All posts tagged: meditation

It’s official: Buddhism teaches that your buddies are your blessing

Hello Everyone, from the lush rainforest in Australia, where once a month I sit in a circle of women studying meditation and Buddhism. This month was the last meeting for the year, and our wise crone leader Yoda Carol chose to reflect on friendship for her talk, or ‘Admirable Camaraderie’ as Buddha called it. She’s lived in the same intentional community hidden in the hills for nearly 50 years, having been one of the founding members. She’s travelled the world, facilitating conflict resolution for all kinds of humans, from big corporations down to divorcing families… so her wisdoms come from plenty of lived experience as well as her decades of Buddhist meditation and study. She asked us a simple question, which I’m going to ask you: “Do you always call, or are you always being called?” Buddha talked of cultivating friendships, to offer and receive full kinship, as one of the most effective paths to Loving Kindness. So when did you last reach out to someone, in these strange times of lockdowns, travel restrictions, and …

How a silent walk made me delete the Candy Crush app (Part One)

Admit it: do you have a game on your phone you love unwinding with? Scrabble with friends? Chess? Candy Crush? A few years ago- I can’t remember why- my son and I both downloaded Candy Crush, and became a little competitive. Of course, he streaked ahead in levels, then quickly bored of it and never played again. I stoically continued, and got myself slowly but surely up to Level 691. Then 2 months ago, I had to get a new phone… and somehow, all my apps froze as I transferred the old info, so I found myself back at the beginning of the Candy Crush map again. What’s all this got to do with a silent walk you wonder? Well, last month I had the privilege of going on a 9-day Yatra, which is a Buddhist-based bushwalking adventure, filled with daily meditations, talks on Buddhist philosophies and practices, plus walks and meals in ‘noble silence’. 30 of us (mainly aged over 50) travelled to the South Coast of Sydney, which had been ravaged by bushfires …

Bustin’ through a break-up with some badass Buddhism, Part One

Three weeks in, and how am I going you wonder? I’m doing OK actually. Definitely avoiding going out, and ringing old friends for long chats and debriefs, trying not to say the same things over and over. I’ve had two therapy sessions, done a bunch of journalling, and surprised myself two weekends ago by ‘getting onto the cushion’ at my monthly meditation day. “The cushion”, G? What do you mean? Well, once a month (via Zoom at the moment), a group of 25-35 women go spend some time with Yoda Carol Perry, listening to her teachings on the Buddhist Dharma, and meditating several times during the day. It’s literally the highlight of my month; I’ve written about it before HERE. Even via Zoom- and sitting in my car last time because I had no wifi reception at home- the collective meditation experience is so much stronger than my solo sits. The structure online is 3 hours shorter, and we miss our gloriously chatty shared gourmet lunch, but in essence it’s the same: Welcome circle/check in, …

Want a ‘deep transformation of character’? Sit down & breathe

During the one hour ‘Blog Mentoring’ session I paid $250 for 3 years ago, I was told I had to find my ‘niche’, and write to it [with all the appropriate hashtags/images/Facebook groups aligned etc etc.] The ‘niche’ hunt continues. Last week I wrote about bushfires; 6 weeks ago it was a shortlisted Short Story, and next month it will be about a wilderness walk in Tasmania, similar to my Kakadu one (but hopefully without the drama). Would I be doing better with a timetable of topics, and a calendar? Maybe. Define ‘better’ though? I’m happy, I’m having fun, I feel connected and supported, I enjoy my blogging; there’s my motivation. And big credit has to go to my increased Meditation practice. It’s not daily [yet], but definitely at least three times a week. Plus one glorious Sunday a month, when I get to sit in a circle with amazing women from all walks of life, and meditate pretty much all day 9.30-3, except for a gloriously chatty lunch hour. Even the 30 minute morning tea …

Grappling with the spaciousness of uncertainty, by Yoda herself (Part 3)

Having finished our first 30 minute meditation from Part 2, and admitted any latecomers we’d locked out in a boundary-setting exercise in Part 1, the lesson began. ‘Uncertainty is one of the 3 main characteristics of human existence,’ Yoda Carol said, sitting her 70+ self on a floor cushion like the rest of us. ‘It’s difficult to endure, so we all cling to certainty. Yet clinging creates further suffering, doesn’t it?’ Well I know I’m clinging to my meditation aspirations as a way to calm anxiety, channel greater creativity, and nurture more peaceful personal relationships, that’s for sure. Is it not going to work? ‘We always want to make the “right decision”, weighing pros and cons, grasping for certainty. But we are just creating more attachment, and more eventual suffering.’ Damn. I thought my pros/cons list-making was a fabulous strategy. ‘There is more ease and wellbeing in letting go, so that we can focus on our actual needs in the situation as it unfolds in real time…’ Would that work for astronauts? Or brain surgeons? …

