stepping stones of truth

A journey along the path of life - the stones can be rough, smooth or even wobbly!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

New moon, new year

It may not be the recognised New Year, but I am a bit grounded in Mother Earth, and always feel that the winter solstice (one of the old midwinter festivals) marks the turning of the year for me.

And today is the first new moon of the new year.

My enforced winter break is creating quite a contemplative feel. After all my time in Japan was almost like a retreat - visiting all the temples with their sacred space and gardens, and trying to be mindful of my reactions to my experiences there. Followed up by the mindful/meditation weekend on Dartmoor. Topped off with five weeks of not using my feet.

I realise that I have had to deal with the frustration of missing out on the fun of the build up to Christmas, and not being able to be out and about in the wonderful crisp clear days of winter. And not dealt with it too well. Or as well I would like to. But maybe my standards are too high! I have to just see that its easy to water the seeds of irritation in me at times like this. And that when irritation and anger arise, I DO have the option not to argue and shout back!

There is some advice on the Plum Village website about on taking care of anger which I can relate to, having just spent Christmas with my lovely grandaughter and her family :-
Thich Nhat Hanh often compares our anger to a small child, crying out to his mother. When the child cries the mother takes him gently in her arms and listens and observes carefully to find out what is wrong. The loving action of holding her child with her tenderness, already soothes the baby’s suffering. Likewise, we can take our anger in our loving arms and right away we will feel a relief. We don’t need to reject our anger. It is a part of us that needs our love and deep listening just as a baby does.

After the baby has calmed down, the mother can feel if the baby has a fever or needs a change of diaper. When we feel calm and cool, we too can look deeply at our anger and see clearly the conditions allowing our anger to rise.

When we feel angry it is best to refrain from saying or doing anything. We may like to withdraw our attention from the person or situation, which is watering the seed of anger in us. We should take this time to come back to ourselves. We can practice conscious breathing and outdoor walking meditation to calm and refresh our mind and body. After we feel calmer and more relaxed we can begin to look deeply at ourselves and at the person and situation causing anger to arise in us. Often, when we have a difficulty with a particular person, he or she may have a characteristic that reflects a weakness of our own which is difficult to accept. As we grow to love and accept ourselves this will naturally spread to those around us.

Now all I have to do, is to do it!!


At 1:04 pm, Blogger Tabor said...

I really like this post and have taken it to heart. While my anger is not often in these elder years, when I was younger I certainly could have paced my emotions more. It sounds as though you are richly growing in retirement.

At 9:23 pm, Blogger Val said...

Well I hate conflict, and try not to react badly when it happens. But a couple of times irritation gave way to full blown anger. Which I regret for days afterwards!

At 4:38 am, Blogger Zen said...

I recall reading or hearing from one on my elders. It is natural to get angry. It is even "zen" to express it fully. However, once one done, it is( should be) done.

Good post Val, we have lots we could be angry about these days.



Post a Comment

<< Home