I stepped from Plank to Plank
A slow and cautious way
The Stars about my Head I felt
About my feet the Sea.

I knew not but the next
Would be my final inch -
This gave me that precarious Gait
Some call Experience.

Emily Dickinson, c. 1864

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Wildlife and more

You can't see me

I see a fair amount of wildlife on my walks around town. This little cottontail runs across the trail as I head home from my morning walk almost daily. It might not be the same one, but who knows? Last week I saw him again, and I saw that he went under a tree to hide from me, and he stayed perfectly still as I captured him on my camera.

This survival technique must work pretty well, since it's been going on for millennia: hold perfectly still and maybe the predator won't see you and will just move on. Of course, bunnies are one of the most sought-after prey for many animals looking for a quick snack, so I guess the magic doesn't work all that well most times. I do enjoy seeing his little white tail disappear into the brush and hope he is able to grow up and enjoy life for a good long time to come.

We are in the midst of wonderful fall weather, with sunny bright days that don't get very hot, interspersed occasionally with a rain shower that greens up the entire environment. My favorite time of the year, in fact. Yesterday four of us ladies walked down to the harbor to admire the boats and get our steps in for the day. We finished it off with a quick trip to the Farmers' Market, which is only open for a few hours on Saturday. It was packed with people, everyone masked and looking happy to be outside on a beautiful day.

And now we have the opposite of yesterday's sunshine: showers all morning turning into a steady rain for the afternoon. One thing I especially like about this time of year: while it will be rainy for most of the day, I wouldn't be surprised to see the sun come out at the end of the day, after everything is washed clean. Like I said, it's a wonderful time of the year and makes me happy to be alive.

This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.—Dalai Lama

I am getting to know my own brain and heart as I study the principles of love and kindness. I have been attracted lately to Buddhist thought and have been reading a great deal about how to meditate, and how to live a good life in the context of today's challenges. It reminds me that many years ago, long before I became the person I am today, I was a meditator. I had actually forgotten the benefits of sitting quietly and watching my breath. It's been a long time since I have actually done it, but it has come back to me once again, and it already brought me some serenity.

And it all started with me reading a few books about the Dalai Lama's cat, by David Michie. Now I have read several books by the author, and I have found something else that intrigues me: meditating on the Medicine Buddha.  Michie also wrote a suspense novel that ends with his discovery of the power of meditating with this particular Buddha. I love that each meditation begins and ends with this prayer:

By this practice of Medicine Buddha, may I be purified of all disease, pain, and suffering, and enjoy robust good health, and attain complete and perfect enlightenment to lead all other beings to this same state.

 Well, it's a start. You gotta have something to work towards, and now I am thinking I will continue to find peace and contentment in my life through meditation. Since I am retired and supposedly have all the time in the world (!), I can certainly find many different ways to slip in a moment or two of breathing in the Medicine Buddha's mantra. Funny how just a little story that captivated me has changed the trajectory of my days. Maybe there will be at least one more person out there who might give it a whirl.

This post is taking longer to write than usual, and that's because I keep going off to Google and looking up one thing or another regarding the Medicine Buddha, and then I end up reading the entire article. It surprises me how often David Michie keeps coming up in relation to Bhaisajyaguru (the name of this particular Buddha). I have no idea how to pronounce it, although I could probably figure it out, since Sanskrit has become more familiar to me through my yoga practice.

Life's little twists and turns fascinate me, and I will continue to keep you updated on the evolution of my practice. Every day is a new and precious gift, and I will continue to attempt to make use of these days for the benefit of every living being.

I send you, my dear readers, a special gift today: one of healing and wholeness that should be the birthright of everyone. On this day, I will sit in meditation with you in mind, and I have no doubt that if you do the same, we will be connected to one another through our intention. I know it sounds pretty woo-woo, but what the heck? What do we have to lose? We have everything to gain.

Well, this has been a much different journey to the end of this post than I could have imagined. I am now ready to begin the rest of my day, with a trip to the coffee shop (of course) and the chance to smile at some new friends and spread around a little happiness. My dear partner still sleeps quietly beside me, the sun is not yet over the horizon, and I will walk with a spring in my step as I move through my day. Until we meet again next week, I wish you all good things, dear ones.


Barbara Rogers said...

I greatly enjoyed the Dalai Lama's Cat by Michie...and look forward to reading more of his work! And probably giving that one as a gift also (a new copy not the digital one from thelibrary of course!)

Linda Reeder said...

