Lost in wonder, love and Praise (# 1496)

5 06 2020

Grateful for this very new day.

Something somewhat extraordinary happened last night. Last night Thomas a Kempis struck a chord and reminded me of a hymn “Love divine, all loves excelling” that I have not thought about in years and years and years. My memory was not perfect and I had to look it up in a hymnal last night and listen to on youtube this morning to get the music right in my head. It was written by Charles Wesley, brother of John Wesley of Methodist fame. It begins:

Love divine, all loves excelling,
Joy of heaven to earth come down,
Fix in us thy humble dwelling,
All thy faithful mercies crown

The second verse begins:

Breathe, O breathe thy loving Spirit
Into every troubled breast,
Let us all in thee inherit,
Let us find that second rest.

The third verse ends with “Glory in thy perfect love“; the fourth with “Lost in wonder, love and Praise

1. Mid afternoon stop after housecleaning, reading news, etc. and working on historical project. I am having some personal thoughts, maybe a dialogue with myself about Christianity as I have experienced it. Thomas a Kempis put an emphasis on the sacrament of the Eucharist. It is the moment when one accepts Christ to enter into one’s body.

I respect the Christian liturgies as a practice. I do not practice because I disagree with the some of the beliefs in the liturgy. I have always known that Communion was a key practice and so I agree with Thomas a Kempis on that point. I get very annoyed with churches over their roles as keepers of the sacrament.  I have not partaken of Communion for a half century. If one is excluded from the Lord’s table, then how does one bring Christ in?

A few days ago I applied a Chenrizig practice to Christ. I did not follow the practice in full nor did I use the Tibetan text. In short, it is a practice in which one slowly visualizes Chenrizig. At the end of the practice one visualizes Chenrizig over one’s head then he drops down through the head into one’s heart. I was able to share that practice once  and it was very powerful; Avalokitesvara stayed there on the walk home in the moonlight. Before going to sleep, I tried that with Christ, visualizing the painting with Christ knocking at the door. Christ stayed there overnight and well into the next day. Unfortunately, it made no changes in my behavior whatsoever Then I remembered that Avalokitesvara changed into bright color lights emanating from the heart symbolizing love. I visualized Christ changing but then he just disappeared altogether. Now that I have written this down I can see faults with the way I carried out my experiment. Here is a confession; I have not associated Christ with Love the way I do Avalokitesvara. To be fair, that is not Christ’s fault. The above hymn certainly does.

 





June (# 1495)

2 06 2020

Thomas a Kempis is reminding me of Shantideva but so far seems to be stressing death and resurrection rather than love. That is not a criticism, just a thought, possibly premature.

Kempis reminds us that we might not make it through the day, listing lots of way people die. Hmm, must remember to be grateful at both ends of the day. Speaking of gratitude:

1.BrM. I am grateful for this day.

 





Appearance of Time Changes (# 1494)

31 05 2020

I have gone through at least four time changes this year. That is I have gone through four changes in the way I perceive time, or my time.

Time seems to be measured as the space between my arising in the morning and going to sleep at night, unless I am having a sleepless night. Being grateful in the morning sets me up to try to learn more during the day and hopefully to think about others and help if I can.

The differences is how I see the days fitting to my biological time. Of course, that time could end on a dime.

a. For the past few years I have been conscious that my time is limited based on the age some of my ancestors died. I have tried to downsize, mostly unsuccessfully. I have been aware I have many unfinished projects.

b. At the beginning of the pandemic I finished up one of the projects and began to work more seriously on my largest project, a history project for the borough and county.

c. When the virus entered our house, time stopped. There were things that needed to be done and I did them. There were lots of ways to express love.

d. Since then, time has opened up. With the opening of time, I seem to be living in a larger space.

Does paradise have something to do with unlimited space? There is that feeling one gets when one is standing on an elevated spot looking down into valleys below. Hmmm. I have mentioned that I used to be able to imagine looking at myself lying in bed when I was a child. Looking at oneself from outside. Becoming an object. Another view. Adding to knowledge.

1. Nothing much tonight. Worked on the project. Began to read Thomas a Kempis’ The Imitation of Christ.





Meadow and Clouds (# 1493)

30 05 2020

Clouds

This morning we walked in a meadow that is fairly close by. A long trail wraps around the meadow with a few trails through the meadow and a few short trails into woods. Today I stayed on the meadow.

