Saturday, August 6, 2011

To All Subscribers and Followers

Dear Friends,
As of Saturday, Aug. 6, 2011, all of Karma Life Readings' posts have been moved to
However, you faithful subscribers and followers were left behind. Please see a new post at the new address: "Time to Soften the Mind" . . . a video of Thich Nhat Hanh. Please do re-subscribe to continue receiving notifications of new posts.
many thanks,

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Pity Party is Long Since Gone

 What happened in between?

I woke up this morning, slightly depressed as I usually am, and again decided I wasn't going there, and as every day, did my morning thing that brought me to peace. This morning, somehow I began to think of the incredible suffering of people everywhere that totally trumped what pathetic little stuff I was moaning about to many Western doctors.

Then I started to think of how few people on this planet had deluxe food, buckets of water right at hand, tempurpedic mattress, cell phone, A/C, computer, etc. What about that feeble old down-scuffling black man on Vine St.? Did he have a home? Probably not. Did he have money for food? Probably not.

Or the thickly sunburned white couple sitting on plastic cartons all day, holding their homeless help signs up to people in A/C cars, windows rolled up, looking straight ahead . . . if you don't look, you won't feel anything. THEY become near criminals because their house was foreclosed on, and neither one can get a job. Nobody stops all day. They're just closing up when a young man walks up to them and hands them a 20. The woman grabs hold of him in a full embrace and begins to cry. You're the first one to give us anything all day. We're from Alabama. O you're so sweet. And she hugs him again.

Their suffering is 10 times mine. And with this heat wave? So many old poor people downtown without even fans.

And the suffering inflicted by our own people on the planet is 50 times more than that of our homeless.

I did not start out to be morbid, yet . . . here we are. And so I have a heart of gratitude today for everything I have and everyone I know . . . from which there is no escape from being separated, eventually (says Thich Nhat Hanh). But that's another story . . .

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Karma Life's Readings . . . Life Thinkings from a Tibetan Buddhist Perspective: Where Are You Mother-Wit?

Where Are You Mother-Wit?

I met this girl named Sana (as in "Sam"). Well, she's not a girl, she's a woman, like me, 59, but so much paler than me, kinda whispy . . . like the sound of her name. She had recently moved to Crestone, Colorado (gosh, I wish I could do that) from Cincy. We had been friends on and off for ages. But now she was gone. Sana to Calarada.

When Sana was here for years, that girlfriend of mine had a bunch of rough stuff running through her like a herd of buffalo, and gettin' worse so she had to take stacks of pharmaceuticals and go to doctors like that was her job. What could I do? Just be there for real heart-to-heart hugs and let-it-out tears and still long, real hugs. Well, Sana had been sick with so many things all at once, you couldn't help but think she was being groomed for something in the Universe, something she would uncover in herself—a way to help the Universe.

But she told me how flippin' hard it was. So alone, adrift of all other like-minded kin but me. And as we both knew: no Sangha or sangha (like-minded Buddhist) community near.

We were real intimate so I knew she had fibromyalgia beating and defeating her physical strength—not to mention the deep morning body-wide ache, both aspects lingering in and out in the day; 2 hip surgeries since late 2007 and another one for her bloody neck coming up, supposedly, on August 19, 2011; bipolar disorder whacking her worst than ever—since spring, like the whacking whacking dusting of a rug, hanging out back on the clothesline, the dust being cleaned out of it so violently; cervical dystonia treated with Botox. Before Botox her face was full of grimacing contortions she couldn't control. Nor could she, progressively, control the involuntary yank of her chin down to a tremor. O Sana Sana . . . as one doctor said, You're a mess.

She told me, Sana whispered, that her lower back hurt her all days most days. She could only slouch on her daybed or be flat . . . ALL DAY . . . but life had to go on. So she sought out healers and friends who gave of their gifts to her of Ayurvedic consultations, of nourishing soups and breads, and a mother who inevitably brought a gourmet meals-on-wheels nearly every evening. Sana had been this way since last October and here it was the first week of July, the zenith of it all, it seemed.

