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Meditation and Childhood

May 22, 2014 2 Comments

We may not have had formal training in meditation as children, but we probably had profound spiritual experiences as a natural part of childhood.  Contemplation is a normal activity.  When life is undisturbed we contemplate our surroundings, our connection to the universe, and more. If you scan your past for times during which you felt connected, in a state of grace, or full of bliss you will find them.  By bringing back the feeling of spontaneous enlightening experiences we might be able to recreate that magic today.  Our conscious minds often cling to our problems, our challenges, and our individual specialty suffering, keeping these wounds close to the surface.  Through practice we can train the mind to hold on to the positive, unexplained flashes of light and insight, treating them as our natural state. Bringing contemplation and spacious states of mind into our practice is liberating.  The long term benefits can be compared to  physical strength or agility in the body.  We don’t know what demands the future will put on that preparation.  We can only learn when an event challenges that strength.  We know we will encounter stressful situations and loss in our lives.  A meditative state of mind is the very best investment/tool to cope with adversity that can be acquired.

There are many forms of meditation.  A qualified teacher is not always available, but can show the student how to create the transition into mindfulness.  If you believe that you have never meditated, let your memory go over the special times of youth that stand out in your memory today.  You will probably be able to identify a few enchanted, enlightened times that brought you a glimpse into eternity.  That lightness is a state that is available to you always.  What is required is a steady practice.  Walking, chanting, sitting….the style does not matter as long as it suits the user.   The pure state of bliss meditation brings the practitioner is the armor that protects the mind from stress and worry. It is the true fountain of youth.


Wisdom springs from meditation;
without meditation wisdom wanes.
Having known these two paths of progress and decline,
let one so conduct oneself that one’s wisdom may increase.

Dhammapada 20.282

The Buddha

Respecting Religion

August 19, 2013 1 Comment

In 1469 in what is now Pakistan, the Sikh religion was born in the form of a teacher, Guru Nanak.  He was exceptional as a student, grasping deep meaning at an early age.  At this time in history Muslims and Hindus were close and friendly in that part of the world.  His ministry was as a poet and musician, a travelling troubadour.  He began a line of 10 gurus who passed the hymns and stories along to the future generations.  Today Sikhs keep these  traditions alive by teaching their children the ancient shabads.  They welcome visitors to take part if they like, but there is no attempt to convert.  Most Sikhs were born in India to Sikh parents.  Understanding some history and philosophy fosters respect for the religious beliefs and practices of others. The group gathers for a meal after the ceremony, which is social and friendly.

Art and Practice

April 4, 2013

This month many writers are writing a poem a day in NaPoWriMo..the poetry challenge.  I am accomplished in a few expressive ways, but I have not visited my poet for years.  I was a prolific song writer as a teenager, and wrote poetry every day of some kind.  I am a language fan, loving words because they sound funny or because they have obscure specific meanings.  Being poetic, or even doing rhymes as improvisational humor, sharpens the wit, grows the vocabulary and enhances connections and metaphoric images.

When I was young I heard my father recite the Cremation of Sam McGee by Robert W Service.  He knew it by heart. After a couple of drinks he liked to sing, dance or recite that poem. It was always entertaining. He was a research scientist by profession, but my parents loved music and dance more than anything.  We had a player piano which was the scene of many sing a long parties.  What was truly admirable about my parents was their artistry.  They had regular suburban lives, but my dad was an accomplished musician, and my mother designed and executed both landscape environments and fashion with amazing professionalism.  My mother was a prize-winning floral arranger, and avid flower show horticulturist.

I was encouraged , and in some cases forced, to practice art.  Piano was a mandatory 30 minutes every day of my life, and a legal pad sheet of cursive handwriting had to be inspected by my father each night.  I eventually realized I could recycle some of the handwriting, but there was no faking the piano.  My guitar and voice lessons came with mandatory practice sessions when I was in high school.  I learned the power of practice at a very young age.  Discipline is never natural to kids and maybe my parents overdid the whole rigidity thing.  Today, however, I thank Dick and Ruby Morse, the living artists, who gave me the self confidence to know that I can be any kind of artist I care to be.  My art will reflect my practice, and with practice I will improve.  All poems, all songs, all dances are alive and need to be brought forth.  Practice is the vehicle in which they travel into the light.


