrumphh!) until I felt tired again. Then I usually got an hour or two of  more sleep/rest.

There’s always that bit of a niggle that my sleep habits are a also a good explanation (excuse?) for the more glaring personality traits I may exhibit from time to time. You know, charming, adorable, even keeled, super knowledgeable about Everything, and few others (I just can’t think of right now.)

Nevertheless, seriously, I have experienced that the less I worry about sleeping, my chances of getting some increases. I’ve also found that just laying down for 15 to 20 minutes anytime during the day and just relaxing a little, allows the mind to refresh itself. I know that’s awfully glib, but I’m confident that if any one tries this, oh, say thirty or forty times,within as many days, one may begin to see what that’s like.

It’s that whole “Intentional” thing that was all the rage a year or two ago. It seems that a lot of good ideas or small techniques become a thing for while and then they fade away. Most people try them a few times, or once,  and if the results aren’t quick and dramatic then on to the next new Thang.

So I suggest to lay or sit down and relax with the intention of letting oneself and one’s mind “just be” and to do this maybe 15-20 times and perhaps one’s own mind will direct one into a suitable method. I used to do that when I got home from work, just laid down and watched the mind reorganize itself, by itself, and I was always refreshed.

Trusting and allowing

Our minds and bodies are actually designed to help across a broad spectrum of the life experience, without our direct input, if we just start out with a little time and a small intention to just be still and quiet, at rest, but with dignity, for a short while and the small natural healing just…

 

Awareness don’t have  

No “*” in it

but,

Neither does the Brooklyn

Br*dge, so get 

Off that H*gh horse,

’cause there’s no

“*” in Me.