Sunday, April 10, 2016

Hearing the Call- Jumping Mouse activity

The sound that Jeremy heard comes from the Unknown. It is the voice of Spirit, the Inner Voice. It communicates to us in a number of ways: a hunch, a feeling that persists, a revealing dream, an inner knowing, a chance meeting which has particular relevance, or a sensing that defies the rational process.
Life is always calling us, even though we may not always hear that call. Sometimes the call from our inner world is confirmed with an experience in the outer world; those moments of exquisite synchronicity! Something is calling us from within to be recognise as the voice of liberation from the false self, the ego, the "I", made up of the thoughts and reactions that we have allowed to rule our lives.
The sacred call is transformative. When such a call occurs and we hear it-  really hear it- our shift to higher consciousness is assured. The one that receives the message recognises a new sense of reality, and follows, as if by intuition, in a way that may elude verbal explanation.

                                                                     Medicine Shield (activity)
Draw a large circle on a piece of paper or on a cloth. Make eight equal-size segments. You will be asked to draw, paint, or sew a symbol for each segment of the story. In so doing, you create your own unique Medicine Shield, a symbolic representation of sacred images that depict your journey and serve to empower you.
In the first segment of the circle, draw a symbol that represent your life in Mouse Village.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Undoing Suffering

The Truth of Suffering, the Truth of the cause of Suffering and the Truth that there is aWay Out: The Middle Way

The root of mental pain is craving for sensual pleasure, for existence or for non-existence; or simply wishing that things were different from what they actually are. Craving is fuelled by reaction to pleasure and pain and driven by the illusion of "me" and "mine", which in turn are due to misunderstanding the true nature of reality.
It is possible for all mental suffering to completely cease. This is the attainment of enlightenment. Enlightenment is the purification of the heart from any traces of attraction, aversion or delusion. It is the complete letting go of the illusion of a  independent self or soul.
These truths are realistic in that they face up to life's imperfections and optimistic in that  they offer a practical solution: enlightenment, or at least peace of mind, in this very life.
Because all things are in a constant state of change, they are inherently unable to provide lasting happiness or reliable satisfaction. Grasping and clinging to any aspect of experience leads to friction, stress or disappointment when those things, people or situation fade and disappear.
As long as this pain is seen as something unnatural or abnormal that is to be feared, avoided or rejected, it will be impossible to uproot its causes and live a truly happy life. However, to the degree that the subtle and all pervasive nature of the first noble truth is recognised, one can accept and be free from suffering.
This is why the reflection on suffering is emphasised as the key to ultimate liberation, and those who have realised enlightenment are inspiring examples of profound happiness, loving kindness and compassion.
For a lay person this may be very difficult because of the constant involvement with the world. However, following this Path helps to be more peaceful, more focused and more aware of what is really important. It helps to jump out from the box of conditioned patterns and make decisions based in more conscious and healthy choices.
To achieve enlightenment or a more conscious way of life we need to undergo a gradual training, a way of life which the Buddha called the Middle Way, or the Noble Eightfold Path.

The Middle Way

The path to happiness is called the Middle Way because it avoids the two extremes of self-indulgence and self-torment. The Middle Way consists of cultivating virtue, serenity and wisdom and is further elaborated as the Noble Eightfold Path. Cultivating

1- The perfection of understanding: views that are in accord with the natural truths of reality.

2- The perfection of intention: Being motivated by loving-kindness, compassion and renunciation.

3- The perfection of speech: words that are honest, harmonious, gentle and meaningful.

4- The perfection of behaviour: actions that manifest non-violence, sexual responsibility, and not stealing from others.

5- The perfection of work: earning a living or sustaining ones's life in a way that does not harm or exploit others or oneself.

6- The perfection of effort: cultivating and maintaining wholesome states of mind while overcoming unwholesome states and keeping them at bay.

7- The perfection of conscious awareness: being fully mindful or one's body, feelings, mind and phenomena.

8- The perfection of meditative concentration: deep unification, peace and purity of mind.

When all eight factors of this path are brought to maturity, one is able to penetrate the true nature of existence with insight and experience perfected wisdom and unshakable liberation.

Effort, Awareness and Concentration

Meditation refers to the mental activity of sustaining clear awareness on one thing: an object, a perception, a concept, a process or a sensation for the purpose of peace and understanding. For example, one could pay attention to the process of breathing, a physical sensation, and external object, the emotion of loving-kindness, the mental repetition of a meaningful word or the perception of impermanence.
As mindful awareness becomes increasingly continuous, the dispersed and distracted energy of the mind becomes clearer and more focused. The act of sustaining awareness calms and soothes both the body and the mind, while the focusing of attention energises and brightens the heart.
The deeper the meditation  becomes, the more still, peaceful and quiet one feels. This cleansed and purified awareness, developed through dedicated training, yields extraordinary clarity of mind. One begins to see things as they truly are, beyond the limitations of conditioned perceptions and habitual thought patterns. As one sees clearly, wisdom is born, and thus serenity and insight form an inseparable pair that is gradually cultivated until the realisation of full enlightenment, is you wish so.