Can meditation help you set clearer boundaries? Perhaps (Part 2)

“Yes, this is good, let’s begin. Breathe in, breathe out. Repeat,” I say to myself. [Where am I? In a yurt on a Sunday with 20 other women, practicing setting boundaries and the discomfort of that in Part 1] I sit cross-legged on my cushion at my Women’s Dharma Meditation circle, while Yoda Carol guards the door and taps the bowl to begin the session. “I love meditating so much, I’m damn lucky to be here. I wonder how I’ll go today? Hopefully I’ll go deep… breathe in, breathe out. Repeat. Ooh, it feels so good already, how great to do it with so many other women… did any of them bring dessert for lunch, or just lots of salad? I’m glad I made my brownies, such a cool recipe, remember that week I made them 3 times for those birthday parties that was fun perhaps I’ll go to that party next weekend… WAIT! Breathe in, breathe out. Repeat. Welcome back Brain. Shit, it’s easy to stray isn’t it? I wonder how everyone else is …

Does setting boundaries make you uncomfortable? Good: you’re doing it right (Part 1)

Sunday was my Women’s Buddhist Meditation Day, and the group’s facilitator Yoda Carol began by shutting the door on any latecomers. ‘If you arrive late next time ladies, you will have to wait outside for 45 minutes while we finish our introductions and first Meditation circle,’ she cautioned. The group of 20 women shifted on their cushions, and glanced round the room, calculating who may be missing. ‘Oh, have I made you uncomfortable? It’s simply too disruptive to admit latecomers; we must each just plan to arrive on time.’ More rustling and looking. ‘We all have families, partners, children, pets, or jobs that may make us run late to Meditation, but that’s not the point. We close the door at 9.30am sharp, and that’s the boundary. I’m setting it, and happy to. If you’re uncomfortable with that, sit with it. Boundaries are not always easy, to set or receive, and especially for women. We are so trained to be ‘nice’, to be ‘good’, to not make a fuss or upset anyone… But boundaries are healthy, …

“How much time have I got left?” Part Two

Deep in my essential core, I’m a dancer. I may be 52 now, and not quite as nimble as I used to be, but I still go to Swing Dance once a month, and my beloved 5Rhythms every week. Not to mention the regular groovy late-afternoon outdoor queer dance parties I sometimes see my son at. At age 28, living in Newtown, Sydney, and dancing at techno raves all weekend, I began to wonder if I could make a living with movement somehow… which led me to an extraordinary teacher, Janis Claxton. Her free, wild, & fiery moves still live in my body, while her feisty attitude found a match in mine, inspiring me to pursue performing/Clown/dance & Improvisation (which all still rock my creative world). Last week she died of lung cancer, aged 53.  At the Women’s Buddhist Dharma Day Part One last Sunday, facilitator Carol Perry asked us to reflect on the question I’ve titled this post with; of course, none of us know the answer, and therein lies one of the causes of …

“Let your body be a soft & steady place for emotions to land.” Part One

I just spent 9.30-3pm Sunday in a yurt at a Women’s Buddhist Dharma Day. What does that actually mean G? Well, it meant I got up at 6.30 to cook a spinach pie for the shared lunch, drove there too fast because I left a bit late and didn’t know where I was going, was the second last one to bumble into the serious silent sitting circle of women, and then spent hours listening to a wise elder speak about Ageing as we meditated together. It was a great day, and such a huge gift to myself. The day’s facilitator Carol Perry also taught at that Eco Village/Permaculture Week Intensive I did- remember that? I love her. And guess what? Because I’d almost arrived late, I got to sit next to her in the circle- I began soaking up her wisdom vibes like a thirsty sponge, hoping she wouldn’t notice the intense draining. Last time I heard her give a presentation, she said this, which almost brought half the room to tears: “My first Invitation to …

I just spent 30 mins fighting with my smartphone, & met an Elf

The Scene: Palm trees swaying, blue sky shining, ridiculous rainbow-coloured birds squawking, plus me, dozing in bed in Australia, in that moment before being fully conscious. Me: Mmmmmmmm, I think I’m awake. Evil Elf Who Lives In My Brain And Synced To My Smartphone (now known as EVIE): What time is it? Better check your phone. Me: Nah, today’s Sunday, and I’m having a tech-free morning. EVIE: What!? When did you decide that?? Dumb idea. Just check your phone. Me: No. I’m simply going to lie here, listening to the birds. PAUSE EVIE: How hot d’you reckon it is? Maybe you should check the weather app? Me: NO. PAUSE EVIE: Maybe you got a late text from ’17’, and he needs picking up soon? Or what if ‘H’ sent something romantic/sexy first thing? Me: True. But they’ll still be there after I’ve had a pot of peppermint tea and meditated. I just want a peaceful tech-free hour. EVIE: An hour! But… but… don’t you need to check your WordPress stats? Me: Nah. It’s Sunday, and …