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A Night Owl’s Meditation Lesson for Morning People

no wormI’m not a morning person. Unless I’m the first one up when I’m in the great outdoors, marvelling at a sunrise, watching mist rise from a placid lake, and listening to the first call of the loons.

But that rarely happens.

So, I’m basically just not a morning person.

I am a night owl. The still darkness is rich ground to cultivate ideas and search out creative genius.

We all have a delicate balance of extroverted and introverted needs, and as a fence rider on almost every element of the Myers-Briggs assessment, I need as much time alone as I do surrounded by other fascinating human beings.

Morning people often insinuate that I’m wasting the day. They gently suggest that perhaps I’m a tad depressed, lazy, unmotivated, or accomplishing less than my potential. Morning people are wrong.

My very naïve beginnings at meditation have developed throughout the years, and my practice is now something I am aware of every day.

Waking slowly, at my own pace allows me to be quiet with the thoughts that come and go from my mind.

It’s easy to be aware of all of the thoughts that come to mind as your head is on the pillow waiting for sleep to wrap her arms around you. Unless you’re dog-tired, thoughts come fast. You can’t help but be aware of their presence in the quiet darkness of night-time.

Morning thoughts are different. These are the thoughts that come out quietly, like a hungry stray hoping for a leftover morsel. They slink quietly into consciousness and scatter as soon as you turn to thoughts of preparing for the day.

be the awarenessThis morning as I woke,I listened to the heart-breaking howl of the neighbours oft neglected dog.  The irony is that if some of my thoughts were sounds, they would have sounded like that baleful howling.

In the silence of my fluffy duvets, snuggled warm and safe, I had time to reach out and hold each of those thoughts gently, examine them, and then let them go.  At peace with my own self, I felt prepared to face the day, and share it with whatever the world had prepared for me.

My not-a-morning-person mornings are a simple pleasure, and a quality of life indulgence.  I have the peace to let my emotions and thoughts speak their truth, and the time to gently make peace with everything, both good and not so good. This is the value of meditation, practice, and the awareness of personal presence.

 

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The Prick at the End of the Needle

"Blessed are the hearts that can bend, for they can never be broken." ~Albert Camus~
“Blessed are the hearts that can bend, for they can never be broken.”
~Albert Camus~

Most days I go out into the world feeling terrific, like the world is just waiting to unveil some wonderful treat.

Imagine your spirit as a  red helium balloon floating across the sky – that’s the kind of energy I try to show up with every day.

Some days though, I run into a prick that pops that soaring balloon and leaves my spirit withered and spent in the dirt,  feeling a little  slimy on the inside with the shine worn off. I know I’m not alone.

Often there is one person out there who is the prick to your balloon, at the end of the universal needle of life. You’re either the balloon or the prick. It’s that simple.

Or is it?

Tonight, as I mindlessly flipped through the March 2015 Edition of Shambhala Sun, I came across an article by Zen teacher John Tarrant. Part of the beginning of the article read like Mr. Tarrant was inside my mind;

“All that stuff you are having a hard time with? Your mind might be doing it, you know. The difference between happy and sad might be inside your mind.” And, even though your head has been filled with conversations, justifications, reasons why your ex-husband really is the difference between happy and sad, or possibly it’s your boss, your kid, or climate change – you begin to wonder…To consider you might have a part in your own difficulty is like a loss of innocence.

Driving in my car, and throughout my time at the gym, I was thinking that I need to come up with some ways of allowing my bright-red-balloon to soar while defending against the prick.

Given that my usual method of dealing with people like this is straightforward; “You know, you’re being a(n) ________ ” (choose your favourite descriptors for pricks), not being able to deal with the situation head on for fear of damage to myself, I know that I must get creative.

I thought that perhaps I could dull the prick, but then a wise and wonderful gal-pal reminded me that sometimes being struck by a blunt object is harder than a sharp object ( yes, it does help if I think of things symbolically – I’m weird like that). Then I thought about donning armor against such sharp pricks.

That might be the trick – finding armor (AKA: coping mechanisms) to outwit the prick.

So that’s what I’ll be working on for a while; ways to remain my flamboyant, positive, creative self without exposing those wonderful gifts in a way that lends itself to being popped by the pricks of life.

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Boring Buddhist vs. Ballsy Buddhist; You decide

lotusmudAs many of you know, I’m a lover, philosopher, meditator, opinion-giver and writer.

I try to live by Buddhist philosophy, and also, when that doesn’t suit me, by the seat of my very well-tailored pants.

Lately I’ve been depressed, anxious, restless, and chiding myself for feeling this way, until I re-read part of an article about the virtues of boredom;

…Later on, in the bathroom picking up dingy wet towels, I notice the mildew creeping up the bottom of the shower curtain. This is not the life of precious tributes. It’s one you want to throw out. And many of us do. We replace people, places, and things that have grown charmless and tiresome – which they always do. Fascination fades and restlessness stirs.

Chasing the picture perfect, we can lose what we have in abundance – the times that teach us even more than the rare delight of butterflies or a robin’s blue eggs. We lose the hours, the days, and the decades when nothing much seems to happen at all. Time freezes. Paint dries. Mildew spreads. We’re bored out of our minds.

Boredom is the unappreciated path to patience, peace, and intimacy, so who would read a paean to it? Let that be your koan.

Booooring… by Karen Maezen Miller Shambabhala Sun, September 2012, p19.

Upon first reading, it makes sense, but then you think of attachment, and wonder what the virture is in remaining attached to people, places or things that may have already taught you what you need to learn from them.

What if this is just a platitude to keep us all little cogs in what really is a materialistic, capitalistic driven lifestyle in the west?

Hmmm?  Have a think darlings, but I know what my plan is for the next few years. It’s not about sticking with the charmless, or discarding it.

It’s about appreciating what I’ve learned and moving on to a more rich and full life, with new experiences. That doesn’t make me a bad Buddhist, that just makes me brave.