2010.01.14 07:00 - Taking and Giving

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    The Guardian for this meeting was Storm Nordwind. The comments are by Storm Nordwind.


    Storm Nordwind: Good morning Eden!
    Eden Haiku: Good morning Storm!
    Storm Nordwind has just been sweeping away some of the last bits of snow. Not much left.
    Eden Haiku: Yes, Spring is coming in this region!
    Storm Nordwind: Once again, Play as Being setting the trend
    Eden Haiku: ;-)
    Geoff Baily: good morning Storm, Eden
    Eden Haiku: Hello Geoff!

    We start in French!
    Storm Nordwind: Bon apres-midi monsieur Geoff
    Geoff Baily: ;)
    Eden Haiku: Chic, on parle français!
    Geoff Baily: un peu si tu veux
    Geoff Baily: Eden
    Eden Haiku: Euh...
    Eden Haiku: My mind is blank even in French this morning...
    Geoff Baily: ;)
    Storm Nordwind: Mais non... il faut que nous parlons en anglais
    Geoff Baily: bien en anglais
    Geoff Baily: English it is
    Eden Haiku: I'm the only one speaking in English right now...;-)
    Storm Nordwind: Blank minds can be good Eden. We can let the morning infuse into us better sometimes that way
    Eden Haiku: yes
    Storm Nordwind: Like a good cup of tea that takes time to brew
    Eden Haiku: Ahh!
    Geoff Baily: so forgetfulness can be helpful
    Geoff Baily: makes a fresh start
    Geoff Baily: each day
    Geoff Baily: open to what there is
    Eden Haiku: Your avatars are typing away madly ;-)
    Geoff Baily: now
    Storm Nordwind: There are some that say "If we could remember all our previous lives, before we were ready and strong enough, we would quail under the heavy load"
    Geoff Baily: ah
    Storm Nordwind: (I just type madly Eden!)
    Geoff Baily: it is said we are all each other's mothers and fathers
    SophiaSharon Larnia: Hi all :)
    Storm Nordwind: Good morning SophiaSharon!
    Eden Haiku: Are you remembering a past life in particular Storm, these days?
    Geoff Baily: Hi Sophia
    Storm Nordwind: Just one or two Eden! ;)
    Eden Haiku: Hello Sophia!
    Eden Haiku: chuckles
    Storm Nordwind: Yes Geoff, it's at once a difficult and helpful notion
    Geoff Baily: ;)
    Storm Nordwind classes this as "pleasant esoteric smalltalk" :)
    SophiaSharon Larnia: :)
    Geoff Baily: ;)

    Images we experience in nature can have strong personal effects.
    Eden Haiku: The wintery landscape was so stunning in the sun the other day with ice-stormed trees like white sentinels.
    Storm Nordwind: Wonderful!
    Eden Haiku: It brought me back to gratefulness and to awareness
    Geoff Baily: well put
    Eden Haiku: To just see what is in front of me, I sometimes forget.
    Geoff Baily: i so love being out in the wilds
    Storm Nordwind: That is often why haiku is so difficult at first for the Western mind. We elaborate, judge, classify, opine... and fail to see simply what is there.
    Storm Nordwind: I saw an army of huge icicles that were like stalactites in a cave. I wonder what they were guarding?

