Jul 25 2014

Celebrate You–Celebrate Summer

Published by Cathie under Main

“Hold fast the time! Guard it, watch over it, every hour, every minute. Unregarded it slips away…Hold every moment sacred. Give each clarity and meaning, each the weight of…awareness, each its time and due fulfillment.” Thomas Mann

The end of July. We are in the middle of the summer season; although I’ve observed the sun is shifting. It’s darker in the morning. The nights have been crisper. We just came through a warm spell where everyone complained about the heat. While it is 30 degrees warmer inside an RV, we’re not shoveling snow! But people like to complain. I think it’s part of the human condition. I know a person who always starts a conversation complaining about the weather. It’s too hot. It’s too cold. It’s windy.

If you find yourself complaining about the weather why not enjoy where you are at this moment in time? Celebrate the long, lazy days of summer. Looking for a few good ideas: Go swimming. Walk barefoot in the grass or sand as much as you can. Sip lemonade under a large tree while reading a good book, you know one of those summer reads. Take your art project outside. Go canoeing, paddle boarding, kayaking. Have a picnic at the lake. Go camping. Ride your bike. Tonight stargaze with your beloved. Enjoy a juicy peach, ice cream, or a snow cone. Practice yoga outside. Meditate outside. Fire up the grill and enjoy fresh grilled vegetables drizzled with olive oil.

Learn to love where you are. When you complain or say you “hate” something, you draw that energy toward you. Make it your mission to love everything and celebrate the season and YOU.

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Jul 23 2014

Bear Learns to Contain Himself

Published by Cathie under Main

It was several days later. Bear and the old man sat outside atop the mountain. He contemplated the old man’s words. He was working on his anger and his pride. He had learned from the tribe and his elders, and now the old man wanted him to rise above them. How does he do that? This is hard, Bear thought as he breathed in and out, taking the air down deep into his belly like he had been instructed, holding it for a few seconds, then exhaling.

“When your mind is still fewer things float to the top to distract you,” the old man said. Bear glanced at the old man, who was smiling broadly. “Your meditation sit is much better. I don’t see your energy bouncing off the trees and rocks. You are learning to contain yourself.”

Bear felt a swell of pride, but then remembered pride was one of the poisons of the soul. He bowed his head in humility. “I am trying.”

The old man grinned. “I see you are learning. I am proud of you. We will discuss the last poison, but before we do can you remember what we’ve discussed so far?”

“Well, Bear began slowly. “We discussed ignorance, which doesn’t mean stupid like I thought.” He remembered being called stupid by some of his friends at school.

“Good. What does it mean?”

“It means not knowing your true nature. Ignorance paves the way for delusion and believing something that is false.”

“Do you remember how to become not ignorant?”

“Yes,” Bear said, feeling empowered for the first time in his life because he was successful with learning. “Through the practice of loving kindness and compassion to myself and others I can turn ignorance into nectar that feeds my potential for true happiness.”

“Very good,” the old man said. “What was the next poison?”

“Anger, and I struggled with anger because I was very angry at the human who killed my father.”

“That is to be expected,” the old man said. “But you need to forgive because when you practice forgiveness you actually forgive yourself. Just because you forgive someone doesn’t make what that person did correct. Forgiveness frees you from carrying around all that dead energy.”

Bear noticed he felt lighted. “I did let it float away like you suggested, but I still miss my father.”

“And you will every day of your life, but you will meet again. I promise. I remember your father struggling with anger as a young bear.” He laughed. “It got him in a great deal of trouble. What was next?”

Bear sighed. “Pride, which means I thought I was better than others. And jealousy.” He paused. “That’s when I was jealous of something someone else had or did.”

“Very good,” the old man said. “The last poison is desire or attachment.”

“Isn’t it good to want things?”

“Yes, it is. But not to become attached to things. All life is in a constant state of change and flux. Everything will change. Learn to let things go and don’t hold on to anything too tightly. Holding on too tightly will make it slip through your fingers.”

Bear thought about all the things he had tried to hold on to–his father for one–and how he had slipped through his fingers. “When you want things and you get them it never seems to really satisfy you. There’s always something else that you want,” he mused.

“That is the condition of the physical world,” the old man said gently. “When you learn to weave inner stillness into your daily life you will break the feeling between feeling tones and cravings. Be mindful of doing things to get attention and praise. Instead do them because they are needed or right. Keep your desires few and you will live a fulfilled life.”

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Jul 21 2014

What Is Like A Smelly Fart?

Published by Cathie under Main

“What is like a smelly fart, that, although invisible is obvious? One’s owns faults, that are precisely as obvious as the effort made to hide them.” His Holiness the 7th Dalai Lama

When we last left Bear he was dealing with his anger issues:

“You have to give up the need to punish those who have hurt you,” the old man counseled. “The desire to get even will hold you back. Life is a journey. There are always opportunities for growth and learning. It is important to fill the hole in your heart by taking in the good that life presents. No matter how big your own hole is, each day hands you a few blessings. It is important that you teach yourself to pay attention to the good things in life, not the negative things. Remember when we discussed pride?”

Bear blushed. “I seem to have a problem with that.”

The old man laughed. “Most young bears do. It’s part of growing up. Pride’s that feeling that you want to be on the top of the heap. Pride makes you feel that you are better than others. To keep pride in check, be mindful of doing things to get attention and praise. Do them because they are what need to be done and what is right. Believing that you need to be special in order to deserve love and support sets a high bar for self-criticism and feelings of inadequacy and worthlessness if you don’t get the recognition your ego craves.”

“I will work on that,” Bear promised.

“That’s all I ask. Now, let’s discuss jealousy or envy.”

Bear scratched his head in confusion. “I don’t think that pertains to me.”

The old man laughed. “Are you sure? Did you ever resent another bear because he had something you thought was lacking in you?”

“What do you mean?”

“Let me try and explain it another way.” The old man smiled gently. “Did you ever wish that you ran faster or were smarter than other bears you know? You want that for yourself, but you don’t want to dedicate the time working for it. You want to take it away from that bear because it’s not fair he has it and you don’t–even if he worked for it.”

Bear thought about the old man’s words. “Yes,” he said sadly.

“Do you want to talk about it?”

Bear looked away. “I’m ashamed. There’s this bear who was the smartest in class and he also was the fastest runner. All the girls chased him. They all wanted him.” He paused. “They never looked at me.”

“If you want to be smart, study hard. If you want to be a fast runner get out there and run every day and become the fastest you can, but it is wrong to be jealous of someone who works to earn those traits. Anything worth doing well takes practice, but you have to decide what is important to you and then make the decision to work for it.” The old man placed his arm around Bear. “Let me teach you how to make a cup of tea.”

Bear laughed. “That’s easy. I know how to do that.”

“No, to really make a cup of tea. Come and learn.” The old man guided Bear to the stove. “Now listen carefully.” He picked up the kettle and filled it with water. “Put the kettle on the stove. Concentrate on the kettle. Let the water boil, thinking only of the water while breathing deeply and regularly.”

Bear followed the old man’s instruction, but he thought it was a great deal of effort for a cup of tea.

“Get the cups,” the old man said. “Think only of the cups.” The kettle whistled. “Pour the water, thinking only of the water.”

Bear followed the instructions and handed the old man a cup of tea. He smiled. “Drink the tea and think only of the tea.”

Bear sipped his tea. Gosh, this enlightenment stuff was hard work, but the tea was delicious.

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