Thursday, September 27, 2018

Highly recommended: Vipassana Video

Watch this video by Daniel Ingram. Apply the instructions at all times and be happy!

Monday, September 10, 2018

Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star



One of my previous attempts  at “formal” sitting at the beginning of the year. Any given moment is practice, formal or informal or neither formal nor informal. Every. Given. Moment.


Just Like Raven...




Kids, two of them, took me in a very different direction practice-wise these past two years. My practice reverted to mainly lying down in bed, sitting on the bus or train and whenever I’d get asked by budding yogis for advice, I’d be triggered to make sure I’d know what I was talking about. Formally sparodic. Informally at all times.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Mila, I'm your father.


Mila Sophia, Luca's new little sister arrived 2 days ago. Metta chants flow  with ease...


May little Mila be free from all dukkha!



Metta Chant
Aham avero homi
May I be free from enmity and danger 

abyapajjho homi
May I be free from mental suffering

anigha homi
May I be free from physical suffering

sukhi - attanam pariharami
May I take care of myself happily

Mama matapitu
May my parents

acariya ca natimitta ca
teachers, family and friends

sabrahma - carino ca
fellow Dhamma farers

avera hontu
be free from enmity and danger

abyapajjha hontu
be free from mental suffering

anigha hontu
be free from physical suffering

sukhi - attanam pariharantu
may they take care of themselves happily

Imasmim arame sabbe yogino
May all yogis close by and far away

avera hontu
be free from enmity and danger

abyapajjha hontu
be free from mental suffering

anigha hontu
be free from physical suffering

sukhi - attanam pariharantu
May they take care of themselves happily

Imasmim arame sabbe bhikkhu
May our guardian devas
Ismasmim avase
in this dwelling

arakkha devata
May the guardian devas

avera hontu
be free from enmity and danger

abyapajjha hontu
be free from mental suffering

anigha hontu
be free from physical suffering

sukhi - attanam pariharantu
may they take care of themselves happily

Sabbe satta
May all beings

sabbe pana
all breathing things

sabbe bhutta
all creatures

sabbe puggala
all individuals (all beings)

sabbe attabhava - pariyapanna
all personalities (all beings with mind and body)

sabbe itthoyo
may all females

sabbe purisa
all males

sabbe ariya
all noble ones 

sabbe anariya
all worldlings 

sabbe deva
all devas (deities)

sabbe manussa
all humans

sabbe vinipatika
all those in the four woeful planes

avera hontu
be free from enmity and dangers

abyapajjha hontu
be free from mental suffering

anigha hontu
be free from physical suffering
sukhi - attanam pariharantu
may they take care of themselves happily

Dukkha muccantu
May all being be free from suffering

Yattha-laddha-sampattito mavigacchantu
May whatever they have gained not be lost

Kammassaka
All beings are owners of their own Kamma

Purathimaya disaya
in the eastern direction

pacchimaya disaya
in the western direction

uttara disaya
in the northern direction

dakkhinaya disaya
in the southern direction

purathimaya anudisaya
in the southeast direction

pacchimaya anudisaya
in the northwest direction

uttara anudisaya
in the northeast direction

dakkhinaya anudisaya
in the southwest direction

hetthimaya disaya
in the direction below

uparimaya disaya
in the direction above

Sabbe satta
May all beings

sabbe pana
all breathing things

sabbe bhutta
all creatures

sabbe puggala
all individuals (all beings)

sabbe attabhava - pariyapanna
all personalities (all beings with mind and body)

sabbe itthoyo
may all females

sabbe purisa
all males

sabbe ariya
all noble ones 

sabbe anariya
(worldlings)

sabbe deva
all devas (deities)

