Judge Not

Feb. 15

Today in large group process, a class in which I participate at Naropa University, many of the thirty six group members expressed concerns, naming anxiety, fear, and thus resistance, as barriers to open expression of feelings and experiences within the group.  Emotional safety within a group such as this largely depends on one’s beliefs about how they will be held in the minds of the others present.  Will they be judged or criticized?  More importantly to some, will they be heard and understood? 

The need to be heard and respected when we speak from our hearts is common to all of us, I believe.  It occurred to me today that when others judge me for what I have spoken, the only true impact is when it compounds self judgment.  If I do not judge myself, no problem. And how could I point at someone else to judge them, if I do not judge myself?  The contemplation gives deeper meaning to two sayings which come to mind: “It takes one to know one.” and “Judge not, that you be not judged.” 

I think there is great value in the ability to be critical, to offer insight to others through critical thought, without judgment.  Differing viewpoints can collide and produce brilliance and clarity for their speakers and listeners when allowed to do so in a space free from personal judgment.  Is this possible?  Have you ever experienced such conflict, uncoupled from trauma and personal prejudice?  If not, I wonder why.  I think it offers the highest form of education and a view of creation – the appearance of some thing that is the direct result of opposing forces colliding, yet is none of those forces, but  is something altogether new.  Hope, possibility and potentiality all reside here.  Maybe nothing else is happening, except for that, in every moment and at the subtlest levels.  Our control is minimal, if any.  What do you think?

Happy New Year 2011

December 31 2010….wow. 

We say, “Where did the time go?”  It didn’t go anywhere.  It is right here in my mind and body.  Time is everything I see, hear, taste, touch and smell.  The passing time is my blood and bones, my thoughts and emotions.  None of them has gone, yet none of them seems to have come to stay either.    

I am happy, being in this stream with all of you, coming together and apart in synchronous synergistic motion, sometimes swimming near the edge, sometimes no ground in sight.  I appreciate and thank you for being in my life.

I am in awe of things we share, synergy, healing, birth, death, spirituality, faith, fear, fearlessness, form, formlessness… relationship.  It feels truly enlightening to have presence of mind for it, if even for a fleeting moment, and to consider reality without filters of thought and preference.  Imagine expanding that moment.

With focus on mindfulness, I have adopted a contemplative disposition toward four specific subjects this semester: Psychology, Human Development, Transitions/Career Development, and Community Development. Thus has been the assignment and the practice in my first semester in the Masters in Contemplative Psychotherapy program at Naropa.

Taking a contemplative view requires a level of stillness pretty much out of synch with the larger world.  There are places in the stream where groups of people are practicing stilling their minds.  These are little currents of refuge for those who slow down to refresh in them.  My 32 fellow students and I have been just such a group, observing our minds and bodies through listening, contemplating and meditating.  The many hours of meditation have produced a modest pace of living, conducive to contemplation.   I am watching the busy-ness of life, more than identifying with it.

 Maitri is an essential element in contemplative practice.  Maitri (friendliness to our own experience, kindness to self and others, loving kindness, compassion) is both a cause and an effect in a contemplative lifestyle.  Contemplate the real realities of birth, death, your identity, where you came from and where you will go, and you will surely choose compassion for yourself and others, finding it the only path to liberation.  Take a step beyond attachment, aversion and indifference and find treasure on the other side.  Then see no step is required and no other side.  Meditation and contemplation are exceedingly valuable to an intelligent society. 

While I have moved into my new life in Colorado, my sons, Zac and Hannes, have maintained the harmony in Harmony House, making my brief Christmas visit there a joy.  Supported by their love and that of friends, cats and dogs, and sangha at the Clear Mind Zen Temple, I returned to Colorado for my second semester (and our first big snow!).   January 11 will find me beginning a second two week retreat at Shambhala Mountain Retreat Center. 

With maitri I wish each and every one of you and your loved ones long days of love and bliss, enough to take you through times of grief and pain, joy and sadness that ring deep and clear, strong healing bodies and love beyond words. 

A deep bow, hugs and kisses, and

Happy New Year 2011!

