Thursday, July 30, 2020

We all have inner wisdom, however how many know how to access it?

Our inner wisdom is persistent, but quiet. It will always whisper, but it will never stop knocking at your door.
VIRONIKA TUGALEVA

Monday, July 27, 2020

My Sunset Sanctuary for Peace and Beauty - the expanded story!

Losing oneself in Nature - From Youth to Elder

 As a child, my family spent a week every summer at the beach. Driving there, one could see the glimmering ocean from a mile away. I would get very excited for there I felt free. Away from a workaholic Dad;s abuse and a burdened Mom's  depression, which was relieved. I would look over the bent (even then it was obvious to me that the Earth was not flat) shining horizon and wonder in awe what was on the other side. We would play all day and late in the evening playing on the beach in gleeful joy.
My next feeling of elated freedom was as a teenager recently graduated from a restrictive high school, I was hitchhiking out of town destination unknown away from dysfunctional family.
While in college, I would go down to mountain creek in the valley and read nature and romantic poets like Whitman, Byron, Keats, Coleridge, etc.
As a young adult, Nixon was president, and was elected promising "peace" in Vietnam, and my Brother was over there flying helicopters, and I was not there because of him. He wrote me letter while I was in Officer Training, not to come there. He admired the Vietnamese people, and did not believe we should be there either. Two Brothers were not allowed there at same time anyway. In addition, I saw a documentary and read many articles saying we made a mistake being in Vietnam. So I dropped out of OCS, and was sent to Alaska instead. Going from Ft. Benning, Georgia to Fairbanks, Alaska in December was not a picnic. It was the coldest month in the history of that state at the time averaging -44 and below 60 several times. We had to play War Games, leaving many with frostbite.
To make the story shorter, I was thankfully transferred to the Medical Corps and was sent to much warmer Anchorage to run a lab. for the Army. That was like a relative paradise, and was more like a real job getting the weekends off. Which I used to hike and climb mountains. We did not carry guns, which is an anathema in Alaska, and the animals appeared to see us as no danger. Therefore the scattered Homesteaders welcomed us as many of them had befriended local wildlife in their acreage, hunting miles away. Mountain goats, Moose, Ptarmagans (birds much like chickens), and even a Grizzly with cubs did not shy away from us. Although we kept our respectful distance. I fell in love with Alaska, however when receiving an early out to go to Graduate school, I gratefully accepted it.
Making a long story short, I ended up in Florida working as a Clinical Pathologist (A.S.C.P. not M.D.) and continued my love affair with the Ocean and a girlfriend who wanted to sail away with me. We lucked out finding a very seaworthy sailboat in Miami, and a long cruise in the Bahamas. I love the islands and exploring them on land and under water, where I could lose myself in the colorful Coral Reefs. Splendid Bali was overall my favorite island a few years after this Bahama cruise.This was an escape I needed, as I was really mad the Nixon kept the war going years after his second election. My dear Brother, the day after his 22nd bday was blown away with only 2 weeks left in combat. He was attempting a rescue and landed on top of some Viet Cong tunnels, which they poured out of and killed everyone on board except Barry's co-pilot who barely survived and lived to tell the story on National T.V. (another long story).
When I returned from that cruise, I read a newspaper for the first time in a long time, and saw the headline that said "President Ford", I was dumbfounded and relieved. I had gratefully missed the whole Watergate drama. 
This time with President trump, again I wanted to escape, however I decided to stay and be an activist to help rid ourselves of this treacherous man. I was over 70, had nothing to lose and nothing to prove. So, instead of a full retreat, I have these several times a week escape to the Folly River Inlet a long walk from Folly Beach County Park for mostly solitude too.
Fortunately, only a few miles, from where I live, there is a River Inlet at a beach, where I love to escape several times a week. For me, nature provides a unique opportunity to reconnect with the stillness inside, which is the source of our deepest wisdom,  Not just for the beauty, peace and solitude, there is an aliveness at a place where salt water intermingles with fresh water, there is more fish, more birds where the mix makes it a favorite feeding place. A large benefit is that the wind blowing off the ocean at that River is of the purest on the planet. There is no island between this Inlet and the Straits of Gibralter on the other side of Atlantic Ocean.  Especially with the mighty Gulfstream sweeping by not far off shore and the Sargasso Sea further out creating gigantic air purifiers. 
I am reminded how vital it is to maintain our connection to nature, wherever we call home. When I  lived in California, I felt this connection through the towering redwoods, the rocky Pacific coast and the majestic beauty of Yosemite and Mount Shasta.  In nature’s presence, I  can feel a profound sense of awe, which has been defined as a mix of reverence, fear and wonder. Photographer Nicholas Hlobeczy summed it up nicely when he said “Without awe, we cannot truly be alive."
Last evening at the Folly River, July 26th, 2021


