The thief left it behind: the moon at my window - Ryokan

Monday, January 12, 2009

Do you believe there is value in suffering?

Suffering implies there is pain. How can there be any value in this? The only good that can arise from suffering is if we look deeply to the root of our suffering and learn from this. Then suffering becomes a significant teacher.

It does seem that sooner or later all beings experience suffering, in small and larger ways and eventually we all die which can be seen as the ultimate suffering if we are not prepared.

We do much to try and eliminate suffering but so often our attempts to avoid suffering simply bring about different suffering. It seems the major pursuit of human beings is happiness.

When I look at the causes of suffering, I see there is no simplistic answer - like 'oh, it's my karma (speaking of which I received a beautiful response to a question about karma from True Eloquence)

So much of our suffering seems to arise from our response to situations and if we learn to see things differently, the suffering falls away.

Some of our suffering is a result of how we've lived out our lives and although we may not be able to change the outcomes, we can learn from our history and avoid similar situations in the future.

There is also physical suffering, such as great pain in the body, say from genetically inherited illness, when we may need to learn how to live with suffering as a companion and acceptance seems to be a crucial attitude.

Sometimes there's the suffering which comes from natural disasters - our homes may be swept away, we may lose loved ones or be injured. Suffering then reveals to us the temporary nature of life. An awareness which can grow from this is to live fully and make the most of precious short time we have to learn.

Suffering so often can be the result of attachment and it is only in the letting go that relief can be found. Such as when something we love breaks or when a beloved dies.
I never thought deeply about the why's of suffering until I encountered Buddhism. Here is a link re Buddhism on suffering (there are many links - I selected this one randomly).

"Whatever joy there is in this world
All comes from desiring others to be happy,
And whatever suffering there is in this world,
All comes from desiring myself to be happy.


is a precious path where we change our focus from our suffering to the suffering of others as so beautifully described here ( ) in this prayer by Shantideva

"May I become food and drink in the aeons of famine for those poverty-stricken suffers.
May I be a doctor, medicine and nurse for all sick beings in the world until everyone is cured.
May I become never-ending wish-fulfilling treasures materialising in front of each of them
as all the enjoyments they need.
May I be a guide for those who do not have a guide, a leader for those who journey, a boat
for those who want to cross over, and all sorts of ships, bridges, beautiful parks for those
who desire them, and light for those who need light.
And may I become beds for those who need a rest, and a servant to all who need servants.
May I also become the basic conditions for all sentient beings, such as earth or even the sky,
which is indestructible.
May I always be the living conditions for all sentient beings until all sentient beings are


May all beings practice loving kindness

my gaia


Saturday, January 10, 2009

What has given you the most strength?


What has given me the most strength?

The challenges and teachings of Guru Life!

A scene pops into my mind...

When my daughter, Gra-anna passed on, I went to London, where she'd lived. It was the heart of Winter (I come from a country of sunshine). There were only a couple of hours of light each day - and even then there was seldom sun. One of those days I stood outside. In this gloom of cold and semi light (who dares breathe deep when the veil is terribly thin?), I saw a tree standing, silent and bare, so in keeping with the day - but - it was covered with white flowers! A silent, proud bearer of flowers in this zone of darkness, cold and concrete felt like such a contradiction, it was almost impossible to comprehend. I thought, 'omigod, just look at this! How does anything flower in such conditions?'

I think this is how we are as human beings

The gods and deity's must watch us sometimes and be so moved - maybe that's when it rains....



