Tag Archive | buddhism

Mindful Hedonism: Is it Possible?

I came to my spiritual and sexual awakenings at roughly the same time in my life, late 20’/early 30’s, and no matter how hard I tried to relate one to the other these pathways always seemed to represent a distinct dialectic:

My mindful spirituality (Buddhism) focused on the virtues of releasing physical and psychological desire, 

while my erotic explorations embraced desire as if it were scripture.

These two highly influential belief systems, driving forces really, seemed incompatible…mutually exclusive…at odds with one another:

How can I be mindful and hedonistic?

And yet, therein lies the answer.

My evolution to mindful hedonism, came with time and much mindless behavior. It seems that one has to be completely open in order to later become focused and aware when it comes to desire. At any rate, the years following my obtuse view of sexual exploration (or impulsive hedonism) have been extremely rewarding…physically and emotionally.

My version mindful hedonism may not be what you would embrace as mainstream sexual practice, but I think that’s a bit too much to ask concerning anyone who values the erotic as much as I (or you) do; still, it is responsible…to my lovers…to me. It feels right.

The following passage inspired this reflection, and perhaps will spark some similar acceptance in presently disparate aspects of you as well…my hedonistic friend:

“French philosopher Michel Onfray said it best, ‘Hedonism is an introspective attitude to life based on taking pleasure yourself and pleasuring others, without [consciously] harming yourself or anyone else.’ This outlook seeks to utilize the full capacity of mind, body and heart in order to attain the highest experiences of sustainable ecstasy.

As long as we hold onto self-destructive belief patterns, actions that no longer serve us can be perpetuated in the name of avoiding the greater pain of confronting a painful memory or belief. On the other end of the spectrum, an individual may consciously take part in an activity that outwardly seems needlessly painful or “dark.” In reality, this unpleasant experience may free an individual from a parasitic belief pattern.

Sometimes the only way past it, is through it. This is where a conscious understanding of disciplined hedonism shines. Through experience, we learn that through embracing our whole being, highs and lows, we are capable of greater enjoyment and fulfillment. A symbolic closet-cleaning allows us to witness our experience of pleasure with newly liberated eyes.” (From Hedonism: The Pursuit of Happiness, by Sascha Kyssa on elephant journal.com)

The bit above about how not expressing these desires is in fact more harmful than helpful, while doing so can be ultimately healing…resonates with me. I have come to the belief that leaving aspects of ourselves unexplored (those darker less tolerable desires, for instance) only works against our ability to experience pleasure, and ultimately self-acceptance and love, and instead fosters shame and self-loathing.

So…explore, indulge, enjoy…all of your hedonistic tendencies, mindfully…and you may find that being bad, never felt so good!

xxx conchita.

(images by Shutterbugboudoir.com)

Follow Your Bliss…

“Follow your bliss. 
If you do follow your bliss, 
you put yourself on a kind of track 
that has been there all the while waiting for you, 
and the life you ought to be living 
is the one you are living. 
When you can see that, 
you begin to meet people 
who are in the field of your bliss, 
and they open the doors to you. 
I say, follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, 
and doors will open 
where you didn’t know they were going to be. 
If you follow your bliss, 
doors will open for you that wouldn’t have opened for anyone else.” 
— Joseph Campbell

I Welcome September: As The Sun Fades…My Skin Yearns For NEW INK!

To quote a favorite poet of mine:

THE TIME HAS COME.

THE TIME IS NOW.

-The Cat In The Hat

September is here! And as the sun sinks behind the clouds, my skin craves to be touched…to be covered with beauty. For many, that would mean gorgeous cashmere sweaters and rich furs…for me…it means:

NEW INK!


Presently, my larger pieces reflect transitional spaces in my life: loss, death, rebirth. They are a testament to survival…and a celebration of the endless cycle of life, and death. They draw from iconic religious symbols, like the lotus…and cultural ones, like the sugar skull. My desire is to fill my entire back…in such a manner…reflecting my emotional states…my growth and struggles.

I have always loved tattoos and have written about them here…admired them daily on others…I love the idea of decorating the body…of making feelings, real works of art…upon the body. Tattoos are phenomenal, and the tattoo artists even more so (Deep Bow of Gratitude to El-E Maggs MY artist)

As I move into a new stage in life…this year taking time away from my clinical work…focusing on events my more creative and erotic pursuits…I find that I am in a different space than before. I am…still searching…but I am calmer…more settled in my loss…accepting of my grief…and embracing my rebirth (even if I haven’t fully realized it, as yet).

So what does this new space look like?

