Just do it! We can all change the world for others if we just act on those compassionate urges and spread a little kindness.
One summer evening back in 2006 I happened to see a P.B.S. documentary on people living in the Appalachian region of Virginia. My kids, 8 and 10 at the time, had been with me for the weekend and we’d had a great time as usual. After they left, I cleaned and washed a few dishes. The television was on for background noise really. I hated how quiet it was once the kids left.
I started to pay attention to the documentary when someone began to interview an Appalachian couple as they sat on the front porch steps of their tiny frame house. The couple had two kids but little else of any value besides their home. The father worked as a coal miner and handyman while the mother took care of the kids and worked a part-time job at a corner grocery store.
During the interview the couple held hands…
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I love watching our cat Gracie sleep, she had a tough start to life, as a stray was kicked which meant an operation was needed to repair her diaphragm. Then a couple of years ago she needed another major operation to remove a huge tumour, yet despite all she has been through she remains the most loving, contented cat. Cats often get a bad rap, mostly due to their human owners being negligent, I think it is such a pity because there is so much they can teach us. If like them we could let go of the past, stop worrying about the future and just enjoy the present then we too would all sleep soundly.
A poem by Eleanor Farjeon (1881-1965) really sums up cat naps.
Cats sleep anywhere, any table, any chair.
Top of piano, window ledge, in the middle, on the edge.
Open drawer, empty shoe, anybody’s lap will do.
Fitted in a cardboard box, in the cupboard with your frocks.
Anywhere! They don’t care!
Cats sleep anywhere.
Are you time poor with too many demands from work, family or other commitments to attend a retreat or do you simply not have the money to pay for one? Whatever the reason, there is a simple solution, CREATE YOUR OWN.
With a little planning and preparation you can honour yourself and take the time to focus on renewing your spirit and getting back in touch with yourself or perhaps even reach out towards the spiritual awareness you desire.
The first thing to remember is that you are worth the effort. If that isn’t a good enough reason to make time then perhaps for some reason you haven’t yet discovered the importance of self love, in that case, for the moment, focus on the benefits a retreat will bring to everyone around you. A calmer, happier, more positive and peaceful you will be able to give them greater support.
* FIND A SUITABLE TIME.
What is the best day of the week to do it. Fewer commitments. Easier for those living with you to support your need for silence.
Children at camp, away visiting, partner away, quieter time at work etc. If none of these are happening organise for them to happen.
Look forward to this time. Think what will make it really work for me? If you are addicted to coffee, tea or some other stimulant that will prevent your mind from settling cut back gradually. It will almost impossible to meditate with a screaming headache.
You might like to purchase some small item to enhance the experience for you. (This is not essential but if this is a treat you are giving yourself buying a special candle, some incense, a crystal, religious object, flowers or some special music can mark it as special and make it more significant.)
*TELL EVERYONE YOU ARE UNCONTACTABLE.
If it is difficult for you to do this for any reason, for example if you feel you don’t wish to share what you are doing at work, but need to take time out, then give a good reason, there is no need to lie simply tell the truth. “I am going to visit a close friend who needs me and I won’t have phone/internet reception until I return.” Remember that no one is so important that they can’t be done without. It will only be for a day. If you were to die right now it may be a nuisance to some but they would quickly find a way to do those jobs. Look at it this way, at least you’ll be back and most if not all the jobs can wait till then. If any can’t then delegate them for the day.
*DRAW UP A PROGRAMME.
Decide the length and number of your sessions. Four 30 minute sessions may be enough for a start (or six to eight 30 minute sessions).
Decide on the type/types of meditation techniques you will use. Sitting with focus on breath, object, mantra or walking.
*FIND A SUITABLE PLACE TO MEDITATE.
It needs to be quiet, not too warm and airy.
*CHOOSE SUITABLE MUSIC IF YOU ARE USING IT.
*DECIDE WHAT YOU ARE GOING TO DO BETWEEN SESSIONS.
If you plan to read choose suitable texts. Spend time outside if you have a quiet garden. Physical labour is also suitable as is creating a mandala or artwork. Whatever the task focus mindfully on
*PREPARE FOOD BEFOREHAND.
Keep meals simple and frugal. Fruit, salad, bread, nuts, cheese. Drink only water or fruit juice.
