Walking, losing weight and taking photos of life in Virginia.

Posts from the ‘Meditation’ category

Restless Legs And Breathing Exercises/ Pendulum/ Under The Waves

 

I’ve been waking up with small headaches lately and I’m not sure why this is happening.  I’ve been doing some house cleaning so maybe that’s the reason (house = body).  I wouldn’t talk about prescription drugs, or alcohol or any of the things we sometimes use if it was just my solitary experience.  But lots of folks deal with these issues.  So, I try to add my observations in hopes that it may help someone.

My goal is to use no-thing that could block an experience of physical calmness.  And, of course, at the bottom of that well is the restless legs issue (also something that affects maybe 10 percent of the population).  I’ve been doing breathing exercises and am learning something about how the body responds to them.

If you are a restless legs sufferer consider this. . .When these hideous vibes start I find it helpful to lay (lie?) absolutely still on a comfortable surface (that would be the bed).  The vibes come in waves and it’s important to break this up.  Because the waves get bigger as they hit the shore (you or me)!  While absolutely still I take a deep breath, tense my leg muscles (but don’t move) and then let it out.  The level of tensing is important.  I want to do this just enough to eliminate this particular “wave”.   Everything is easier if you start all of this when the RLS first begins its attack.

Then (and this is very important too) it’s important to relax mentally.  Relax the mind and the legs.  We did, after all, just repeal a wave!  There will be more but it’s no  good to tense up in anticipation of the next one.  You could call this a self-fulfilling prophecy, I guess, if you do.  Mind is an integral part of the problem and the solution.  Use it wisely, and it will be your friend.  Ignore what it is doing and you may suffer the consequences.

In connection with this notion it can be very helpful to imagine a ball or a cloud of healing energy above the body.  Make it very real and powerful.  Fill it with sparkling light.  Then let it feed into you body and clean out what is in there.  I am actually able to feel a physical effect in my legs when I do this.

And, finally, here is the part I find most difficult to describe (but I will try so stay with me).  We are made up of three things: a physical body, a mind and a spirit (soul).  Try now to identify those three things.  The first is easy, the second only a bit more difficult and the third can be tricky.  When I want to identify my soul I simply close my eyes and focus on it.  I try to ignore bodily discomfort and the chatter of the mind.  I immediately feel expansive and this feeling increases the longer I persist in doing this.  Breathing exercises also help.  Prayer and meditation help.

Sometimes, I get up and walk around.  Thankfully, nature has given us this “safe-zone” to put RLS at a little distance without much difficulty.  Although, it can be difficult to get up and walk around, if you are dog tired or very overweight.  This is one reason why I walk every day and have lost 50 + pounds.  Another is (although I didn’t realize it at the time) you are better able to deal with physical discomfort if you have been exercising.  You are more patient as you try to work these things out.  You don’t “give up” and turn to the prescription “solution”.

Presently, after only a few weeks, I have found that I am able to prevent the RLS from turning into “big waves”.  When it starts up, I am able to eliminate the little waves in a short time while resting comfortably.  The legs still feel tentative for awhile (but this is also the mind “at play”) .  I may get up and do some activity while in this state.  But then I find that the episode has passed and all is well. 

This is a big achievement for me!  And I share it with other RLS folks hoping it may help  someone.  I continue to purify my intake of foods and am now giving up beer and nicotine lozenges (gave up smoking last January). I haven’t been able to give up the actual medication for RLS, called Requip, at this point but we will see. All the other stuff, that I would characterize as “crutches” to deal with the scourge are on their way out the door.

Hopefully I will get my butt out to a yoga exercise meetup group soon.  The healing energy inside the human body is enormous, I believe.  I can’t help thinking my spirit guides have something more in store regarding this whole process and it may be that the RLS I’ve had for 12 years was simply a learning tool of some sort.