I’ve edited part of your writing. You might not like what I’ve done so feel free to ignore it. What you said was good, I just tried to make it flow a little more. Here goes: I started with line 3. Lines 1 and 2 are perfect. I would get very excited for I felt free there. It was a relief to be away from a workaholic Dad’s abuse and an over-burdened Mom’s depression. I would look over the bent shining horizon in awe and wonder what was on the other side. Even at that young age it was obvious to me that the Earth was not flat. We (Ron, you need to say who “we” is). Would play on the beach all day and into the evening filled with joy. Not until I was a recently graduated teenager, hitchhiking out of town from all of the unhappiness, did I have another such feeling of elated freedom. Destination? Unknown!
I’m wondering if you should maybe make this two separate writings which you could expand. One about your wonderful love of Mother Nature. And one about war and your brother and all the nasty politics
What do you think?
I’m addition... is a fine paragraph but maybe you should end it with ...real job. I used my weekends off to hike the nearby mountains. I did not... good Homesteaders...good but add they did their hunting miles away. Obviously, I fell in love with the beauty of Alaska.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Drowning or Diving?

When the waves close over me, I dive down to fish for pearls.
MASHA KALEKO 



Japan's Last “Ama” - The Female Fishers Who Free-Dive For Seafood (HBO)

"If I had to choose between Peace and Buddhism" | Thich Nhat Hanh

More about Racial Justice by Indigo Sangha

RACIAL JUSTICE

Contemplative reflection on the suffering of living beings is not enough; we must help diminish suffering through compassionate involvement.
Thich Nhat Hanh
 Mindfulness must be engaged. Once we see that something needs to be done, we must take action. Seeing and acting go together. Otherwise, what is the use of seeing?
Thich Nhat Hanh

RACIAL JUSTICE

Contemplative reflection on the suffering of living beings is not enough; we must help diminish suffering through compassionate involvement.
Thich Nhat Hanh
In 1967, Martin Luther King, Jr nominated Thich Nhat Hanh for the Nobel Prize

Indigo Sangha’s Actions for JusticeIndigo Sangha is a diverse mindfulness practice community. Through study and practice, our White members are intentionally waking ourselves up to the reality of now–truths long understood by our friends of color. We see that, in reality:

  • The extreme racism, exploitation, and oppression of America’s past continues today
  • Old forms of oppression and exploitation manifest in new ways
  • Yes, White people are privileged in society. While it’s not our “fault,” we can be criticized to the degree in which we knowingly accept unearned privilege and do nothing to correct the systems that advantage us
  • We cannot heal what we are unwilling to touch with mindfulness and compassion
Entrenched patterns of division in society’s collective consciousness amplify and distort insignificant differences between people of various races, genders, classes, sexual orientations, immigrants, the physically and mentally disabled and other marginalized communities. We can see we are products of a divisive society in which each of us has been taught to believe things that are harmful to ourselves and others.
We see White dominance and unconscious bias harms those who are marginalized, warps White humanity, and even damages the earth.
We are determined to name and neutralize personal and societal habits of supremacy and exploitation.
Without shame or blame, White members of Indigo Sangha are doing the work to look deeply into our complicity in perpetuating racist systems. We are learning to step back so others may step up thereby centering the wisdom of marginalized voices. We are considering together how we can become better friends and allies to Black, Indigenous, and other people of color and their organizations.
Everyone knows that peace has to begin with oneself, but not many people know how to do it.
Thich Nhat Hanh

8:46 Seconds of Silence for George Floyd

At noon on July 20, 2020, Indigo Sangha members acted in solidarity with people across the country who are standing up for Black lives. In memory of George Floyd and those taken too soon by unnecessary violence, sangha members participated in the #StrikeForBlackLives by holding silence for 8 minutes and 46 seconds.


