Running is, as running does…

I never understood why Forest kept running and running, heck I never understood why people ran at all. But, running has become a huge part of my life over the past few months.

My health has not been so good lately, and I decided it was time to do something about it. I thought of a couple ways I could, and I started doing it. The first few times I barely jogged a 1/2 mile, it would kill my legs and I honestly felt defeated half of the time. I knew I had to overcome that self-defeat and kept pushing. I got myself up to a mile, a mile and a half, to being able to complete 3 mile runs.

In September I ran my first 5k and finished in a little over 30 minutes, 31 minutes and 33 seconds to be exact. I was blown away by my time, blown away by the fact I could hold my own against people who were way more fit than I. I was happy beyond belief, though, to have even finished.

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The Buddha was Smiling

As many of you know, Change Your Mind Day started in 1993 by Tricycle Magazine. Tricycle’s intention was to hold the event outside, similar to the teachings that the Buddha held. The idea is to make the Dharma accessible, for those that maybe feel uncomfortable entering a center. It is an opportunity to not only learn about meditation, but to ask questions to those that have walked the path for a while.

Change You Mind Day – Cape Cod set out with the same goal. Dharma friend, Annette Miller, was the main force behind the event. She did all the dirty work, talking with the town to get usage of the village green, setting up the schedule, arranging times to meet with other folks that were involved, etc. She couldn’t have chosen a better place to host the event. In Hyannis (which is centrally located on Cape Cod), there is a very busy main street, with lots of foot traffic, especially this time of year.

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Meditation groups host special teaching event

Ed. Note- This is from a local paper, The Cape Cod Times. It is about this weekends “Change Your Mind Day” event, the first of it’s kind here on Cape Cod.

The pace of modern living leaves many of us feeling hurried and harried, and there is nothing healthy about stress or anxiety. It makes sense that a calming practice like meditation would help defuse stress. The medical community regularly recommends that patients try mind-body practices to aid with healthy living, and physicians such as Dr. Herbert Benson at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston are actually proving that meditation not only lowers blood pressure, heart rate and respiration, but also changes the body at the level of cellular activity, meaning it may help slow down the aging process.

If you would like to try meditation but aren’t sure how to begin, “Change Your Mind Day,” from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday on the Hyannis Village Green, offers the perfect opportunity to find a meditative practice suited to your temperament.

Nine meditation groups will be represented from across the Cape, with tables set up so people can pick up information and talk to the teachers. There will also be a talk by a different teacher on the hour all day long and there will be ongoing silent meditations all day, consisting of 20 minutes of sitting and then a time for questions and answers.

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Change Your Mind Day – Cape Cod 2011

In 1993 Tricycle Magazine created Change Your Mind Day, an afternoon of
free meditation instruction, as a way of introducing the general public to Buddhist thought and practice.

This is an opportunity to learn about various kinds of meditation offered on Cape Cod.

If you have ever been curious about how to start meditating; or what different groups are available to you and how they vary, this is the time and place to find out.

The event runs from 10 am – 3pm on June 4th (with a rain date set for June 5th)

Guided Meditation (throughout the sitting) on the half hour (20 min.)

On-going Silent Meditation

Talks by different teachers on the hour. 10 AM Jim Calvin – Cape Cod Zen Center, 11 AM Jim Kirshner – Thich Nhat Hahn Group Hyannis, 12 NOON Dan Joslin – Falmouth Zen Center, 1 PM Chuck Hotchkiss – Zen Teacher – Truro, 2 PM Barbara Walsh – Cambridge Zen Center

Question & Answer time after each talk and at each teacher’s information table.

Groups that will be represented:

Soto Zen (Japan),
Korean Zen
Thich Nhat Hanh Groups
Insight Meditation
oldpondmind (Zen)
Brewster Meditation Circle;
Tibetan Meditation
Non-sectarian Meditation
Vishvash Meditation

The event is free, there is no admission fee!

Speculation vs Contemplation

I was browsing the stories on 101 Zen Stories and stumbled on this short gem…

Your Light May Go Out

A student of Tendai, a philosophical school of Buddhism, came to the Zen abode of Gasan as a pupil. When he was departing a few years later, Gasan warned him: “Studying the truth speculatively is useful as a way of collecting preaching material. But remember that unless you meditate constantly you light of truth may go out.”

Simply, the story says to me that speculating, and assuming we know the “way” can be rather harmful. Doing so builds up wrongful views in which we attach our thoughts to without truly pondering the meaning behind our assumptions.

I know, for me, without meditation, things can become very one sided. There are bouts of time that I go without meditation and it hurts my practice. I may read something and think “bing, that’s the right idea, they said it, it’s fact.” I do this without contemplation, but speculating that said person is learned enough to go along with what they say.

With that, it’s off to go sit…


Time out!!!

I attended a refresher course today at work. It seems that my numbers as far as rework goes, on phone installations and trouble calls, have spiked. My boss, always looking out for his crew, placed me into the course thinking it would be a good way to try to see what I was doing wrong, or what I was missing.

It got me to thinking of my practice and my life.

My job has this credo of sorts, not the actual “credo” of the company, but they say that we should concentrate on the job at hand, not the next, or the next one after that, and so on. I know that this is a big part of my problem at work, I am always stressed out about getting to the next one on time. I am so worried about my numbers concerning being late to the next job, I am neglecting the fact that my rework numbers are escalating. I’m not paying attention to the details I need to.

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Book Review: Moody Cow Meditates

Moody Cow Meditates
by Kerry Lee MacLean
Published by Wisdom Publications

“Now it’s been two whole weeks and I haven’t had on Moody Cow day.”

“Moody Cow Meditates” is a fantastic book that introduces parents, and children, to an ingenious activity that children can get involved with, and seemingly, have the attention span to accomplish.

Peter, now known as Moody Cow, is having an extremely horrible day. His sister ruins on of his things, he trips down some stairs and falls off of his bike. The day couldn’t get any worse, but it does for Moody Cow.

After these unfortunate events, his mom calls in the cavalry, his “Zen-like” grandpa. Moody Cow enters a room where his grandpa is sitting in meditation, so Moody sits on a cushion as well. His grandpa grabs a jar full of water and compares the jar to Moody’s mind. He also introduces a bowl full of sparkles, and compares them to Moody’s angry thoughts.

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A Day of Bliss, Thenthuk and Samatha Meditation

Yesterday, Lama Migmar once again conducted a teaching here on Cape Cod. Previously, he had come to do empowerments (Green Tara) before, and the usual audience for those were not even close to the amount of folks that turned out this time. The empowerment maybe had 30-40 folks, there were at least 50-60 this time, or at least it seemed that way. I think the reason for this is, this was just a meditation class, the people there didn’t feel like they were being “turned into” something, if you know what I mean.

The meditation he taught was śamatha, which translates loosely to calm abiding. It can also be compared to a certain extent to Vipassana insight meditation. He had us go through 5 stages, each stage being a short meditation. With each stage he explained the thought process and what our minds were doing.

He compared each stage to degrees of water. The first stage being like a waterfall, the waterfall consisting of droplets of water, and our mind being quite scattered. This continued on, from a spring that has bubbles coming forth to an ocean that has waves. His explanations were so profoundly clear, and he gave us all a very good foundation to go back to when we’ve become lost.

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