Tag Archives: experience

Endings and beginnings

 

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At the crematorium, at the end of the funeral: the last moments.

Right now, there is a sense of spring in the air.  The trees are in blossom and the light from the sun is a little stronger, streaming in from the window next to my desk. Winter is ending, summer is beginning.

 

Recently, I have had a bereavement: my father, Dr Xavier Francis Carelse, passed away last month.  For several months, my mother and I had been closely involved in his care, as he had chosen to pass at home.  This period of great activity and intensity suddenly ended as his life drew to a close and a new experience of his ‘not living’ arose.

In treasuring and honouring the life and death of this man, there has emerged a deeper sense of staying present and ’embracing’ the moment.  It arose from a perspective of perceiving each moment as precious and unique and having infinite possibilities, including opportunities for connectedness with rather than separation from others.  In acknowledging this oneness, there arises a poignant sensitivity towards all beings.

The alternative is to allow the mind to become distracted and separated from the present, preoccupied with thoughts: plans for the future and memories of the past.  However, this choice sustains the mind and heart in a state of mourning and distress, making the process of healing painful and slow.

It is poignant to recognise each moment as embodying opportunities for oneness with and sensitivity towards all beings.  In this middle way, ending and beginning are embraced for what they are: two sides of the same coin.  In this moment, life and death are one, the mind and heart are at peace and the path to healing becomes clearer.

In this experience, there is no end state.  There is no goal to reach.  In this time-space continuum, there is neither ending nor beginning: an unfolding of beauty and love.

 

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A celebration with friends and family in honour of Dr Xavier Francis Carelse, my father and friend, who lived from 11 March 1933 until 26 March 2017.

 

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Experience of the Friday meditation class at the London Buddhist Centre

This is the main shrine room at the London Buddhist Centre.  There is much discussion about the role of 'secular' mindfulness and Buddhism.

This is the main shrine room at the London Buddhist Centre. There is much discussion about the role of ‘secular’ mindfulness and Buddhism.

Last Friday evening, after a day at work, I popped down to the London Buddhist Centre.  Every Friday evening, from 7pm, there is a class.  It is a time for a meditating in a group with minimal if any instruction.  Essentially the evening involves one practice from 7:30pm to about 9:45pm.  It is divided into three parts: two meditations and a Puja, a ritual to cultivate and express particular qualities, such as devotion, joy and compassion.  Between each part is an optional short break of a few minutes, to stretch the legs.

On arrival, I had noticed the impact of having had a busy ending to a very busy week.  Yet, through the practice, I noticed an overall deepening into ‘being’ and related unfolding ephemeral processes.  It became easier to notice the arising and passing of mental events and beyond this, a contextualising quality of spacious, empty, unbounded, joyous awareness. On the journey home, in my thoughts arose a clear solution to work-related issue that I had been grappling with for months.

Scientists now understand that mirror neurons are essential to learning.

A new type of neuron–called a mirror neuron–could help explain how we learn through mimicry and why we empathize with others.

Consequently, this week I found myself reflecting on various aspects of mindfulness practice, including the benefits of group practice, the impact of the context in which one practices and the intention on brings to practising.  Group practice provides support, encouraging and enhancing a richer, felt sense of being, possibly evoked by the mirror neurons in the brain, stimulated by still presence of others to replicate a deeper stillness within.   Further to this is the meaning that the context brings, a symbolism that resonates throughout the practice itself.  Overall, I concluded that the intention, whether expressed consciously or not, is key to influencing the direction of creative expression and that mindfulness practice is essentially a creative act.