    We talk about the effects of the earthquake in Haiti. What can we do?
    Eden Haiku: Maybe guarding the souls of all those who cry for help in Haiti right now?
    Geoff Baily: yes terrible to see
    SophiaSharon Larnia: it is
    Storm Nordwind: I was struck by one peripheral thing regarding this disaster...
    Eden Haiku: yes?
    Storm Nordwind: I scarely feel able to mention it...
    Eden Haiku: Please do
    Geoff Baily: yes?
    Storm Nordwind: But it was interesting to see how slowly the collective conscience of my new home arose, as shown in the media. Rather slower than I am used to in Europe.
    SophiaSharon Larnia: do you mean the public response?
    Geoff Baily: ah here in France it was immediately there
    Geoff Baily: on tv
    Geoff Baily: very raw
    Storm Nordwind: Yes to some extent Sharon. I think the media was a little slow. I guess people take their lead from the media.
    Geoff Baily: and disturbing film
    SophiaSharon Larnia: nods
    Eden Haiku: Maybe the haitian community is rather small in Colorado but elsewhere, in New York, in Miami, people are aware certainly?
    Storm Nordwind: The Haitian community is extremely small in the UK, but it was all over the media there immediately
    SophiaSharon Larnia: it was instant here in philadelphia
    Eden Haiku: There was doing to be an important literary festival. Many people I know. Luckilym
    Eden Haiku: , they all seem safe.
    Storm Nordwind: I'm pleased to hear that
    Geoff Baily: so glad for that
    Eden Haiku: The ones who are there already are in shock.
    Storm Nordwind nods
    Eden Haiku: These women crying on the news, children all plastered, it is so sad.
    SophiaSharon Larnia: I want to jump on a plane
    SophiaSharon Larnia: ave been looking into what effort is available to me to do so
    Eden Haiku: Yes, you feel your skills could help I'm sure, you are a nurse aren't you. But then, you have your work...
    Storm Nordwind: Good for you Sharon. Thank you.
    SophiaSharon Larnia: i dont say it for that
    Storm Nordwind: We know :)
    Geoff Baily: today there were warnings of scams for donations to false charities
    Geoff Baily: so verify before you give
    Eden Haiku: I,m sending a little money and good thoughts but I feel very helpless.
    SophiaSharon Larnia: ive used the word traumatized in relation to other, now ridiculously shallow things
    Geoff Baily: shameful isnt it
    Eden Haiku: Yes, disaster makes us notice our petty concerns..
    Geoff Baily: for people to use a disaster for a scam
    SophiaSharon Larnia: yes ive seen that before
    Eden Haiku: I skip a meal, I'm grouch... and all these people without food and water
    Geoff Baily: to cheat generous donors
    Storm Nordwind: More especially, to cheat needy recipients
    Geoff Baily: of course both
    Geoff Baily: are cheated
    Eden Haiku: Maybe we can send our prayers to them in the next 90 secs

    The practice of Taking and Giving, that we talk about now for a while as "Tonglen", is perhaps most simply stated in the 7th verse of Eight Verses for Training the Mind by the 11th-12th century monk Langri Tangpa. He wrote: "In short, may I directly and indirectly ... Offer help and happiness to all my mothers ... And secretly take upon myself ... All their harm and suffering".