sabbe manussa
all humans

sabbe vinipatika
all those in the 4 woeful planes

avera hontu
be free from enmity and dangers

abyapajjha hontu
be free from mental suffering

anigha hontu
be free from physical suffering

sukhi - attanam pariharantu
may they take care of themselves happily

Dukkha muccantu
May all beings be free from suffering

Yattha-laddha-sampattito mavigacchantu
May whatever they have gained not be lost

Kammassaka
All beings are owners of their own kamma

Uddham yava bhavagga ca
As far as the highest plane of existence

adho yava aviccito
to as far down as the lowest plane

samanta cakkavalesu
in the entire universe

ye satta pathavicara
whatever beings that move on earth

abyapajjha nivera ca
may they are free of mental suffering and enmity

nidukkha ca nupaddava
and from physical suffering and danger

Uddham yava bhavagga ca
As far as the highest plane of existence

adho yava aviccito
to as far down as the lowest plane

samanta cakkavalesu
in the entire universe

ye satta udakecara
whatever beings that move on water

abyapajjha nivera ca
may they are free of mental suffering and enmity

nidukkha ca nupaddava
and from physical suffering and danger

Uddham yava bhavagga ca
As far as the highest plane of existence

adho yava aviccito
to as far down as the lowest plane

samanta cakkavalesu
in the entire universe

ye satta akasecara
whatever beings that move in air

abyapajjha nivera ca
may they are free of mental suffering and enmity

nidukkha ca nupaddava
and from physical suffering and danger.







Friday, May 20, 2016

Taking a break and continued practice



Sometimes our practice can seem too intense, or we simply just don't have the time and sometimes it's even worth taking a break. I've been on a bit of a break for the past five months or so with little to no sitting at all. I started a new job so my priority shifted but I'm slowly remembering that a continued practice, regardless of past baseline shifts, is beneficial for all involved.

A long day of teaching classes and preparation for the next next days' classes can leave me exhausted. But even with the exhaustion taking over, there is room for practice. In any position, in particular the lying down one, can result in beneficial practice. Though the dangers of falling asleep are there, the space to progress is given a little fertiliser.

With a new addition to the family due next month, little Mila,  the practicing of loving kindness (metta) has also again come to the forefront of practice. May her arrival into this world be painless and easy. May Maca also have the strength to withstand the discomfort of giving birth. And May I get more sleep. ;-)

Luca is two years old now and more demanding than ever of his parents' time. Peppa Pig helps as I drift deep into equanimity territory. Can you spot the two cessation moments?





Monday, January 11, 2016

Let the dust settle

Hurricane Luca

Often we sit to practice and the day's events and our conditioned bundles of habitual mental proliferations are the initial theme of the sit. Eventually, if patience,  resolve and good practice take hold, all that crazy samsaric papañca begins to settle down. Hurricane Luca is now 19 months old. His frantic physical movements mirror the movements of my mind as I sit to face the inner turmoil..  Eventually, the Hurricane loses momentum and equanimity wins out. The physical and mental phenomena begin to mirror an equanimous viewpoint. Calm abiding takes root. Patience, resolve and good practice do their thing.


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Thus I have heard, Luca,....

Phutthassa loka dhammehi cittam yassa na kampati asokam virajam khemam etam mangalam-uttamam.

"The mind that is not touched by the vicissitudes of life, the mind that is free from sorrow, stainless, and secure — this is the highest blessing.

Una mente que no se conmueve por el contacto con las condiciones del mundo, sin pesar, pura, segura. Ésta es la más grande bendición.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

A presence I have not felt since....



Sometimes you just gotta put on a Darth Vader mask to amuse the little one. With the mask on, my breath becomes more audible. The sound of the ingoing and outgoing breath easily and continuously pulls the mind's attention to the upperlip, nostrils and tip of the nose. This in turn helps direct and sustain the flow of thought in that particular direction. Directed and sustained thought;  two of the 1st jhana's conditioning factors.

Yes, attaining 1st jhana with a Darth Vader mask on!... while Luk...ahem...Luca tries to take it off.



I cannot wait for The Force to Awaken!!!!

Old McDonald had a......



Often the only thing that amuses little Luca, is a bit of a sing along. Super Simple Songs has been a godsend. So, I use this opportunity to play around with volition.

Have you ever heard a phrase unfinished and your brain just spits out the rest of it to complete it?