On July 5, 2020, members of Indigo Sangha added our stable energy and the insight of our interbeing with Black lives to the ongoing counter protest at the Battery in Charleston, SC. Every Sunday morning, a small group of White people fly the Confederate flag at the Battery. In response, a local non-profit–Uplift Charleston–has led a peaceful and effective counter protest. At this time of global pandemic, Indigo Sangha joined the Uplift Charleston effort by practicing peaceful sitting and walking meditation in solidarity with Black lives.


We practiced moment to moment awareness of our body, feelings, and thoughts. While we couldn’t control the actions of those around us, each of us could control our responses. Embodying peace in the moment, as taught by our teacher Thich Nhat Hanh, we watered seeds of compassion, saw clearly the suffering in ourselves and others, let go of ideologies and discriminative thinking, respected the rights of others to be different as we simultaneously helped them transform narrowness, and took a clear stand against oppression and injustice.
Heather Mann, Spiritual Director of Indigo Sangha

The Global Plum Village Community Embraces Racial Justice

Thay Phap Dung
The Plum Village Community of Engaged Buddhism, of which Indigo Sangha is a part, is standing up against oppression and for justice. Here are several links to learn more about the global community’s response :
  • Click here to read Engaging Together for Change: An Invitation by Thay Phap Dung
  • Click here to read A Call to Love in Action by ARISE–Awakening to Race, Intersectionality, and Social Equity
  • Click here to see the Earth Holder Community Statement of Support & Commitment in Solidarity with Racial and Earth Justice by the organization’s Care Taking Council
Our Plum Village Brothers and Sisters at ARISE Sangha

The Greatness of a Community


The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members, a heart of grace, and a soul generated by love.
CORETTA SCOTT KING

Friday, July 24, 2020

A Note to Racial Justice Group at Indigo Sangha

Dear Ones, I am pleased that Jackie and Nancy are joining me at the Battery Sunday AM at 8:30 for BLM support. I had a long informative talk with Rev. Dixon yesterday. He informed me that no permits are needed for groups less than 50. Also, he told me his group was upset that the Confederates were "grandfathered" in for permission to rally at the Confederate Monument by a sympathetic Police Officer. He said most of the police are pro-confederate. Later in the day, a Confederate bumped at BLM member and almost knocked her over. She was filming. BLM group leaders insisted he be arrested. He was and found to be a sex offender, who had not registered in six years. BLM was upset that he was released on small $1,000 bail. He also informed me that NAACP was not accepted by Black Activists as an effective org. "Stand as One" was the principle group there along with his The Coalition. He insists members there do not engage physically with the Confederates. He said the BLM group have a lots of young angry members, and most do not come on Sunday. One was so angry last Sunday, that he would not be one of the occupiers of the Monument area. He went across the street on his own. I asked him about "Civil Disobedience" ("good trouble" as John Lewis described it.) In other words, refuse to go across the street?  Rev. Dixon told me that it has not been decided for this Sunday. They have to get there very early to occupy the Monument area, as they did last week.

Cookie Washington, a well-known Black leader is speaking at Unity Sunday on FB, we will be leaving at 10AM in order to listen to her at 10:30. She always has wise words on race relations.I highly recommend our whole Sangha be informed to listen to her as part of our BLM support mission.


The Navy Vet  in photo went to Portland BLM protest to remind these unmarked militia of their oath to the Constitution, and they beat on him with batons, and when he did not flinch, they sprayed him in face with pepper spray. He calmly turned around, raised his arms and walked away. Although, later at E.R. he had a badly broken hand. To me he is a fine example of non-violent resistance. He received violence without returning it. He is a fine example of a Veteran For Peace.


Thursday, July 23, 2020

Empty handed to empty handed, and what about in between?

We arrive empty handed, and leave empty handed. So then, how do we want to spend the time in between?
NIMO


Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Always a shadow where there is light....

Life can survive in the constant shadow of illness, and even rise to moments of rampant joy, but the shadow remains, and one has to make space for it.
DIANE ACKERMAN
My shadow over a loggerhead turtle nest, folly river, folly beach, s.c.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Kudos for Veteran for Peace work.


Hi Ron, I just want to thank you for all you do for peace in the world. Also to let you know that you are anything but a coward. You made good judgement in leaving the situation. I am proud of you for using your good judgement. It takes courage to do the right thing. Especially when others are not. 

