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BIG MIND

Another ‘friendship koan’. I’ve been reading Shunryu Suzuki (that should explain everything). He, a Zen master of a very ancient and impressive lineage, and wise in his own right, but now passed. Roshi talks about Big Mind. It’s a concept that takes a while to get near. And, my explanation will be minimal and poor, at best. But, I’m fascinated with this and it has been helpful to me. Here we go.

Yoshitsune’s (a warrior) widow kept him near by realizing time and how we keep it, in our own minds. We have past present. We’re there a lot. Not a problem. We also go to present future, frequently. Not a problem. It’s how the mind works. It’s kind of like my high school health teacher explained neurosis and psychosis. Neurosis is when you build sand castles in the air, psychosis is when you move in. Uh huh. Hey, it was the 70s. When, we visit past present and future present, it is a condition of the mind to do so. If we believe these experiences, attach to them, then we are suffering. It takes practice, it is worth it.

I had belonged to an organization that insisted, insisted upon a ‘positive’ attitude, always, constantly rearranging yourself, appearance, feelings to match a ‘happy’ countenance. To me, this was turmoil in the middle of a health crisis. And, as it became clear, turmoil in just everyday life, to me.

The final straw was attending a performance of a small child. Afterward, she was too tired, overwrought, and not happy with her performance, mostly just from anxiety, too many people, too much going on. She was whining, crying, very upset and she approached her mother. Her mother stepped back and said, “Oh, what is this? No, no, sweetheart, put on your pretty face, smile. Pretty face, daddy doesn’t like that old snotty face. Put on your pretty face now, that’s my girl.” That upset me. That was the end of this group for me.

I began reading, studying, listening, and reality seemed the ticket. Facing reality, accepting events, people, situations, mood as they were was the biggest relief I’ve had so far. Why couldn’t she just be upset? Tissues, holding her and going home instead of standing around to ‘meet everybody’ would have worked. I’m not judging her. It’s where we all can be, it’s where I’ve been. It’s small mind. Not observing, not thinking, no moment to spare mind. It’s right here and right now, no context, no breath. Trouble coming.

Every one says be ‘in the present’, the here and now. Yes, that’s where you live but your mind, my mind, goes all over the place, all the time. We have an imposed sense of time, but the internal one behaves differently via our minds. To acknowledge, observe what your mind does, where it goes, to accept that with the certain knowledge that regardless you are still the director. Observe, be still, listen, trust you’ll know.

When I am sad, or experience a memory that may catch the edge of sadness. That is just what it is. I can observe that, feel that in my heart and understand ‘time’ in my mind. It is an important part (otherwise I wouldn’t ‘feel’ anything about it) of all that is me.

Same way with the chronic illness/pain. I do not ‘put on my pretty face’. If I don’t feel well, I observe that, know that. Because I attend to the truth of that, I do what I can about it and go on my way. I am what I am when I am what I am. Sounds like Popeye.

I wish every child, from the beginning, were taught their own mind, mindfulness training. How different we would be to each other, to ourselves.

As always, thank you for taking your time to read these words. Lilie

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MINDFULNESS

Hmm. . . I’m not crazy about that word anymore, it has become kitchy-katchy and a marketing ploy for some slick go-getters out to make a quick buck off the credulous.

Yet, it is important to me. No, mindfulness is not a cure-all ills, but it sure is helpful. I believe in self defense, most definitely, and mindfulness is a big part (I believe the first part) of that instruction manual that should come with us.

We can’t go into each and every home and make sure that no child, no parent is abusive or being abused. Not all abused persons leave their situation, nor are they able to. What can we do? Well, there is one plan that does work, that has the data to back that up. Mindfulness. Over-simply put, when we train a person to know their own mind, to understand how the brain works, we arm them with a stronghold.

When we practice mindfulness, incorporate it regularly, that becomes the habit of your brain — you take control of that brain. You are the designer of thought, speech and action and, often, you pass that on, by word or practical example. Mindfulness tends to encourage appreciation, ‘seeing’, compassion, acceptance, resilience and can lead to more skillful life choices.

For me, that moment of awakening, realizing how incredible, awesome, marvelous all living beings are, that was it. It was my way out of a mind prison (and later, a body prison – chronic pain). Realizing I had within me all that was necessary for my successful survival and that the ‘plan’ for my life was simply to know my mind and fully engage it in all its capabilities, that my life was up to me. Much you can’t control, much you can decide how to think about it.

