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As some of you know I am heading out on an adventurous road trip on Sunday. I’m seeing friends in Asheville NC, Nashville Tennessee, and then heading west for Colorado. There is a great massage school that I am going to be attending, it’s focus is on Asian bodywork. I am very excited and a bit nervous and activated. Big transitions like this are never easy for me, and it might not help that I have put most of my stuff in storage while I am in school.

I will be back in May most likely and definitely in June if not sooner. It is an intense program, as we will be in class and training and practicums for 50+ hours a week. I am definitely looking forward to it however.

In the meantime, now that my apartment is quite spacious with the furniture gone, it is a breath of fresh air to meditate. It is so easy to forget how our environment can affect our sitting. In the future, I need to simplify or at least have a clean spacious shrine room!

Okay, back to last minute sorting and cleaning. Gotta be out of my apartment by tomorrow evening!

Thank you for wishing me well! A 2,000 mile road trip journey starts tomorrow.

May all sentient beings know vast spacious mind.

~km

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Reading about bodhisattvas

I love to read inspiring stories about the bodhisattvas of old. Patrul Rinpoche, Jamgon Kongtrul and the great Khyentse Rinpoche etc. and recently I have gotten into looking at Ju Mipham Rinpoche, one of the great students of those aforementioned masters.

One of the last things he told his main attendant was that he was a bodhisattva, which explains why he didn’t have to study much to realize the meaning of many profound texts. And he also told his main attendant that this degenerate age was full of ignorant beings and as such he would not be taking rebirth in this world again

When I hear stories like this, it makes me sad. To have such great masters among us is an amazing blessing. It is rare, precious and so difficult to find. For me reading their life stories is very inspiring, however spending actual time with them in person is the most transformative experience we can have.

I have heard that for most of us, due to our karmic predispositions, we are only able to attend teachers Who are in human form. There are some stories of nuns and monks who receive teachings from dakas and dakinis, but their level of realization is quite far along. Therefore when these great bodhisattvas make statements that they are not reincarnating here again, that is extremely inspiring for me in my practice.

Sure there are a number of bodhisattvas still among us here today, But we never know how many chances we will get to attend them. Therefore make effort now. Try not to waste time today. Of course there is a time for resting there’s a time for working and there’s a time for saying prayers and meditating, just make certain to allow time for The latter. And don’t forget self-care, practicing kindness to self is the basis of a spiritual path.
Thank you for reading!

~km

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A friend told me this recently.. It sounds like an extreme perspective. But I am starting to believe it is true.

Of course it is not that close to death (not that I can say I remember what it is like to die…) but in terms in having a whole body / whole brain re-orientation about where I stay, where I drive to go home, where I park, where I learn my short cuts, where I go shopping. It is like hitting a massive reset button.

In the past, moving wasn’t that terrible. I think I averaged moving once every two years for most of my adult life. That is pretty crazy!

So as it stands now, my attempting to get ready for massage school (an intensive, 600 hours of training in 12 weeks) while I am down-sizing and moving out of my apartment. Is insane. Just nuts.

Next time, I am going for the sub-leasing option (I did not discuss this, but next time, I will at least try!).

I have some home study books to be reading, but I have barely read three pages in the month of January. Kind of need to finish that work soon (not going to happen). At least the massage school allows us to finish up to a month after we graduate (thank goodness!!!).

Note to self. Try to find a grand apartment to rent that I love. OR start saving again for a down-payment on a nice small house.

Thanks for putting up with the raving of a crazy moving adventuring massage student!

~km

P.S. if you want to contribute to my massage training costs or to my blogging efforts, please feel free! 🙂

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Another experience from retreat: (I am not tagging this in a slight effort to keep it tucked away – only so dedicated readers might find it)

The yogini who organized this beach retreat, her father passed away about a week or two before retreat started. It was expected, after he wrestled with Alzheimer’s disease for many years. But deaths in the family are never easy – they almost always bring up something. Not to mention too much personal info, let’s just say, she was glad that she had the time in retreat to work with her father and repairing their relationship which she never could in real time (due to his dementia and other reasons).

Anyhow.. she asked me if I had the Phowa text in my small collection of pechas – or practice texts. Sure enough I did.

She asked if I wanted to join her in performing Phowa during a lunch break one day. Sure, of course. It is a powerful practice where we connect with the Lineage Lamas and ask for their blessing, for ourselves, the deceased and all sentient beings. It is a complicated practice and one that requires that we receive a special transmission of the technique of how to do Phowa from a qualified Tibetan Lama. Therefore I won’t go in depth.

There are many stories of high Lamas performing Phowa and then the deceased manifests signs of having gone on to a higher rebirth or even a Buddha’s Pure Realm. There apparently are signs that the body can manifest to indicate that something like this has occurred. So far, I don’t think I have personally seen any. But I have heard that the crown of the head can change – enlarge slightly – if the person’s consciousness exits that way (toward higher realms). Again though, I am not an expert.