Friday, January 2, 2009

Wishing you a joyful and blessed 2009

Gien’s words

Hello friends and family

2008 was a year of great personal change for me
It was a year I left Canada,
my home for my whole life until now
to come marry my beloved, Anna
and make South Africa my new home
A year when this love made possible by the internet age
came to fruition and manifested into physical reality

A year of sadness and joy
The sadness of parting with my family and friends
and the joy of beginning my new life with Anna
and her family and friends

If life has taught me anything
it is that it is so fleeting and so precious

Those whom we know
we mustn't take for granted
for we may not see them again
for a long, long time

Although it's difficult to live each moment as if it were our last
we can aspire to be more present with those we are with
for all of life is just a temporary journey
a dream, an illusion
and one day, each of us will reach our final breath
knowing this is the true and ultimate nature for each and everyone of us
always, always be kind to others

When we do reach our final exhalation
we want to be completely relaxed, in a state of total confidence
of what this life was, what it meant

We want to have made certain
that the life we've lived
has all been worth it
that we've not squandered it in self-indulgence
that we've said "I love you" to all the ones we care about
we've done as much in life as is possible
sought out as much awareness as possible
for both ourselves and others

To all my friends and family
on both sides of the ocean
those who I speak too often and those I don't
and to all my friends to be in the new year
those whom I've yet to meet
but which my karma will bring my way

Many Blessings for a continual raining down of awareness
as you unfold your path
May you continue to treat all obstacles and challenges
as your greatest teacher
May you learn the wisdom to welcome all enemies
as friends in disguise
May great teachers come your way
in the form of people, events, obstacles and challenges
who will help you to recognize your own mind
May the truth of these words
reach into your heart and touch a chord
that will resonate with you

May you discover yourself in the silence that pervades your whole life
and may you find the jewel of who you really are
transcending both perceiver and perceived
words and thoughts
May you recognize presence
as your true abode

Anna’s words

Dear loved one’s
Time has come again to wish you all a joyous and blessed new year!

This year is over before it began and also is packed with awesome journeys!

My love for Gien and our marriage – is so precious and fills me with endless gratitude. The reasons our happiness? I wonder if I can find the words for this... or put it in a nut shell.
Genuine love

We have never had a fight – and don’t expect to
Have no feelings of harboured animosity, or power struggles
Discuss feelings and issues openly
Give and take constructive criticism
Have no hidden agendas
Genuinely seek happiness for each other,

Every time I look at my beloved I see the universe in his myriad faces,
My lover, partner, teacher, student, friend, child, parent... It’s all here

I could go on but I think this gives a good sense of how fortunate we are!

I have felt happy and inspired watching Gien pursue his dreams in terms of building a music career. His energy and passion are endless. I have also so appreciated Gien’s loving, supportive role in Neville’s life. Our family feels whole and happy. Oh I must mention Giens amazing cooking too! Every meal is delumptious!

Neville is growing and doing well at school as always. Now on the foothills of his teens, presents us with a whole new hiphop Nev gangstah and all the challenges this brings! This is his last year at primary school and we’re considering the National School of the Arts for high school.

This year I became a Tibetan Buddhist, which was mostly about confirming the direction I was already taking spiritually.

I am happy to have been invited by 2 precious friends, Metta and Roland (Tiger’s Eye), to be an administrator on two special networks: Candle for Burma and The united Buddhist Networks. I have also volunteered to work on (Johannesburg) Lam Rim’s website and look forward to this in the new year. I have basic skills needed and learn on the job!

I set up a site for my teacher and mentor Bill Ainslie this year. More info needs to be added – but its up and running now
I also started an information gathering forum for this purpose:

Recently I started an interactive group on Gaia, Walking the Labyrinth; daily practice and new resolutions which is growing fast and feels like a good experience. It has been rated ‘most active group’ in Gaia almost since it started and is a fun self help/growth journey

So as you can see internet activities are keeping me busy! I am hoping I’m going to find more ways of also generating income in 2009 – otherwise life is full and very happy.

We are hoping to visit Giens family next year (another reason for generating income!). We’d also love to go to India for teachings and dream about Tibet too. I’d also love to visit Ian, Awen, Kate and the Branwen in Wales, before my grandson grows up!

That’s the news - I think – probably left out a ton of important things!

May this coming year see peace and loving kindness among all beings

Much love to you and yours


We chanted new year in with a couple of dear friends with the Om mantra - very precious!

original Gaia blog