An incessant urge to complete an incomplete chunked phrase. Kind of like how Roger Rabbit can't resist finishing "Shave and a Haircut......". You might have experienced this with a song that is stuck on repeat in your head. You try and try to not repeat it over and over, but it just keeps going on and on  and on. "I'm a barbie girl in a......".

That incessant automatic-like function of volition on repeat...again and again and again and.....So, as Old McDonald plays out, my brain, so conditioned to know the words to it, starts to sing along.

This sit is aimed at simply becoming aware of that incessant urge to sing along, to finish the learned phrases. I don't try to stop it but just become aware of that brief instant of mental movement to "do" over and over. Slowly while doing this, the experience of the volitional movement starts to fade, lose momentum and suddenly....stop!...in and of itself. Ignorance of this volitional movement fuelled its continuance. The absence of ignorance triggers its cessation.

Little Luca amuses himself in the meantime while Old McDonald does his thing.


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Just Sitting...




Sometimes I have no plans, techniques, approaches or specific ways to practice. Sometimes after a long day at work, all I need is to just sit still for a bit and let current baseline show itself through the the day's constructed thought-walls. Diverting Luca's attention to objects around him keeps him busy while I just sit and settle.  Sometimes that is all that is needed. Just sit still for a bit. The baby timer (baby's boredom threshold) is set at about 15 minutes.


Dana/Giving




Due to a bit of Theravada/Goenka conditioning, I often feel like my practice rides the wave of my past actions. All those hours and days freely given to serving vipassana courses and constructing Dhamma halls and pagodas somehow pays off in the now. At least, it does condition a light sense of "I am not that bad".

Not sure if it is something he has picked up from observing his parents give him attention and food or if it is something innate or a combo of both, but I enjoy seeing little one start sharing and giving. I'd like to reenforce this habit as it is indeed conducive to being happy with a lighter unhindered mind, which is also very conducive for progress in practice. It's no wonder Gotoma gave instructions to many to practice dana first.


Friday, June 26, 2015

The Return of the Makka Ho


Tottoro tot. tor. o!


I've returned to doing the Japanese Makka Ho sequences to freshen the body and mind. Something I learned while I was studying shiatsu a while back. I always feel the body flush with freshness and a blockage-free spring after doing these sequences. A tense-free body results in a tense-free mind.

I start with a breath/meridian movement to enliven my midi-chlorian count. Little padawan does his training in the meantime.


Attempt 1:


Attempt 2:



Thursday, June 25, 2015

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

                            



I watch the ripples change their size

But never leave the stream

Of warm impermanence and

So the days float through my eyes

But still the days seem the same



Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Grasping + Letting Go

Handful.


Often what occurs around us reflects our current mind state. As I sit with little one, a desire for him to sit, learn, absorb, and practice with me arises. So misguided. How to impose my desires on such a free-flowing not-of-my-self spirit? I can't really control his desires to move about, play and be. It just causes movement and friction and he just wrestles free. The same belief in control arises towards the 6 senses doors and their objects and the same wrestling and friction result. So you let go and let baby do his thing. You let go and let the field of experience do its thing. You just baby-proof the whole joint first.


Friday, April 24, 2015

Any time, any place



Sometimes there is no chance to sit in the corner of a room to "officially" practice the "makes me feel like I'm actually practicing" sitting position. Sometimes you just gotta make the most of any situation, position and time........like "family time" while getting a head and neck massage by my new best friend.

Applying pressure to certain acupoints in the neck and skull trigger full-bodied pleasure, joy and relief, which then become supports for other jhanic factors to become established. Any time, any place, any way to make the mind more malleable and pliant. From malleability and pliancy, causes and effects are known, arisings are known, passings are known, cessation is known.


