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Thanks to life

Life and awareness

As I sit and write today my attention keeps being drawn to the little puddle that is being formed on the patio outside the door. The rain is falling at a steady rate, drumming on the glass and roof, each raindrop forming a ripple of perfect circles in the puddle, the sky reflected in its surface. Simple,  absolute perfection.

You may wonder if I have gone a little strange staring at a puddle and wonder why I make such a big deal of it, but it is oh so easy to miss in our quest for something grander, something bigger.  So easy to by-pass in our striving, plotting and planning.

Simple present moment awareness, I missed it for years, it passed me by.

Even when I started this mindful exploration of life and journey into mindfulness and meditation, my mind played a little trick to push me out of the present moment.  It showed me a little snap shot picture of what it thought life would be like in the future, when “I had got it”.

A calm mind, bliss, peace, no stress, oh how wonderful it would be.

Many times I wondered why it wasn’t working. Many times I nearly gave up. Many times I felt uncomfortable.

I staked my happiness on some future ideal, which was just an illusion.

My practice changed when I settled  into  fully accepting what is here, right now. Be that to get rid of my racing mind, stress, bliss, peace, whatever, I stopped chasing it.

It is subtle but made a huge difference.  I stopped meditating to become different.

We meditate to be who we already are, to be right here, right now, awake and vital, our natural self, nothing added, nothing taken away.

Swallowing a bitter pill

This can be a bitter pill to swallow. I know we sometimes desperately want to change, to escape from the present moment but we find the harder we push it away, the harder it pushes back.

The truth is, there is no other moment, this is all we have. This is our work, right here, right now.

Not always comfortable, not always easy, but when we turn our attention to the present moment, it can open us up to moments of wonder and beauty.

When we make this subtle change of acceptance we can start to be satisfied with just being.  For me it was like a huge weight lifted off my shoulders, a big sigh of relief.

We may find that the things we chase such as happiness, peace, a calm mind etc.. we no longer have to go out looking for them, they come to us.

Which takes me back to that little puddle, simple present moment awareness.

Our minds can race away but in this moment is a little bit of peace, a space where we can rest a little while…..

Lets rest here a while, in this moment,
in this space between stimulus and response
a space of peace.
With nowhere else to go but right here, right now, this is the only moment we have.
There is no-one else we need to become other than who we are right now, right here.
Simple awareness, simple perfection,
sometimes the most profound is found in the most simple.
Thanks to life
Thanks to life

Thanks to life

Life and awareness

As I sit and write today my attention keeps being drawn to the little puddle that is being formed on the patio outside the door. The rain is falling at a steady rate, drumming on the glass and roof, each raindrop forming a ripple of perfect circles in the puddle, the sky reflected in its surface. Simple,  absolute perfection.

You may wonder if I have gone a little strange staring at a puddle and wonder why I make such a big deal of it, but it is oh so easy to miss in our quest for something grander, something bigger.  So easy to by-pass in our striving, plotting and planning.

Simple present moment awareness, I missed it for years, it passed me by.

Even when I started this mindful exploration of life and journey into mindfulness and meditation, my mind played a little trick to push me out of the present moment.  It showed me a little snap shot picture of what it thought life would be like in the future, when “I had got it”.

A calm mind, bliss, peace, no stress, oh how wonderful it would be.

Many times I wondered why it wasn’t working. Many times I nearly gave up. Many times I felt uncomfortable.

I staked my happiness on some future ideal, which was just an illusion.

My practice changed when I settled  into  fully accepting what is here, right now. Be that to get rid of my racing mind, stress, bliss, peace, whatever, I stopped chasing it.

It is subtle but made a huge difference.  I stopped meditating to become different.

We meditate to be who we already are, to be right here, right now, awake and vital, our natural self, nothing added, nothing taken away.

Swallowing a bitter pill

This can be a bitter pill to swallow. I know we sometimes desperately want to change, to escape from the present moment but we find the harder we push it away, the harder it pushes back.

The truth is, there is no other moment, this is all we have. This is our work, right here, right now.

Not always comfortable, not always easy, but when we turn our attention to the present moment, it can open us up to moments of wonder and beauty.

When we make this subtle change of acceptance we can start to be satisfied with just being.  For me it was like a huge weight lifted off my shoulders, a big sigh of relief.

We may find that the things we chase such as happiness, peace, a calm mind etc.. we no longer have to go out looking for them, they come to us.

Which takes me back to that little puddle, simple present moment awareness.

