Category Archives: mindfulness

“I want to be enlightened, mom!”

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I am a hard core, highly passionate, nerdy nerd.  Especially about history.  I’ve discovered there’s no subject that’s boring to me as long as I can learn a bit of it’s history.  Even finance and economics (subjects I’m simply not drawn toward) can be interesting when examined through the lens of history. 

But when given a subject that I’m interested in anyway, like martial arts, I go all out, borrow as many books and videos from the library as I can fit in my backpack (and my library card!), and engage in seemingly endless internet searches.  Yeah, ok, I’m a bit obsessive, but it’s the good kind of obsessive, right?

And my poor son gets inundated with information.  Because I care, dammit, and I want to spark his passion!  (Unfortunately, sometimes I think my attempts to spark his interests tend to get smothered by all the library books I get for him… all things in moderation, mom!)

In learning about the origins of Karate, and thus Kung-Fu, I’ve learned that they were part of the spread of Buddhism from India.  I’d never really seen Kung-Fu movies before this year, with the exception of  Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, not because I had no interest, but just because I was more interested in other things.  So yeah, the whole Shaolin Temple thing was news to me.

And that is truly fascinating – Buddhism, which emphasizes peace and non-violence, being a big part of martial arts?  Huh?  How does that work? (I don’t really know! More study needed!)

So we’ve watched some wonderful documentaries about Shaolin and Buddhism, and Z-boy has been really taking an interest, asking about how old you have to be to become enlightened, how do you learn, how long does it take. 

How beautiful is that?

 

 

pic credit: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3f/Korea-Sinheungsa-Bronze_Buddha-02.jpg

Serene Sunday

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An enjoyable garden day was had yesterday, which was much needed. I found my new favorite rose:  the Ellen Willmott hybrid tea.  The flowers are very subtly colored, and the stems are a gorgeous dark reddish brown.  Looks very antique and “Victorian”.  And the bees loved it!

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We went to church this morning as well.  We were a bit late, unfortunately, so we missed doing the whole palm procession thing, but otherwise it was a very enjoyable experience.  Now here’s the thing:  I’ve been debating with myself over going to church for a good long while now.  I used to take my son to a church way back when he was 3 or 4, and he had to go to the kid’s spiritual education while I went to the sanctuary.  It was nice, we both enjoyed it.  But in the last few years, the few remaining vestiges of my theistic beliefs have mainly fallen away.  I consider myself a secular humanist now, in fact.  Probably 98% of the way to atheist from agnostic. 

So why church?

And why a very traditional one, with full liturgy and all that?

The simple answer is:  I’m lonely.  I need community. 

I miss home.  My mom is a nice Lutheran lady, very Midwestern. 

I miss her terribly, as I haven’t been able to visit in a good long while.

So why church?  I spent so much of my teen years rebelling against that staid, musty old-school protestant stuff.  Decided that Christianity just didn’t fit me at all, couldn’t speak to my needs and concerns, and was just so darned uncool.

But now, I need community.  I need to feel like I’m a part of this world. I need to feel a connection to my past.

So I guess I’m a “cultural Lutheran” in the way that some of my friends are “cultural Jews”?

Yes, I think that’s apt.

I used to feel like such a hypocrite going to church with mom on holidays.  But the more secular I’ve become, the more I’m starting to realize that I don’t need to feel that way.  In fact, I need to jettison those feelings.  I have needs as a human being that can be met by the human institution of a church.  I can feel joy and sadness when listening to the sermon or to the readings.  These are human things, human reactions to human stories and human community.  

So I will go to church to honor my ancestors and my community.  I can find strength and solace there to replenish and increase the strength and solace I find in my own mind and heart when I meditate. 

And that’s a beautiful thing.

Perfectly imperfect.

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One idea that I’ve found particularly interesting in all the mindfulness texts I’ve been reading is the paradox, or seeming paradox, of the perfectly imperfect.  Each moment is perfect, just as it is, because each moment is a whole moment of life, of all there is in this universe.  And while there may be things you want and need to change about what you’re doing in this life, it doesn’t change the fact that this moment, right here, is perfect and whole.  And imperfect too.  Full of imperfections like that annoying little pain in the muscle behind my left ear, the bits of popcorn that fell under my desk, the fact that I’m still in my jammies, the stinky cat box.  But each and every one of those things IS life.  Life happening right now in this moment, this unique, perfect, new moment.

I’m one of those procrastinating perfectionists.  I’m constantly worried that my work, my writing, my anything isn’t good enough, yet I live in hope that if I just work harder at it, it could be.  But then I keep moving my own goalposts, and nothing could ever, ever measure up to the level of perfection I seem to require of myself, because it’s really an infinity of steps away.

Screw that train of thought.  Everything I do is imperfect, and everything that everyone else does is imperfect as well.  Because that’s life!

We human beings and our consciousness exist because of imperfections.  Billions of years of imperfections, little coding errors creating new DNA, new types of life.  If not, we’d still be single celled organisms, after all, and how boring would that be?