Thursday, 28 February 2013

Spring Messenger

I love seeing in early spring the flowers of the celandines, daffodils and primroses in their shades of yellow. The celandine is nicknamed the spring messenger and is one of the first wild flowers to emerge each New Year.  They only open their brilliant yellow flowers when there is sunshine or bright light. William Wordsworth describes it so beautifully in this poem
from telegraph

There is a Flower, the Lesser Celandine,That shrinks, like many more, from cold and rain;And, at the first moment that the sun may shine,Bright as the sun itself, 'tis out again!

Despite the cold and wet weather the Celandines in my garden are growing again, the daffodils, tulips and crocus are begining to show above ground, and snowdrops are almost ready to flower.

The blackbirds and robins are singing in the early morning and will soon be joined by all the birds in the dawn chorus.

Nature brings inspiration and beauty.The last few days there have been wonderful
sunrises and even a glimpse of the watery image of the crescent moon blushed by the rising sun
So many treasures to be found just by paying attention to the present moment

Friday, 1 February 2013

Reiki & Mindfulness Meditation

This is an extract from notes  for a talk given at a Reiki Conference in January 2013.

My flooded plot 30th January 2013
 At this time of the year it is easy to slip into bleak moods, the excitement of Christmas is gone and many of us are left worrying about bills. and how to make our money stretch to pay for extra heating in the freezing weather.  Snow,rain and low light can make us feel depressed and frustrated.  Energy can be low and our patience as well.  .There seems no solutions to the winter time  blues.  

However Mindfulness Meditation is a way of finding peace and quiet in our mind and heart. Meditation not only benefits our emotions and spirit but also our physical body.  Medical research has shown that just twenty minutes meditation three or four times a week will benefit our health. 

Yet knowing that will not stop us making excuses about why we cannot meditate.  It maybe

“I am too busy”.
“Meditate in my household with all that noise! “

You can meditate where ever you are.  Mindfulness meditation consists of everything that is inside your mind and everything in your environment. You can begin each meditation session just by listening to the sounds around you. Be aware of them but then let them go.   It may be the baby crying, the dog barking, traffic, the ticking of a clock, a petal falling from a flower or birds singing. The Thai meditation Master Ajahn Chah said when noise intruded into his meditation hut

If your mind does not go out to disturb the noise.
The noise won’t disturb you

When I visited Chalice Wells Glastonbury, a sacred place, full of legend, symbolism and atmosphere it was bursting with many different sounds.The gardens were full of people meandering along the paths talking quietly about the beauty of the gardens or maybe the legend of Chalice Wells.  It was a beautiful and tranquil space.

Even there one young man found neither peace nor harmony. He had settled in a secluded place in the gardens to meditate.  Unfortunately it was just by the well where people were filling bottles with holy water from the spring.  He became incandescent with anger because the noise was intruding on his meditation.   Every time he settled back to his meditations someone would speak or laugh, or walk by and he was disturbed yet again!  He spoke very sharply to people and I could sense his mind and body was filled with rage.  His posture and facial expression suggested he wanted to punch someone on the nose.  We had ruined his meditation, or had we? 

Jarvis Masters is living on Death Row in San Quentin.  A place which The San Francisco Chronicle described as

 “An antiseptic form of hell, nearly devoid of the things, like  intimacy and love that give life value.”  

Text Box: Death Row QuentinYet Jarvis has become a Buddhist and taken the Bodhisattva vows of loving kindness. Before an empowerment ceremony given by the Tibetan Lama Chagdud Rinpoche Jarvis had many doubts:

”Sitting on the floor of my cell trying to meditate, I was scared. The prison echoed the voices of hundreds of prisoners, cursing and arguing all at once.  Would I take vows that would eventually call upon me to sacrifice my life? How would I resist all the violence of the prison?”

But he found the courage to take the vow

“From this day forward I will not hurt or harm other people
  even if it costs my life.” 

Jarvis Masters has taken an extra-ordinary journey after his conviction of  involvement in the stabbing a guard  in San Quentin Prison.    He admits that if he had been released at the end of his original term he may have continued in his life of crime and possibly been killed on the streets or back in prison.  The Death Penalty saved him and led him on process of transformation through meditation  and becoming a buddhist.*

Like Jarvis Masters everyone is inherently good but even in less extreme environments a trivial event can start a war in our hearts.  A friend told us at a Reiki Share that she had gone out the previous evening with a disabled friend and had pre-booked a taxi to take them home.   She was furious because at the end of the evening before she could get to the taxi someone had climbed in to it.  This left them stranded in the pouring rain.  Each minute she waited for another taxi she had more and more thoughts of revenge:  Her anger was reignited with the retelling of the story to us and out spurted the words

 “I should have tripped her up and broken her legs”.

When she realised what she had said she felt terrible.  She felt she shouldn't stay and started to beat herself up about her violent careless words.   As a group we all confessed to being at times irritated, bad tempered, speaking carelessly, and being mean spirited.

We began our Reiki share by Kenyoku Ho, a symbolic brushing off of negative energy and attachments from our mind body and spirit. It also brought us into the present moment. We really slapped off all the accumulated negative energy.  As we did this we began to smile at one another and then began to laugh as all our irritation, anger, and negativity dissolved. Next we meditated on the Reiki principals taking them into our hearts and minds. Reaching out for the one we needed most to help us to release negative states of mind. 

If we use Mindfulness Meditation, follow the Reiki principles, and if we as individual sow seeds of peace in our own hearts Pema Chodron believes

“our present day actions will bear fruit in our children’s future and
grandchildren’s future”.

When you feel yourself starting to tighten your mind in anger and start to erect protective barriers around your heart:

                        “Then pause and breathe with that unsettling energy” 

and as Usui Sensi taught:

“to abide in compassion for ourselves and all living things.

With Reiki light and blessings

Merry B

Kenyoku Ho is explained in  here  Clearing negative energy   

 Here are the Reiki Principals 

*There is evidence that  Jarvis Masters  may have been wrongly convicted of helping with the stabbing of the guard, his case is progressing through the Supreme Court..