    Storm Nordwind: I venture humbly to suggest that a practice such as Tonglen is even more efficacious than prayer Eden
    Geoff Baily: yes
    Eden Haiku: I became aware of the pull of these sad feelings on my soul. I have to find a way to preserve my joy in the midst of this. Yes, Tonglen ;-)
    Eden Haiku: Taking in the suffering , sending out loving kindness.
    SophiaSharon Larnia: had to google Tonglen
    Eden Haiku: http://www.shambhala.org/teachers/pema/tonglen1.php
    Storm Nordwind: It is a very powerful practice that can produce sometime seemingly miraculous results when one has the confidence to submerge oneself in it
    SophiaSharon Larnia: that's the page i was reading Eden :)
    Eden Haiku: ;-)
    Eden Haiku: Did you try the Green search engine Storm? Ecosia?
    Storm Nordwind: Yes I use it all the time, when I can, now
    SophiaSharon Larnia: confidence.....nods
    Eden Haiku: Oh! good. I will try it too Storm.
    Geoff Baily: I will too
    Storm Nordwind: The problem with Tonglen, when people start, is often that one does not feel able to take on so much suffering from others. But when one understands how it works, one doesn't feel one ever wants to stop!
    SophiaSharon Larnia: i was thinking about that Storm, and wasnt sure how to word it
    Geoff Baily: helpful Storm
    Geoff Baily: when I was taught it I was swamped
    SophiaSharon Larnia: i could feel the filling up and disengagment in a few seconds already
    Geoff Baily: it was too much for me
    Eden Haiku: You mean, because as we take others sufferings, we are burning up our self-cherishing?
    Geoff Baily: but what you say is helpful
    Storm Nordwind: Yes Eden. But we are also increasing our merit which immediately compensates for any extra karma we are taking on. So if we are taught properly, there is no need to be swamped.
    Eden Haiku: The fear is still there for me Storm, of being swamped...;-)
    Storm Nordwind: I know. Therefore we start small
    Storm Nordwind: We can set limits. We can start with our own future suffering. We can move to that of a friend, within certain limits...
    Storm Nordwind: Gradually we gain confidence and widen the limits.
    Eden Haiku: Thanks Storm,I downsized my taking in to 3 people I know who are there now, one I doN't even like. Tears came to my eyes. But that felt easier, more managable.
    Storm Nordwind hugs Eden
    Eden Haiku: ;-)
    The warmth of people... where do we find it and why is it different in different places?
    Eden Haiku: Should also work on my owm future suffering when in India, feeling all this indian distress everywhere. But then, all this love people have for one another in India.
    Storm Nordwind: I hope you find all that love is still there Eden
    Eden Haiku: Talking with a friend who has been in Africa a lot, she was also sharing how people can express their feelings so much better than we can here.
    Geoff Baily: yes we need to remember the un-noticed suffering there is always ther in the world
    Storm Nordwind: Yes Geoff
    Eden Haiku: I'm sure it is still there Storm ;-)
    Storm Nordwind: And I've noticed that even within some western countries, there are pockets where those expressions come much easier and people seem much warmer
    Storm Nordwind: I remember particularly my old home for 6 years, in Glasgow in Scotland
    Storm Nordwind: I'd never met such wonderful people in the UK before
    Geoff Baily: yes Glasgow humour
    Storm Nordwind: Humour, yes, and such a welcoming warmth
    Storm Nordwind: A kind of cameraderie against the elements perhaps!
    Geoff Baily: yes, lovely people
    Eden Haiku: Yes. My father was visiting my brother and his wife in Newfoundland this summer. He came back smiling and happy from all the hugs and warmth my sister in law's family showered on him. Very warm people.
    Storm Nordwind: I wonder if we get complacent if we are isolated from routine adversity. Or do you think that is perhaps too harsh an idea?
    Eden Haiku: Maybe that is so Storm, sadly ;-)
    SophiaSharon Larnia: i think thats one of the main way that happens
    Geoff Baily: there are different types of adversity
    Geoff Baily: can be there in the midst of a safe life in physical terms
    Storm Nordwind: Yes Geoff, perhaps it has to be a group experience to work, otherwise it only increased individual isolation
    Geoff Baily: the stress of modern city life kills many people
    Eden shares a thought from a young poet.
    Eden Haiku: Someone on Twitter wrote this beautiful haiku: ' If the biggest heart, is still wrapped up and cocooned, it's the biggest lost.'
    SophiaSharon Larnia: :) it is a beautiful haiku, thank you.
    Geoff Baily: thanks Eden
    Eden Haiku: I think the haiku is sound: we might think we love someone but if we never express warmth, kind words and some other little things to show we care...
    SophiaSharon Larnia: very true
    We quickly and affectionately say our goodbyes and leave.
    SophiaSharon Larnia: bye for now all :)
    Storm Nordwind: Bye Sharon :)
    Eden Haiku: I want to tell each of you how much I appreciated being with the three of you this morning, sitting and talking, and feeling and being silent together.
    SophiaSharon Larnia: you too Eden :)
    Storm Nordwind smiles
    Geoff Baily: bye SophiaSharon, good to see you
    SophiaSharon Larnia: take care
    Storm Nordwind: Thank you for being such a big part of it Eden
    Geoff Baily: bye Eden
    Eden Haiku: Bye Storm, Sharon, Geoff!
    Storm Nordwind waves
    Storm Nordwind: I will go too. I have emails to write... ;)
    Geoff Baily: i have things to do
    Geoff Baily: thanks Storm see you another time
    Geoff Baily: bye
    Storm Nordwind: Bye for now Geoff
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