ipadio: Martin's phlog - 1st phonecast


Well then, do it!

I really want to write more.  The problem lies in what to write.  No, no, that is wrong, the problem lies in:
  1. not writing
  2. self-censorship
  3. not knowing what to write
  4. a lack of confidence in my ability to write
Phew, wrote it!

Allotment diary - annoying the ants

Starting to take more regular visits to the allotment recently. A huge amount of work needs doing but I'm more than happy just plodding along doing a bit at a time.

The 'bit' in question is mainly weeding. This also means disturbing ant nests, not much I can do about this really other than apologise for the inconvenience.

Funny how certain songs fixate in the mind while weeding. A few days ago it was 'Rat Up A Drainpipe' by The Members, on Sunday it was 'Love in a Void' by Siouxsie and the Banshees.

Anyhow, here's how the (part) of the plot looked before I got down to work:

And here's how it looked two hours later:


Ok, it doesn't look that much.

Les at the allotment advised me to use a hoe, much easier and faster.

Working in Feel Space

I'm spending much of today trying my best to pay attention to what is going on in 'feel space'. Shinzen Young describes 'feel' as 'Any body sensation that seems to be emotional in nature'.

So what I'm attempting to do is notice how I'm feeling. Actually, to use Shinzen's method properly, I'm noting 'feel' when I feel something.

Why am I doing this?

I hate it how I sometimes react badly ('unskilfully' to use the Buddhist term) to things that X and/or x do. Just saying 'oh I won't rise to it' hasn't helped.

So, instead, I'm observing what goes on (trying to observe what goes on) in my inner-space. If I can identity (label, note) a ('bad' / unskillful) feeling arising then perhaps I can simply allow it to rise without acting something out.

We'll see.

A fine Phlog


Metta / Loving Kindness meditation

The is the Metta / Loving Kindness meditation I've adapted from the version in Stephen Levine's 'A Gradual Awakening'.

1. Breathe in warmth, Breathe out patience

2 . Reflect on a person who somehow caused you pain, say ‘I forgive you’

Reflect on a person who somehow you have given pain, say silently ‘…I ask your forgiveness’

3. Now allow yourself to be forgiven.  Say ‘I forgive you’. 
‘I forgive myself for all the pain I’ve caused, for even the things I didn’t mean to do.’ ‘

May I be happy.  May I be free from suffering.  May I be free from tension, fear, worry.  May I be healed, may I be at peace’.

‘May I be done with suffering, done with tension, anger and separation.  Done with fear and hiding and doubt. 

May I let go of all the things that cause me suffering’. 

‘May I be free from suffering.  May I find my joy.  May I be filled with love. 

4 Now, direct that love toward someone else.
‘Dear… may you be happy.  May you be free from suffering.  May you be free from tension, fear, worry.  May you be healed, may you be at peace’.

‘May you be done with suffering, done with tension, anger and separation.  Done with fear and hiding and doubt.  May you be happy’.  

‘May you be happy.  May you let go of all the things that cause you suffering’. 

5. Let your loving kindness radiate out to everyone. 
‘May all beings be happy.  May all beings be free from suffering.  May all beings come home to our completeness.  May all beings be free’.

We need some Metta around here

book cover
I've realised that I really need to introduce some Mettā (usually translated in the West as "loving-kindness") into my practice.

Why metta?

I want to work on my edges, they need softening, I need softening. I'm feeling rigid, brittle, quick to snap, to break. Metta will (hopefully) encourage some gentleness. Metta implies a deep opening, an allowing, acceptance, gratitude and forgiveness.

My earliest introduction to metta meditation was via Stephen Levine's book 'A Gradual Awakening' - one of my first, and still on of my favourite, Buddhist books. I'll never forget my first attempt at metta, it was something incredibly powerful and profound.

So, here's what I'll do. Ten minutes of metta after my formal practice. Let's see how that goes.

My meditation sequence with Shinzen Young


As much as can, I sit in the mornings. If possible, I'll also sit in the evening. So, this is the sequence:

  • Focus on rest - 10 minutes
  • Focus in (feel, image, talk: FIT) - 10 minutes
  • Focus out (sight, sound, touch) SST) - 10 minutes
  • Focus on rest - 5 minutes
PDFs describing all these are on Shinzen's site

I'll report back here.

Meditating with Shinzen Young

I recently came across the meditation and mindfulness teachings of Shinzen Young. I'm impressed with his 'Easy Rest' method which I tried out this morning for the first time.

With 'Easy Rest', one directs one's attention between sensing/relaxing the body and watching for 'blank' states in the mind's eye.

I sat for 15 minutes and quickly entered a deep state of relaxation in my body, my mind was much clearer than usual, rising thoughts and sensations were at a minimum.

The 15 minutes felt like five, time passed swiftly. The only sound was that of the birds. Mmmmmm, good stuff.

Cashback live in Little Downham

Last Saturday night we took a cab from Ely over to Little Downham to see local heroes, Cashback, play a wild gig at the Anchor pub.

Cashback play Johnny Cash songs and the man in black would have loved the band. They played with passion and soul, the joint rocked!

Large amounts of Greene King were drunk, people danced on tables, rock 'n' roll in the Fens, you really can't do better.

We stumbled out of the pub just before twelve and enjoyed a high grade hangover the next morning. Was it worth it, well yeah! Looking forward to the next one.