Judy K Harmon  – Peace!

September 2010 – Maitri Retreat, Shambhala Mountain Center, Colorado

October 4 2010 – 60th Birthday!!   We danced of course. I bought myself a piano for my birthday.  At the party, the guys moved it upstairs.  Now that’s friendship 🙂

 

 

December 2010 – Harmony House visit and first big snow in Colorado

 

Pain and Suffering

Intentions are desires set into motion by conscious action.  To set about something and see it manifest is the greatest thing!  Yet expectation that things will turn out as planned is a trap and will lead to disappointment and suffering.

Setting intentions is first.  Making plans is second.  Plans are just vehicles to get you mobile, not absolutes to hook your star to.  The very best things happen when your plans go awry.  Now you know you are in the hands of providence and you have placed yourself there intentionally. 

“Life is pure adventure.  The sooner we realize this, the sooner we will treat life as art” Maya Angelou.  This is my motto.  Thank you, Maya.

It seems I am off the Life Change Stress Scale (Holmes and Rahe).  A score of 300 gives a 90% chance of developing illness.  I score 320!  Fortunately I did not know this when I awoke with excruciating hip pain, after a week in which I broke my toe, had a first migraine headache in ages and other ailment which had not arisen since forever.   

It is all opportunity to work with pain, to work with healing, to work with mind.  Welcome to my home, vulnerability. 

My intention, as a student at Naropa, is to live beginner’s mind, to learn skillful means in working with suffering and pain, mine and others’.  With beginner’s mind, every lesson is fresh and free from self applause or self aggression.  Like a child, I am awed by the moment to moment happenings (happiness and happen come from the same root word, “hap” meaning to come about by chance). 

I met an angel today who offered me body work and touched me deeply.  Another angel, from my cohort, and her children, today invited me to be family and to offer me TLC.  Their sweetness is salve to my loneliness.

In my vulnerability, I am receptive to friendship, love and healing powers all around – connected to the source of happiness – and grateful.

Co-dependence? or Dependent Co-arising?

In exercise during retreat at Naropa yesterday, I was asked to place myself in the center of a circle of seven classmates. The instructions were to control the movements of the people in the circle, non-verbally, through body language, primarily hand signals. It was suggested we control placement of each person’s gaze, as well as body.

In reflection this morning, I wrote the following:

I desired to (needed to?) take care of all others’ comfort. To this end, I looked each person in the eye. What I wanted to say was “I won’t fuck with you. I will not confuse and manipulate you.” The challenge was, do I know how to not do those things in relationship.

I moved each of you around for a moment, trying to place you in the shade, where I felt you would be most comfortable. Since I accepted control, I did not consider that I could communicate non-verbally with you to ask if you were comfortable.

Further, I realize now that just because I thought I should or could be response-able (my new spelling ) for your comfort level, does not mean this is true, especially from your perspective.

But since I am a kind person with a huge and open heart, and you sense this, you want to be kind to me and allow the controlling, so as not to hurt my feelings by refusing to move when I so direct you. All this as if you could or should be response-able for my feelings.

My strength in pushing against your boundaries found your permeability and before we both knew it, or even if we did know it, the merging of boundaries became confusing.  For one thing, it was clear to you that I had your best interest at heart, and you did not mind my taking good care of you as best I could.  You agreeably placed yourself in my care.

Could a situation like this in real life be the initial stage of co-dependence?

I think that by bringing awareness to this inter-play of energies, co-dependence may be arrested, not gotten rid of as though bad, but given refuge, so to speak,  in the form of maître (Pema Chodron defining maitri:(http://maitrimatters.blogspot.com/2009/12/definition-of-maitri.html)  

In so doing, co-dependence might be transformed into dependent co-arising.

A decision I made during the process demonstrates, I believe, some recent growth in my own struggles with co-dependence.

I finally looked into the eyes of each, invited them one by one to stand close to the inner circle, then invited them to lower their eyes with me. We stood close enough to experience inter-connectedness, but within a refuge of individuality and stillness.