Our minds can race away but in this moment is a little bit of peace, a space where we can rest a little while…..

Lets rest here a while, in this moment,
in this space between stimulus and response
a space of peace.
With nowhere else to go but right here, right now, this is the only moment we have.
There is no-one else we need to become other than who we are right now, right here.
Simple awareness, simple perfection,
sometimes the most profound is found in the most simple.
Thanks to life
Thanks to life

Surrender to the call for deep rest

“In the silence it will appear, wait, be patient, all will be revealed”

I don’t mind admitting that this time of year usually leaves me feeling exhausted.  December and the beginning of January is the busiest time of year at work, I am usually leaving the house long before the sun has risen and returning long after it has set.

Previous years have seen me battle this busyness, pushing away the tiredness, denying it, avoiding it, wishing it away.  Sure enough, the more I pushed it away the harder it pushed back!   Sleep and rest would become impossible as my mind raced with thoughts of the future and regrets about the past, little stories playing over and over, a sure sign of a tired mind.

So often we try to run away from our emotional states, we run and run and think  we have got away from them, only to turn a corner and see them standing right there in front of us, we may repeat this time and time again.  I know I have, it took me years to realise maybe there is a different way.

What if we stop running and pause.  What if we turn to our emotions as if they are an old friend, helping us, telling us what we need to hear, showing us the way, pointing us to our own inner voice, our guide, our intuition.

A few days ago I turned and greeted the tiredness, I opened the door and invited it in, I surrendered to its call for deep rest. I gave it permission to be here, thanked it for telling me what I needed.  In that acceptance something new began to form, a sense of peace, a place of contentment.

That night, I had the deepest sleep, a good ten hours solid.  I woke up to the feeling that my mind had been filing things away all night, clearing and sorting.  I felt fresh and deeply rested.

Sometimes our emotional states are trying to tell us something, they wont let up until we listen, until we fall silent, until we pause.

A guide to deep rest

  1. It sounds strange but give yourself permission to do nothing.  Often we find an excuse to run, to carry on.  There is always something to do, somewhere to go, but right now give yourself permission to stop, to breathe, to pause.
  2. Sit in quiet meditation for 10 to 15 minutes a day, this is your time.  you don’t need to practice a certain technique, just sit there, be aware of your breath coming in and going out.  Allow whatever thoughts, feelings or emotions to be there, you don’t need to change them, right now you don’t need to do anything.  Allow thoughts and feelings to come and go.  If you find yourself getting lost in a thought or stuck in an emotion, come back to the breath, back to just sitting.
  3. Say no to those unnecessary commitments, give yourself some space, some time to reflect, some time to pause.
  4. Sleep.  There are some great guided sleep meditations on the free App insight timer. Give your mind the deep restorative sleep it needs to recover from the busyness of life.
  5. Accept yourself just as you are.  You are amazing and unique, its okay to feel low but be kind to yourself, be your own best friend.  Be gentle.

 

“Gently, Gently, somehow the spirit of gentleness tells us what we need.  With a gentle strength, a gentle courage, we see our thoughts unmasked.  Like the clouds in the sky and the ripples in the water, they come, they go”

The Mind Shed

 

A break in the cloud

A little break in the cloud,

just enough to see the light beyond,

right now, right here, that is enough.

Enough to slow things down,

Enough to open our hearts,

Enough to root us here in the present moment, to make us feel alive.

We can hold it all gently in awareness,

Our thoughts unmasked, seen for what they are, just thoughts.

Like the clouds floating by in the sky, never still, constantly changing,

If only we let them go on their way.

Underneath is a beautiful space, a quiet stillness, a bright light.

A Little break in the cloud

It is enough, it is all we sometimes need.

Roger Hunt

Thank you for reading my words, I wish you a wonderful holiday.
Roger x

 

Time and patience

“Have patience, plant your feet firmly on the ground. Wait for the tide to ebb away and there you will be, where you have always been but you didn’t know it. Right here on the shore, unwavering, happy and more alive than ever “

Journal entry December 2015

This journal entry always makes me smile.  Odd because it was a particularly painful period of my journey into mindfulness but it was as if the answer was calling out to me at the time, wait, be patient, all will be well.

Mindfulness and meditation can be pretty difficult at times. When I first started practicing, I desperately wanted to get rid of pain, anxiety and stress.  I thought that I had the answer to all of this.  I would sit in meditation for 20 minutes a day and all my dreams would come true.  Little did I know.