*PREPARE YOUR MEDITATION SPACE.
HAVE WATER AT HAND.
HAVE A WAY OF MARKING THE PASSING OF TIME.
Suitable music with timed pieces can be used or have a watch/ clock in sight so you can time your sessions.
HAVE A BLANKET OR RUG AT HAND.
If you are sitting still you may get cold and hunting for one can be distracting.
*ENLIST THE SUPPORT OF ANYONE WHO LIVES WITH YOU.
So that you can keep silent all day. If you have pets and they may distract you take steps to prevent them doing this during your meditation times.
*TURN OFF ALL PHONES AND COMPUTERS.
BEGIN YOUR PERSONAL RETREAT.
ENJOY YOUR JOURNEY!
Venerable Lobsang Tendar with some students (I am in the white top) at a retreat last year.
I am looking forward to August when at another retreat I will learn more.
Tibetans use an ancient form of medicine called “The Knowledge of Healing” whose origins are believed to be based on the teachings of the historical Buddha.
In the Tibetan medical tradition, the concept of well-being takes into account the full dynamics of mind, body and spirit to achieve effective and comprehensive healing. It utilizes the power of mantra (a creative repetitive sound) and the power of meditative stabilization.
In Tibetan Buddhist healing the notion of the law of karma implies infinite interlinked causes for any single event.
Three emotions known as the “Three Interior Poisons” are considered to be the root of all illness.
The first poison is desire or passion, which manifests as grasping at objects or pleasant experiences.
The second poison is hatred which manifests as pushing away of unpleasant experiences or objects.
Finally, ignorance or confusion, the third poison involves misunderstanding the nature of an object or a particular experience.
It is vital for anyone involved in healing to develop compassion for without compassion for self and others no true healing can take place.
If you are interested in learning more about Tibetan Healing or studying it contact Venerable Lobsang Tendar (There is a link on this site just click on the smiling Buddhist Monk widget) or google Tendar. He is an amazing, humble monk whose life is dedicated to healing. He now lives in Melbourne, Australia but if you live anywhere else in the world I am sure he can advise you on avenues of further study.
If you are motivated to study, learn and change I encourage you to do it.
We all say ” Tomorrow I’ll do that” but tomorrow never comes, so I say,” the perfect time to start something never comes so best do it now!”
Remember Michael Jackson said in “Man in the Mirror”
“If you want to make the world a better place,
take a look at yourself and make the change.”
Such wise words but like most of us I suspect he was going to do it tomorrow.
Make the change today, become a healer, you don’t have to be Tibetan to develop compassion. Mind you they have an awful lot to teach most of us. The teachings of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Tendar have been a great light to me personally and I am deeply thankful for their sharing of their knowledge and life’s journey. People like them change everyone they come in contact with and in doing so they certainly are changing the world.
Blessings on your journey.
LOVE NEVER DIES
THOSE PASSED OVER
NO MATTER WHAT
HOW WE FEEL
WE ARE ALL LOVED
LOVE NEVER DIES.
Today I have the flu. It is a beautiful day. The sun is out, the birds singing and I have been forced to stop and rest.
Sometimes I think we forget to stop and just be. While resting I have looked at the other sites of people who are following mine and I have learnt so much. Among them were true jewels, not selling anything but spreading light, love and wisdom. I have put a couple on my site. The one Hand in Hand inspired my poem above, it brought to mind my family now in spirit and awareness brought them close. There is no real separation, they have just passed through a beautiful door into spirit. I will pass through that doorway, again, just as I did when I was born and the experience I know will be just as wonderful. The process may look a bit rough ( It usually is and I am constantly amazed at how strong women are!), but then the smile on the face of a mother, when she first gazes in love and awe at her baby, says it all.
My husband is also supporting me. The papers are here with a cup of tea and he is off to buy something for dinner that we don’t need to cook. While my body feels awful, my spirit has never felt better. Many thanks to all both seen and unseen who are making my day!
Such a lovely day even the kangaroos are up and about!
I am loving just sitting watching everyone enjoying life.
MORE FRIENDS ENJOYING THE DAY
WE ARE CALLED HUMANBEINGS
I MUST REMEMBER THAT