At least I recognized the futility of the situation as it was being played out, as well as the opportunity to stand together in connectedness in the moment, whether experiencing suffering or happiness.

I am thinking now about spontaneous co-arising in a new way; that manifest conditions are dependent on spontaneous co-arising. Human consciousness evolves according to individual awareness of its contribution. Relationship of  individuals offers opportunity to communicate accurately verbally and/or non-verbally to support the ground of spontaneity.

I call this a good start. I am grateful to Naropa teachers and students, for offering me this opportunity.

Synchronicity and Materialism

My thoughts today have run something like this: Synchronicity seems to be losing its meaning as the word so describes the continuous moments in time! Kind of like when you say a word real fast over and over and then it is meaningless in your mind?. Have you ever tried that? Materialism simply demonstrates the mastery of living in sync. When in sync, that which materializes is that which we project. Suffering results when we think external forces are causinge the manifestations in our lives. Waking up means waking up to this. Now the question – in sync with what? Oh! I just remembered – the present moment!

Answering a Call

A call arose in the heart.  Heeded, the call became a sign pointing toward a path. 

Following the path, wind swept, thunder crashed, rain drenched.

Shadow and light alternately claimed the same spaces.

Clarity came in the morning, fog lifted, illusion dissolved.

We had waited, struggling but sure.

Sacrifice made sacred the journey.

Love remained.

It Can’t be Said

It can’t be said.  I seem to be getting that message.

How to end conflicting feelings?   Maybe,  not end them.  Just accept the reality that conflict and no conflict are two sides of one thing.

I cannot destroy something that is on the flip side of the thing I wish to keep.   Thankfully, nothing is ever destroyed, nor created – only realized.

I don’t think human beings destroy and create, though we are creative and destructive by nature.

How egotistical to think we are the destroyers and the creators.    This is the stuff of comic books – fantasy.

As I practice viewing my own life through a clear lens, not filtered through emotions, ideals, and beliefs, I see that I contain destruction and creativity in my very cells, literally.  

I am born with everything I need and will ever need to support my life.  It cannot be otherwise!

Following my instincts, I actively participate in the direction of my life.

Every day I put my left shoe on my left foot and my right shoe on my right foot.  My right shoe does not say, “hey, I want to be on the left.”  Nor my left say “I want to be on the right.”   No need to struggle.  Some things just are.

Things do not compete.  They exist.  There is no real conflict but that which is in the mind. 

Well, I am just saying………some things can’t be said.    🙂

Grace and The Nature of Reality

There is something adorning me all the time, and I sometimes forget until I look in the mirror and see her.  Her name is Grace.  I see her when I see the brown eyes and the smile – or tears on the cheeks.  I hear her when I can find no silent place to sit.  I know her when I look upon those whom I love and remember those who have lost, and I visit her when I am most sad. 

When I am angry though, when I am angry!  She rushes to lay herself across my shoulders and she smells of lavender and jasmine, and she whispers to me that there is no one to blame. 

How natural it is for tides to turn, for forests to clear and trees to fall, for winds to rage and destroy, for darkness to fall, for superior human beings to fail, and for death to reign over life.  How natural for lesser human beings to single out an evil cause and someone to blame.

How natural, after millenia, after exhale and inhale, after long night, for light to come,  and for laughter and music to dance and fill spaces in the human heart. 

How natural for the world as we know it, to portray the imaginings of our own minds, and for grace to curve around our necks softly like feathers, forgive, and forever live.

Who? What? How?

It is often childish and unskilled behavior that keeps us from getting what we want,

not the lack of luck as we might like to think.

I am just a journalist,

storying my own trip down a path I call my life?

What is bursting in my chest, wanting to be said?

Is it words?

thoughts?

feelings?

Which comes first, second, third?

I know that action comes fourth.

In letting go of my self ish ness,

I can’t.  Because of the word “my”.

There is no need being met that does not include my need being met.

There is no hurt that is caused that does not include my being hurt.

So take yourself out and meet somebody’s need.

I don’t know what else to do. 

Do you?

Maybe the next question is “How?”