Around about the time of this journal entry, I was really struggling to meditate, my legs would go stiff, I would get cramp and it was a test of will to carry on with it, my mind completely distracted.

Luckily there was something inside telling me to just be patient, to stick with it, that this is a lesson, there is something to be learnt from sticking with it.  I put my trust into the practice and let it do its work.

It is so beautiful, so vibrant, so vital, I find it hard to put into words at times.   Mindfulness and meditation can turn your world around if you just allow it.

It has taught me that my mind is chaotic at times and that is ok, that’s just how it is.  It also has taught me that my mind also wants the chance to be peaceful and to examine what it is like to just be at peace, to just breathe or to just listen to sounds. Simple and beautiful.

It has taught me that I am stronger than I think I am.  If the proverbial hits the fan, whether it be in meditation or in everyday life, I am much more comfortable now just letting it be, to just stick with  it and be patient and wait for the tide to ebb away.

My initial desire for the practice to rid me of all the aches and pains of life  like some sort of end goal, well the practice turned that all upside down.  It has helped me to see that the aches and pains are all part of life.  Anxiety and stress still come, but my relationship to them has changed.  I am not clinging on to them as much or trying to push them away. There is less of a battle going on, they come and go like clouds rolling by in the sky.

Occasionally they will take over and  I find myself in the old spiral downwards, but the difference is I can can see it happening and can take steps to come back, a kindness and compassion kicks in.  It is the practice at work.

My regular readers will know this, but over time the story gets quieter, my posts have probably got shorter, things get simpler.

In truth I have found it harder to write about this year, there is a simple beauty in this practice that words cannot adequately provide.  It is completely experiential.  Truth and wisdom emerges from the silence. If there is a constant narrative going on, or lots of chatter going on in my mind, I know I need to practice some more.

So the end of a year, I thank the practice for the things it has taught me, the things it allows me to see so clearly.  There is more to come I know, always will be, this is a practice that will stay with me for life.

“If the tide comes back in, you will always know now what is underneath.  Plant your feet firmly on the ground, be patient, what is underneath those waves, beneath the commotion, is something quite beautiful”

Journal entry December 2017

 

 

Self care – meditation

“Time stands still best in moments that look suspiciously like ordinary life”

Brian Andreas

Lets rest here for a while and watch the sun rise across the land.

Lets just be here for a while, a little rest, a little bit of self-care.

Feel your feet on the ground

Breathe.

It is okay, you are alive, vital, present.

Open the senses, what can you see, smell and hear.

Lets linger for a while, no rush, no battles, no pushing or pulling.

We can let it all be for now.

Sometimes we just need to come back home, back to our true nature.

The tension in the belly, the closing of the heart, all little signs telling us to return back home, back to the breath, back to just this moment.

Watch the sun rise across the land, the mist rolling across the fields, the day dawning and unfolding.

Listen to the sounds, the birds singing, the distant traffic, the sound of your heart beating. So easy to miss in the busyness of life.

So often it feels like we are being pushed along out of control.

Feel your feet rooted into the earth, grounding you, supporting you.

Feel your breath, the rise, the fall, in and out.

There is a quiet stillness here, we can just observe it all with a gentle curiosity.

A space where we can just pause and rest.

A space between the stimulus and response.

A space where we can dwell deeply in the present moment and feel truly alive.

It is right here, amidst the chaos, it always was and always will be.

Rest in this self-care, soothe your soul and replenish your energy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Underneath the knowledge

To discover anything new, we have to start on a journey.  So often that journey starts with searching for facts, knowledge, belief, anything that tells us this is the right thing to be doing and that we are heading in the right direction.

I remember when I first started out on this journey of meditation and mindfulness, I was eager for knowledge, eager to know more and more, to fill my mind with facts.  It was like this for the first few years of practice.

There was nothing wrong with this, it got me started on a new path but I did start to notice something.  As I started to fill my mind with more and more facts and knowledge, I started to close off from anything new. The accumulated knowledge started to form my experience and started to act as an impediment to anything new forming.

Sometimes, in order to create we have to destroy.  To take down brick by brick the walls we build, seems counter productive. To seek the truth, to see the true reality this is what we have to do sometimes.  What is left is something underneath the accumulated facts and knowledge, something  that depends on non of this stuff, beautiful simplicity.

