From the BlogMeet Ron

JAN. 4,2018 MINDFUL MOMENTS IN MANOA

Dear Friends,
 
This year, I decided to not make any resolutions. Well, except for  maybe one. 
I resolve to just be myself.
I always felt making a set of resolutions meant needing to improve myself, be better at something, or change my body somehow.
The blogger Krista O’Reilly-Davi-Digui, a working, single mom who writes about minimalism and the anti-consumption movement, recently wrote: 
What if I just accept this mediocre body of mine that is neither big nor small? Just in between. And I embrace that I have no desire to work for rock hard abs or 18% body fat. And I make peace with it and decide that when I lie on my deathbed I will never regret having just been me.
Oscar Wilde once quipped: “Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.”
This year, I resolve to see how I am when I am being inauthentic. 
I resolve not to try to be someone I am not; or some fantasy I want to grow into, like an enlightened Tom 2.0.
And use mindfulness to see through the masks I make to hide behind.
There is a way to live your ordinary life in pristine peace and joy just as it is right now. This is the way of everyday mysticism, yet it’s not about any “ism” at all.

Can we find moments in our life when we can step back and reflect on this simple yet powerful insight, which lies at the heart of our mindfulness practice: to just be here, now, without pretense, free and open, relaxed and at peace?
I think an awful lot of the stuff we deal with in meditation is really about struggling with the way things are, and wanting things to be otherwise. 
I suggest a maturing practice, a deepening practice, is a more chill practice. 
Just appreciating the tastes and possibilities of relaxing. 
Meditation can turn into a kind of extreme sport, with elaborate training programs for those aspiring to the elite ranks

But what if we set aside those fantasies for a while and just chilled, relaxed?
Mary Oliver’s poem “Yellow” reminds us:
There is the heaven we enter
through institutional grace
and there are the yellow finches
bathing and singing
in the lowly puddle.
Towards the end of a piece on her blog Krista O’Reilly-Davi-Digui continues: 
What if I embrace my limitations and stop railing against them? Make peace with who I am and what I need and honor your right to do the same. Accept that all I want is a small, slow, simple life. 
That’s’ all I want – a small, slow, simple life.
Carl Jung envisioned a major shift in understanding the spiritual path –rather than ascending a steep mountain path seeking perfection, instead we “unfold into wholeness.” 
And I would only add—the wholeness that is who we are right here and now.
We are not so much attempting to vaporize up our bad karma or destroy our demons, as it is really hard to do a decent job of this; our struggling attempts can easily leave us with more problems.
Rather, perhaps we need to chill a little and embrace life in all its realness – messy, incomplete, yet vibrantly alive.
It’s just about embracing now, without trying to improve or tweak anything. Trying to tweak things just brings more frustration
And really, the present moment is un-tweak-able. 
It’s just simply coming home again and again. No striving necessary. 
As it says in the Zhuangzi, the ancient Chinese text from the late Warring States period (476–221 BC):
“Happiness is the absence of the striving for happiness.”
And in truly seeing this, that we are endowed with all we need, there may be a juicy-ness, a fullness, some call it a joy, in just experiencing, without grasping or rejecting, what arises in the moment completely.
This is a quiet and deep joy that, in a way, has always been there, covered over by strata of reactivity and compulsiveness which subtly rule our lives, in one form or another.
One teacher I was very fortunate to sit a retreat with early on in my practice was Munindra, a Bengali teacher who trained in Burma. One of his students, Sharon Salzberg, recounts that when Munindra was asked once why he practiced his response was,

“So I will see the tiny purple flowers by the side of the road as I walk to town each day.”

Can we practice like this?
Aloha, Tom, Katina, and the kids
Image:  Gunther Gerzso /  Azul-Naranja-Violeta / artist 1915-2000/  Gouache on paper
Born in Mexico to a Hungarian-German-Jewish family, Gerszo today is considered one of Latin America’s greatest painters. His earliest years were spend back and forth between Mexico and Switzerland where his uncle was a prominent art dealer and the young Gerszo remembered paintings by Bonnard and Delacroix on his bedroom walls. Gerszo first studied to be a stage set designer but turned to full-time painting upon winning an award from the Cleveland Museum of Art. His earlier work reflected a strong European influence but his more mature work from the mid-30s on, of which this is an example, showed the strong influence of Cubism and pre-Columbian art. Gerzso was a Guggenheim Fellow and a recipient of Mexico’s highest award for the arts. 

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