Yet she had not been hospitalized. She tried with all that she was capable of each day to practice Dharma—true practice. If she didn't have the Buddha's method for happiness, and his teachings about how to live in a suffering world, and to be capable of helping others—a true method, step by logical step—if she hadn't experienced all this for 11 years, she would be either long gone or drunk daily. This was a very important commonality between us, i.e., we'd been each other's sangha community. The Third Jewel. The nurses who care for you and your spirit.

Yet she was gone . . . for about 2 months now. She'd decided to live in Crestone because a wonderful Dharma teacher and author was there: Reginald Ray, founder of Dharma Ocean Foundation. She had heard his online excerpts of teachings and found a profound affinity with his voice, his timing, his humility, his thorough, unbiased scholarship. So she moved to a state that had medical marijuana. Of course I called and said O Sana Sana, what's it like?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

She Ponders Her Reifications

And you may be pondering what the heck I'm talking about . . .
As Tibetan Buddhist practitioners from east and west agree, nothing has an inherent (separate) existence of its own. The natural law that everything is changing constantly, in other words, impermanence, is the opposite of reification. To reify is to make something solid and unchanging; to turn an object, a person, etc., into a permanent, singular personal perspective.

As this unrealized being realizes intellectually, I have reified many objects and people in hopes of having ground under my feet, in hopes of not suffering, of being secure. Yet, Buddhism tells me that the tree is not separate from the roots, which are not separate from the earth, which is not separate from any other named object. It is the naming of an object that deludes us all into thinking that the planet is a huge pile of separate, named objects.

Just imagine the earth and all earthlings, as plays of porous light all webbed together like a fine net of light streams. When part of the net moves in the slightest, it impacts the entire net of light (like the movement of the butterfly's wings can eventually be a cause for the tumbling down of a bookcase in China: we are talking about another natural law of the universe, that of cause and effect).

If the butterfly was separate from all else, unto itself, it would become a cause for nothing. Yet, can you name anything that does not have a cause? If we reify ourselves, we become isolated, rigid, afraid as we attempt not to change, cling to our youthful bodies, and cling desperately to any belief that helps us be grounded and "safe".

Reification is a huge delusion in all our lives. Come on. Admit it.

Yet the wonderful possibility is that we all can eject the process of reification in our lives by embracing impermanence, contemplating impermanence (which leads to the conscious realization that someday we will change so much, we will enact that ultimate change: our own demise).

Back to reification: I have reified people in my mind, mostly relatives and ex-husbands and ex-lovers. I want them to stay exactly the way they were when we first communicated. Yet mickey today is not the mickey of yesterday anymore. Yes, I do have an inner essence (Buddha nature) that does not change. What changes is my accumulation of experiences day by day, year by year . . . so I have been changed by my experiences.

An example of reification of a person is the grasping attachment to a person who is there no longer. We tend to reify our brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, etc., because we knew them at a much earlier age, and that perception of them is concrete and limited in our minds.

For example a mother reifies her son as 7 years old though he is 30. Another mother may reify her daughter as 15 years old though she is nearly 59. It does not allow our dear ones to grow or change as is natural. So many life experiences radically change our later behavior. There truly is nothing to hang onto with any person or object.
The great challenge then is to become familiar and comfortable with groundlessness . . . nothing to hold on to, nothing. If we can prepare ourselves for the ultimate groundlessness of passing away, we can begin by being open to the changing person who is our relative or friend or . . . We can do this by feeling what Thich Nhat Hanh (Vietnamese Buddhist monk nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Martin Luther King)—what this Master Teacher terms "Inter-being." Interdependence is another important quality to engage, because there is no denying that one cannot live and grow without the help of others.

