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Posted By Luminous Jewel, Blake Walton
 

Our emotions & perceptions are like seeds in the garden of our minds –
 & mindfulness is like cool water.
~~
When we water the seeds of joy in ourselves,
they will grow &  flower without struggle or effort.
~~
This is one of the simplest &
most wonderful of miracles.
~~Thich Nhat Hahn

 

 

 

Flower Mandala

 

 
Posted By Luminous Jewel, Blake Walton

 

The Buddha said that all SUFFERING in this life as humans (as opposed to the inevitable and unavoidable PAIN of sickness, old age and death) is caused by The Three Poisons:

1)attachment (desire & greed);

2) aversion (hatred & fear);

3) and ignorance (delusion)

Speaking from my own vast experience of creating mountains out of molehills, I can heartily agree. If I had a nickel for every time I have reacted to an ostensibly benign situation with heart-pounding rage or fear, I’d be the proverbial millionaire!

Just recently, my friend Diana gave me an example of how the mind creates suffering. While on a writing retreat in tropical Yelapa, Mexico, she was terrified every night by the loud rustling/grunting sounds just outside her palapa (thatched roof hut with no doors or walls!), convinced that a huge and probably rapid javelina was poised to rip her to shreds. Night after night she suffered. Until one night out of sleep-deprived desperation, she faced her fears, shining a flashlight at the horrific demon on the other side of her mosquito net, wanting to see in her last gasping moments on this earth the monster that would bring about her demise.  But lo! and behold! that savage demon turned out to be a sweet little ole armadillo, known far and wide in Mexico & Texas as the peace-loving clown of the under brush! Poor Diana, Yankee that she is, had never hardly heard of an armadillo, much less petted one at the State Fair of Texas petting zoo like I had growing up. Moral being, for a good night's sleep: Never let fear morph an armadillo into a javelina!

 

armadillo

 

Here are some armadillo factoids I looked up in the internet:
* There is a Mayan legend that the Mayan Sun God sat two unruly gods down on a bench before all the other gods. The bench was suddenly altered into a pair of armadillos, which immediately jumped up in the air--tumbling the two disobedient gods onto their backsides in disgrace. I'm not familiar with Mayan legends, but I do know that armadillos are known for jumping vertically into the air.

* During the Great Depression, this species was known as "Hoover Hog" by down-on-their luck Americans who had to eat them instead of the "chicken in every pot" Herbert Hoover had promised as President.

* In 1995, the nine-banded Armadillo was made the State Small Mammal of Texas.
* According to ancient legend, the symbol of the armadillo means to "roll with the punches". (http://www.dilloscape.com/boa/index.html).

This last part is the one I know most about, having spent time in the late sixties at the Armadillo World Headquarters in Austin, Texas, where everyone rolled with the punches, and rednecks partied with hippies. The armadillo life lesson I learned in my, yes, mostly misspent youth--  for a good time, Tolerance Trumps Fear.
http://www.awhq.com/

 

Take Me to the Mountains

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shiva's_Headband- regulars at the Armadillo World Headquarters


 
Posted By Luminous Jewel, Blake Walton

The Potholes of Life

 

Black Hole

 

I'm sure you've all encountered these potholes, if not literally, then figuratively-- the black holes of loss, anger and hatred; the bottomless pits of despair; the soul -jarring obstacles on our path. Unfortunately, there is no way out but through. Especially the basic ones like sickness, old age and death, as the historical Buddha said in his first teaching on the Four Noble Truths.

____________________________________________________________________

In case you don't know or remember the Four Noble Truths, let me summarize:

1. The Truth of Suffering

Life as a human is subject to the inevitable suffering of sickness, old age and death.      Nobody gets out alive! (or unscathed!)

2. The Causes of Suffering

Besides the inevitable pain of sickness, old age and death, we humans add a lot of         mental/emotional/physical suffering  by engaging in the reactive emotions of attachment, aversion and ignorance (The Three Poisons).

3. The Cessation of Suffering is Possible

Good News! Free your reactive emotions, clear your mind and you will feel less               suffering.

4. The Path to the Cessation of Suffering

Buddhism is nothing if it is not practical and effective! The Buddha laid out an Eightfold  Path of mind trainings and behaviors/life attitudes that can greatly relieve human         suffering. (More about that later.)

____________________________________________________________________

Whereas the lesson with life's pleasures is not to get too attached (aah, maple syrup on pancakes!), the lesson with potholes is not to be too avoidant by denying or repressing these obstacles and the resulting reactive emotions they elicit.  Once again, the SLOW DOWN AND PAY ATTENTION advice applies to potholes, though in my experience with a lot of extra added squirming!  I remember being at a retreat with Pema Chodron called "Going to the Places that Scare You" and almost having a panic attack when having to meditate on one of my potholes. Here is where the importance of breathing deeply and calmly cannot be emphasized enough.

 

I'm practicing a lot of deep breathing and softening as I prepare to fly to Dallas tomorrow for a family conference aimed at assisting my mother into a nursing home. The image below has helped me to stay calm and centered. May it bring you joy.

May all beings be free from suffering and the causes of suffering. May they have happiness and the causes of happiness.

 

Lama