Getting Started (again)
Mark Shefsiek stashed this in The happy Yogi(for now)
Believe me, this is not my first attempt at this experiment. I have flamed out many times. There are so many practices in so many traditions. I have tried many and while not to fruition they built a solid base and understanding.
To get started you have to have the right view. The right view here is the simply impossible idea that my only concern is to take care of my mind. This is a loaded view. In one sense the "natural mind" the mind beyond conceptual thought needs no attention or help, what I am talking about is the conditioned mind, the everyday mind that chaotic at best. The mind that processes input and "thinks."
This conditioned mind is the one that gets happy and sad, loves and hates, clings and rejects. Being not well, it is not well conditioned, it is this mind that is not well (or well enough). It is this mind that is in a state of dis-ease.
Most of the time I advise people, slowly slowly, be gentle with your mind. For me now that is not this time.
Either way, you have to start with taking care of the form that houses the mind. You have to work in and with the body.
Sleep as best you can as needed. (I have not slept well since Adam was born)
Eat and drink pure food and probably less than normal.
Meditate/pray and be mindful (complex idea).
I was up most of the night with cough and kids that could not sleep, I feel pretty poor. So I went for a few mile run. I despise running. I love exercise but hate running. It hurts, gives me a headache and makes my ears ring. I could have walked or rode bike or practiced yoga..... But I ran. Why? Because my mind told me to stop every 90 seconds. If that mind is the disease, we need to have a little talk.
On the run, I saw three dead birds, one on the sidewalk and two in the river next to each other. While my mind was bitching about my ears, these birds needed help so I said prayers to free their consciousness. I also made offering to the water spirits that reside in the rivers and greatly influence the region. (Believe me or not but this is what I did.) These acts are what we call mindfulness, paying attention to the internal, external, and hidden worlds.
If the condition is a fever, it will help you heal, but it has to break and return to normal or it will kill you.
This afternoon I restart the first primary practice. In a posture much like the above yogi on the right, you slow your breathing to a rhythmic 108 breaths. Inhale, hold, exhale, inhale (holding as long as possible). An accomplished yogi would take hours for 108 breaths. One breath per two minutes is 3.6 hours. The most I have done is about one a minute but that was a couple of years ago in a much better place. My mind will scream at me and my body will hurt in some pretty severe ways. I do not know how long it will take to get there but the plan is to do my best for ten days and then evaluate.
Before I go into the technique and complexity of the practice just think about it or even try it for just 3 or 9 breaths. There is no greater desire of a being than that next breath. However it is so reflexive that we rarely notice.
The late great Daido Loori Roshi told a story about how he told his Zen master that he overcame the fear of death. His master jumped on him and began to choke him. They got into a wild fight and his master let go and laughed and laughed.
This practice goes straight to that first cry when you were born and to your last breath when you die. In the last 2 1/2 years I chanted the mantra Om Ma Tri Mu Ye Sa Le Du for our son's first and during my mother's last.
When you breathe with that truth and experience the conditioned mind will show itself to be the frightened child that it is, instead of fighting you (itself) it will begin to ask for help.
If that mind does not ask itself for help, there will be no significant healing beyond the normal cycles of wake/sleep, laugh/cry etc.
Stashed in: Letting Go
Why will this time be different?
I don't know that outcome will be different. All I can do it try and see what happens.
The difference is that I am not the same after helping my mother die. I used to teach/treat cancer patients at a hospital. I was very close to a few. One amazing woman named Julia died the moment I touched her heart on her last day. Others I saw shortly before, others after the fact. Everyone is etched in my mind.
Telling your mom that it is time and liberating her two days later is something that cannot be explained. I really wanted someone else to do it.
I am deeply motivated. Our society and how it deals with end of life care causes massive suffering. There will be my father, maybe siblings, in-laws, and friends. I will help anyone that asks for my help. There will be mine and I want my children to have no doubts.
Our yoga is not about having a nice ass or walking around with Lulu pants and bag. It is about all aspects of human birth life and death and healing others in life and/or death.
I am embarrassed if people think I am a yoga teacher given what people believe it to be.
What relation is a downward dog to what I am explaining?
After spending a very nice evening with Adam, restless sleep and woke with lactic acid (bile)in my muscles and phlegm in my sinuses and wind in my ears. Breathe in breathe out with each puff of Thomas the train and friends.
I think the key to different outcome is different inputs. Maybe even changing just one thing.
You are correct. The different input is the experience.
Four years ago my cat died. He had been sick for a few months. I got him with my ex the first month we moved to DC. I kept him in the divorce and never even told her what happened. I came home from work and he looked up at me and said he was done. I picked him up and with one loud meow he released. It was sad but ok.
I took him to the crematorium, dropped off the box at the office and picked up the ashes the next day.
My mother's body went to the same place. This time I prayed with my master over her body for an hour and I turned on the cremation oven. This is western Pennsylvania's largest facility. There are three big stainless steel covered ovens in what is like a dirty garage.
I picked up her ashes at funeral home a few days later.
I vow to not bail out of any aspect of the process no matter how wrong it is and how we treat people at death and survivors is so wrong. We had to sign a legal waiver that we would not sue due to emotional distress.
Doesn't that really say it all?
My experiment is to become the different input.
That really does say it all.
You're in the right frame of mind for things to be different this time.
I think you're gonna do it, Mark. I really do.
Thanks Adam, I am going to do it. In just this last week nagging issues are resolving. But most importantly, I can forgive the people and myself for all injuries, obstacles and flat out destructive things we did.
It is easy to say I forgive but really hard to do. It is said when you can fully pray for your worst enemy you are free. It is easy to show compassion for those you love but you have to love those you hate.
I know what you mean.
I have a similar challenge in that it's hard for me to let go.
There's something within me that compels me to hang on.
So I am a Tibetan Bonpo and there are hundreds of texts and teachings. I want to do what I can to preserve the tradition and help save it from China's torture.
But there is something more important.
I need to find a secular logical explanation and method for achieving the same end. People are not able to do the traditional method. So we need both. People need to understand and experience how consciousness comes to and departs this body.
All the science and technology is going to create and/or amplify great negative karma if people don't change their view of life.
Technology is a great enabler of clinging.
To document an update, it was a good week with much physical and mental improvement. The major shift in thinking was about the order of improvement.
In many ways I am training to run 100 marathons in a 100 days
If you want to run 26 5 minute miles is it better to train for 26 at whatever pace and try to increase pace or To train for a five minute mile and increase distance at that pace?
I came to the conclusion that pace then duration had a greater physiologic change. There is a tipping point that I know is there but cannot reach yet.