However, at one point in the practice, there is a section where we practice ejecting our consciousness from our bodies, to be ready for the time of death. When we are doing this practice as a healthy, breathing person, we have to visualize a certain deity sitting on the crown of our head, with his big toe closing the “blow hole” as it were – closing the exit from the central channel, so that we don’t accidentally eject our consciousness in a way that we can’t come back from. (I’m not an expert here, if you have questions about this, find a qualified spiritual teacher who knows Phowa really well.)

In case you did not get this from that last paragraph above: Phowa is a serious practice with significant ramifications. You have to receive the Phowa transmission from a qualified Tibetan Lama before attempting to practice it. Not to mention the special instructions about how to actually do the transference of consciousness.

The Phowa transmission is given all around the United States from time to time, and throughout Europe and South East Asia. So if you look around, you can probably find a Phowa teaching happening somewhere nearby!

With this disclaimer out of the way… this retreat was extra clarifying for me. I believe this is because I quit my full time job six months earlier. Now I had the time to practice true self care outside of retreat – slowing down, doing yoga most days, sitting on my cushion most days, taking refuge most days, etc. This allowed me to encounter levels of clarity I had not seen before, on retreat. (see previous posts)

So sure enough, even doing Phowa brought an unusual experience.

Nothing special.

Just when we got to that section on ejecting our consciousness, I may not have been visualizing the deity sitting solidly on my crown or my visualization of his big toe covering my “blow hole” was not very clear. When I pushed my consciousness up my central channel, and up to the top of my head, it kept going… And suddenly I found myself in a dark space of living voidness – it was like being in a moving, coagulating spaciousness. If I were sitting in a nebula with a new star forming nearby, that might come close to what I experienced. Only for a few seconds, and then I came back into my body.

That is it. Nothing too crazy!

Go back and read about my other retreat experiences if you have not already.

I will post more about my thoughts on this retreat in a day or so. Now that I have had about ten days to let the 10-day retreat begin to integrate.

Thank you for reading!

May all of our New Years 2018 be auspicious!

~km

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For every $25 you donate, Kirby will write a blog post (article) on the topic of your choosing, within his areas of knowledge. Thank you!

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Another experience from time recently on retreat…

Sitting in front of the large picture windows, gazing out at the sea, for at least one to two hours a day meant that after a few days, the waves literally permeated my mind stream.

I would be sitting with my eyes closed, and I could feel waves moving through my body. I could nearly see with my inner eye, the waves moving through my tissues, through my fluids, up my spine.

And then most mornings there was a brilliant sunrise. There were a couple of stormy and heavy overcast days when the sun did not seem to rise – there was not a hint of the magentas, the oranges, the chartreuse, yellows and definitely none of the sun beams streaming through the clouds that we got most mornings.

The wild thing was, that in the middle of the retreat, we did a smoke offering practice – the Mountain of Burnt Offerings – Ri Wo Sang Cho. In this practice, we visualize Guru Rinpoche above and in front of us (unless we have certain initiations or empowerments, then the instructions would be different) and he is blazing with splendor. Like a sun rising.

When we did the smoke offering in the cold crisp morning air (it was seriously cold – several people complained about having toes going numb – it was as if I had an inner sunrise opening up and creating light inside of me.

This was the first time that had happened. It was opening, it was soothing, it was radiant, it was easy and comfortable, I was becoming a larger container, filled with light and loving-kindness.

Pretty darned amazing!

Thank you for reading,

~km

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Early in retreat…

I picked up my friend and fellow yogi from a Richmond bus station. He was vowing for a while never to travel via cheap Chinese bus again.. and from what he was saying, I can’t blame him! Long story short, he took a flight home. 🙂

Arrived to find a dirty and dusty house, on the beach. Apparently the owners had decided to winterize the house, but they forgot to change the heat filters, so there was a layer of dark dust on everything..

The metaphor is not lost on me – we would need to purify our outer mind as well as inner mind streams! We had a bit to do with cleaning and dusting the following morning before more participants were set to arrive. It was fine though. A large, beautiful house with massive vaulted ceilings in the living room, with ample space to play and go through Dream Time, it was great. And it was right on the water.

Retreat started at 2 pm on the 18th. We pondered for a time about what our intention was for being there. I had two intentions but I chose the shorter of the two – I want to be awake in dreams. Simple right? That intention would change over time though – because I want it to be realistic. Could I realize wakefulness in dreams in 10 days? Not so much.

And being born in Hawaii, and raised there for a time too, you might find it humorous that here I was at a stormy winter beach on the East coast of the US, and my initial thoughts were, “this beach sucks.” Just being honest – that’s where my mind was.

At first, I wasn’t a huge fan of the gray skies and the cold, downright bone-chilling frigid temperatures. But after a few days, it started to grow on me! Plus dolphins were playing in the surf just about 20 feet past the breaking waves, there was a falcon which seemed drawn to glide around just outside our window – which only happened when we were in session?! And the sunrises were so so majestic. The last day – when we did Lama Chopa practice (offerings to the root and lineage lamas and teachers) and then a Tsok offering (a special sacred feast offering where we offer food and then we get to feast on it), the sunrise seemed the most sublime.