In the beginning a thin layer of clouds formed a veil over the meadow. This slowly slid away as we were there. The sky was then a deep blue with fluffy clouds here and there. The image was taken a time when the veil was lifting from over the fluffy clouds.

There are usually very few people when we visit and it never occurred to me to bring a mask. Everyone else there had one but me. I felt like a villain. All the good guys wore masks. There are new social norms these days.

Three quarters of the way around the meadow is a shady spot with a bench that sits outside one of the trails into the larger wooded area. I was tired and it felt good to rest in the cool shade. I sat for a while and decided I should try to meditate a bit and check out what was going on in my mind. Nothing much but my eyes were feeling tired from looking out over the bright meadow. I closed my eyes. Immediately I became focused on the music around me. A loud bird was singing off to my right slightly behind. Off the left in front of me another bird sang. Many other birds and/or insects were singing in the forest behind me. I began to think about the beginning of stereo sound when there were demonstration records with sound from the speaker on each sound. Then there was surround sound.

I reached for my water bottle on the seat beside me and missed. The bottle crashed down on to the dirt which became mud and then a pond because I had not secured the top. Oh well, there was still enough in the bottle to get a drink. I enjoyed the “spacious skies” a bit more before walking back.

Clouds2

1.Last night I finished reading Madame Bovary.  Although I read it when younger, I did not remember it at all. Now I know it is a powerful novel. Flaubert wrote beautiful descriptions of the countryside. Reading it now, I could see her through Buddhist eyes and see that she was looking for happiness in all the wrong places. The “shocking” part was not so much the illicit sex but the way she destroyed her husband’s life and her daughter’s too. As a parent and grandparent I cringed when the little daughter was sent off to work in a cotton mill after her mother and father died. I was sad at the scene of the young boy who had worshiped her weeping at her grave. We touch many people in our lives.

Of course it a book and all the reality was my eyes reading words in a book that someone else had translated. All the action took place in my mind. Some of it is still there today.

Sigh.





Watching Cats (# 1492)

30 05 2020

There are two cats bordering in the house. I am mildly allergic to cats so they are not allowed in the bedroom. Every morning, one of the cats is either outside the door waiting for me or is on the way up the stairs as I close the bedroom door. I pet it at the top of the stairs and then again on the landing. I consider it an honor to get this kind of attention from a creature of another species.

The two cats have different personalities. One is male and one female although both have been neutered. They are brother and sister. The female has softer fur than the male which has coarser hair. I do not know if that is a gender thing with cats.

I make a long story short, when I look at either one of them, I see cat. Their behavior is mostly cat-like. They react like cats. They get underfoot like cats especially if they want a treat. They speak like cats. They sleep like cats, curled up in a cute ball of fur.

While I am watching the cats, I am also watching me. Like the cats with their programmed cat behavior, I have programmed human behavior. I wonder if it is human behavior to think one is separate. Or its that learned from conditioning? In any case, that is the point of this cat talk.

1.BrM. Near the end of the computer day. I am remembering often to tink about being grateful during the day. It is almost the end of May. Still the country and the world are hurting. People are dead who should still be alive. I include those left behind in my tonglen tonight.





Waiting or Dreaming (# 1491)

28 05 2020

This morning I am waiting for the people to come fix the house.

Last night I dreamed we were walking with our grandchildren. We walked to a shopping area and no one had masks. It was crowded. We went to a restaurant. Same thing. Of note, we passed a locksmith that I had not realized was there. Hmmm, it would be a convenient store to have. Later someone said something about looking for a place to have a key copied. I said, why don’t you go to the locksmith.

I have continued to stop and try to look at inside and outside appearances simultaneously. I like the exercise but so far nothing unexpected has appeared. The usual stuff is there inside and out.

I have found myself thinking much about the latest police killing of a black man. We need better laws to permanently remove rogue police officers and charge them for crimes. Our country is hurting.

1.BrM. Many hours later. Remembering to be grateful for this day. I spent some time thinking about the pain that is felt by people of color tonight. Sometimes the country seems to be spinning apart. Sending my love tonight. We need an epidemic of love. It IS contagious. Goodnight world.





Mid Week (# 1490)

28 05 2020

First stop for the blog, early afternoon. Wynton Marsallis is playing away in my headphones. My left hand fondles the mouse. I have taken a bicycle ride, disassembled the broken pawn mower and arranged for someone to come and fix the house siding. Nothing eventful.

1.Last post. We need an end to all the violence against black people in this country. Sending out love to all who are hurting.