But all I know, for sure, is that it works and I feel this energy around and inside me. I have an exciting goal in mind.  One that it is not clear I will ever achieve (deep physical peace inside at all times without the use of any substances).   Occasionally,  this energy catches on fire and tries to light the trees while I’m walking.  This is a joke (sort of).   But imagination is also an important part of our lives and it will get help us solve our problems in some very imaginative ways.  As well as giving us a needed lift!   LOL.  Have a great day.

 
Note: This is a refinement of my initial attempt to find exercises that would help with RLS in September 2011. I had some success there but it was only a “hint” of what is possible in this area. Also, I was still smoking and would sometimes go out for a few drags when things got rough.
 

Robert Thurman / Buddhist Thought / The Path To Greater Realization

Robert Thurman is a funny guy and very smart, too.  He’s on my Ipod talking at great length about the Tibetan Book Of The Dead.  Here’s a joke he tells that he finds hilarious.  “Why does it take so many sperm to impregnate the egg?”

“None of them will ask for directions.”  Pretty good.  Probably an old joke but I don’t remember ever hearing it.  Certainly my Dad didn’t mention it in The Talk we had many years ago.  Although I wish he had and hope my son reads this and will, someday, pass it on to my grandson.  An icebreaker.  Be cool, Dad.

Does the name Thurman ring any bells with you?  Well, it should!  Can any of us forget the bathtub scene with Uma (his daughter) or Kill Bill (not Bob).  Robert married the Swedish Beauty,  Nena von Schlebrugge, years ago.  Nena used to be married to Timothy Leary.  I shared this information with my wife today since Uma’s Dad is my new best friend during my walks (Audible.com  Liberation Upon Hearing In The Between.  Robert Thurman).  She may have rolled her eyes.  I need to see better but at the moment bright lights are causing me some difficulty because I’m giving up the pain medication I am prescribed for RLS (Restless Legs Syndrome).  Pain medications do help but they have very annoying side effects.  They amplify pain and other bodily miseries (itching, for example  and I have patches of eczema that are very distracting).  I could with some justification float around on a cloud all day but I choose to avoid this false reality and the increasing dosages necessary to avoid the “coming down”.

Besides, I’m in good shape now and don’t mind these daily wrestling matches with the body and it’s charming surprises.  But when your eyebrows cause you pain you have a serious problem.  Just saying.

Back to Robert Thurman.  He brings a poetic imagination to the table and builds visions that inspire, for instance.  New York City.  A large apartment building on a weekend evening.  How many people inside are “getting it on”?  Unborn souls are swirling around and being attracted to certain couples engaged in the tangle.  Each is identifying with a certain man or woman and “dive in” to the aforementioned struggle, not asking directions, but becoming an unborn child (male or female depending on  their focus), if they manage to reach the front of the line.  Sometimes it’s a tie (twins)!  His riff on the Oedipal connections at this moment are intriguing.  Lust will find a way, it seems, and we see why souls are drawn back into this world.  I’ve wondering for awhile why anyone would come back to this place.  Reincarnation always seemed a forced procedure but after listening to his description of romance on the East River I can sort of see why it happens.

While I walk the miles.  I’m not a Buddhist but much of what he says makes sense to me.  I was raised a Methodist in the sheltering arms of my parents and my most memorable experience there was “a first kiss” in the choir loft on an evening before we were discovered by the choir director (not a happy man).  It was a group meeting so the recriminations afterwards were diluted due to our sheer numbers.  Ah, church youth groups in the late 50′s and early 60′s were such fun.

Later I was a Baptist after an ill-fated decision to marry (Yours, Mine, Ours) in the Brady Bunch tradition.  I hope it was good in some ways for the kids because it was the Trip To Hell for me.  I stuck it out for 14 years but as you can probably tell I’m not the traditional kind of guy and the finest memories I have of this period were the communal meals with home fried chicken.  Jesus is real and I kept that in mind as I went down the road with someone who was interested only in support of one kind or another.  And still is, today.

