Wednesday, September 12, 2012

And So Now

I am not walking today which makes me feel so guilty but Mr. Moon and I went out last night and played bar trivia with Hank and it was fun and we got in late and I was half-wakeful all night and the boys are coming out soon to be taken care of and so here I am, waking up for real and wholey and feeling as if I'd let the entire universe down by not walking and once again I am reminded of Anne Lamott's words in Operating Instructions where she said something like, "I am the piece of shit the world revolves around." 

This is probably not a healthy state of mind. 

I had written my Buddhist friend K. about self-compassion because he is my go-to guy on such matters and last night I got an e-mail from him and in it he wrote this:

This is the stuff that Buddha, not Dogen or those hard Japanese monks, is talking about.
And he's not scared of using mind vs. mind kind of action (abhorred by the Zennites). He has some "set up exercises" that largely revolve around introducing positive states of mind to counter the three poisons of greed, anger and ignorance. One of them involves the active practice of metta or, as HG and manyothers translate it, Universal Loving Kindness (you know all this, I know). Before you sit, or after you sit, or before bed or whenever, you spend a bit of time banishing thoughts of self-hatred and self-condemnation and, to that end, recite the following to yoself. You say:

May I be well, happy, and peaceful. May no harm come to me. May no difficulties come to me. May no problems come to me. May I always meet with success. May I also have patience, courage, understanding, and determination to meet and overcome inevitable difficulties, problems, and failures of life.

You continue on for seven more stanzas, but instead of the "I" that you ask for, you ask in turn for the "good fortune" of your parents, your teachers, your family, your friends, all persons who are strangers to you, and then, radically, for your enemies, and finally all living beings. Who are you asking? Nobody. But it's medicine they say, one that the Dalai Lama says he takes a lot.

Wow. Is that even possible? 
I don't really understand Buddhism at all. The very wings of it fly from my mind just as I think I grasp the slightest image of it from the corners of my vision. K. has recommended a book, Henepola Gunaratana's Mindfulness in Plain English and perhaps, yes, it would be a good thing for me to read. He says he is going to read The Billy Bob Tapes so it would be only fair.

I don't know. 

It is still cooler, the air is moving today, Elvis crows to be let out, I am struggling these days not to feel like an empty seed pod on the tree of life and my boys are coming soon and if there is an antidote to that feeling, it is the care of them that I provide sometimes. It is so easy to practice loving kindness when I am with them. My grandmother soul seems to have come preloaded with the software for that. 

Anyway, there you go and this is how it goes some days and maybe tomorrow I'll discuss something like side boob and the celebrities who bare it or maybe potty training which I hear is going fairly well with that boy, my Owen, who will be three at the end of this month. Or perhaps I will give you a recipe or a story about a child who grew up on a river with pirate dreams and waking nightmares or perhaps I'll bemoan aging again but... wait. I just went to a news site and I see that the American ambassador to Libya was killed by angry mobs who were protesting a film that supposedly ridiculed Islam's Prophet Muhammad.

What an insane world we live in. 

Would it be appropriate in the least to feel sane within it? 

I'll let you answer that because I surely cannot.

May you be well, happy and peaceful. May no harm come to you. May no difficulties come to you. May no problems come to you. May you always meet with success. May you also have patience, courage, understanding and determination to meet and overcome inevitable difficulties, problems, and failures of life.

There. It's a beginning. I don't believe any of that is truly possible but I do believe it's okay to make the wish of it. To accept the fact that difficulties, problems and failures of life are inevitable.

In Loving Kindness...Ms. Moon


  1. Thank you for that prayer. It went straight to the center of my heart and will in turn be prayed for you... and all, in return.

  2. Safe

    For myself and all beings, seen and unseen.


  3. At what age do we start needing this mantra - the one about self-forgiveness? I guess it differs for every person, how early we make life-changing mistakes. But I think about your boys, at this point, not needing to coat themselves like that - it almost makes me want to go back to a place where I don't need that. Or better yet forward to a place where I don't need that.

  4. Today I practiced self-forgiveness in my yoga class when we had to cross our arms over our chests and sit down on the floor and get up over and over without using them. I couldn't do it very well at first and then not at all, but I forgave myself by realizing that there was no way the fat Buddha could have done it either.

    As for metta -- I've found it, in my experience, to be life-transforming, even saving --

  5. I read that book Ms. Moon in an effort to be enlightened. It was very interesting and easy to read. I still struggle with meditating because I have such a wandering mind but it would be nice if doing it would bring peace to my mind in a world where peace is hard to find these days.

  6. liv- I do like the fact that you can pray to no one. Or, should I say, No One.

    Beth- There you go. There you go.

    Rachel- Yes. Both. All.

    Elizabeth- Seeing as how two of my favorite people in the world agree on this, I know I need to learn more. Thank-you.
    I remember when I could get up from the floor without using my hands or arms. Now I am just grateful I can get up from the floor in any way at all.
    If Buddha could do it, he must have had legs like tree trunks.

    Kelly- Hello! I am glad you came by and grateful you left a comment. I've written down the name of the book. I'm going to the library tomorrow. I have no illusions of becoming enlightened but I would like to be more mindful while hauling water and chopping wood. Or something like that.

  7. I just put that book on hold at my library.

    Siblings love on eachother- I've seen nothing sweeter.

  8. The wishes that are in that prayer are great. I think the Buddhist's are the most interesting of the religious sects.

  9. I liked this so much I wanted to know if your friend sent you the rest of it? Sweet Jo

  10. I'm not sure if anyone really understands Buddhism, even the Buddhists. But then, that's a central part of Buddhism -- not knowing, and the openness that not knowing brings. You know? :)

    Seriously, I never practiced much metta meditation, but that's a great mantra that K provided. I like it.


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