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Monthly Archives: January 2015

Fitzsimmons(1)                                                                                                                My mother as a teenager

Patrick’s poem for my special day:

“BIRTH”

Slipping
ouT to
new woRld
Unknowing
Connecting
pasT
fUture
now tRuly
alivE and free

(Picture the capital letters as lined up under one another…this program would not hold the poem properly as written).

 

My morning message from Thich Nhat Hanh from Your True Home – “No Provenance.” He says,“All things have no provenance. They have not come from anywhere, because they are free from the ideas of being and non-being. They do not have to be born. They cannot be grasped by our notions, or discriminated by our mental categories. They have come from nowhere: they will go nowhere. There is no author or creator.
That is the true nature of reality. We can only touch and experience things when we are free from the concepts of birth and death, creator and created. All things have no provenance; therefore they have no birth. Because they have no birth, extinction cannot be found either. That is the way things are.”

I laughed when I read this message from my teacher on my birthday! My mother might disagree that I came from “nowhere” and that there was no “birth.” In the historical dimension, it was a very important day for her to see her first child born on her birthday. She would have been 106 if she had lived this long. Of course, there are historical events we mark and people who are individually very important to us. Our own birth and death seem to have particular significance to us.
But Thay’s teaching pushes my mind beyond these concepts to the other levels of reality in which I understand that all beginnings, including my own, are connected to a long line of beings, phenomena, ancestors. I will continue, as will everyone, into many future centuries, in many forms. It is comforting today to hear that I have no “provenance,” that I existed before my “birth” and will continue after my “death.” So, we Buddhists say, “Happy Continuation” to mark our “birth days.”

Thank you to all my family members and friends, to my sweet husband for his poem, to my brothers, mother, father and centuries of ancestors – and to all who are or ever have been or ever will be connected to me. We are one, all part of this amazing stream of LIFE!

 

 

Buddhas at Malihom

 

“We are aware that all generations of our ancestors and all future generations are present in us.” The joy, peace, freedom and harmony of our ancestors, our children and their children is ours, NOW. It works both ways – suffering passes from generation to generation, but so does the peace of one affect the peace of previous and future generations. This is the teaching on Inter-being of the Buddha, as transmitted to us in this generation by Thich Nhat Hanh, the Dali Lama and other great teachers.

Scientists are now verifying what spiritual teachers have said for thousands of years. We have wondered how children who did not actually experience the Holocaust, genocide in Cambodia, war and poverty in Iraq and Gaza have suffered so much from their parents’ suffering. In an article I read yesterday, anthropologists have studied PTSD in children of Cambodians in Lowell, Mass, children who did not directly experience the Khmer Rouge but whose bodies, minds and spirits bear the marks of their parents’ torture. (See http://www.newrepublic.com/article/120144/trauma-genetic-scientists-say-parents-are-passing-ptsd-kids).

I have also personally experienced healing in my own body, mind and spirit from deep, generations-old suffering passed on to me from my ancestors and forward to children and grandchildren. Without the great suffering, how could we see this multi-generational healing? The suffering is necessary, Thay says, to develop the love and compassion, the motivation to practice deep listening and mindful speech now, knowing that it will help our mothers and fathers who didn’t have the tools of recovery and meditation that we now have. Their mothers and fathers and our beloved children and grandchildren benefit immediately also. Sometimes this healing is visible, tangible; sometimes it works at the level of DNA and gentle transformations in the synapses of our brains.

I still have the deep hope, shared by Martin Luther King, Gandhi, the Buddha, Thay and many others, that we can achieve peace in the world by bringing true peace to our own hearts and those of our families and loved ones. Peace is possible….NOW! The deep teaching about living in the present moment is that in this moment is EVERYTHING, all the past and future, all the joy and suffering interconnected.  We are so fortunate to know and practice this reality.

January’s moon revisits us tonight, April 17, 2011

We celebrate each full moon with a vow renewal ceremony we learned in Plum Village on a retreat. After a beautiful Touching the Earth ceremony with our sangha, the Washington Mindfulness Community, and two sitting meditation sessions, we came home and realized that we could end the day with our Full Moon Ceremony. Tonight’s full moon is very bright in a mostly clear sky with occasional clouds that lend even more mystery.

The ceremony is very simple and takes only a few minutes. We light a candle at the kitchen window with a view of the moon, sound the bell we were given by my son’s father as a wedding gift and recite the Five Awarenesses:

1. We are aware that all generations of our ancestors and all future generations are present in us.
2. We are aware of the expectations that our ancestors, our children, and their children have of us.
3. We are aware that our joy, peace, freedom and harmony are the joy, peace, freedom and harmony of our ancestors, our children and their children.
4. We are aware that understanding is the very foundation of love.
5. We are aware that blaming and arguing never help us and only create a wider gap between us, that only understanding, trust and love can help us change and grow.

The moon slides behind a cloud, but we are aware it is here, that we are here, interconnected.

Full Moon 1:4:15

Reposted 1-4-15

 

Storm comingOne day in a place of great beauty, a sudden storm arose, carrying visible, tangible darkness and suffering.

I watched, listened, breathed in the smell and feel of quickening wind and rain.

Storms are sometimes quick;  some gather slowly, remain longer.

But all of them seem to contain an ending, a quieting, a moment of light

Bursting through.   I wait, listen, watch and keep breathing in the smell and warmth of light

within the clouds.

Sunrise over sea