spiritual practices

the power of practice

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From one point of view we can say that we have human bodies and are practicing the Buddha's teachings and are thus much better than insects. But we can also say that insects are innocent and free from guile, where as we often lie and misrepresent ourselves in devious ways in order to achieve our ends or better ourselves. From this perspective, we are much worse than insects. In Buddhism, both learning and practice are extremely important, and they must go hand in hand. Without knowledge, just to rely on faith, faith, and more faith is good but not sufficient. So the intellectual part must definitely be present. At the same time, strictly intellectual development without faith and practice, is also of no use. It is necessary to combine knowledge born from study with sincere practice in our daily lives. These two must go together..... Dalai Lama
From one point of view we can say that we have human bodies and are practicing the Buddha’s teachings and are thus much better than insects. But we can also say that insects are innocent and free from guile, where as we often lie and misrepresent ourselves in devious ways in order to achieve our ends or better ourselves. From this perspective, we are much worse than insects.
In Buddhism, both learning and practice are extremely important, and they must go hand in hand. Without knowledge, just to rely on faith, faith, and more faith is good but not sufficient. So the intellectual part must definitely be present. At the same time, strictly intellectual development without faith and practice, is also of no use. It is necessary to combine knowledge born from study with sincere practice in our daily lives. These two must go together….. Dalai Lama

 

i was reminded yesterday about one fo the first lessons my sponsor shared with me- the development of spiritual practices. i did this my first month as i readied to work the steps with him. he explained that these practices were a direct line to sanity which in the addict’s world is a life line. crazy can (and does) whoosh in like a breeze from the north at any time in early sobriety. if we are not prepared.

he further illuminated that the spiritual practices we develop are to be used daily at different times during the day. we practice them daily as a sort of insurance policy. if we fall into crazy we have a direct and tethered connection to spirit via these practices. the routines i have developed have come in handy over the years. the specific practices i roll with have grown and changed over the years just like my sobriety.

this blog is a specific and direct spiritual practice that somehow connects me to peace of mind. as i enter my 10th year as a blogger, the purpose and the content of this practice has evolved. its specific purpose has remained the same. i still utilize a direct route to my concept of spirit and higher power. a key thing i have learned throughout this sober journey is that some days the only person who can keep me sane is the one i see when i look in the mirror. this fact alone is reason enough to connect to a higher power- cuz somedays i am crazy.. bat sheet crazy. luckily we are not all crazy on the same day.

at the center of my sanity is music. always music. it soothes, it swirls, it redirects, it channels, it softens. life without music would not be fair..

 

subterranean

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“All wrong-doing arises because of mind. If mind is transformed can wrong-doing remain?”
“All wrong-doing arises because of mind. If mind is transformed can wrong-doing remain?”

have been watching the “sonic highway” series that dave grohl and the foos have done for hbo. it has, for me, seemed like watching a magic trick. it looks so simple, but what it reveals is almost unbelievable.  the docu-series’ intimate glimpses into the underground music cultures of several american cities stirs the echoes of my infatuation with “alternative” as a philosophy.

the music industry is undoubtedly multi-layered. most of the moths attracted to its light ever make it to a level that is known as success. but success is only a carrot that doesn’t even begin to describe the allure that music and the music business emanate. my thought is that the actual music itself is the draw- not the success.

i connect to this agenda via my own allegiance to blogging. i have utilized this medium for about 7 years now.  it grounded me during my early recovery and gave me a place to purge a myriad of confusing feelings and ideas. it was not  the idea of fame or success in this process that was a hook for me. the motivator has been the benefit of participation. when i began, i had no idea that i had submerged the memories of shame based trauma nor did i have any clarity on my developed survivial skills and strategies. through continued practice though, the benefits have proven to be priceless and i continue to blog as a spiritual practice. once in awhile, someone will encounter my efforts and find connection. this is a bonus when it occurs, but it is not the motivation. my relationship to this process is the end game.

grohl’s experience touches on this theme. his approach to music seems to be a spiritual practice. it is encouraged that all american music enthusiasts peruse through the foo fighters’ documentary series. it is like peeking in through the back panel of the freak show tent at the circus. for me the hook has never been the stage appearances or starring roles that merit adulation as much as the gritty grist for the mill that artists must trudge through every day. the romance in breathing in the dark is just as critical as the day in the sun.

it comes across very clearly that dave grohl has respect for what he does as well as admiration for his contemporaries. this is a clear demonstration of integrity which is not my experience of the norm these days. my respect and admiration for dave grohl and his voyage into his soul. sonic highways has been an incredibly worthwhile journey for me too.

Nothing left within, I’ve been mined
Hell and back again, subterranean
I’ve been digging in down inside
I will start again, subterranean
But the truth is so unkind
What do you know, how low the sky
Yet the truth is so unkind
What do you know, how low the sky

You might think you know me
I know damn well you don’t
Oh no, oh no, you don’t

You might think you own me
I know damn well you don’t
Oh no, oh no, you don’t

Buried my heart, cannot go this alone
And I might think you love me
But I know damn well you don’t
Oh no, you don’t

Bring all your lies leave them deep in the dirt
Oh no, you don’t
Pull down my eyes
Lay me deep in the earth

knock knock knock

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When an ordinary man attains knowledge, he is a sage; when a sage attains understanding, he is an ordinary man.
When an ordinary man attains knowledge, he is a sage; when a sage attains understanding, he is an ordinary man.

throughout my lifetime, i have been awakened by what some might call spirits. i first remember this when i was a young boy, too small to get out of bed in the dark to investigate the sounds. there were times in chicago when i was living above the dance club and things would fake, shake, and break while i was asleep. there it was easy to place the blame on the “el” train which ran almost directly outside my window.

when i lived in california in the late 80’s, our house was robbed at gunpoint at about 3 am, i got knocked over the head with the butt of a pistol because i was dialing 911 using a phone on the floor of my bedroom. i woke up randomly for over 3 years about the same time of the morning- still do once in a while actually.

when i moved to denver in 88 and lived with my cousin for awhile, there was a succession of knocks, doorbells, and things flying off desks and tables in my room. during that time, i would have to say that somebody (or something) definitely wanted to get my attention.

i travelled to paris in the mid 90’s with my friend joe. we rented an apartment on isle st. louis and i was awakened with a intrusive poke on the shoulder by a robed figure motioning me to step through an imaginary (or spiritual) doorway. i remember distinctly thinking about it for just a minute and then thinking “why the hell not”?

last night i was startled and aroused by 3 distinct knocks and i immediately connected this attempt to get my attention to the situation i am facing in my life at this very minute. i tried to rationalize it away and then realized that intuitively i know it is meant for me. and if i make a poor decision because of it, that must lead to a better place. even if i have to trudge through manure for awhile to get there.

Have you found yourself lying in bed, just about to fall asleep, when suddenly you hear three distinct knocks nearby on the door, wall or window? Has this happened more than once? Maybe you figured the source and went to sleep. Or, it left you shaking under your sheets.

Once all other rational explanations have been ruled out, one then asks who or what is causing the phenomenon and why? For my great grandmother, who spoke openly about the occurrence, it was her daughters way of letting her know she wasOK. Maybe for you, the hour is significant. Some have said it is around the time a loved one died, while others say that the time has no meaning. Could be a ghost or residual haunting. One would have to keep a written record of the event-time, place and conditions at the time knocking takes place. With this, a pattern could develop that could help when investigating your situation further.

That could explain the knocks. However, what is the significance with the number 3? This has left me scratching my head…

reposted from terrifyingtales.blogspot.com