On that first day, my yogi friend and I were the only two males present, with about four or five women participating. And we had signed up for cooking and cleaning duties. So at one point, he pointed out (just humor here, not trying to imply anything!!), “Hey look, the guys are cooking and cleaning in the kitchen, and the women are all moving furniture!” It was funny in the moment – think retreat mind. We had not yet entered noble silence.

The first 2 – 3 days of retreat I slept in, took a nap here and there, and even went to bed early one night. It definitely took me a couple of days to go from 70 mph of busy life to slow down to 5 mph of retreat mind mode. Thankfully I had 10 days total down there!

Write more soon!

Thanks for paying attention,

~km

Donation to Kirby’s blogging efforts

Hi dear Readers, Help me buy tea so I can continue blogging. So if you enjoy what you are reading, please make a little donation. Thank you very much!

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I just returned from an incredible 10-day retreat. Actually, I returned about six days ago and somehow found myself dog-sitting at one house and cat-sitting at another nearby home for those days. (Note to self – I prefer being around animals post-retreat, rather than fast-paced, coffee-brain-type people; but I would rather not have to do anything for several days after retreat. No dog / cat / house sitting post-retreat next year!)

Retreat itself was magnificent. It was held at a beach house just south of Virginia Beach. We got to watch the majestic sun rise most mornings. I was in charge of shrine care and offerings – filling water bowls every morning at 5:30 am, always keeping a candle lit, and offering incense throughout the day.

It was a very dynamic retreat format. We blended somatic processing work (Pre- and perinatal psychology, Zapchen Somatics and other embodiment-oriented exercises), dream work (primarily from Continuum Movement teacher Susan Harper), Tibetan Buddhist prayers and Thai Buddhist meditation. Oh and we were able to do a lot of inner child work as well – during the Metta (loving-kindness) hour.

Therefore I believe this to be one of the most efficacious retreats I have ever been on. No longer do I believe that I will chant enough mantras and everything will be magically fixed and blissful. No longer do I believe that only deity yoga practice or enough silent sitting will remedy my double binds and other wounds from my early developmental and primal periods (primal period is from pre-conception up until we start talking – about 18-24 months). This is known as spiritual bypass. When we think that doing enough Qigong – working with the Heaven and Earth and moving energy through us will fix unmet childhood needs – not going to happen. Sorry to burst any bubbles. Don’t get me wrong – qigong, mantras, zazen meditation, deity yoga are all exceptionally quality forms of self care and spiritual practices – but sometimes we have to dig deep if we truly want freedom from suffering.

[Edited: as a side note, I think I need to write a longer post about whether or not the Buddha-Dharma contains all we need to attain enlightenment, efficaciously swiftly and parsimoniously. I wonder if there are modalities which serve as good supplements to the Dharma. Or as H.E. Khenchen Konchog Gyaltsen put it, these other modalities might fit under the purview of “Process Buddhism.”]

Rather, I now firmly believe that I have to repair / resource my inner baby / toddler / childhood wounds. No more beating around the bush. I spent an average of one to two hours a day on retreat saying the Good Mother Messages to my little (in the womb, little 3 day old, little 7 day old, 11 day old parts of me – very little!) baby-prenate-fetus self. There was an embryology book there which I used for the pictures of these little bizarre blastocysts and fetuses. Seriously some of those pictures could easily be alien babies forming too :-O

But I have never experienced the juicy resourced feeling that I did toward the end of retreat. To spend that time with my little one, and then from time to time, staring out at the vast ocean and the boundless sky – curiously wondering about where these two great spaces meet (apparently at the horizon). I am hooked.

I hope my family doesn’t mind – I might just have to have early or late Christmases most years if this is when this 10-day retreat is occurring. Especially at the beach – I’m not going to drive an extra seven hours to go home for a day or two. Rather rest in the unity of clarity and emptiness. I don’t expect you to understand that, but that is why I took this rebirth on this planet – to free my mind of dualistic grasping.

This is the perfect slingshot for my new year. I see myself teaching more workshops and classes once I get through massage school. And now I can bring this new level of clarity with me, and hopefully I can access it with ease via sitting, yoga, self care and more good mother messages! And of course I intend to continue my Dharma practice – I took refuge in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha (first and foremost). Refuge is still my go to, grounding, resourcing, matrix of support practice.

I will write more when I get the chance – I especially want to describe one of the dream work sessions. Just wow!

For now, want to rest in Ahhhh…. with me?

Thanks for reading,

~km

P.S. if you are able to contribute to my blogging efforts, that would be much appreciated! This blog costs me $99 / year to maintain and so far I have not been paid for the small ads I have going on it. Very grateful!

 

Donate to Kirby’s blogging efforts

For every $25 you donate, Kirby will write a blog post (article) on the topic of your choosing, within his areas of knowledge. Thank you!

$25.00

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