All are one. I want to act as one with the planet, drift effortlessly into the flow of the river of impermanence. No easy task in a materially-oriented society and world.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Out of the Closet

   Ok, out I come . . . a 58-year-old bipolar-afflicted person. It has taken me so long to accept this condition as "real." And even longer to realize that possibly the 2 poles are that bipolar disorder is an affliction and a gift at the same time. The increased sensitivity brings me hell or visions and creativity.
   What I don't know is how the disorder is seen in relation to Tibetan Buddhism. Though, as I look at the patterns of this life, many people, monks, groups have cast me out, despite especially, a group I had contributed to and participated in for 11 years. I was one of the longest-lasting members of a local monastery, yet was rarely permitted to have any ongoing responsibility. The stigma of the disorder turned into gossip that "mickey is crazy."
   Gosh, it's hard to accept oneself when most people around me haven't ever experienced the extreme anxiety and dark hell of the disorder. If something is not understood, it is dispensed with. Yet, in order to open and soften my heart, I intend to love and accept this unusual rebirth myself . . . as we all have to do. We are born alone and die alone. I want to be capable of relieving the suffering of beings of all kinds. Yet guidance within Tibetan Buddhism remains non-specific to this condition. Do any Dharma practitioners out there have some helpful advice or knowledge or experience to share concerning this issue?
   And like I've said before: Enlightenment or Bust!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Mind That is Blue as the San Diego Sky

The past drifts and changes like the clouds. Our minds conjure delusion upon delusion as we categorize/criticize any particular phenomenon in our memories. Yet we're as changeable as the clouds. Our personal and collective past become like the white light of clouds, transforming at every moment; obscurations to direct clarity of sunlight, of Truth—lost, for many moments or hours.

Like entities being born, thriving, then fading to a wisp before our very eyes in a few seconds.

Like trying to find your way amongst sand dunes: a wind comes along and the whole geography becomes another planet. Life is feeling more and more like that—groundless.

Yet Pema Chodron, the Western Buddhist nun at Gampo Abbey in Nova Scotia, teaches that we must accustom ourselves to this groundlessness. NOTHING to hang on to. No ONE. No THING.

Big fat fear.

Sky-gazing for a long time. Sky mind. Cloudy, grey? Fluffed white and San Diego blue? A blue that goes on forever. May Father Sky imprint his story on my mindstream. O Mother Earth, you give me my life.

Healing means letting go of a cloud.

Friday, March 4, 2011

So She Says Ta Me

So she says ta me, It Just Is

She’s got lots of money, but she doesn’t.
So she says ta me, It Just Is.

Ten thousand civilians killed
in Afghanistan.
Not doin’ a thing.
So she says ta me, It Just Is.

Two years in a row with zero increase
to live in a dying empire.
So she says ta me, It Just Is.

Prisons are stuffed to the gills.
So she says ta me, It Just Is.

A river of beings in a murk of a flow.
They Go.
So she says ta me, It Just Is.

Traumatized at birth, she pulled in 
from the world.
So she says ta me, It Just Is.

The drench of a rain down the trunk
of that tree.
So she says ta me, It Just Is.

Someone who hears how the rain
washes pain.
So she says ta me, It Just Is.

She tells her Buddhist psychologist
about a recent meltdown.
So she says ta me, It Just Is.

Her horses were wild,
but they’re now reconciled.
She Charioteers by watching her breath.
So she says ta me, It Just Is.

mickey morgan
new moon
30th day of 13th moon, 2137
waxing moon

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Letting Go

Well, I just have to speak up about Letting Go. I've never in my life had so many inner and outer and unilar opportunities to let go, to cleanse, to struggle, and wail, and pity myself . . . but to keep going because I had to, and was committed to, and could not expect any other to shoulder the burden of me in this lifetime, with my unique pile of issues—a pile of laundry to separate into whites and blacks. Yet I decided to wash everything together . . . and most of it still sits behind me in a pile, waiting to be folded and put away after a week.
That too has been Let Go. It's ok. I said it was ok to me. To spend the ever-churning days and nights practicing watching my breath, or saying mantras and practices in front of this altar I've designed, saying the practices according to a pre-devised, 30-day schedule for the lunar month. This is the biggest part of the day. This is my job as I lay in my bed. I go to work with my routine of mundane responsibilities, like everyone else with a home, then the spiritual work begins and lasts until about 2pm, then begins about 9pm till 11 . . . then I sleep by watching my breath.
Who else lives like this? Alone? With similar intentions? Have I let go of the World? Or has the World let go of me? Either way, letting go is the way to go.
May your heart open so all can see your natural, uncontrived nature, your Buddha nature. Let go of your life at every exhale says Pema Chodron. Be ready to die at every exhalation. And be ok with it. 
I discovered a few days ago that I would just give up on my expectations of the results of an important issue. Ok. I let go. Go on. Don't look back. And kawumph. Gift from the Universe on Tuesday, gift from the Universe on Wednesday afternoon, gift from the Universe on Wednesday night. This is no new teaching, but it is the first time I have experienced it.
Prayers? Meditations? Watching breath? Sending out healing light to others? I'm so grateful to be physically and mentally in contention with the Universe. The choice is clear: The World or The Path. I choose the path and whatever serves it. I am inspired that the Universal loving forces have heard my sob-filled requests. I offer my tears to the Grandmothers. 

