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Archive for June, 2013

Ashes to Ashes

What we can do is pay attention and offer it kindly….

simonhlilly

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Ash, my tall and graceful one!
My sky-sweeping, rooted one!
Pillar of the upland airs,
Feather-leaved and blowsy one!
May you live forever
On the green meadow,
The cliff-side wood.

May you not decline
With the eastern wind
That blows unwitting death.
It is not hateful, nor malicious,
That small spored thing.
It is itself, longing to live,
Breathing when given space to breathe.
Happy to flourish free.

But all eat the other.
Each food delightful,
A means to be maintained,
And who can dare say
This one form has more need,
More right, than that other?

These hills, sighing open,
Green-pillared with ash and maple.
Sky-open, crow and jackdaw,
Hare and hawk,
Were once oak deep
’til cropped for pit and forge.
We ourselves so keen to scrape
And burrow, scratch and gather up.
Those stone walls now, too,
Broke and deserted, wooded once more.

Our curse in time…

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Tree as Vajra

‘Vajra’ means ‘ thunderbolt’ or ‘diamond sceptre’. ‘Vajra’ is the Indian Sanskrit name. In Tibet it is known as a ‘dorje’. Like many of the symbols of Tibetan Buddhism, it has a long lineage. It probably derives from the attribute and weapon of the early Indian sky and storm god, Indra, the primary deity of ancient Indian peoples. Like the ‘phurba’ or ‘iron nail’ it has precedents in shamanic practice for dispelling and controlling spirits.

The vajra is the symbol of the emergence of the universe. It clearly echoes the form of a tree. The central point of the vajra is the sphere, symbol of the primordial creative void, the true nature and source of both emptiness and form. This is the seed or the heart (the core or the trunk) of the Tree of the Universe.

From here arises the first manifestations of energy: the primal elements and their interactions. This is where the trunk begins to divide into separate boughs and roots.

Next, the vajra expands further into clearly separate parts, the spokes or tines, each dividing into apparently distinct entities and individualities in time and space. These qualities of time and space come about through the apparent separation of form and emptiness – represented in the vajra by the alternating bands of metal.

The enclosed space within these tines echo the shape of the original, central sphere – the true nature of all apparent manifestation is that nothing other than this exists. This void is recapitulated as each tine returns to unite in a final point where all individuality and difference merge together once more.
The branches and roots of the tree spread out from the point of origin, yet in terms of both electromagnetic energy patterns, movements of the water cycle and other natural processes within the tree, the divergent manifestation forms a closed circuit of energy, a continual return to the source and then further outward expansion.

The universal balancing harmony of the vajra shape, together with its dynamic, wrathful, feel make it a powerful symbol for protection and unity. We can develop a visualisation process that mimics and manifests the energy of tree as vajra within our own energy fields.
This has a spontaneously balancing and purifying effect.

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TREE VAJRA VISUALISATION

It is not so important where you ‘place’ this visualisation. It may be clearly superimposed upon or within your own body, or it may be easier to see it just within your mind. Do what feels easiest at first, and with familiarity integrate the imagery more clearly within your sense of body, time and space.

2. It will always be more anchoring to begin with an actual tree. One that is present, or one that you know well.

3. In these exercises it will always be better to visualise yourself with a luminous egg-shaped energy surrounding and containing your physical form. Seeing yourself simply as that luminous form with no physical characteristics is sufficient, and may be easier to imagine that seeing “yourself’. Such an image allows the experience of more subtle levels of sense information and a clearer interaction with other levels of awareness.

4. Form an idea or image of the tree you feel you can work with, ( one that seems appropriate, or one that comes to mind as you begin to settle down).

5. In your energy form, consciously move closer towards the tree until you find at a certain distance you begin to enter the atmosphere or awareness of the tree itself.

6. At this place, pause, and greet the tree energy, asking permission to continue with the exercise. (if there is a clear refusal, you may need to work with a different tree energy or centre and ground yourself some more).

7. Move towards the tree until you pass through and into the trunk. Stay still and integrate with the feelings.

8. Become aware not just the trunk where you are, but also the boughs and branches way above your head, and the roots spreading deep beneath your feet.

