Training for Warriors

I’m fond of the Zen proverb, “The obstacle is the path.”  When something blocks my way, it’s an indicator of what my next steps should be. The obstacle is the teacher—the guidepost. Repeatedly encountering the same obstacle bears significance.

In Paulo Coelho’s book, The Warrior of Light, he writes:

A Warrior of the Light knows that certain moments repeat themselves.

He often finds himself faced by the same problems and situations, and seeing these difficult situations return, he grows depressed, thinking that he is incapable of making any progress in life.

“I’ve been through all this before,” he says to his heart.

“Yes, you have been through all this before,” replies his heart. “But you have never been beyond it.”

Then the Warrior realizes that these repeated experiences have but one aim:  to teach him what he does not want to learn.

What do you not want to learn?

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

Got Mud?

When I travel to the San Diego area I make a point of visiting the meditation gardens at the Self-Realization Temple in Encinitas. Located on a cliff overlooking the ocean, their aquatic gardens are home to colorful koi fish and lotus flowers.

A lotus flower grows from the bottom of a muddy pond rising upward, emerging at the surface where it blooms into a beautiful flower. At night the petals close and it sinks beneath the surface only to re-emerge in the morning with the sunrise.

In my perspective, Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh’s observation, “No mud, no lotus,” is a lovely metaphor for the human experience.

Have you got mud? Turns out, it’s a good thing!

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

Intentional Kindness

I’d like to think that I’m a pretty tough cookie, but in reality, I’m not. Certain types of things—terrorist attacks, school shootings, discrimination, the fact that some people go hungry while others throw food away, cruel treatment of humans or animals—these types of things go right through me; pierce me to the core.

Right through me

I don’t pretend to have the answers, but I do know at least one thing—one positive action step—I can personally take to contribute to the solution. I can be kind on purpose; I can practice intentional kindness.

Some of you may remember that in April of 2012 I had the privilege of having lunch with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. When asked about his religion he said:

“My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.”
—The Dalai Lama

What pierces you to the core?

 

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

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Yoga – Gone to the Dogs!

Yoga invites us to drop beneath the surface of life into quieter, more introspective realms; at our house it’s a family affair.

First and foremost, it’s important to pay close attention — especially to one’s breathing.

Next, sink into stillness and get comfortable…

…really comfortable.

Our online instructor says, “Yoga straps help us stretch to the limit, increasing flexibility and muscular strength.” Willa’s look says, “You have GOT to be kidding!”

“Happy Baby” pose gently brings a greater awareness to the hip joints.

The “Butterfly” pose (also known as “Cobbler’s” pose) provides relief to muscle tension around the inner thigh area.

We use several props in our practice. Lexi will be the equivalent of 77 human years this August. She appreciates the comfortable support of an extra blanket throughout the session.

Legs-up-the-wall (or simply balanced in the air) is a posture that gets blood flowing to parts of the body that need it.

Willa is doing an exaggerated “Downward Facing Dog” pose. This posture feels especially good after resting because it elongates and lengthens the back. And as a mild inversion, it’s great for increasing blood flow to the brain and eyes.

Certain yoga postures can strengthen the cervical curve in the back of the neck.

Commonly referred to as “Corpse” pose, we simply call it “Dead Dog” at our house.

After a balanced practice, the muscles in the entire body will have been stretched. “Shavasana” provides the body with a chance to regroup and reset itself.

Namaste

Namaste — hands held in prayer-like fashion in front of the heart, accompanied by a slight bow — represents the belief that there’s a divine spark within each of us. This gesture is an acknowledgment of the soul in one, by the soul in another.

nam means bow
as means I
te means you

Therefore, namaste literally means “bow I you” or “I bow to you.”

If you have animal companions at home, what do they enjoy doing with you?

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
— Laurie Buchanan

Discovering the Seven Selves     Life Harmony

© 2013 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved

Buddhism and Smartphones

I appreciate modern technology; it’s conducive to what I do for a living, enabling me to meet with clients all over the globe via phone, FaceTime, and Skype.

My smartphone allows me to do several things at once if I want. I don’t.

I love that it’s intelligent enough to also accommodate the Buddhist philosophy of doing one thing at a time: talk on the phone, take a photograph or video, make a recording, send a text, listen to music, transfer money to/from my bank, check in at the airport, even read a book or watch a movie.

I appreciate the vivid artwork on my smartphone’s protective cover — it makes me smile every time I see it.

I also appreciate the Zen Temple Bell ringtone that Len purchased for me. It doesn’t startle. Rather, it’s a single, soft, low tone — a gentle reminder to ask myself, “What’s it like to be on the receiving end of me?” before I pick up.

I’m not a Zen monk, but I enjoy being present in everything I do. Thich Nhat Hanh, one of my favorite Zen monks said, “Smile, breathe, and go slowly.” Like single-tasking, that works well with my lifestyle.

“When walking, walk. When eating, eat.” — Zen proverb

By the way, the sassy digital assistant associated with my smartphone recently suggested that I change the spelling of my name from Laurie to Lori, informing me that the latter version is much more popular! No thanks, I’m good.

Do you find that modern technology improves or hinders your lifestyle?

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
— Laurie Buchanan

Discovering the Seven Selves     Life Harmony

© 2013 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved