Heart meditation for the Solstice

It snowed last night. Covid is making me fall asleep at 4 or 5 pm which means I am very awake at midnight. The cats and I checked out the snow at 1 am.

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Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva is the Bodhisattva of Compassion. He is enlightened, yet chooses to return to earth over and over, until everyone is enlightened.

In China, he changes gender and names into Kwan Yin, the Bodhisattva of Compassion.

In college I date a lapsed Jewish Zen Buddhist and I learn to meditate. At the group meetings there are 6 or 7 of us. The Heart Sutra is recited and we meditate facing the wall, sitting on our zafus, for 40 minutes. It is easier to meditate in a group, though I have no idea why. Pride? Some connection to other’s breathing? The breathing will serve me very very well later, when I keep getting pneumonia. The ability to slow my breathing will help me survive.

When we had a group meditation, the Heart Sutra was read slowly and clearly. It has it’s own rhythm. I had lost it and finally found the translation we used. Here it is:

There is more than one translation, here: https://dharmanet.org/HeartSutra.html. I have tapes and books by Jon Kabat Zinn, who has studied mindful meditation for 30 years. He gets better results in his mindful meditation pain classes than opioids, with an average decrease in pain of 50%. His tapes have the same slow gentle speech as our Heart Sutra readers. It is hypnotic and I can relax. Though my oppositional defiance kicks in when he says firmly that I am to fall more awake, not asleep. I listened to that CD every night for a year after my father died. When he would tell me to fall awake, I would smile and slide into sleep, a happy rebel. I was comforted that I did not have to do what he said.

Where is the Avalokitesvara, the Kwan Yin of the West? What examples in the largest religions are there? Someone who stays even after they have achieved enlightenment/heaven because they want everyone there. Not only that, but they believe everyone can be there. And they will not give up until everyone is there.

I was surprised when a Unitarian Minister stated that Unitarians do not believe in Hell, because a loving creator would not consign anyone to Hell. I didn’t really want to give Hell up, but I also agree that a loving creator would not consign anyone to hell. It’s a bit easier for me to think of people as continuing on a wheel of life until they achieve enlightenment than to think of some people going to Heaven, but after all, I don’t know the whole story. No one knows another person’s whole story. I wrote DMV to figure out the Hell/Heaven thing. And the lead character wants to go back, because her work is not done yet.

I am thankful for paxlovid at the moment. I am thankful that I found this translation of the Heart Sutra.

Happy Solstice.

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The first photograph is Elwha looking very meditative after going out in the snow. Here they both are in the snow:

For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: solstice.

Lit

That moment after the tree is taken down
not from greed but because the trunk has split
dangerous operation; all survive
Even the tree. A split 20 foot trunk may survive.
We won’t know until spring.
You are hunting in the sections that are down.
“Yes!” you say and hold them up.
“Invaders. They’re not native.
I shoot them when they steal the birdseed.
They crawl into the trunk to die.”
You hold a shriveled carcass up with each leather glove.
They too look like leather or shrunken heads.
Your smile lit up
at this evidence of your successful aim:
killing squirrels.

I think this is my first ekphrastic poem. Inspiring photograph, right? So that makes me laugh, it’s so gruesome. I was looking for a photograph for the Flower of the Day and came across this. Taken in January 2022.

silence

You are silent.

I try a little more but I am tired. I am tired of drama, trauma drama. I dream and dream and dream. I dream that my ex touches a live bat. The bat changes in my dream, from a tiny brown nose bat to a huge fox bat with fur and stripes. It is unconscious.

“Don’t touch it! You touched it! Now we have to take it to the Health Department!” I am eyeing the bat and thinking of throwing something over it. A container. It’s huge.

My ex laughs. “No we don’t.”

“Yes we do! Rabies! It could have rabies! If we don’t take it in, you’ll need rabies shots!” Poor bat, I think, it will be killed to test for rabies.

My ex keeps laughing. “I’m not going to be tested, I won’t have shots, and the bat is fine!”

“WHAT!” I say, “No, you could die!”

I wake up. What was that dream about? Oh. It’s about you, refusing to test for Covid after being exposed. You said you would hike with me. “Not if you won’t test,” I say, “I can’t afford to get Covid again, I can’t be around you for 15 days if you won’t test.”