The love of my (spiritual) life is Paramahansa Yogananda who arose in the Hindu tradition.  Robert says some interesting things about how the Hindu and Buddhist religions had a parting of the ways in India.  He notes that there are fierce Hindu deities who resemble  Buddhist deities and so forth.  Did you know that if you encounter one of these terrifying-looking forms (you can often find renditions of them in local museums like our own Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, by the way)  you should embrace them!  Don’t be afraid!  They are your protection in the unconscious mind where the great horrors of mankind (Hitler, for example!) reside.  So my guru, Paramahansa Yogandanda, has been with me since I discovered his autobiography on a book table, while in college.  I don’t associate him with kissing or fried chicken.  He has gotten me this far and through all of that.

And so my path continues as I walk every day and try to (gradually) improve.  The inner light calls me although I will admit, at this moment, the gross light of day is difficult.  I understand that life is fierce and lustful, at times, and it will lead you astray.  But I’m also confident that we can find our way.  I’m most grateful to have found a loving and supportive partner, my wife, Elizabeth, who is a gift from God and someone who enables me to reach beyond our mechanical world with it’s failing traditions.  “Betsy” is known to many as a source of strength and love.  I will call her Elizabeth, here, because it is a majestic name and were we to see her as she really is, we would see a spirit of such stature we would be in awe of the light she casts about this frightful (at times) place.

And to sum up, regarding Robert Thurman.  Once, long ago, he was apparently trying to jack up his car when the stupid thing snapped and shattered his face, causing him to lose an eye.  At that time he seemingly was a traditional guy, but after this happened, he gave up his marriage and traveled abroad, becoming the first American Buddhist monk of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition.  He studied with the 14th Dalai Lama who became a close friend, and then returned to the U.S. in 1967 where he met his German-Swedish model and gave up his vows to pursue the life of the ordinary man.

Thus, we have Uma, her siblings and so many other things including some great lectures that one can enjoy while walking and trying to do better.  Yesterday, after I gave up the prescription pain medication and walked, I was lying in bed listening to the following music and doing some breathing exercises.  Suddenly, I was filled with a blissful light and energy that made it clear this was the right path.  This is the way.  Thank you for listening.  Have a perfect day.

 
 

 

Cold Weather Camping And Jogging / Exercise For The Soul

Monday afternoon. We went camping this weekend in the cold mountains of Virginia. Karl, Peggie, Mike, Sean, me and Roscoe, the dog. And when I return home the bed, the chair, the furnace and the frig all seem new to me. I love their presence. At one point this weekend while we were sitting around the fire, as the sun disappeared around 5 pm behind the mountain we inhabited, I tried to imagine living this way as others have done. Being here is merely a passing perception of life in the wilds. But it is riveting and something to remember. In ten years I could not tell you much that happened back in the fall of 2012. But I will remember the fire, the cold that settled in the night and being alone in a small tent in the early Sunday morning hours when everything was totally dark and infinitely quiet. My feet were cold and I could not sleep. And so I spent an hour (or two) teaching myself toe exercises that would bring the hot blood down there to the craggy end of my beastly being. I could not reach them with my hands because the sleeping back was pretty tight and at one point I felt claustrophobic and nearly ripped it aside and ran outside to meet the frigid, black night.

But it is better to settle down and not let the mind’s freaky moments rule. Eventually, and happily for all, the toes warmed up and no campers were alarmed by strange noises erupted around the campsite. I returned to the gentle clime of dreamland and did not awaken until 7:30. Mike had restarted the fire and soon we were having breakfast and planning our hike for the day.

Roscoe, Karl’s beautiful little dog, was there to cheer me up and we soon went up the trail for some beautiful vistas on The Priest Mountain in The Priest Wilderness. Roscoe enjoyed it. He is recuperating from an auto accident and broken bones. One of his legs can’t keep up when he runs so he goes on three legs when he’s in a hurry. I didn’t get many photos because the battery died but here in one of our furry companion.