Thanks dear Jinaki, it was either that or go across the street, which I cannot do with my skin condition, and I was pretty burned out anyway after 2 hours. However, I do compare it to being told to "go to the back of the bus." If the BLM group did ask for permit first, which I have to believe, was it time for "Civil Obedience"? I do not believe in mob action though, and I think the Confederates were in mob mentality, and proud that BLM group did not get there. Rev. Dixon, who had to leave early to go preach, gives instructions "not to engage", which I admire.                                                                   NOWmaste' peace, and joy, Ron

The Navy Vet there in photo went to Portland BLM protest to remind these unmarked militia of their oath, and they beat on him with batons, and when he did not flinch, they sprayed him in face with pepper spray. He calmly turned around, raised his arms and walked away. Although, later at E.R. he had a badly broken hand. To me he is a fine example of non-violent resistance. He received violence without returning it

Feedback after the Black Lives Matter/Confederate Confrontation
You're a courageous mindful advocate in training--like me, like all of us. 

The "edge" of compassionate direct action takes a lot of concentration and skill to navigate. It's especially hard alone in a crowd. This is why Thay insists monastics travel with a "second monastic body." It's why his retreats have up to 75 monastics leading them (their combined energy creates the "container" for practice).
Mindful advocates hold questions re our skillfulness, our peace and our effectiveness in our hearts like a koan. The questions keep us humble and not knowing, free from ideologies or being swept into the moment. The questions keep us calm and clear.  
And, like you, I know it's important we not wait until we're "perfect" or nothing will ever get done!   
I have great confidence in your mindfulness and inner knowing, Ron.
No judgment, no regrets.
Much love and respect,
Heather 


Heather Lyn Mann

Anchor the eternity of love in your own soul

Anchor the eternity of love in your own soul and embed this planet with its goodness.
JOHN LEWIS

Monday, July 20, 2020

WE ARE THE WORST - Founders Sing Parody of Song First Performed by Stevi...

“What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.”

“What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Field of Infinite Possibilities

To understand our spiritual potential, we need to understand consciousness on its own terms, without trying to assess it through the lens of the ego mind or the limitations of the five senses. Only pure awareness can know and experience the nature of consciousness. This is what self-realization means: the true self knowing itself.

In today’s meditation, we come to understand that when awareness knows itself, it discovers that this inner field of consciousness is the silent source of every thought, feeling, and action. It is endlessly creative, a field of infinite possibilities that is our essential being.

Our centering thought for today is:
I see myself as a field of infinite possibilities.

Feedback after the Black Lives Matter/Confederate Confrontation
You're a courageous mindful advocate in training--like me, like all of us. 
The "edge" of compassionate direct action takes a lot of concentration and skill to navigate. It's especially hard alone in a crowd. This is why Thay insists monastics travel with a "second monastic body." It's why his retreats have up to 75 monastics leading them (their combined energy creates the "container" for practice).
Mindful advocates hold questions re our skillfulness, our peace and our effectiveness in our hearts like a koan. The questions keep us humble and not knowing, free from ideologies or being swept into the moment. The questions keep us calm and clear.  
And, like you, I know it's important we not wait until we're "perfect" or nothing will ever get done!   
I have great confidence in your mindfulness and inner knowing, Ron.
No judgment, no regrets.
Much love and respect,
Heather 

Heather Lyn Mann
Chân Liên An
 

Sunday, July 19, 2020

I choose the reality of my deepest awareness.

 – Realizing the True Nature of Reality

In today’s meditation, we explore the foundation of our sense of reality. What we believe to be “real” determines what matters in our lives and what we aspire toward. If we choose to believe that the basis of reality is what happens to our physical bodies, that leads to a value system based on physical survival. If we build our reality based on the transitory thoughts and feelings of our ego minds, then our feelings of security and worth will be a thin veil of pretense over a persistent fear of death.

However, when we experience the true self as ever-present awareness through meditation, we choose a reality that is the unchanging continuum upon which all the changes in the mind, body, and emotions take place. This is a reality of peace, possibility, and ever-present love.

Our centering thought for today is:
I choose the reality of my deepest awareness.
 
