That's better. I woke up feeling all warm and happy. Even though it's raining again. I'm up for it today! Was contemplating... erm.. never mind, I forgot. A bit achy today I am.
Today is a Metta Bhavana day. I'm going to crack it, if I have to sit all day!
The Metta Bhavana - The Cultivation of Universal Love.
There are 5 stages to the Metta Bhavana meditation. After we ground ourselves with a short breathing meditation...
1) We develop love towards ourselves
I conjure in my mind a moment when I have felt deeply happy and tune into that feeling, letting it fill me. I then seek out the aspects of myself that I find positive and uplifting, sitting with this experience for as long as possible.
2) We develop love towards a near and dear friend
I think about my friend, all the positive aspects, getting a real sense of her. I sit with the feeling, as before.
3) We develop love towards a neutral person
I now apply the feelings generated in 1 and 2 to someone like the postman or busdriver, someone neutral to me that I can see in my mind.
4) We develop love towards someone we dislike
"We deliberately leave our hearts open to them. Resisting the urge to dramatise our feelings of dislike to them. You're not trying to condone their behaviour, just develop a fundamental care for their welfare."
5) We direct this feeling of love towards all beings and non-beings, everywhere
In my mind I bring together all of us, me, my friend, the bus driver and the person I dislike and I cultivate the feeling of love for all of them, including me. I then think about my closest family members and envelop them in the feeling of compassion and love. This is then emanated out to my neighbours, all beings and non-beings in my country, in the Earth, in the Universe and beyond.
Just had a visit form the farmer. A really lovely guy. Been chatting for ages about farming and land. He invited me to the agricultural show on Saturday and said there was a dance in the evening. 'Hundreds of people' he said! I asked him not to tell anyone I'm up here on my own!
Not sure how I feel about visitors. On the one hand it's really nice. On the other hand it's a bit of a distraction from the solitude (obviously). Now I don't feel like I'm secluded, so I can't do some of things I wanted to do. Practice naked outdoors mainly. Doing walking meditation out the front might be a bit distracted, don't know, I'll see.
The illusion of seclusion is so easily burst. We are never truly alone, ever.
I think for my next solitary retreat I need 'proper' seclusion. Somewhere no one is going to come. The Buddha is quoted as saying...
"A forest dwelling monk must delight in a secluded forest and live in it. Kashyapa, a secluded place is a place where there are no loud noises and no deer, no tigers, wolves, flying birds, robbers, cowherds or shepherds. Such a place is suitable for a sramana's Dharma practice. Therefore such a monk should devote himself to Dharma practice in a secluded place".
THAT is what I crave. Whether the Buddha was being esoteric there or not, I crave that kind of seclusion. The jets flying over head are very distracting and painfully noisy. I can ignore them to the point where they are rattling the conservatory.
"If you fully realise that pain for our World is proof of our interconnectedness - that it can open us to the knowledge of the web of life - then you will be able to stay rounded in the midst of emotional turbulence"
The walk up the hill to the north is lovely. Buzzards, Red Kite, Crows, Hawks all floating on the thermals above the valley.
"The notion that one must find enlightenment, undergo transformation, or get ones head straight first, before dealing with social despair, keeps many otherwise intelligent people in a state of moral infantilism"
I thought this was a puffball at first when I saw it growing all over the place in giant balls. Then I found this one and wasn't sure anymore. Most of the mushrooms I found on the hill were edible, but I didn't have my identification book with me to help me confirm - I was not going to take the risk!
It's decided... I'm going to knit a hat with the purple wool I brought with me.
What a beautiful evening. A lovely sit - Metta Bhavana of course. Then a really lovely walk up the hill to watch the sunset. Maybe later if I'm feeling brave, I'll go out and see the stars! Actually I think I'll just look out the upstairs window... ahem...this fear has got to go.