 

 

Being away from civilization is a teaching moment and one that is priceless for those of us who see so many things going away. There is beauty in the woods and a feeling that nature and its many inhabitants are clearly beyond bombs falling on sleeping children abroad and the gigantic numbers signifying our leases are about to expire.

This morning, back in town, I went out for the morning jog and, as sometimes happens, I was suddenly aware of an enormous burst of energy within my soul. I ran the lonely streets, draped in mourning trees and carpeted with orange leaves, with a knowing that comes from running beyond everyday life and its concomitant tears into the cold, bright air of my true life. Muscles that strain and lungs that surge forward to the top of something. Where am I going? Why do I do these things?

I do not know. I am only aware that life is on fire and I wish to burn. Wrap your arms around me, Blessed One. I am of wounded age, but, like Roscoe, but I can still walk, run, climb, jump! I am unencumbered of so many things and waiting for the word. Listening, breathing and moving in the dark. Being with the trees and the light that shines on the mountain tops.

I do not wish to think, anymore. There is still so much to learn.

And George, I do love you and your gorgeous work.

 

All alone in this world am I
Not a care for this world have I
Only you keep my eyes open wide
Yes it’s true
I live for you

Not a thing in this world do I own
Only sadness from all that is grown
In this darkness I wait for the day
Yes it’s true
I live for you

For many years I wait
For many tears I wait

All this time my thoughts return to you
Give my love, that is all I can do
Wait in line till I feel you inside
Yes it’s true
I live for you

For many years I wait
For many tears I wait

All this time my thoughts return to you
Give my love, that is all I can do
Wait in line till I feel you inside
Yes it’s true
I live for you
 

I Live For You/ George Harrison

The Destruction Of Hurricane Sandra / Invisible Storms And Peace

I just saw a post somewhere that says New Yorkers are eating out of dumpsters. Because there is a problem with distribution of goods up there. Everything from gas and water, to electricity and diapers is in short supply. But eating out of a dumpster should not be a symbol of the “end times” now faced by many up the coast. I used to have a brother-in-law who would dumpster dive on a regular basis for lots of good stuff. Sometimes he would share it too! I can’t remember the exact details but he would show up with a victorious smile on his face and a bag over his back. He was not the Santa. He was the human version of bacteria. But he wasn’t in the predicament many face up north either.

I’m just saying you can find good stuff in dumpsters because we throw out a lot of food. When the power goes and you can’t keep meat fresh it gets tossed.

I worry about a breakdown in social order these days. I hope our northern neighbors are as “resilient” as the media says they are and they “pull together” to “weather the storm”. It’s a tremendous challenge when you think of the millions of folks who are without the necessities of daily life. And they are not used to camping out. It’s cold. The lines are long. And they don’t drop down in prayer three times a day like the residents of Central Iraq. This is a war zone with potential combatants and nothing except a television screen to bring hope.

Hopefully the power will be turned on again soon.

We didn’t have much of a problem with the storm here in Virginia. Yesterday was sunny and I had an eye appointment after the wing of my reading glasses broke off. It was a good thing that it did, too, because it has been five years since my last exam. How time flies. So we were going through the routine when the eye doctor said she wanted me to see a specialist about a “freckle” in my eye she could not clearly see. There is a possibility it could be a Myeloma which I found interesting. “There is really nothing to worry about. . .it’s just that I can’t see all of the freckle!”

Well, maybe you should get an eye exam Doc! So here we have a obscure little storm inside a fragile eye socket. Or maybe not. I was concerned at first. I recently had a birthday and am now the same age as my mother when she died from an aggressive cancer. I have wondered, from time to time, if this could mean I would face a similar situation at this age. It’s not uncommon that children do this. So we will find out more next Tuesday.

Ultimately, of course, we all must go. And I am looking forward to a reunion with my Maker more than I can describe in words. Here’s an interesting question. Would you prefer (David) to:

1. Spend the next thirty years dealing with the problems of aging, restless legs, etc or. .
2. Be free of this bag of bones and in the ethereal realms in 15 years.

