Stillness is Dynamic

Being married to a pilot, we fly a lot. When I take in-flight photos through the window, the propellor looks motionless. Not because it’s still, but because it’s spinning so fast!

Physics tells us that everything—without exception—is in motion. Even the Buddha statues you see in the photo below.

During my sabbatical I visited the GARDEN OF 1000 BUDDHAS in Arlee, Montana

Stillness is dynamic; it’s un-conflicted movement (no friction). We experience it when there’s unrestricted participation in the moment; when we’re unreservedly present with whatever we’re doing.

Stillness is a natural rhythm in the cycle of life. In the space that stillness creates we have the opportunity to quiet the mind and body; to re-group, re-charge, re-connect, and to find a point of reference; something to measure against.

For me, that point of reference is my inner compass. From here, I can move back into the busy world refreshed.

Do you create intentional stillness?

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

Sheltering the Heart

A recent walk took us past dozens of picnic tables leaning against each other — upright on their sides — to wait out winter.

When I lean physically, I have the sense of being off balance. Mentally it’s much the same:

  • When I lean back mentally (dwell on the past), I’m not fully present.
  • When I lean forward mentally (dwell on the future), I’m not fully present.
  • When I lean into center — now — I’m in the present moment.

In Chinese calligraphy the word mindfulness is expressed by two characters: The top character (a shelter) represents the word now; below that is the character for heart. The literal translation means bringing the heart into the present.

 

Does your heart reside in the shelter of now?

© Laurie Buchanan

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Credit: The Chinese symbol for mindfulness used in this post was created by Japanese-born calligrapher and writer Kazuaki Tanahashi.

The Sky is Falling!

You remember Chicken Little, Henny Penny, Foxy Loxy, Turkey Lurkey, and Goosey Loosey. Well…

Monday afternoon I shared with Terrill Welch over at Creative Potager:

Acorns are falling—thump, thump, thump—and the chipmunks are packing their cheeks as fast as they can and “squirreling” them away. Their faces are so fat it looks like we’ve got a mumps epidemic on our hands!

I thought it would be fun to try to capture a photograph of an acorn-laden chipmunk face so I laid down under the oak tree in our front yard—camera at the ready.

Just as I got the feeling that I was being watched, a load of acorns rained down on me. Looking up into the tree, here’s what I saw looking back (click on the photo and it will enlarge):

Look in the dead-center, and slightly to the right

Shortly after that, I received an email notifying me that my friend Jeff Stroud of The Reluctant Blogger, had tagged me in a comment on Facebook. So I toggled over there to view a wonderful 8-minute video clip of Zen Master John Daido Loori, author of Zen Photography. Not quite halfway into the clip he said:

“The moment is where our life takes place. We miss the moment—we miss life.”

Hearing that made me doubly glad that I’d taken the time—the moments—to try to see the world from a chipmunk’s point of view, and was instead rewarded with a raccoon smile.

What was the last moment you truly savored?

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

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

www.HolEssence.com and our Facebook page

© 2011 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved

Self-Realization Fellowship & Meditation Garden

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During a recent visit with my dad in Encinitas, California (Dec 31 – Jan 1) I spent time at the Self-Realization Fellowship and Meditation Garden. This location—founded in 1920 by Paramahansa Yogananda—is always included when I visit.

It’s a wonderful place to recharge one’s personal battery; to just sit and drink in the beauty with all of the senses; to meditate, relax, and renew. It was a welcome part of my journey. I hope you enjoyed the virtual tour.

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

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

www.HolEssence.com.

© 2011 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved

T is for Time

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Kronos, or tick-tock time, is chronological, sequential, and linear in nature; it’s governed by watches, clocks, and calendar pages. We schedule our lives by it—making appointments and keeping deadlines. It tends to be more of a taskmaster than a friend. Many people speak of “never having enough” of it as we race against the clock.

Kronos time is symbolized by an infant that ushers in the New Year and ends the annual calendar as an elderly, bent, and bearded man—Father Time—similar to the god Chronos in Greek mythology.

It’s my perspective that there’s much there’s more—much more—to it than that. I believe that the brow chakra (energy center) is the gatekeeper to a time portal; a place where we can step out of quantitative time as we know it—Kronos, and into qualitative time—kairos.

Kairos, or opportune time, is the word the ancient Greeks used to describe the right time, perfect time, supreme moment, or the “now.” Some might even call it divine time. Kairos intersects and brings transcending value to kronos time. It signifies an undetermined period of time (time in-between) in which something special happens. I was 6 years old the first time I remember dancing with Kairos time, but that’s a story for another day.

