Can you smell the rain?

BigBendRain

For some reason I have never been able to “smell” rain.  My wife often tells me it smells like clean dirt.  While I may not be able to smell the rain there are plenty of other influences I rely on that help me recognize when a storm is coming.   Smelling the rain for some and not for others is a lot like mindfulness.  At times we are completely aware of our surroundings.  We can hear the ambient noise of our world, feel the ground beneath us and reflect on the ways we feel.  Much like smelling the rain, uncertainty in our lives requires a certain amount of mindfulness but sometimes it gets overlooked or missed.  Recently I have set out on some new journeys for answers to personal questions.   There is always fear and uncertainty in seeking answers, but this time I am finding  more questions than answers.  And that’s not a bad thing.

A couple of years ago I started practicing Zen meditation.  In recent months I have also studied more about Tibetin Buddhism and how this method of thinking without dharma helps make me see the world differently.   At first glance I found that meditation was a great way to calm my mind.   The more I sat on the cushion I wanted to know more about how my mind works.  Mindful meditation gives a feeling of calmness to allow for personal reflection.  It brings pieces of the world together while tearing it apart all at the same time.  The questions meditation presents can bring about fear and uncertainty but leaning into this as a positive situation makes the journey more enlightening.  The realization that the world is not really the way it is perceived can make for a desire to change.  Uncertainty breeds fear, concern and worry. but with a conscious mind I find that uncertainty is a beautiful condition.  It is an opportunity to bring love and happiness regardless of a situation.

As I go through this journey I wanted to share some of the great experiences I have encountered.  There are tons of great books,  patient teachers and methods I want to share.  It is my own way of growing  with my family, my art and my Bodhichitta ( or heart).   I hope this information is helpful.  It has helped me in becoming a better artist, a more patient parent and a more tolerant human in this vast universe.

If you are interested in some great reading material, the following two books are my current favorites.  They are easy to read and quite entertaining.

“Comfortable with Uncertainty” by Pema Chodron. 

“A Buddah Walks Into A Bar” by Lodro Rinzler. 

If you want to learning HOW to meditate please look to the Houston Zen Center.  There they have classes that will guide you towards calming meditation.

I hope everyone finds something useful in mindfulness.  The practice becomes a wonderful and personal adventure.  I may not know exactly where I am headed , but keeping an eye on the path makes for great living.

Alice

Uncertainty at its finest

Winter Street Studios

So recently I have been working on answering my personal questions through Zen Meditation.  One of the hardest things about this process is coming to the realization that we can’t get rid of the things that bother us, but we can choose to respond to those emotions with love and kindness.

Today I was presented with an opportunity to be very upset with myself and throw a little pity party.  You see I was actively trying to update my blog of 7 years when suddenly the entire database corrupted.   Of course being a previous technical professional in the world of data warehouse systems you would think I would know to back everything up before I started making changes.  Well, this didn’t happen and my 7 years of blogging has vanished.

At first I was confident that I could fix the problem and now I have realized that it was time to just start over.  In the past I would have beaten myself up over this situation.  I was still upset and disappointed but I realized that looking at the situation and the blog as impermanent I could move on and start over without fear or uncertainty.

So with that I am inviting you to my new blog.  My hope is that this “clean slate” will inspire new ideas, new dialogue and especially a new found appreciation for uncertainty.