Maybe this is it, just a continuous building and destroying, a constant cycle. I know less now than when I started and that to me is just beautiful, for underneath all of that stuff is a natural stillness, a peace and happiness that is nothing to do with the accumulation of knowledge.  Ordinary, honest and genuine. A true reality that is underneath the story the mind tells us and the self projection that knowledge can create.

I leave you with this Haiku from Basho, which sums it up. Beautiful simplicity, life in all its vitality, incredible in its ordinariness. I wish you a wonderful week ahead.

“In the dark forest a berry drops, the sound of water.  On a withered branch a crow is perched, in the autumn evening”

Basho

 

 

 

 

Underneath the knowledge

To discover anything new, we have to start on a journey.  So often that journey starts with searching for facts, knowledge, belief, anything that tells us this is the right thing to be doing and that we are heading in the right direction.

I remember when I first started out on this journey of meditation and mindfulness, I was eager for knowledge, eager to know more and more, to fill my mind with facts.  It was like this for the first few years of practice.

There was nothing wrong with this, it got me started on a new path but I did start to notice something.  As I started to fill my mind with more and more facts and knowledge, I started to close off from anything new. The accumulated knowledge started to form my experience and started to act as an impediment to anything new forming.

Sometimes, in order to create we have to destroy.  To take down brick by brick the walls we build, seems counter productive. To seek the truth, to see the true reality this is what we have to do sometimes.  What is left is something underneath the accumulated facts and knowledge, something  that depends on non of this stuff, beautiful simplicity.

Maybe this is it, just a continuous building and destroying, a constant cycle. I know less now than when I started and that to me is just beautiful, for underneath all of that stuff is a natural stillness, a peace and happiness that is nothing to do with the accumulation of knowledge.  Ordinary, honest and genuine. A true reality that is underneath the story the mind tells us and the self projection that knowledge can create.

I leave you with this Haiku from Basho, which sums it up. Beautiful simplicity, life in all its vitality, incredible in its ordinariness. I wish you a wonderful week ahead.

“In the dark forest a berry drops, the sound of water.  On a withered branch a crow is perched, in the autumn evening”

Basho

 

 

 

 

Let the battle end

This moment

I look out of the window, across the rooftops.

The sun slowly sinks, setting the sky on fire with its orange hue.

As the week draws to a close, part of me wants to reflect on what has been and what is to come, part of me wants to be right here in this moment.

The past and the future all flicker through my awareness, vying for attention.

I look at my feet. Oh good, they are still there firmly rooted to the spot, I am here.  I look out of the window again, the sun sinking further.

It is okay, it is okay.

I remember we can hold it all lightly.  Just thoughts passing through.

There was a time, I could spend days and days lost in the past. Re-living hours and weeks. Meanwhile the sun sank as it is doing now, without me seeing it.

There was a time, I could spend days and days in the future, worrying, planning, making up scenarios, playing them all out in my mind.  Meanwhile the sun sank as it is doing now without me seeing it.

Something has changed

Backwards and forwards my mind goes.

Like I was talking gently to an old friend I have known for a long time, I address my mind.

“its okay my friend you can look back, you can look forward but let’s try it here for a while, here in this moment.  Rest here in this moment for a while, watch the sun set, look at the colours, take it all in, breathe gently my friend”.  

No matter how mindful we are, our mind will go back and forwards, it will wander, why battle to stop this.

Ending the battle

There was a time, I thought I must not be doing this right. My mind is still wandering.

Haha, who was I to think I could stop the mind from wandering.

I know (I thought), I will put the mind on a tight leash and try to spend every moment in the present.

Did that work, umm no way.   Layer, upon layer of thought would be built, this isn’t working, I am not doing this right, turned into I am useless, turned into lets dwell in the past and so on and so on.

So lets cut the mind some slack, give it a long leash.

Whoosh, of it went, back and forwards, ruminating, thinking.

The middle way

So maybe there is something in the middle, a middle length leash.

We can observe the mind wander, and gently bring it back, wander again and gently bring it back, wander again and gently bring it back, over and over. Just enough slack but not too much.

No battle, just a gentle but firm awareness of what is going on. There is some peace here.

This is the practice, the middle way, gentle but firm.

Forever changing

So here we are. The end of another week, we can look back, we can look forward, it really is okay.

We don’t have to stay in the past or stay in the future.

There is somewhere else, right here, right now.

Gentle but firm, come back.

Plant your feet firmly into the floor, look out take it all in.

Know that there is some peace right here in this moment. Let it be what it is. Know that this moment is forever changing, evolving, moving, like the sun setting on the horizon.

Let the battle end.