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Bubbapapasatisutta

                           

Mindfulness of In-&-Out Breathing(while baby is in the room)

"Now how is mindfulness of in-&-out breathing developed & pursued while baby is in the room so as to be of great fruit, of great benefit?
"There is the case where a father, having been passed the baby by a tired mum, in the rumpus room, the living room, the room where mother is not, sits down folding his legs crosswise, holding his body erect, and setting mindfulness to the fore.  Always mindful, he breathes in; mindful he breathes out alternating with eyes open and eyes closed.
" Breathing in long, he discerns, 'I am breathing in long' while baby plays; or breathing out long, he discerns, 'I am breathing out long while baby plays.' Or breathing in short, he discerns, 'I am breathing in short while baby plays'; or breathing out short, he discerns, 'I am breathing out short while baby plays.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe in sensitive to the entire body while baby plays.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to the entire body while baby plays.'  He trains himself, 'I will breathe in calming bodily fabrication while baby plays.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out calming bodily fabrication while baby plays.'
"He trains himself, 'I will breathe in sensitive to rapture while baby plays.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to rapture while baby plays.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe in sensitive to pleasure while baby plays.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to pleasure while baby plays.'  He trains himself, 'I will breathe in sensitive to mental fabrication while baby plays.'[4] He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to mental fabrication while baby plays.'  He trains himself, 'I will breathe in calming mental fabrication while baby plays.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out calming mental fabrication while baby plays.'
"He trains himself, 'I will breathe in sensitive to the mind while baby plays.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to the mind while baby plays.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe in satisfying the mind while baby plays.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out satisfying the mind while baby plays.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe in steadying the mind while baby plays.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out steadying the mind while baby plays.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe in releasing the mind while baby plays.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out releasing the mind while baby plays.'
"He trains himself, 'I will breathe in focusing on inconstancy while baby plays.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out focusing on inconstancy while baby plays.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe in focusing on dispassion [literally, fading] while baby plays.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out focusing on dispassion while baby plays.'  He trains himself, 'I will breathe in focusing on cessation while baby plays.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out focusing on cessation while baby plays.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe in focusing on relinquishment while baby plays.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out focusing on relinquishment while baby plays.'
"This is how mindfulness of in-&-out breathing is developed & pursued so as to be of great fruit, of great benefit ....while baby plays.

Inspired by the original.



Wednesday, April 8, 2015

While baby sleeps






So I'm all about bringing baby into the "practice" so that there exists no interruption to such a notion. But if you do have a free moment/s, please do take advantage and sit for a whatever period mum/baby/body/mind/life/universe allows you to. I find noting out loud really works wonders. It breaks down the usual habitual framed portrait we call our "self/selves" into the brush strokes, paint hues and canvas. While baby sleeps, or mum has taken charge, go frickn sit!***


***Reminder to self.


Baby dissolving







Being with baby is a given when mum wants a rest. So many acts can be performed in the name of "practice" at this time. Noting silently as baby plays about,  noting out loud to verbalise your presence to baby, playing with the periphery as baby pillages about, lulling baby to sleep with an established sleep mantra. What it all boils down to is 'paying attention' to what is occurring in the very moment continuously, witha momentum, no gaps, filling the gaps, making the gaps part and parcel of a "practice" or as I think should be referred to as "living". That re-orients well. 

When there is an object that pulls our attention hither and thither,  it is mental habit that has created that "object" to be co-pulled to. We can use that object as a means to see how the field of experience takes "shape", shifts about, becomes segregated, parts ignored, parts overlayed with projection, proliferation city. We can get curious to see how the field of experience plays out like so, knowing causes and effects. 

Just becoming curioius as to how "objects" of mind take shape,  stay (more like morph and shift about) then drop away to be replaced by other "objects" seems to lead to understanding of the hows of our dissatisfaction with the "world" we've created. In seeing the causes, we can in a sense interrupt this life-long habitual energy to give shape to "things". In doing so, we can see it all drop away suddenly. The field of experience opens up to become (or not become or neither) a sensate soup of immediate directness, unnamed and without "shape".

Luca seems to dig it when I'm blissing out on his presence dissolving/blending in, disappearing into/of/? the field of experience. Baby is dissolving. 




Movin, movin, movin!


