Saturday, October 29, 2011

Falling Deeply & Bathing The Brain

I am the one with the lovely grey coat and the blue accessories
Here is one the beings I had the good fortune to meet at the bottom of my driveway as I headed out for a little stroll in the woods last week.  Is it synchronistic that Eeyore appears to remind me of my eeyoreness?

I have been slipping effortlessly through the time and space of this planet, riding ferry boats, delivering people to train stations, sharing water with the rain, listening to wise people talk.  Right now I am sitting in a high-ceilinged coffee shop in a seaside town, watching cars glide through a foggy intersection. A lick of butterscotch light flashes methodically atop a stop sign.

We are the only customers in this deliciously "Dwellish" space. A stark chandelier in the front window reflects off the white concrete floor.  A coffee coloured beauty busies herself loading the dishwasher.  I have recently slurped down a dinner of angel hair pasta with bocconcini, garlic and tomato.  Have I traveled to a Deva realm?  I mean angel hair, really!

It is undeniably fall here.  Red and yellow maple leaves have pasted themselves artfully to wet sidewalks.  Earlier in the evening an icy shaving of moon hung over a finger of land reaching out into the sea.  Sleek snow geese covered the sky with sound as sips of rich red wine slid down my throat.

All this delicious fallness offered a smoldering contrast to a recent talk by Stephen Lewis on the aids pandemic ravaging many African countries,  reminding me how fortunate I am to have been born into my auspicious life circumstances, how little we have to whine about in the developed world, although mostly that doesn't stop us.  His stories clawed at our very skin.  Here is a man who is not afraid to feel deeply, to experience horror, the indifference of  the government and corporate world and still work tirelessly and with passion.  Here is a Bodhisattva who is truly alive.

On Wednesday night we navigated our way through streets overflowing with Vancouver hockey fans to find a talk given by the Thai Forest monk, Ajahn Sona.  His talk was titled, "Cool Mind, Warm Heart, Green Life".  Again I was reminded of the contrasts of this world.  An orange robed man who never eats after noon spoke in a neighbourhood of million dollar condos, across the street from a grocery store that flies in $200 loaves of bread from France.

Ajahn Sona poured many wise words on to our thirsty souls.  He reminded us how emotions like anger cloud our minds, twisting our view of any situation like a fun house mirror.  Words and actions from a "heated mind" are most often sources of regret.  He had some interesting things to say about the green life, how easy it is to become strident in activism over the environment.  So much is lost in this stance, including the cool mind and the warm heart which are essential gear in all situations.  He asked us to look at our emotions surrounding environmental issues.  Do we become angry, depressed, throw ourselves into despair, avoid thinking about it because it seems overwhelming?  Always an opportunity to practice and with our clear minds, find appropriate action.

My travels included a free art demo and a trip to my favourite spiritual bookstore.  I am looking forward to this rainy season to develop some new art skills and spend some time just mucking about in the studio.  I am reminded by a book I have been reading called "Buddha's Brain" to spend some time really letting the good things I experience sink in, perhaps changing a little of the neural landscape.  I invite you to do the same.  What are the good things you might like to bathe your brain in??


  1. You live in a magical forest! Your photo lifted my spirits, bathed my heart and my brain visually this morning :) I love the phrase: "I have been slipping effortlessly through the time and space of this planet..." Wow - That would bathe this brain and spirit as well. I love how descriptively you write of your experiences - it bathes my senses.

    I would love to bathe my brain in some good Dharma teachings either by book or audio - something inspiring, that doesn't take a lot of brain power - i.e.: thinking :) Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach comes to mind - appropriate for me at this time, don't you think... :) Deep Silence and deep rest would bathe the brain, body and spirit.

    Thank you for this inspiring and uplifting post. It certainly bathes all of me this morning! Hugs to you spirit traveler :)

  2. I am in shock at the idea of 200 dollar loaves of bread...but getting past that, I read once that if the only prayer one ever says is "thank you" that is enough. I strive to remain grateful, appreciative and fully aware of the gift it is to be alive, on this planet and at this time. That includes gratitude for my blogging community connections. Thank you.

  3. Thanks for popping by Jeanne.

    Christine - I do like Tara Brach. Yes always it's good to be uplifted. I am reminded of another book I read quite a while ago called "The Wisdom of the Dark Emotions" by Miriam Greenspan. Of course you could always watch Faulty Towers??

    Leslie- I think the cost is for flying the bread in. Does seem absurd. I haven't been into this store in quite some time so don't know if they still do this, but it has always stuck in my mind.

    Ah yes gratitude, such an important practice.

  4. We had a study group at our church on the book "Buddha's Brain". Very interesting. I say "church" loosely because it is not a religious church per se but is described as "a welcoming Spiritual Community advancing a positive message that teaches people of all ages and faiths how to thrive in a changing world." I like it there. I like it that they read books such as "Buddha's Brain" and "Birthing a Greater Reality" by Robert Brumet. I liken it to reading blogs like yours where I am nourished by what you talk about and contemplate. I love that phrase "a lick of butterscotch light flashes..." Very colorful writing you have here. Love it!

  5. Teri - I found Buddha's Brain to be so fascinating and helpful. I am not familiar with the Brumet book you mention. Will have to check it out. It is nice to explore and be nourished from different sources! And nice to share them with others as in your spiritual community. Thanks to for the kind words!

  6. You are right, Carol. We were really synchro today . . . :)

    Thank you for sharing your happiness, and your gratitude. And yes, lots, lots of suffering out there (and also within, speaking for myself). That is the tension, isn't it. Tonight, as I walked through the door of my house after having listened to a Dharma talk about the hungry ghosts, those words came to me: the good, the bad and the ugly . . .

    Wishing you well, dear Dharma sister!

  7. This photos and musings was pure delight, Carole. I feel giddy with all the delight here today. This afternoon I am bathing my mind and spirit catching up on some Dharma podcasts of Thich Nhat Hanh Thay's gentle way always helps me see the light to the widen, more loving road. Thank you for sharing a bit of your "Samhain" with me... your fireside tofudogs made me smile. :o) Happy Day ((HUGS)

  8. Marguerite - Listened to Gil's talk on Tricylce last night. You are so fortunate to have him right in your neighbourhood.

    Tracy - seemed my comment kept getting eaten on your blog! But sounds like you got it anyway. I love Thich Nhat Hahn. Joseph Goldstein described him as a cross between a snail, a piece of heavy equipment, and a cloud. I loved that.

  9. Great post Carole! Sounds like you are settling into the season of gathering and making your nest comfortable for the winter months. Stephen Lewis is a good man with a big heart.

    Now I must confess, I'm jealous that you found a donkey at the end of your driveway!