Thursday, August 31, 2006

Back from Vipassana

This past Sunday ended a 10-day silent meditation retreat in the Hungarian countryside for me and my fellow participants. It was my second such retreat in 12 months. It was tough - hard work - but rewarding. The technique, taught by Burmese/Indian businessman turned meditation junkie S.N. Goenka, teaches students first to observe the breath, then the sensations of the body; this while sitting in one place, noiselessly, for 9+ hours a day, broken up by meals, rest and instruction.

The overall goal is "liberation", liberation from misery that comes from being a slave to one's cravings and aversions. According to the technique, these cravings and aversions are manifest in physical sensations. Observing these sensations while sitting silently in one place for hours on end teaches us not to react to them, which eventually brings them eventually to an end. Once they're gone, we are free to experience peace, harmony, compassion and happiness.

A lot of other details relating to the practice are taught, such as the notion that matter is ultimately just vibrations of energy and that with sufficiently deep meditation, one is able to sense these vibrations at the deepest, most minuscule level. All this must be done in observance of Sheila, or Morality, which means not killing (so no meateating), lying, sexual misconduct or autointoxivation. Samadi and Panya are the other two lynchpins of the practice; they represent alertness of the mind and purification of the mind (wisdom), respectively.

The trick is to remain "equanamous", greeting all sensations, whether pleasant or ill with equal welcome, so as to free oneself from - and not to develop any new - "sankaras" - cravings and aversions. To observe "reality as it happens."

"It's easy to be happy when life rolls along like a slow sweet song. But the man worthwhile is the man with a smile when everything goes wrong."

Following the workshop, one is instructed to meditate twice daily, an hour in the evening and morning until the next retreat. One is told to participate in a minimum of one 10-day retreat per year. This will keep one on the path toward full liberation. So far, it seems, it's been working for me. Let us hope I make best use of my time.

May all Beings find Happiness.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Off on Wednesday - two days from now - on a 10-day Vipassana meditation retreat. Silent. 10 hours a day. No dinner. Should be interesting.

Running low on money, expences rolling in. Need to shore up future income. Haven't been meditating or practicing Yoga. Tensions between Lucia and I. Eldar has mouth infections. Eating habits need improvement. Psoriasis has returned after taking the summer off.

Plans to do studies of Albania and Libya. Plan to help BBJ find buyer.

Old friend Claudia came in from Switzerland. Tensions with Lucia over her presence. Need to meditate.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

First Blog from the park

This is the first blog entry i have attempted with my new phone with its big keyboard. Still not quite like the computer but a heckofa lot faster than a phonepad. So I'm sitting here on a lovely August day in the terraced park near the tomb of Güll Baba café, a medieval Ottoman ruler of Hungary, while my son Eldar runs and plays with his mates. Up at the Güll Baba café, we each had an ice cream and i mentioned to Eldar that if the place were under Turkish ownership and management, that it would be both nicer, more interesting and receive more patronage. And if the little mosque were put to use as a mosque, not just as a museum, then you'd have a host of Muslims hanging out. It could really get groovy.

Great views of the city, green, pleasant atmosphere; word would spread. And more tourists would come.

I want to get BBJIS going again and freshen up contacts with the embassies and get involved in some cool international projects.

Very intriguing this need for engagement, either active like typing a blog or passive like reading. I could sit and meditate i suppose. But i did that twice today already. But a friend, a book or a device, roughly in that order makes all the difference. Or so it seems. What would i do if i had no device? I could play with Eldar, i suppose.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Rabbinovich to become Israeli Head of government

David Rabbinovich was today nominated as candidate for the prime minister's office. His party - Salaam, Shalom, Peace announced the Dadirab would be running on a "commitment to Peace and Love and all things Jewish, Muslim and American. " The annuncement added, "and all things international and universal."

Word is that Rabbinovich, currently splitting time between Tel Aviv, Budapest and Munich, favors "peace at all costs." He is also rumoured to have as many Arab Muslim supporters as Jewish ones.

His platform is due out shortly, supporters have said.