Simplicity. There’s room to think in this workspace.
It’s a beautiful way to work, and it’s how we want our own workspace to look.
A balanced life.
How to lead a balanced life…
“A Zen monk and friend of mine, Susan O’Connell, taught me something important recently. Susan is Vice President of the San Francisco Zen Center and a movie and TV actress in a former life.
She gave a talk about how she goes through her day, and it was enlightening. I’ve since put her ideas into practice.
Susan says she gives equal weight to every action, to every moment. We tend to do the opposite: certain things we do are more important than others and so we mentally focus on those and give little thought to the smaller things.
Susan gives equal weight to meditating, working on an important project, talking with a stranger, walking to her car in the parking lot, eating a bowl of soup. None is more important than the other. Even the space between things is given equal weight.
The spaces between things: when we move from email to talking to a co-worker, that is a space between things. When we move from eating to putting our dish in the sink, that’s a space between. And we tend to barely register these spaces on our consciousness.
Imagine giving these spaces the same weight as you would something more “important”. What would a day filled with these important spaces be like? In my experience, it means we’re more mindful, that we have a slower and more evenly paced day, that we are calmer and more at peace. It means less stress, and less effort.”
If we could learn to do just one thing, and practice it constantly, this would be it. To apply equal weight to all our actions, throughout all our moments.
“Suddenly I’m no longer killing time. Suddenly I’m living.” – Ray Lai
Currently, Silenc.es is where I cross post my seed thoughts for meditation, also found at Smplist. That’s all about to change. Besides my daily yoga practice, meditation is the single most powerful tool for change in my life. I am writing a beginner’s meditation course, a book of daily seed thoughts, and a meditation handbook for beginners. I’m working on a major redesign of the Silenc.es website, it’s function and content. I’ll be adding tools and other aids for meditation there, as well as the course and books.
Willow and I have set aside the next 3 months to spend here on a self-directed retreat in France, meditating, practicing yoga, studying the great texts of zen, tao and yoga, and writing books and courses for you.
All meditation related content I create will be found at Silenc.es. When it’s complete, I’ll announce it here.
The Fourteen Precepts of Engaged Buddhism.
1 Do not be idolatrous about or bound to any doctrine, theory, or ideology, even Buddhist ones. Buddhist systems of thought are guiding means; they are not absolute truth.
2 Do not think the knowledge you presently possess is changeless, absolute truth. Avoid being narrow minded and bound to present views. Learn and practice nonattachment from views in order to be open to receive others’ viewpoints. Truth is found in life and not merely in conceptual knowledge. Be ready to learn throughout your entire life and to observe reality in yourself and in the world at all times.
3 Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education. However, through compassionate dialogue, help others renounce fanaticism and narrow-mindedness.
4 Do not avoid suffering or close your eyes before suffering. Do not lose awareness of the existence of suffering in the life of the world. Find ways to be with those who are suffering, including personal contact, visits, images and sounds. By such means, awaken yourself and others to the reality of suffering in the world.
5 Do not accumulate wealth while millions are hungry. Do not take as the aim of your life fame, profit, wealth, or sensual pleasure. Live simply and share time, energy, and material resources with those who are in need.
6 Do not maintain anger or hatred. Learn to penetrate and transform them when they are still seeds in your consciousness. As soon as they arise, turn your attention to your breath in order to see and understand the nature of your hatred.
7 Do not lose yourself in dispersion and in your surroundings. Practice mindful breathing to come back to what is happening in the present moment. Be in touch with what is wondrous, refreshing, and healing both inside and around you. Plant seeds of joy, peace, and understanding in yourself in order to facilitate the work of transformation in the depths of your consciousness.
8 Do not utter words that can create discord and cause the community to break. Make every effort to reconcile and resolve all conflicts, however small.
9 Do not say untruthful things for the sake of personal interest or to impress people. Do not utter words that cause division and hatred. Do not spread news that you do not know to be certain. Do not criticize or condemn things of which you are not sure. Always speak truthfully and constructively. Have the courage to speak out about situations of injustice, even when doing so may threaten your own safety.
10 Do not use the Buddhist community for personal gain or profit, or transform your community into a political party. A religious community, however, should take a clear stand against oppression and injustice and should strive to change the situation without engaging in partisan conflicts.
11 Do not live with a vocation that is harmful to humans and nature. Do not invest in companies that deprive others of their chance to live. Select a vocation that helps realise your ideal of compassion.
12 Do not kill. Do not let others kill. Find whatever means possible to protect life and prevent war.
13 Possess nothing that should belong to others. Respect the property of others, but prevent others from profiting from human suffering or the suffering of other species on Earth.
14 Do not mistreat your body. Learn to handle it with respect. Do not look on your body as only an instrument. Preserve vital energies (sexual, breath, spirit) for the realisation of the Way. (For brothers and sisters who are not monks and nuns:) Sexual expression should not take place without love and commitment. In sexual relations, be aware of future suffering that may be caused. To preserve the happiness of others, respect the rights and commitments of others. Be fully aware of the responsibility of bringing new lives into the world. Meditate on the world into which you are bringing new beings.
(Via View on Buddhism)
I have arrived.
“I have arrived, I am home.”
Wherever you are, you are already home, right now.
If you can see it, you can live it, in this moment.
New ways to live.
“Borrow from cultures old and new and with our imaginations blend those borrowings to create new ways to live that are simpler, gentler, more generous, and beautiful.”
– William Coperthwaite, ‘A Handmade Life: In Search of Simplicity’
A great lesson on how to lead a happier, more beautiful life.
Wabi sabi yoga.
Wabi sabi yoga is the yoga of imperfection.
In yoga, we can seek perfection, as in many aspects of our lives. You don’t have to abandon your initial attempt, in order to improve the posture, but rather, settle into it. Relax, it’s yoga!
When a Japanese tea bowl maker creates a tea bowl, the beauty is in it’s imperfection. If she were to make it perfect, it would not be so beautiful, nor suitable for a tea ceremony. Beauty is in the lumps and bumps, creases, patina, in the natural.
Beauty arises from error, in the unpredicted form.
As in the Zen tradition, all that arises is already perfect, as it is.
Four season housing.
Over the past 5 years, we’ve spent our time exploring Europe from North to West to East to South.
We’ve lived in many different types of home, in a range of location types. Some were built for Summer, with the goal of keeping the heat (and light) out. Not a good choice for a Winter home, not even with a log burner in-situ. Some were built for Winter, with the goal of absorbing as much heat as possible. Not a good choice for Summer. Some weren’t built to be homes at all, such as converted olive presses. These were neither suitable for Summer or Winter use.
So we have come to value the importance of the correct approach to the seasons in designing and building living accommodation.
We’re bringing all the knowledge gathered from our travels and experiences to bear in the design of Sanctuaries. Whilst we won’t be resident for more than 50% of the year, others will be there, on retreat, visitors staying on as helpers. We want to create an environment that will work all year around, for work, play, yoga and meditation, as well as everyday living.
Sanctuaries will resonate within its environment.