9. Upon this, superimpose an image of a clear, bright, white vajra, with one end in the topmost branches and the other going to the deepest roots. You will see yourself more or less positioned at the centre of the vajra.

10. Now reduce the size of the vajra so that it is wholly within your body. Take it down to the size that fits inside one of the main chakras ( allow it to go to whichever one it chooses, heart or solar plexus will be most likely).

11. Now enlarge the vajra again so that it reaches from the crown chakra, just above the top of the head, to the Earth Star about a metre below your feet. Maintain this image for a while.

12. Next reduce the vajra size a little so that its two ends are at the crown and the root chakra. Now rapidly expand the vajra, or sense that it grows in size, moving both up and down to fill the whole of the tree once again.

13. Allow any precise imaginings to dissolve. Simply rest in the space of the tree and vajra energy. Let any communication with the tree spirit or any healing, purifying and balancing processes take place now.

14. When you are ready, become aware of your body again within the tree.

15. Imagine yourself leaving the tree trunk, walking out into the world again. At the tree boundary, turn and say thank you. Return to your normal focus.

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This is the first of a series of related meditation exercises that were created and presented in Japan last month. It can be done very quickly, or it can be made into a main practice. It will be especially useful for those who feel out of balance or struggling with aspects of their environment they find challenging and difficult.

WALKING INTO A TREE (PURE EMPTINESS TREE)

Emptiness presents no resistance, no opposition. Everything flows through freely and maximum harmony is maintained.

1. It will always be more anchoring to begin with an actual tree. One that is present, or one that you know well.

2. Form an idea or image of the tree you feel you can work with, ( one that seems appropriate, or one that comes to mind as you begin to settle down).

3. In your energy form, consciously move closer towards the tree until you find at a certain distance you begin to enter the atmosphere or awareness of the tree itself.

4. At this place, pause, and greet the tree energy, asking permission to continue with the exercise. (if there is a clear refusal, you may need to work with a different tree energy or centre and ground yourself some more).

5. Move towards the tree until you pass through and into the trunk. Stay still and integrate with the feelings.

6. Become aware of the edge of the tree trunk, where the living cells are. Be aware of the quiet central spaces of the trunk of the tree. Visualise these as a large, hollow space. Allow your own body boundaries and aura and those of the tree to become the same, so you are just aware of an inner space with edges at the outer boundary.

7. Now imagine from above the top of the tree, open to the universe, that the energy of space, the element of akasha, flows down into your energy tube, swirling and flowing with indigo and starlight. Feel the expansive,opening energy sweep through your whole being from top to bottom, from head to foot, from branches to roots. When it has filled your inner space allow it to concentrate at the outermost boundary, as if forming a new layer of tree bark. See it as a layer of intense indigo, or midnight blue.

8. Now return your attention back up to the top of the tree, open to the universe. See a refreshing flow of air, of wind, of breezes, with a vibrant green colour, sweep down filling and cleansing all the inner space, sweeping away all imbalances. Fill your inner space completely and the see the green energy of air concentrate at the outer boundary, on the inside of the indigo layer of akasha.

9. Return your attention to the upper end of your hollow awareness tree and see a forceful white flow of water rush downwards bringing clarity and openness. See that energy sweep round and cleanse every part of your inner space. Then see it concentrate in a layer of white energy on the inside of the green layer of air.

10. Return your attention to the upper end of your hollow awareness tree and now see a downward rush of fire, a tumble and roar of flames, red in colour, fierce and powerful. See it purifying, transforming, consuming all imbalances. See the red flames fill the whole of your inner space, then let it concentrate as a layer of vibrant red colour on the inside of the white layer of water.

11. Return your awareness to the upper end of your hollow tree awareness and see it fill with a deep, rich yellow of the element of earth. See that clean, nurturing energy fill all your inner spaces, settling and repairing, reestablishing order and harmony. Finally, let the energy of the earth element flow out to form and concentrate as a layer of vibrant yellow on the inside of the red layer of fire.

12. Focus for a moment on the five protective layers that form the boundary of your hollow tree awareness. Then relax and let the imagery fade. You are now just standing within the tree again.

13. Imagine leaving the tree, walk out into the world. Turn and thank the tree for its kindness and support. Return to normal awareness.

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