One doesn’t catch up with Kairos time; rather one participates in it. In one of my favorite books, A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle, she suggests that kairos time can, and does, enter, penetrate, break through or intersect kronos time: the child at play—consumed in the moment; the painter held captive—mesmerized at an easel; the saint lifted up—removed as it were, in prayer…

In her book, Close to the Bone: Life Threatening Illness and the Search for Meaning, Jean Shinoda Bolen wrote, “When we participate in time and therefore lose our sense of time passing we are in kairos; here we are totally absorbed in the present moment, which may actually stretch out over hours.”

It would be an understatement to say that kairos moments alter the trajectory of our lives. To miscalculate kronos time is inconvenient. To miscalculate kairos time is utterly regrettable.

When was the last time you were so caught up in kairos that kronos was transcended and you were at soul-level?

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

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

www.HolEssence.com.

© 2010 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved

M is for Mindfulness

Pay attention to the small stuff - lichen on a tree

Pay attention to the small stuff - Lichen on a tree, John Muir Woods, WI

Dust motes, ladybugs, lichen…

In her book Counterclockwise: Mindful Health and the Power of Possibility, Dr. Ellen Langer had this to say about mindfulness as it pertains to health:

The simple act of noticing new things—is crucial to our health in several ways. First, when we’re mindless, we ignore all the ways we could exercise control over our health. We turn that control over to the medical world alone and accept limits, which closes us off to the power of possibility.”

In my experience, mindfulness is an agent of transformation and healing.

Mindfulness is simple, but it’s not easy. Mindfulness is the open-hearted energy of being aware—now, right now—in the present moment. It’s the daily cultivation—practice—of touching life deeply. To be mindful is to be present with, and sensitive to, the people we’re with and the things we’re doing, whether it’s raking leaves, washing laundry, brushing our teeth, or peeling potatoes.

At a presentation given by Jon Kabat-Zinn he said:

“Mindfulness points to being aware of, and paying attention to, the moment in which we find ourselves. Our past is gone and our future isn’t here yet. What exists between them is the present moment; the link that holds what was and what will be.”

That brief teaching in mindfulness changed my life.

Mindfulness is our capacity to be fully present in our own life, to be fully aware of what we’re doing as we’re doing it. As we develop our awareness, an inner stillness naturally grows. In this case, stillness doesn’t necessarily mean without motion. Rather, it means to be free from inner tumult; to be tranquil. When we function from a place of tranquility we’re better able to embrace the world and better equipped to respond wisely and lovingly.

It’s my perspective that mindfulness is more than paying attention, it’s paying intention.

Paying attention engages the mind.
Paying intention additionally engages the will. 

Intention is beautifully illustrated in a story that my friend “B” shared with me. She said:

“I used to be part of a dinner book club where each month the group members would contribute a dish for dinner and after what was always a wonderful meal, we discussed an agreed upon book. 

“One month, Debbie’s food offering was a loaf of Challah bread. As we were eating it and praising her efforts, she told us that as she kneaded the bread, she chanted our names; as she braided the bread, she said intentions for the well-being of each person who would later be partaking of the bread.  I remember how honored I was when she told us this.”

When you’re mindful, do you pay attention or intention?

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

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

www.HolEssence.com

© 2010 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved.

A View With A Room

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You’ve probably heard of, or seen the movie, “A Room With A View.” But what I passed on my way home yesterday was definitely a view with a room.I was driving along my usual 2-mile route home from HolEssence, minding my own business, when all of a sudden the ivy climbing this beautiful brick building catches my attention.

“Look at me, just look at me, will you?!” it cries. I slow down to take a look. Not just a cursory glace, but a real look.

The view is amazing! Just look at how the windows are barely peeking out from behind the ivy—like knowing eyes peering out from behind long bangs.

There are cars behind me so I continue past, slowly. thinking, Thinking, Thinking. It looks like the perfect writer’s loft. No. It looks like a Hobbit’s abode.

Knowing I’ve got the camera in the car, I make a right-hand turn as soon as I can, and circle back.

What comes to mind as you look at the windows winking out from behind the ivy?

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

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

www.HolEssence.com

Copyright © 2010 Laurie Buchanan — All Rights ReservedNo part of this blog post may be used in part, or in whole, without written permission from Laurie Buchanan.