Monday, January 24, 2011

And Yet Another Potentially Missed Buddha: Michael Talbot . . . the Bridge

Apparently, Michael Talbot, author of The Holographic Universe, died in 1991 just after completing his book.

I read his book when I had 2 or 3 years of Tibetan Buddhism under my belt . . . c. 2003. It seemed to me, astoundingly, at the time, how fluid and parallel were the two descriptions of aspects of the Truths of the Universe. The book, to me, is a bridge between science and Buddhism, yet true consideration of those parallel contents were never explored within scientific forums[i?] . . . I suppose because of Michael Talbot's passing so long ago. The book is a mind-blowing connection, especially if you have some knowledge of both hard science and Tibetan Buddhism.

As long as I'm on a book review thing . . .  the next MUST for any sane person, especially Western Health Professionals and their Consumers—H. H. the Dalai Lama's The Universe in a Single Atom. Western health pros will, I swear, be astonished . . . or I'll pay for your book! Having read it, and having been on the "consumer" end of Western health care since 1993, I have a credible experience to bring to bear on the claims made in His Holiness's book.

We're just not getting it here: that Tibetan Buddhist Psychology has been evolving for more than 2500 years. How do you think Tibetan doctors view the mental health system here?
They are astonished at all the pills.
They are astonished that the whole person's life is not treated by one doctor (as in their tradition).
Their psychology has enabled all Tibetans to endure incredible pain as ordinary, and go about the day as usual.
At least read the first chapter in the bookstore.

Alright, this is the last. You don't deserve to be deluged, and I certainly don't want to dilute the importance of the 2 above texts . . . but time is short. Read In Search of Medicine Buddha (whose author I've shamefully forgotten, though whose writing became for me a revelation). A male Ayurvedic practitioner from California takes a journey to the Himalayas, Nepal, Bhutan . . . I could be wrong . . . seeking out doctors everywhere and learning some of their practices. The hidden cures of each of these healing practices is generally unknown to the rest of the world . . . we're talkin' about cures for AIDS . . . and true alchemy. The author, David [something] came back to California, and I think now has a huge Ayurvedic business . . . I haven't checked lately.

I read the book years ago. In Search of Medicine Buddha embraces the whole realm of working with the sacredness of the earth; ecology; botany, etc., because all Tibetan medicines are from the earth. The author is currently planting forests in these areas.

Yet the same dismissal of the issue on a national/international scale. Duh, don't I know better than this? I've shut my mouth for so long. Just like trillions before me, around me and after me.

We're too cozy in this country.

But . . . "I don't no to much"

Ok, you're off the book-hook.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Waning of the Male Iron Tiger Year, 2137 (Chinese, Tibetan)

Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2011                                                                            14th day of 12th moon, 2137

Accept things as they are. Do not name it as it passes. It never stops passing. Get over it. We're going to die. We're going to suffer more.

I've been running from this suffering forever; and the more I perpetuate that activity, running and running, grasping at others ("Help! Help!"), the BIGGER the unnamed grows . . . not yet catching up to me, but a bigger and bloody bigger fact that fills and fills my mindstream with fear.

