Meditation: infants know how to walk

Awareness is innate. Like an infant pulling itself up on furniture and taking its first steps, one’s meditation practice simply brings into expression a capacity and knowing that is innate.

Compassion, equanimity, integrity, virtue, caring, kindness, wide-mindedness, and ease of mind are also innate. Every time one lives from and demonstrates these character qualities proves that they are already within one. Also, we experience that it is vastly easier to be kind than unkind, that integrity feels positive and true while posturing and falsity feel dirty and untrue, and that wide-mindedness offers and provides while small-mindedness or close-mindedness has little or nothing to offer.

This meditation calls our attention to the experience that we are having. Countless meditations provided on this blog and that I have offered over three decades have done so. Why? For the same reason that no one has to teach a baby to walk. As the baby experiences standing and balance and daring and freedom, the baby knows what to do with each component and then with the whole result. The same is so with meditation. As we acknowledge what we are experiencing and put the “should” mind in the trash because it dismisses what is while looking for or desiring something else, we – like the baby – experience what is. The baby innately knows how to walk. Everyone knows awareness-compassion.

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Lettuce: organic, homegrown, no soil!

Harvested lettuce. Loosely packed purposefully. These are heirloom Grandma Hadley and Salad Bowl. I love eating both varieties plain. Of course, they are great with homemade dressing, home-sprouted mung bean and clover sprouts, pepitas and sesame seeds for Omegas, and anything else thrown in the salad.

Truly, friends, this has been pretty darn easy. If my handicapped body can do it on a next to nothing budget, anyone can. Kids would love growing their own food. And, they like to eat what they grow!


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Meditation: mirror

This image is a mirror. When we look at it, we are to remember that we are looking at our self, just like gazing into a mirror. Mirroring is one of the non-theistic features of Buddhist imagery. The teachings of the Buddha are based upon and seeking to instruct one toward that which is immanent, not primarily toward a celestial being. Mirroring is fairly distinct to the buddhadharma. For example, an image of Kali is honoring her as a cosmic force, as the power of uncompromising compassion, and as the Great Mother, among other things. But, an image of Kali does not represent you. This image of White Tara does; and the same would be so if the image were Vajrapani, Manjushri, Avolokitesvara, Mahakala, or any other buddha or dakini, peaceful or wrathful.

The unfolded lotus that she sits on is reporting that the qualities represented by everything symbolized in the thangka have opened and unfolded. They, like a flower, can fully display. What are the qualities? Click on the image and magnify it to see. Tranquil, harmonious, composed, regal, radiating are only a few. But, most important, is to remember that these qualities and attributes are within you, just as within me. In this way, the image is instruction also. Ah, being composed generates no drama, for example. Rather, being composed, peaceful, thoughtful generates harmony, right relations, ease of effort and ease with others, thus peace of mind.

Of course, our life is a mirror too. That is for each person’s contemplation.

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Growing food indoors: update

Back home in Massachusetts, farmers and backyard gardeners would be getting ready to put plants in the ground this weekend and next week. Mother’s Day was usually the “in the ground” marker. But, here at my new home in Jaroso, Colorado, nothing goes into the soil until June 1, so I am told. The season is short on both ends (June-Oct) for most food crops. Cold frames and hoops will be put into our beds and at my house this Fall to extend the season for kale, chard, and root veggies. Lettuce will be grown hydroponically (Kratky method) because I’ve had such success. And herbs, we’ll see. Container planting has had problems with aphids. (Where do they come from!)

Squashes are started. They’ll be perfect size for early June planting.

Here are the heirloom lettuces. This is the third harvest of them. Neighbor and friends have received some of the bounty.

Though I use recycled containers as much as possible, I had to figure out a way to do the hydroponics that was more efficient and space conscious. Dollar General Stores has a long plastic “window box” for $3. On clearance, they were $1.12. Score! You can see that once the lettuce were set as babies, they grew well. The only maintenance was to turn the container a couple of times a week and top off the water/fertilizer solution. These are Grandma Hadley lettuce and Salad Bowl, both heirloom thus smaller and more loose heads. I’ve harvested half the box on each of them. These varieties would grow well in containers with soil too, I imagine, due to their smaller size.





The experiment with tomato and tomatillo plants started in February as shown me a lot. The flowers have been pollinated with a feather through the indoor months. Fruit is on the vine and slowly ripening. These plants have had to be brought outside each day for a few hours because the path of the sun rose higher as the days have lengthened. Therefore, the sunlight no longer comes directly in the window. This has been labor intensive, no doubt, and has required help from my friend and neighbor, Jane. The primary lesson is that yes, it worked, but next time a container variety will be the way to go. These are four variety of heirloom (grape, cherry, green zebra, and a red/green full size), but they are full size plants. Same for the tomatillos. New babies are started for June outdoor planting.

All in all, this indoor gardening experiment has been fun. Eating fresh picked lettuce, chard, and some herbs through the Feb., March, and April was delightful. The produce tasted amazing, and the lettuce still does. The two golden cherry tomatoes that have ripened have been like candy. This will definitely be done again, with slight moderations. And, yes, research is being done for a green house appropriate for this climate and altitude. I’ll be talking to a local organic farmer soon. He’s full out with his own work right now.

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Meditation: imagine

We use the creative imagination throughout our day. Children do, too. Getting dressed, thinking ahead, conjuring a meal, or wishing that all beings awaken are examples. Creative imagining is also a strong ingredient of worry or anxiety, jealousy and competition.  Children learn best when visualizing, trying something out, or play acting what is being learned are included. Unstructured play, which was mostly what we did when I was a kid and that my children largely had, uses every manner of creative imagining.

Creative imagination is a component of the inner voice used for instructing one’s self in meditation techniques. Whether the instruction is steadfast attention, to soften and open, to elevate the mind slightly, or to alight the heart, all require the creative imagination. Using it blurs the lines of reality for the child, the person worried or choosing a gift for someone, as well as the meditator. But, “use your duality,” is what I say!

This week’s addition in our four-step meditation experiment is a lotus throne for meditation. Today’s sitting required some explanation at the beginning of the podcast. The rest of the week very little will be needed.

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