And you go silent.

And I try a little more and I let go. You will have to break the silence if you plan to keep your promises. Will you or won’t you? I am supposed to trust you. But people say trust me, and then sometimes they are drunk, and lying, and you can’t trust them. “I will never hurt you,” is a lie. Try this instead: “I will try not to hurt you and I will listen if you feel hurt.” And change, maybe?

Maybe.

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Dreams are funny. Fox bats ARE the largest bats in the world, but they do not have stripes: https://allthatsinteresting.com/giant-golden-crowned-flying-fox.

Embodying a dream

I wrote about the two dreams I had one night, with seven people. Two babies, a boy and a girl. Two professionals, a woman physician and a male policeman. Two rebels, a woman and a man, the man lying or at least misleading the rebel woman. The rebel woman trying to do something that she suddenly realizes is not important and is, in fact, foolish and dangerous. And a quiet woman.

I have been thinking about the quiet woman ever since. My Meyers-Briggs type in medical school came out INTJ, but we are not one thing or another. We have preferences, but we all have to use all the skills. I can be extroverted. I had to work on feeling, that was the really difficult one for me after a frightening childhood. I can pay attention to facts though I sweep them into the intuition very quickly. Medical school is facts and facts and facts, except then there are parts that turn out to change as science changes.

The eighth person is a quiet man. He is not present in the dream. I am thinking about him. I wonder if I will have another dream when I am ready.

I am attending some workshops on line for treating trauma. It is quite fascinating. They talk about working with clients who have aspects like my dream: a small child with trauma. A “fake adult”, aka “adaptive child”, with the tools that the child develops to survive in their childhood. Helping the “fake adult” recognize that some of coping tools may not be helpful or necessary any longer. First, they thank the “fake adult”, for protecting the traumatized child and for surviving at all and for not giving up. I think this is so important, to acknowledge that we have to thank that part of ourselves that did what it had to, that did what it could, to survive. And this can include things that we are ashamed of or fear that others would hate us for if found out. We had a temporary doctor at the hospital who described being a boat person escaping Vietnam at age 8. They were picked up by pirates. “We were glad to see the pirates, because we had run out of water. If the pirates had not picked us up, we would have died.” So there is perspective: death by dehydration or pirates? And she went from a refugee camp and then through medical school and became a physician. Survival and success and I hope that she is thriving.

I like it when a dream has such recognizable symbols. My now retired Unitarian Universalist minister says that we can sit with dreams for a time. What do the symbols mean to me? What is the dream telling me? My dream is in part telling me that I do not need to have the rebel woman lead: she can rest and let the quiet woman take over. And that I am very tired of rebel men who mislead me or run away. I woke up and thought, oh, yes, I see! I am tired of that and ready for change.

Change and transformation can happen throughout our lives, at any age. I welcome it.

Blessings and peace you.

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The photograph is Sol Duc and Elwha enjoying doll bunkbeds. And acting like siblings do sometimes. And then they curl up together.

stone

stone shaped heart
refuse to love me
refuse to let me in

I don’t try to change you
I am here to change me
not you

not to bury or change or rewrite my past
but to unearth past feelings
to examine them without prejudice or fear

to hold them with love and care
so that they don’t inform the present
so that my feelings are now and not mixed with past

I listen to what you say
I am here with you to learn
what are you saying to me?

you say you are always truthful
but you break laws
you smoke some stuff, legal now

you say you do not speed
sometimes you do not speed
sometimes you do

you say you never watch series
when I suggest a series
now you tell me you are watching a series

you say you never try to hurt me
mostly you never try to hurt me
except when you do

you say you never lie
you seem to believe what you say
I don’t

I try to pay attention to what I say
I try not to say never
I try not to lie to myself

I watch you and wonder
what lies do I tell over and over
to myself and others?

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Written 6/22/22

pink sea

In my world with the dreamy pink sea
no humans at all, my world loves me
I wander and wonder at the beauty I see
I am safe and entirely free

Good night, pink sea.

For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: dream world.

Dream travel

I time travel in dreams.