“The ultimate truth of who you are is not I am this or I am that, but I Am.”       – Eckhart Tolle

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Marching again tomorrow vs. Confederate Flag Bearers guarding Confederate Monument


Let us open to a new and deeper way of understanding the Five Mindfulness Trainings, guiding principles for mindful and ethical living, which call us toward individual and collective awakening, compassion, and peace. We are aware that we are interconnected. What happens in Wuhan, China affects people in New York City. We are called forward.

The global pandemic is a gateway to suffering worldwide, disproportionately impacting Black people, indigenous, and people of color, who face poverty, sickness, displacement, and death. They, we are not alone. Our lives and livelihood are interconnected. We are called forward.
We cannot exist independent of low wage workers, health care workers, un-housed people, single mothers, undocumented people, the unemployed and underemployed. If one such person lives on the knife edge of racial, ethnic, social, structural, and systemic oppression and discrimination we are all affected. We are called forward.

The practitioner dwells in the now, recognizing equanimity and instability, discrimination and non-discrimination, ill-being and well-being, practicing right view and engaged through compassionate action. Aware of the cycle of racial, ethnic, and social inequities and discrimination, we courageously turn to practice wholeheartedly. We are called forward.


From five Mindfulness Trainings, New Paradigm for Racial Justice and
the Global Pandemic
By Marisela Gomez and Valerie Brown



Let us open to a new and deeper way of understanding the Five Mindfulness Trainings, guiding principles for mindful and ethical living, which call us toward individual and collective awakening, compassion, and peace. We are aware that we are interconnected. What happens in Wuhan, China affects people in New York City. We are called forward.

The global pandemic is a gateway to suffering worldwide, disproportionately impacting Black people, indigenous, and people of color, who face poverty, sickness, displacement, and death. They, we are not alone. Our lives and livelihood are interconnected. We are called forward.
We cannot exist independent of low wage workers, health care workers, un-housed people, single mothers, undocumented people, the unemployed and underemployed. If one such person lives on the knife edge of racial, ethnic, social, structural, and systemic oppression and discrimination we are all affected. We are called forward.

The practitioner dwells in the now, recognizing equanimity and instability, discrimination and non-discrimination, ill-being and well-being, practicing right view and engaged through compassionate action. Aware of the cycle of racial, ethnic, and social inequities and discrimination, we courageously turn to practice wholeheartedly. We are called forward.


From five Mindfulness Trainings, New Paradigm for Racial Justice and
the Global Pandemic
By Marisela Gomez and Valerie Brown

"Uncynical" hard not to be in these times... however do NOT lose hope!

Strive to be uncynical, to be a hope-giving force, to be a steward of substance.
MARIA POPOVA





Friday, July 17, 2020

I Am Not Your Negro

Peace and joy are my essential nature.

Day 18 – Finding Inner Peace and Joy
“Every breath we take, every step we make, can be filled with peace, joy and serenity.” — Thich Nhat Hanh

When we think of spiritual renewal, we typically think of it bringing a sense of abiding peace, joy, and contentment. This search for peace and joy often means we’re trying to acquire these feelings as if they were separate from us, and we need to find and install them somehow.

In today’s meditation, we learn that we don’t need to go anywhere or acquire anything to find peace and joy. Peace is what we essentially are, joy is the very nature of pure consciousness. To attain the happiness we long for, we only need to be what we already truly are – present-moment awareness.

Our centering thought for today is:
Peace and joy are my essential nature.
 
“Every breath we take, every step we make, can be filled with peace, joy and serenity.” — Thich Nhat Hanh

Balance is more important to me...

Be pliable like a reed, not rigid like a cedar.
RABBI SIMEON BEN ELEAZAR
I have always most admired the story of the oldest living being, the bristlecone pine living in the harshest environment possible. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

I am supported by the unlimited power of spirit.

Day 17 – Alignment With Spirit

Today’s meditation helps us align our individual selves with the infinite intelligence and organizing power of the universe. In doing so, we not only connect to our inner cosmic intelligence, we also allow our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors to synchronize with the perfect functioning of Nature. Life then becomes easier, more enjoyable, and infused with deeper meaning.

Our centering thought for today is:
I am supported by the unlimited power of spirit.
 
“Trust that your soul has a plan and even if you can't see it all, know that everything will unfold as it is meant to.” - Deepak Chopr