I would rather be free. I’m here to take classes. We all know how lovely it is to reach the end of the school year. Someone once asked Paramahansa Yogananda, “Is there really a Hell?”. And with a brilliant smile he said, “Where do you think you are now?” It’s not hell all the time, of course. There are wonderful reflections of heaven everywhere. But it’s not heaven. As our brothers and sisters on the East Coast of the US and in Iraq know all too well.

There are a few people I will miss terribly when it is time to go (whenever that is), of course. But I feel confident I will be able to watch them from wherever. And meet them when they arrive. It’s all so much better than being 13 and not knowing their whereabouts at all. Being 13 is worse than dying. It’s a deep, dark place and I’m never surprised when I hear that a poor child has taken their own life or lost it in some reckless action. I feel for children as they lose their innocence and become aware of their surroundings.  I truly do.

So I am happy with either outcome. And I feel joy when I see the lives that have started because I was here. Here is one such precious soul.  My granddaughter, Molly. 

Camping At The Shenandoah River State Park In Virginia / Having Fun Outdoors In Nature

This past weekend I went up to the Shenandoah River State Park with our Central Va. Trailblazer Meetup Group for some camping and hiking.  It was a pretty fun trip as most of the group went kayaking while I did some hiking and photo taking.  I wanted to focus on the things I’m trying to do right now i.e. hiking and taking photos instead of going off on another activity.  This is something I know all to well how to do (going off in another direction) and I need to get better at the core stuff.  So I hiked up a ridge overlooking the river and took some photos.  Then, while everyone was still gone, I went back to our camp and cooked some macaroni and cheese with my little alcohol stove.  At one point I made a sudden move while sitting there in front of the macaroni and something took off in the woods behind me.  It was pretty loud and fast.  It wasn’t a squirrel.  Any ideas?  I know it wasn’t a squirrel because they don’t scare so easily.  One was prancing around the camp and climbing the food poles while I threw little stones at him.  He didn’t care.  He undoubtedly had seen it all before and was more concerned about the take.

There was no mobile communication out here and after making lunch I had a couple hours before everyone returned from the kayaking.  What to do?  I just sat there and looked up at the trees.  My brain slowed down and my body sweated in the heat as the sun dodged the tree limbs and lit me up.  I thought once or twice about walking out of there, getting in the car and traveling a few miles up to Front Royal for some shopping.  But it didn’t make sense to head back to civilization after making so many preparations to leave it for a short time.  So I just gave it a rest and sat there listening to the insects and realizing in a dim way that everything around me was not only alive but aware and I could be aware too.  I’ve known how to do this since I was eight years old and spent a month or so in the hospital near the door to the next world.  I will never forget finding a very comfortable place where time seemed unimportant and every sound was an interesting moment.  Years later, I learned how to meditate and revisit this state of mind with the added benefit of a few blissful moments of spiritual realization.  It’s all there once we exit our rational routines and 9 to 5 mentalities (you can have one of those long after you retire without much effort).

There is time for all of this once we decide to do it but it is slightly scary.  What will I miss?  What’s happening at home?  People need me, dammit! (not so much).  The rational mind is always ready to pick up and return to “normal” but you can only walk that road so long before you realize it leads to deeds of necessity, perhaps, but nothing much else at all.

Later I went down to the river and crawled out into the stream trying to avoid bruises and floating after awhile in a state of wonderful relaxation.  Then I sat in a meditative posture with the water up to my neck facing the late afternoon sun and meditated for awhile.  There was a beautiful breeze and children playing in the water about a half mile away.  I was suddenly immersed in a blaze of inner peace and tranquility feeling the presence of something more important than all my mundane thoughts.

And finally I returned to the campsite as the happy group arrived from their kayaking adventure and we all settled down around a small fire to talk about whatever came to mind.  Here are some photos from the weekend.

 

 

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