If we have a belief in place that says our best, more progressive practice be relegated to a sitting position, then that is probably how it will play out. Our locked in thought loops condition how the field of experience plays out. Views give shape to the "world" and the "objects" within "it" and the reactions to those "objects" as well.

We can hack those locked in thought loops,  change them, flip them, shift them, ignore them or watch them disintegrate and free up the field of experience as a result.

Even a moment of trying to put baby to sleep is a moment of "practice". A mantric sound repeats and hones the ability to direct attention, which is a valuable ability to hone. A pliant, malleable mind fabricates with ease, and sets it up to cease as well.


My mantra of directed concentration has cemented from baby's birth as "movin, movin, movin". Not much else works. As Luca drops into lalaland, I hone a valuable skill.

"The more concentrated the yogi, the faster the progress." KF.


Monday, March 16, 2015

Baby In The Periphery



Just moved house and just got re-connected to the internets!

Here is an eye-open practice that I can do with baby in the room. It is inspired by including this approach into sitting and attempting to hone the art of paying attention.

One can play with interrupting the usual habitual tendency of the mind to lunge and give form/shape to objects in the same movement by allowing the periphery to be known. This lunging and giving shape happens usually in/into/on/onto a 'centre' of the field of experience (i.e. where the eyes and mind narrowly focus on). This practice is to expand the visual field, widening it to as far as the visual field can be taken in,  paying particular attention to the visual field's periphery.

This practice tends to soften the usual habitual centring of focus onto a co-arising form/shape/object and allows for momentary interruptions to this habit. When the mind lunges and narrows focus due to this deeply engrained habit,  just simply remember the periphery.  Allow the centre focus to soften and the periphery to come forward. The centre is not ignored, it is simply stripped of its narrow focus and softened by a wider attention. The centre is taken in with the periphery informing it.

Meanwhile, baby is allowed to do his thing in the room. Making sure that nothing sharp or bad for indigestion is in hand's grasp, he is allowed to explore and plunder to his whim. His actions and movements become part of the periphery. And because there is a stronger urge/volition  to pay attention to what baby is doing, if he presents in the periphery,  this acts as an anchor/support to this peripheral practice.

When the visual field becomes easier to pay attention to peripherally, the other sense doors can be experimented with peripherally as well, until the entire field of experience is peripherally informed.


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Voicing Presence



Luca likes to listen to voices. It seems to calm him and keep him happy while he plays. I practiced noting out loud for a bit while he rummaged around. It is a very effective way of continuing the flow of attention. Nothing is an obstacle. Baby, sounds, movement....there are no interruptions. The perception of the impermanence of each occurrence is re-enforced and aids in taking on board all occurrences as equally lacking weight to pull the mind into "interruption territory".

Belief that some aspect of experience can interrupt the flow of attention is the cause of the interruption itself as I see it. When this belief goes poof!, there are no more interruptions, just the field of experience with baby at play within it, of it, it,   .

Sensation-impermanent, sound-impermanent, sight-impermanent, intention-impermanent, I practice and voice my presence at the same time. Father and son are happy.



Sunday, February 15, 2015

Baby In The Room




I haven't actually formally sat in meditation for well over a year now. The arrival of baby Luca exactly 9 months ago in May last year signalled the end of 8 hour uninterrupted sleeps and uninterrupted precious me-time to do what I wanted. Now that I've felt the push to return to some more rigourous dedicated hardcore sitting on my bum practice, I've had to learn to integrate mummy-time too, the time when mum has passed the ball to me and I have no choice but to run with it.

I thought I'd video one of my first attempts at sitting on my bum with Luca in the same room.  What can I glean from this situation? It's all about seamless practice; the inclusion of baby into the practice. This practice round I simply became aware of 'intentions'; intention to do this, to do that, to open eyes, become aware of what baby was doing, to accommodate his in the moment needs. As I do this, the experience becomes a seamless playing out of the situation of 'baby in the room'. There are no obstacles as the practice is just this:

"Baby in the room".