I want to accept with equanimity that I, now, cell by cell, like all other beings, am dying. And I want that to be ok as I live healthily and happily a very long and productive virtuous life . . . to be able to expose to as many people what Wisdom and Compassion I have inherited, experienced, and been taught . . . which is to give all.

I want to die totally relaxed, without any afflictive emotions distracting me, with this mind in single-pointed concentration on Ven. Geshela, full of peace, and emanating love, and dying for the sake of all beings with a consciousness. Pema Chodron's encouragement to die at each exhalation—one's last—such a practice!

I have been acting on this, minimally, at the moments I remember her teaching.

May the moments last longer and longer till there is no gap amongst them.

Then I think I would be balanced and capable, able to move around in peace in samsara, this endless cycle of suffering.

Accept what comes at you with equanimity, stillness as the surface of a lake, with poise, dignity, balance always, aware of one's breathing, one's body. Go with the flow. Relax in the ever-swiftening current of this river of suffering.

Things pass you faster and faster. You want to see it all, but it becomes increasingly difficult. I think I could see it all if I were in the mode of mind previously described.

I want to see my sky-mind clearly, and be able to sustain the vision. What strength this will take! What perseverance, powerful intention and action! What patience and discipline!

I want to do this . . . to uncover what is already there inside me. To See what is already there. To understand and be capable of integrating the Four Noble Truths [google it] for the purpose of benefiting all suffering beings with a consciousness. For you.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Did We Miss a Buddha In Our Midst?

Dear Ones All, Charlene, Lexi,

    Today is the day to celebrate the altruistic, bodhisattva, buddha, who was here for a time to try mightily and heroically to mend the world's suffering. Some of us saw him as such a saint because we had done something positive in the past that gave us the karma to see through the delusions thrown at us by deluded others, onto our paths, like veil after veil after veil . . . till you see nothing of the Truth.
    Some of us didn't have the karma, but could sadly only see a faint shadow through their many delusions and so, misjudged

The Venerable Lama Reverend and Revered Martin Luther King

     A Bodhisattva is a human being who has committed herself and himself to becoming Enlightened (achieving Great Compassion and achieving the Wisdom of Realizing Emptiness). She's first. He's first. Like the child and the parent flying and plummeting in a plane. She puts on her oxygen mask first to help her child;
he puts on his own oxygen mask, first, to help his child. And not just for herself, ignoring the oxygen for her child; not just for himself ((Nirvana, ie., personal liberation from suffering)).

     A Bodhisattva INTENDS so strongly upon these virtuous goals. She and he Train Their Minds, Control Their Minds . . . towards the end of Great Compassion. Not just for a select few. But Great Compassion for every being with a consciousness.

    A Buddha, like Shakyamuni Buddha of this era (Prince Siddhartha at first), has achieved Enlightenment.

     I am not saying I have the karma to see Precious Martin Luther King as a Buddha . . . that takes many years of strong intention . . . but, intellectually, with 11 years of study and excellent teachings, I'm thinking he may have been.

     But I don't know.

    I do know and I have seen and heard directly that The Dear Dr. King was committed to the path of the Bodhisattva, and had already attained greater love and caring for others far beyond probably 99% of the rest of us on this planet.

Our Treasure Doctor King
This planet needs you now more than ever

            All our honor and love for everything you did,
            Mother Earth, Father Sun

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Could ja use a little inspiration?

from Pema Chodron's When Things Fall Apart:
"When we cling to thoughts and memories,  we are clinging to what cannot be grasped. When we touch these phantoms, and let them go, we discover a space, a break in the chatter, a glimpse of open sky. This is our birthright—the wisdom with which we were born, the vast unfolding display of primordial richness, primordial openness, primordial wisdom itself. All that is necessary then is to rest undistractedly in the immediate present, in this very instant in time. And if we become drawn away by thoughts, by longings, by hopes and fears, again and again we can return to this present moment. We are here. We are carried off as if by the wind, and as if by the wind, we are brought back. When one thought has ended and another has not begun, we can rest in that space. We train in returning to the unchanging heart of this very moment. All compassion and all inspiration come from that."