Two dreams last night. In one I am in a hospital and trying to finish up and go home, but there are two babies. I check and one is my daughter. I check the other and it is a boy. He has a label saying “Call police.” The story is that he is sent from a smaller hospital for some testing that I am not sure about and that the mother was supposed to pick him up. She has been discharged but has not picked him up. I feed him and my daughter, feeling anxious. Where are the nurses? Why is my daughter here? I will take her home, but I have to make provision for the boy first. I feel sorry for him, abandoned. Both babies are clean and alert and swaddled, but the nurses are not around. I wake up.

In the second dream, I am still married to my first husband/but it’s a more recent gentleman friend at the same time. We are in southeast asia. I want to go home but for some reason we have stuff, including skis. My daughter is in her 20s in this dream. We take the skis to a house. Right before we reach it, there are police nearby, having a shootout with someone. Gangsters. This worries me and my daughter/friend. My husband/the guy meet us there and he boasts that a rich friend lets him use the room in the house. “I can have it for a whole month.” I am unimpressed and don’t care. I want to go home. My daughter/or it’s a woman friend and I go back. I think that my husband/guy is getting the car, but I hear his voice. He is singing in a karaoke bar. It is a very trashy glittery place and he loves it. I do not like the lounge style of singing and I decide to get the car myself and with my daughter/friend, get out of there. I hear my husband/guy making excuses and calling after us, but I am leaving. He lies to me and he excludes me, he wants to be the center of attention with his rich friends and when he sings, he’s afraid I would take attention away from him.

My daughter/friend and I retrace towards the building where the skis are. We have to walk on the edge of a massive fountain, with a cliff on one side. We are in a city. I think that we are retracing but then we come out into an open area. There is a police car parked there. I know we are visible, with a full moon reflecting off the fountain pool, so I wave with no concern. Just tourists here. I study the edge of the fountain to see if we could go in the water and climb to the next section, but it is not safe. I can’t tell how deep it is nor how fast the current. We will have to backtrack. The city is beautiful, with a giant lion building on the skyline and buildings with the Thai curved rooftops stacked up. It is gorgeous. Suddenly the other person is my friend and I worry: where is my daughter, where is the baby? I wake up.

My daughter is in her twenties now, not a baby, but in the dream she was a baby and then later in her twenties. When I wake I think, who cares about the stupid skis? Get out of there and leave the stuff. The babies are most important.

The first dream has three people. The second has four, because I can see the policeman. All the people are aspects of myself. My husband who is my ex now/a recent gentleman friend and then a male southeast asian policeman, though the police car is one of the large blue SUV style ones that I see at home. All of these complicate elements. Both my children have been to Thailand but I have not. Dreams are definitely time travel for me.

For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: time travel.

flying dream

I dream I am Superman flying, but I am still me and female too. It is night and I fly over a beautiful bay, with a bridge at the opening of the bay. Cars are crossing. The people on the bridge call me down, calling “Help!” I fly down. “There are people in the water below the bridge! What are they going to do! Stop them!” I fly down to the water. “Come in,” say the people in the water. “The water is warm!”

I join them in the water. It is warm and the bridge is beautiful. I say, “The people on the bridge are scared of you.” The people in the water say, “We just like the water. They are silly. They should join us. We won’t hurt them.” I thank them and fly back up.

I say, “The people in the water just like the water. They say they won’t hurt you.” The people on the bridge say, “No, no! They will hurt us. We don’t want them in the water! They might blow up the bridge!” I shrug. “Well, the water is fine. I am going back there.” I fly down and join the people in the water.

I wake up.

For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: cape.

Give up

Give up. You’ve failed, again. Love is not for you. Give up, turn in, write books, play music, have friends. Give up, give over, surrender. You are not loved, you are not lovable, you won’t be loved. When you show yourself they leave. Stop hoping, stop trying, stop, stop, stop. There is nothing there for you, only loss and heartbreak. Only the Beloved loves you whole, entire, who you are. Give up, give over, get down, surrender. You are not loved that way, you won’t be, ever. Get over it, write, dance, play music, fungk, it doesn’t matter one bit. Your longing is the longing to be reunited with the Beloved and that comes soon enough. Be not afraid, for you are loved, though not by men, a man, a woman, humans, whatever. Be yourself anyway, woman feeling like alien lizard, different, wrong, smart, alien. It is ok. Love the Beloved, love your friends, even those who walk away. Love them anyhow and know that the Beloved loves you. Always, always always, you are loved.

L