October 26, 2012 3 Comments

Hendrix in Tune

The idea that we all have access to deeper or higher powers is indicated in religions.  It is also embedded in medicine and mythology. The individual is called on to find courage to discover and develop the talents or graces given for spiritual development. Some are called to musical interpretations, others to various forms of creativity. These vocations, or callings are the gate, the opening through which the divine enters the world. By carefully copying others or projecting an image to please the public one specifically stops unique gifts from being expressed. Charisma is an attraction to a special, unique force. Charism is the influence exerted by the unique force.

When kids learn patterns from adults today they are likely to be focused and stuck in the physical appearance or status of a person place or thing.  The Dalai Lama once advised in his teachings to seriously observe the way you feel about an object (place or event works here too) you desire.  He added that the details of the feelings are the most important parts to observe.  Noticing the feelings toward the object when you decide to buy it, at the moment it is acquired, and again three months after the purchase tells a story of fleeting emotions, and perhaps buyers’ remorse.  This desire/want more syndrome is the nature of the physical realm.  If no attention is given to individual gifts or talents the cycle of never ending desire will be the only path taken in life. The treadmill of wanting what others have will consume all available time and energy.

Artists find both beauty and divine inspiration in practicing their arts. A  charismatic person accepts responsibility for nurturing his or her talent.  The path of creative expression focuses on personal ways to distill the beauty of nature  for enjoyment by all.  Charism is not a commercial effort or ROI on some training received.  It is the bold decision to connect the physical world to the cosmos through mediation and art. The kids today do not need to join an order or commit to a religious vocation to be exposed to the idea that their special gifts are worth discovery. The talents are worth development because they are also gifts for the entire world.  Kids need encouragement and appreciation of their artistic abilities, and exposure to the artistic work of others.  Can you find your own charism and use it to inspire other people?

Birth of a Blogger

October 12, 2012 2 Comments

I play the part of Auntie Mame to three kids who live in California. I am not grandmother, aunt, or even Jewish, which gives me a distinct place in the family order. I have creative freedom that the other players do not have. I can be indulgent, which I am. I can go home and ignore them, which I do all the time. I feel a responsibility to model for and with them a fair and loving friendship between kids and an adult. This means the authority card can not be played unless there is a dire emergency. We are equals. Of course if I lived with them full time this would collapse quickly, because adults do need authority in order to hang out with kids at all.

They each have distinct talents and abilities. If I have a favorite it would be Max because we share similar interests in technology. This is the child every Apple share holder wants to meet. I think he wants to marry Siri. The kids inherit my old Apple products and are now officially hooked. The issue is that when a boy is alone with his computer, he is likely to just play stupid games and become addicted to it like to the TV. They need restrictions in order to have balance, so mom has very reasonable rules for tech use, which is a powerful force in discipline. To loose privileges to be with the electronics is severe for these guys, so they do behave in order to avoid it.

Yesterday I negotiated the permission for Max to start a blog. He quickly set up his WordPress page and published a picture of himself from the morning as his first post. I convinced mom that the archive will be her most precious possession that she will not need to file or protect. It will be there. Now comes the fun. He is extremely enthusiastic and interested. Mom is happy too because now he does not like to write. I have urged him to be consistent and thoughtful about his content. We talked about technical quality and how to develop interesting posts others want to read.  I am curious to see how this will develop.  I wonder if his enthusiasm can be maintained, and if he will use this practice wisely.  Do you know any kids who blog, and how they got started blogging?  I am very interested in finding other youngsters who are involved in this world.

It is with great pride that I present to the blogiverse the talented, the witty , and the very young Mr. Max Levy:

Max in front of his house

I ripped off his first post, which is this picture.  Please join me in wishing him blogging success.  We may all learn a lot from this young man.  He teaches me all the time.  Go Max!!!

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