how to recline with ease

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buddhaLearning to let go and just Be sounds easy. As a westerner I gravitate to the idea of sitting quietly to contemplate great Truths. I see myself practising Dharma, back against an ancient tree, toes buried in the soft soil, my mind freeing itself from ignorance, attachment and anger.

But I share the Western scourge, a nagging culturally-programmed little voice that has the propensity to demand action rather than rest. To Do rather than Be.

It was on a busy tour of Thailand that I was profoundly impacted with the beneficial implications of mastering the latter.

Wat Pho, or Temple of the Reclining Buddha, is home to a 46 metre long, gold-leaf plated Buddha that oozes beauty, peace and serenity… even though the Buddha is surrounded by hoards of tourists and locals, chattering non-stop and infringing on her space. This may be a sculpture, but the artists have captured an essence that permeates the atmosphere as if the Buddha was truely alive.

In her presence I was reminded that inner serenity is possible, even in the midst of chaos. That the cliche “beauty emanates from within” is based on truth. That how I walk and position my body, particularly when others are around, says much about what’s happening on the inside.

I felt her lesson is to master the art of reclining with ease, amid whatever circumstance I may find myself. To hold love in my heart, and by a natural sequence, emanate love to those around me. To practice purity of thought, to rest and project my mind outwards in search of deep Truths. And ultimately to recline, into a state of blissful Being.


a survivor

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Australia’s bushland can be a harsh environment but it has its own beauty and strength. I came upon this gum in the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park north of Sydney, Australia’s second oldest National Park. From the blackened, broken branches it was most likely hit by lightning and had its top burnt right off.

It would have been quite old when it caught fire but undaunted by the loss of its limbs the trunk has pushed forth new growth and it is now crowned with green leaves. It may be my imagination but I can definitely see an ‘old man’ face at the base of the trunk.