Category Archives: Zen

Getting Up on the Bright Side of the Bed

beautiful Tortoise on the bright side

beautiful Tortoise on the bright side ~d nelson

Dear Ones, with the agony & joy of having no internet service at home all week, I’m re-posting this piece originally posted on May 10, 2013.

Slowly I rolled over and got up on the bright side of the bed this afternoon, well actually, the massage table. So wonderfully relaxed in this body. While the humble Chinese man’s experienced hands found and worked acupressure points, I followed the in and out breaths with a smile. Breathing in, feeling pressure along the shoulder-blade. Breathing out, letting go of tension there. “Such a joy”, said my body, in its unspoken language. And what could be better, asks the mind. Perhaps soaking, relaxingly, in really hot water, it replies.

Meditation generally keeps my thoughts and feelings at ease. Stretching and yoga releases physical tightness. But having help to work out the kinks, undo the knots, flush out the lactic acid is quite a luxury. I’m feeling grateful for the conditions that allow for such a healing offering to the body at an affordable price. It can also be a beautiful gift to the one next to you.

When getting off the table I remembered a song I wrote back in 2000 to celebrate coming out of a painful and dark period. I was fortunate to record it with some Hopi School 4th graders. And it became a modest hit on KUYI Hopi radio, in part due to the Hopi translation of the chorus. I recall the translation is getting up facing the direction of light. Years later a music video of the Bright Side of the Bed featuring the original recording was produced and can be seen below with some beautiful young sisters from Amsterdam. It is easy getting up on the bright side of the massage table. May you get up on the bright side of the bed every morning.

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Equality Without Complex

We have the complex of superiority as human beings and we think we have that kind of intelligence, that kind of consciousness that other living beings do not have. But I’m not very proud of that kind of mind that we are using in daily life: the mind of discrimination caught by many notions, the foundation of all kind of suffering. We discriminate against this and that, and that creates complexes of superiority, inferiority, and equality.
~Thich Nhat Hanh

contemplative dinner mtn hike

While hiking up Deer Park’s sacred mountain
along with many friends on the path,
a koan intrigues my trickster mind,
“what keeps us all apart?”

equality without complex (4 of 9)

Sitting quietly, looking down at a leaf, suddenly
the cloud, the tree, & the logger reveal themselves.
Upon recognizing earth & sky within the leaf, also,
the wind briskly asks, “what side are you on?”

equality without complex (9 of 9)

Humbly mind answers, I’ve been on either side,
I’ve been on both sides,
and now I vow to taking no side
other than understanding, compassion & love.

sitting like Buddhas

Smiling under leaf’s tree to mountain sunset’s revelation
that freedom from the equality complex
is found by transforming an insatiable habit
of mind trying to make things equal.
Discriminating mind fails at:
recognizing its own conditions of happiness;
having sympathetic joy for other’s good fortune;
and cultivating empathy for other’s misfortune.

lotus koi pond ~d nelson

On the surface, me & so-called non-me
may seem as separate splashes & waves,
but underneath, all is water.
All of creation, seen & unseen, uniquely expressed
in the past, present & future cosmic oceans.
Such joy briefly experiencing inter-being
during an outrageous inner sunset among friends.

Harvest Time in Our Family’s Garden

garden gift box ~d nelson

Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help. Gardening is an instrument of grace ~ May Sarton

Family garden’s plants
displaying ample abundance
of vegetables & fruits.
I’m overjoyed that annual harvest is in.
Pleased to share with you.

happy tomato row ~d nelson

Inviting, bright colors,
succulent, exquisite flavors
that must be experienced.
Otherwise, I can only describe this
as tasting like the best tomato.

Did I grow this garden, you ask?
My aspiration to do so
was inherited from those who came before.
Planting, cultivating & nurturing took
just a little joyful energy & scheduling.

a fine fig

The real miracle lies with those seeds
which contain cosmic life-replenishing potential.
Offered necessary conditions of water,
sunlight, warm mother earth, time & luck,
the miracle has manifested, again.

Seeds have the power to preserve species, to enhance cultural as well as genetic diversity, to counter economic monopoly and to check the advance of conformity on all its many fronts ~ Michael Pollan

This food is a gift of the whole universe,
the earth, the sky, numerous living beings
& much hard & loving work.
May we eat with mindfulness & gratitude
(5 meal contemplations for saying before eating, Thich Nhat Hanh)

corn touching sky

There are so many people near & far
without adequate food to eat.
They wake up hungry, go to bed, hungry.
Over 30 million people in this world
are on the threshold of famine.
Expressing gratitude for each bite
& helping others as we can
seems proper & natural to me.
We are all brother & sister flowers
in this family garden of humanity.

A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in ~ Greek proverb

Feets Flying & Defying Gravity

Let your life lightly dance on the edges of Time
like dew on the tip of a leaf. ~Rabindranath Tagore

dancing is life~d. nelson

Upon striking up the band(s)
body uncontrollably moves to grooves.
Pure physical pleasure.
In times such as these,
instantaneous reason to live.

dancingislife-3

Let’s dance
like there’s no tomorrow.  (perhaps to a song like this)
Go ahead & do that hand thing.
The time is now.
This is it!

dancingislife-4

Age don’t matter, just need a body.
While some of us skillfully
two-step, old-time traditional or jitterbug,
other’s of us line, Shmoney
or simply wiggle like worms.