Yes, it does sound a little Woo-woo, but I'm glad this quietness of mind brings you happiness and peace.

Rian said...

Actually, I like a little Woo-woo. And I just ordered the Dalai Lama's Cat!

Elephant's Child said...

Thank you. As I read this today the sun is not yet ready to rise and my partner is sleeping quietly.
Perhaps our thoughts will meet in the ether...
Have a wonderful day/week.

Arkansas Patti said...

Just ordered the Dalai Lama's Cat from Kindle. Only $.99 and sounds like what I am needing about now. Thanks.

William Kendall said...

I always like seeing wascally wabbits.

Far Side of Fifty said...

Woo woo now that is a word you usually don't use! Do what makes you happy. Read the book, eat the cake, hug those you love life is too short! ...and smile:) Hope you have a marvelous week. It is Sunday afternoon here, I have just returned from retreat and took a break from unpacking to see what all my friends are up to! :)

ApacheDug said...

That little rabbit certainly blends in well with his surroundings, if I hadn't known what to be looking for I don't think I would've spotted him. I've always found that so intriguing, how Nature "looks after" so much of the living and gives them a fighting chance. Anyway.. I very much liked that quote by the Dalai Lama about not needing an ornate temple or complicated philosophy to practice his beliefs. If only more of us felt the same.

Gigi said...

I know you have spread lots of happiness today - as I know your post made me happy! Have a fabulous week, DJan!

Galen Pearl said...

I loved hearing about your meditation practice. What is the best practice? The one you will actually do! So if this method calls to you right now, then that is the best one. The Dalai Lama -- what can you say? He radiates compassion and kindness. I love his smile.

John's Island said...

“…we will be connected to one another through our intention. I know it sounds pretty woo-woo, but what the heck?” Hi DJan, I certainly had to smile when I read that. Well, it may be woo-woo but I do feel the connection today. About two weeks ago, when I asked you for the name, I put Buddhism for Busy People on my Kindle. David Michie is a wonderful writer. I’m enjoying and learning a lot from his book. I’m discovering the wisdom of Buddhism and I especially appreciated what he said about why so many humans are finding this business of awakening, to use your words, woo-woo. I looked in the book to find exactly what he said: “Why does it take so much effort to achieve something as simple as mental clarity and awareness? Quite simply, it goes against all previous conditioning. We’ve lived with a ceaseless tide of internal chatter for so long that it’s only when we take the unusual step of focusing the spotlight of our attention on the mind itself, observing its antics at close quarters and in real time, that we discover we have a lunatic in the attic.” I’m getting that lunatic under control and I say thank you for leading me in this direction. You may have received this message via meditation, but if not, here it is in print. :-) Thank you DJan!

Marie Smith said...

Sitting on a beach, watching and listening make me feel at one with the universe. I feel most alive at those times. Deep breathing there is such a peaceful experience.

I hope your day was fantastic and the coming week the same. Peace, Jan.

Red said...

I'm sure that thee are many ways we can give ourselves a healthy mind and body. Sometimes we have to sit down and think through some things. Sometimes we need a little help to show us the way.

Rita said...

Love the little cottontail!
I'm all for a little whoo hoo! ;)

Anvilcloud said...

My dear partner sleeps much longer than I do, but I am telling you that if I started to clack on a keyboard beside her in bed, I would no longer be dear to her.

gigi-hawaii said...

That bunny is so cute, something we don't see here in Hawaii. As for Buddhism, I am not really into religion. But, if you enjoy it, then so be it.

Margaret said...

I too enjoy the variety of this time of year and the fact that there is usually some clearing, even on a rainy day. It sounds like you're finding wise words and peace. I'm laughing at John's comment. :)

Glenda Beall said...

Thanks for the picture of the bunny. I have lived most of my life on a farm or in a rural area with wildlife all around me. A herd of deer live on the mountain and traipse down past my front door every day. Watching them makes me smile. Playing with Lexie my little dog brings me joy even when I feel sad. I have meditated off and on for years but never made it a regular practice. I might do that again and hope it helps me with insomnia.

Judee said...

Lovely and inspiring post. Thank you. I checked out the Medicine Budda meditation and am very drawn to it. thank you so much for sharing it.

John's Island said...

Second comment: I just can't say how much I'm enjoying Buddhism for Busy People. Many thanks for leading me in this direction. As a long time follower of your blog, may I say, it seems that you, yourself, have been moving in this direction for quite a while. Looking forward to reading more about your journey in future posts. John