It’s…positive…a little giddy…silly. It embraces chance…it takes risks…This space is full of compassion and acceptance. This NEW SPACE needs…a MANEKI NEKO!

What is a Maneki Neko well let’s visit Wikipedia and see what they have to say:

The Maneki Neko (literally “Beckoning Cat“; also known as Welcoming CatLucky CatMoney cat, or Fortune Cat. Sometimes incorrectly labelled Chinese Lucky Cat) is a common Japanese sculpture, often made of ceramic, which is believed to bring good luck to the owner. The sculpture depicts a cat(traditionally a Japanese Bobtail) beckoning with an upright paw, and is usually displayed—many times at the entrance—in shops, restaurants, pachinko parlors, and other businesses. Some of the sculptures are electric or battery-powered and have a slow-moving paw beckoning. In the design of the sculptures, a raised right paw supposedly attracts money, while a raised left paw attracts customers.

A frequent attribution to several Japanese emperors, as well as to Oda Nobunaga and samurai Ii Naotaka, is that one day the luminary passed by a cat, which seemed to wave to him. Taking the cat’s motion as a sign, the unknown nobleman paused and went to it. Diverted from his journey, he realized that he had avoided a trap that had been laid for him just ahead. Since that time, cats have been considered wise and lucky spirits. Many Japanese shrines and homes include the figurine of a cat with one paw upraised as if waving—hence the origin of Maneki Neko, often referred to as Kami Neko in reference to the cat’s kami or spirit.

And the mythical origin of this little cat? Well…it is simply too good to be true:

courtesan named Usugumo, living in Yoshiwara, in eastern Tokyo, kept a cat, much beloved by her. One night, the cat began tugging at her kimono. No matter what she did, the cat persisted. The owner of the brothel saw this, and believing the cat bewitched, cut its head off. The cat’s head then flew to the ceiling where it killed a snake, ready at any moment to strike. Usugumo was devastated by the death of her companion. To cheer her up, one of her customers made her a wooden likeness of her cat as a gift. This cat image then became popular as the Maneki Neko.

Perhaps…I am searching for a companion to accompany me on this new path…maybe I am wishing for “luck” to guide me through unknown waters?

I am not totally aware of my unconscious wishes, only that the Maneki Neko is a symbol of good will…of positivity…and wisdom…qualities that I trust will guide me…beyond luck!

xxx c

Walking Between The Spaces II: Thank You “Pilgebump”

Bardo

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This is an article on a Buddhist concept. For other meanings of the word Bardo, see: Bardo (disambiguation)

The Tibetan word Bardo (Sanskrit: Antara-bhava) means literally “intermediate state” – also translated as “transitional state” or “in-between state” or “liminal state”. In Sanskrit the concept has the name antarabhāva.

“In the terma discovered by Karma Lingpa, Guru Padmasambhava introduces six different bardos. The first bardo begins when we take birth and endures as long as we live. The second is the bardo of dreams. The third is the bardo of concentration or meditation. The fourth occurs at the moment of death. The fifth is known as the bardo of the luminosity of the true nature. The sixth is called the bardo of transmigration or karmic becoming.”[2]

Used somewhat loosely, the term “bardo” may refer to the state of existence intermediate between two lives on earth. According to Tibetan tradition, after death and before one’s next birth, when one’s consciousness is not connected with a physical body, one experiences a variety of phenomena. These usually follow a particular sequence of degeneration from, just after death, the clearest experiences of reality of which one is spiritually capable, to, later on, terrifying hallucinations arising from the impulses of one’s previous unskillful actions. For the spiritually advanced the bardo offers a state of great opportunity for liberation, since transcendental insight may arise with the direct experience of reality, while for others it can become a place of danger as the karmically created hallucinations can impel one into a less than desirable rebirth.

In the West, the term bardo may also refer to times when our usual way of life becomes suspended, as, for example, when we are on retreat. Such times can prove fruitful for spiritual progress, as external constraints diminish, although they offer challenges because our unskillful impulses can come to the fore, just as in the sidpa bardo.

From A Published Work

Mindfulness, from: “The Art & Science of Psychotherapy”

“Mindfulness involves the ongoing observation of experience as it emerges in the here-and-now. An important byproduct of minfulness is internal space. It consists of the loosening of one’s attachments to one’s cognitive-affective processes, with the objective of viewing them as constructions of the mind…Mindfulness involves radical self-acceptance of thoughts, feelings and behaviors. It is vital in ths practice that therapists work to develop true acceptance through awareness of the subtle and not so subtle aspects of what they deem unacceptable in their attitudes and actions.True compassion develops through struggling and finally accepting one’s own pain, limitations, failures, and internal conflicts.” (p.165-166 )