Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Buddha Vs Postman

I'm not sure if I've mentioned it in a previous post somewhere, but I live in a Buddhist centre along with eight other people. It's coming up to a year since I moved in.

First thing's first, I'm not a Buddhist.

Out of the eight people I live with, four are practising Buddhists - one being a Buddhist nun.

At the moment there's a silent retreat on.

I personally find it quite pretentious, but I'm trying to simply accept that this is what these people are into . . . because, after all, it's just a trip, isn't it?

Maybe I'm just expressing my own ignorance.

I would like to go on a silent retreat sometime, but for no other reason than to honour the silence and to go within; a bit like an extended Quaker meeting. But what I hear coming out of the meditation room is a symphony of chanted meditations.

That's not my thing.

One thing I find quite frustrating is that some of the people don't even smile at you, even if you smile at them. It would take a lot of effort for me NOT to smile at someone if they smiled at me. There doesn't have to be verbal communication - a smile is an expression of a kind acknowledgement from one person to another.

But where certain individuals are concerned, aspects of etiquette seemed to have flown out of the window during this retreat.

A few days ago I had a minor drama whilst cooking my dinner.

I was in the kitchen along with two others (one of those being the nun). Whilst waiting for my pasta to cook, I was looking for my spinach. Everyone has their own cupboard and fridge space, so I was looking through all of my food stuffs, but to know avail.

When suddenly, the Buddhist nun pulls out a bag of spinach from her shelf in the fridge.

Is that my bloody spinach? I thought to myself.

I've had plenty of things go missing in the past; whether it be eggs, bagels, salad dressing, fruit juice - but I'm always told to either label all my food or to accept the fact that this is what it's like living communally.

But had I just experienced first-hand, someone using - no, not using, stealing my food?

How am I going to find out when I can't bloody speak!?

I stood there for a few moments thinking of what the worst that could happen if I spoke to her:

1. She could ignore me - not so bad.
2. She could give me a nasty look and still ignore me - again, not so bad.
3. She could suddenly lash out and hit me with the massive spoon she had in her hand - that would be kind of bad, but seriously unlikely.

What if I just dipped my hand in the bag of spinach when she wasn't looking and threw some in my pasta?

. . . . I couldn't do it . . . .

I took a deep breath and did it - I spoke.

'Is that my spinach?' I asked.

She looked at me in not exactly the nicest way possible, but neither in the meanest way. The kind of look I would get if, say, Buddha was in the kitchen and I asked him why he was a bit of a fatty. That kind of look.

'No,' she whispered.

'OK,' I whispered.

But then I thought how would I know if she was telling the truth or not!? I couldn't ask her any more questions! When and where did you get it, for example.

I had to settle for a whispered 'no'.

I wasn't satisfied.


Later on that day, I asked my mate, who also lives there, if he knew where my spinach had vanished to.

'I finished it off,' he said calmly whilst making a cuppa.


'You told me to.'

' . . . What . . . When?'

'When I had that couscous, remember?'

' . . . '


So that was that: I was losing my memory and I had broken a Buddhist nun's vow to remain silent.

My bad.

Sorry, Mr Buddha.


Post track:  
The Cinematic Orchestra - Everyday - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vBeKgoqVopk

Saturday, 5 January 2013

G-Man - Master of the Universe

For a few weeks I've felt strange. Distant. Detached. Quite like an alien. I watch people go about their daily routines but feel separate from all of it. It's not a negative feeling as such, just weird.

I've also felt like something needs doing, but I don't know what that thing is. And what brought on mild anxiety was that this unknown task had a time limit!

Christmas day was spent with my family, but the only company I wanted was my own. I just wanted to sit and be. My family hadn't done anything wrong, I simply had a desire to be alone. This wish was granted on Boxing Day (26th Dec) when I spent all day by myself. The sense of relief was overwhelming.

I felt like a scrooge but I couldn't resist the urge for some alone time.

When the clock struck 00:00 on the 1st Jan 2013, I was sat alone in my room on my meditation cushion, and that was exactly where I wanted to be. I went to bed not long after.

Last week I decided to do some yoga. I used to practise on a daily basis but haven't done for a while.

What a difference it made!

The day after, I felt like a new man.

That strange, anxiety-type feeling flew away not leaving a trace of its presence.

I felt light on my feet. More present. Colours were more vibrant. Sounds were crisp and clear. But it was my mental well-being which had been affected the most.

I was quiet inside.

My thoughts had ceased and any thoughts that did arise, I could take control of; they were no longer in control of me.

Do you know what that feels like? To be in charge?

It's like being in charge of the remote when the person who's usually in charge leaves the room to take a piss. Any thought which is of no use, you skip. Then the next one arises . . . any good? No? Skip!

My attention wasn't being led astray by them. Which meant my attention was here - now.

The Now is where God hides - well, at least my own definition of what God is.

You will have your own definition, and therefore we will all have a different God, but I believe there is one God which lies beyond all definitions - a bit of a contradiction, I know. But for as long as I can remember, my relationship with my definition of the G-Man, has been a healthy active one.

I ask questions regularly and get answers.

Problems get solved.

Help comes when I ask for it.

I'm not sure how it works, I just know it does.

'I pray and coincidences happen. I stop praying and coincidences stop.' Archbishop of Canterbury.

This week, though, I felt such a strong urge - and there is no other way of saying it, but I had such a strong desire to know G-Man - The Master of the Universe.

I'm not religious and didn't have a religious upbringing. My Nan always spoke about Jesus and my Mum has always loved to watch and sing along to Songs of Praise, but that's as religious as my family get. So I have no religious foundation for the beliefs I hold.

This strong desire to know G-Man came hand in hand with the amazing feeling of being at peace.

All of my desires, goals and ambitions, seemed to take a backseat, for I had eternity to make them a reality, so therefore any striving I had had ceased to be, creating loads of inner space. The past also dissolved, leaving the present moment to bloom.

Later on in the day, I was walking out of my room to have a shower, when the top of a blue bookmark, which was in a book called West Yorkshire Folk Tales, caught my attention. There was nothing special about the bookmark - in fact, I could only see about 1cm of it, but, nevertheless, I had a strong feeling to go and check it out.

I walked over to it and slowly pulled it out of the book, revealing one word at a time.

This is what it said:







This gave rise to a massive grin across my chops and a feeling of pure joy.

This is how G-Man works.

You know when you've been touched by the divine. You feel it. You feel in tune with something supreme and your core resonates with it.

Me telling you this is really of no value because words will always only point to the experience, they are not the experience. It's like mistaking the menu for the dishes it represents.

I am merely telling you about the experience for no other reason than to make it clear that it has happened, and that you don't have to be religious or go to church for the G-Man to give you a helping hand.

Like a child, G-Man likes your attention.

Give your definition of G-Man some attention, and watch what happens.

Even if it's just for an experiment.

. . . I've continued with my yoga practice too.

(Music plays such a big part in my life, so from now on I'm going to put a link to a piece of music I like for you to listen to. If you like it, cool . . . if not, that's cool too.)


Boards of Canada - Macquarie Ridge - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZKSM-jyQh3o