Put on your dancing shoes
or bare those feet
for defying gravity,
entropy & mortality
– if only momentarily.

dancingislife-12

Dancing, feeling connected
with a heightened sense of space.
Mother Earth greets our gentle touchings down.
If we don’t laugh, smile
or dance, perhaps we’d cry.

Seeing Happiness, Again

Dwelling in the present moment, we can see so many beauties and wonders right before our eyes–a child’s smile, the sun rising, the autumn leaves ~Thich Nhat Hanh

flowers often seem nicer on the other side ~d nelson

flowers often seem nicer on the other side ~d nelson

“Are you blind?” I asked the young man sitting next to me in the park. I had offered empathetic listening as he explained at length how there’s nothing to do here and that’s why this town is boring. If only he could get a ride an hour to the nearest city there would be fun things to do so he wouldn’t be bored. He replied that he had two good eyes.

I told him of my moon watching meditation last night.
How the golden hues of sunset were still setting the hills ablaze
with a golden glow as this super full moon rose up behind them
in plain view for all to see.

Oranges, yellows, greens, browns whites,
blacks, blues, magentas, among others
in the shapes of rolling hills, oaks, pines, moon
clouds, lake, waves, rocks, geese, ducks.
Such an amazing display of colors and shapes.
A true miracle to behold
to let touch my heart through
perception & my eye’s consciousness.

Such a miracle to see, at all.
Offering more than enough conditions for me to be happy.

super moon

super moon

I shared with him about diabetic patients I used to care for.
How, over time, many lost their vision
due to the corrosive effects of too much glucose
running through eye’s blood vessels.
And how they became so sad and unhappy
when they could no longer see well, or at all.

I asked if there is anything he really likes to look at
and he told me how pretty his girlfriend is.
After a few more comments to each other
he went off to be with his special friend
where he was going to look at her with new eyes
and tell her how special she is to him.

I am happy that he decided to open his eyes
to beauty present before him
and let go of the idea of being bored.

(originally posted July 12, 2014)

Happiness & Healing from Her Write Words

The best way to take care of the future is to take care of the present moment.
~ Thich Nhat Hanh

distant connector to the universe ~d nelson

A sweet memory arose
of turning those wireless knobs
& when aligned just right
out from scratchy static appeared
voices with news, sports, ideas
mixed with song & puzzlers for life.

Mostly I listened to music, but
when in 5th grade I found
myself with a transistor radio.
Sometimes I could hear those Giants
baseball games, even during class, with the earplug.

But then, without seeking it out
mysteriously, words would be exclaimed
that made me wonder, sometimes think.
Such comments were nourishing
food for thought.
In some way I’ve kept a curiosity
& appetite for more.
Wisdom from the void
helping me do the right thing.

mono

From where does this sweet voice come from,
heaven, nirvana, another world?
Also, from where do those revelations manifest,
that speak to me now, as they have in the past,
healing, calming & illuminating happiness.
Isn’t it amazing how life can change
by giving a few words,
a simple, old fashioned letter?
A letter written from the heart, arrives.
Have you been waiting for such a letter, yourself?
Please click image below & watch this sweet video, then do tell.

When It’s Hot As Hell, Lets Cool It

dog paddlin’ to cool hot paws ~ d nelson

I have been in Hell, many kinds of Hell, and I have also noticed that even in Hell compassion is possible. With the practice of mindfulness meditation, you may very well prevent Hell manifesting. And if Hell has manifested, you have ways to transform Hell into something that is much more pleasant. When you get angry, Hell is born. ~Thich Nhat Hanh

Dear Friends,
lets breathe in to calm & care for our bodies
lets breathe out to cool & care for the earth.

cooling Washington run-off

Stepping out last week after a pleasant nap
my paws got fried on the backyard pavement.
I’m grateful to only have small burns to heal
as 30 percent of the world’s population is now exposed,
in this new climate, to potentially deadly heat for 20 days per year or more.
As air heats up, it becomes less dense, which effects, among other things, airplanes.
Many flights are canceled or delayed because some planes can’t safely lift off in extreme heat.

Breathe in, hot
Breathe out, cool
A meditation I began 30 years ago when I left the cool
of Berkeley, and grad school, for the work & heat
of the Valley of the Sun in Arizona.
I remember thinking, why did I have to arrive
to record-setting heat waves in Phoenix?
Records have continued to fall (or is that rise)
to this day. That’s just how it is.

earth’s gift of clean water

I have aches & pains in my body
which get soothed by total relaxation.
Breathing can relax, as can gentle walks,
gentle cycles, sitting & lying down.
A natural healing remedy.

July is getting hotter, NASA

How wonderful to have support
from calm, kind friends & loved ones,
along with cool breezes, waters, or even ice.
Feel the burning chill-out, cool, calm.
As the planet heats up
so are us earthlings.
Twitter tales of anger
seem to appear daily,
not just on the news,
but on the streets of my community.
I appreciate friends’ reminders
to seek refuge in cool & calm.

I’m picturing a calligraphy
on the front of my favorite meditation hall
which had the symbols, vo su,
which translates to “busylessness”.
We can do that for ourselves,
be less busy, less distracted,
for our loved ones, as  a random
act of kindness for all beings.

Breathe in, hot
Breathe out, cool.
Nothing else.
Well, perhaps watching the beauty
of earth & sky around us.
Watching the river flow.
Hearing our heart beat.

Thank you for not even exerting energy
on my behalf, to comment on this post.
Please conserve your precious  energy, dear one.
Later we will all dance together this summer
in our calm, cool stillness.
Dancing joyously in our hearts
without raising our temperature,
or the earth’s, a fraction of a degree.