Nothing outside of you makes your life better, nothing outside of you is your wisdom. We need others, we need to learn and appreciate the experience of others, but dependence upon that is not ok for us or them. You have resources. Your life is important, to live it as such is to regard all other life.

As always, thank you for spending your time here. Lilie

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EXPERIENCE

At an early age, I sought differences, was highly attracted to them, had to know, curiosity.  In my early 20s, I was plunged into an occupational world that held much diversity in acquiring knowledge, languages, cultures, traditions–a banquet.

And, I always thought I had to keep a secret:  I thought I wasn’t patriotic.  That admission in my country will not be followed by asking questions or listening – no logic involved – you will be boiled in oil.

Why not patriotic?  Well, in my occupation, I saw people from other countries, educated academically in other countries, in other traditions/languages/customs/cultures/religions who were intelligent – brilliant even, talented in many fields, kind, compassionate, humorous, wise.  Those ‘strangers’ came to teach something, to give us (the US) something of their experience/knowledge/art.  I got to witness that, be in on that, marvel at that.  I believed people of all countries had something to offer.  I believed many countries had come together and made unimaginable, heartwrenching sacrifices so that they could begin their journey to freedom and equality; that many helped mine continue that journey.  I believed that all countries were made up of human beings, living beings and they wanted freedom, just like I did.  I love the richness of traditions, cultures, languages, knowledge, art and I don’t think, to love my country, that I have to think any other is less, inferior.  That is deemed unpatriotic, heretical and a few other terms.

To love who I am, what I have, where I live, I do not have to think anyone is less.  To appreciate and express gratitude for the life I live in the place I live, I do not have to think anyone is less.  I love the ideals and principles for which I strive:  To be a good person, to do good to self and others.  I’ll do that anywhere and love who’s around me, and acknowledge and appreciate the sacrifices they made so that I am free to pursue that.

May there be compassion.  May there be awakening.  May there be freedom.  Thank you for taking your time.

Love, Lilie

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WHY TOM PETTY?

I have a history that, unfortunately, too many can relate to.  I grew up in an abusive (physical/verbal/emotional) household.  My mother was a narcissist  – not saying that as an insult.  She was a narcissist, the whole deal:  gaslighting, demeaning, beatings, and on and on.  She beat me unconscious when I was 11.  Oh, but there was a good reason.  There always was.  That was a turning point in my life, a permanent mark.  No one in the family stood up for me and she was training us not to, it just didn’t work on me.

At 15, nearly 16, my best friends freed me from that house.  They stood up for me.  Then, other people did and I, at first, couldn’t take that in.  They said they loved me, and they acted like it.  It was almost too much, lol.   My best friends were brother and sister, real brother and sister – they loved each other and were good to each other.  Their Dad was good to them and to me WOW.  Their mother had died of breast cancer a few years before I met them and had loved them well and taught them love for others.  My best friend, the sister, died in 2014, broke my heart.

She was a pistol, the Francesca poem that I posted was her.  Fearless, kind, loyal, generous, compassionate, rebel.

The Tom Petty music came into our lives a few years on in our story, but the songs and his story reminded me of mine of me, and with them.  Because of them, I found tenderness instead of hatred; understanding, people are more than one thing, may have more than one face and you can understand that without succumbing to it; thinking for yourself, finding yourself and your own beliefs is a good thing – make, as sure as you can, it’s truthful and don’t hate others for theirs.  Argue the belief, not the person.  Generosity makes you strong, invincible even and opens, opens kindness wide.  Give without expectation, and don’t when you know better not to.  Compassion isn’t a weakness.  You can always be kind, doesn’t mean you have to include them in your life, or give up your oreos for them.  I learned to love my parents and siblings without attachment to expectation, recognizing the pattern and removing myself from it.  I knew the history and remember those events as they were, history, without the attachment of hatred or confusion I once had.

Tom Petty said in an interview that he had a fierce reaction to injustice because of his childhood abuse.  That was me.  Now, I knew where it came from, didn’t have to be frustrated by it anymore and I could channel it and lose my fear of rejection and speak up, speak out for myself and others.  Francesca and, we’ll call him Paul, began that journey for me, that setting me free thing, Tom Petty’s music fanned the flame. . . still burning, bright.

Sorry for the long post, couldn’t cut a thing.   Well, “they wrecked me baby”  They moved me, too.  Be strong, be fierce, be filled with love and kindness.  Thank you, Lilie