Between birth and death,
Three in ten are followers of life,
Three in ten are followers of death,
And humans just passing from birth to death also number three in ten.
Why is this so?
Because they live their lives on the gross level.
One who knows how to live can walk abroad
Without fear of rhinoceros or tiger.
They will not be wounded in battle.
For in them rhinoceroses can find no place to thrust their horn,
Tigers no place to use their claws,
And weapons no place to pierce.
Why is this so?
Because they have no place for death to enter.
– Lao Tsu, Tao Te Ching
June? I last posted in June. One part of my summer was diving into some divine books. One book I keep reading again and again is “Shambala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior” by Chogyam Trungpa. I have been deeply exploring one particular passage that feels so relevant to the dynamics of our communal here and now:
“If you want to solve the world’s problems, you have to put your own household, your own individual life, in order first. That is somewhat of a paradox. People have a genuine desire to go beyond their individual, cramped lives to benefit the world. But if you do not start at home, then you have no hope of helping the world. So the first step in learning how to rule [authentically contribute] is learning how to rule your household, your immediate world. There is no doubt that, if you do so, then the next step will come naturally. If you fail to do so, then your contribution to this world will be further chaos.”
Almost a year and a half ago I committed to a weekly practice that is an inexpressable influence in my life : playing music with the Catskill Mountain Gamelan.
Since I can’t express it, I’ll borrow some words from the I Ching!
Hexagram 16 / Yu / Enthusiasm
” When, at the beginning of summer, thunder–electrical energy–comes rushing forth from the earth again, and the first thunderstorm refreshes nature, a prolonged state of tension is resolved. Joy and relief make themselves felt. So too, music has power to ease tension within the heart and to loosen the grip of obscure emotions. The enthusiasm of the heart expresses itself involuntarily in a burst of song, in dance and rhythmic movement of the body. From immemorial times the inspiring effect of the invisible sound that moves all hearts, and draws them together, has mystified mankind.”
This Spring is mesmerizing!
I’ve got giant baskets and recycled drums full of peas and bird-pleasing flowers anywhere I can fit them. I love seeing herbal treasures pushing out of sidewalk blocks on my walk to work. And when I want to delight in even more garden treasures, urban and otherwise, I peek at the lush plant folly of these sites/sights:
Kingston local loveliness: https://www.facebook.com/KingstonYMCAFarmProject?fref=ts
Just across the river: https://www.facebook.com/TheHerbalAcre
Eat the vitality of Spring, the qi of the season’s upward and outward. This is a time of year when most people can handle the cooling properties of raw vegetables and benefit from the potent vitamin and enzyme impacts of sprouts in particular.
If you’re not sure your digestive fire strong enough, if your healthcare practitioner has helped you identify that your digestion is weak and/or your constitution is cold, remember that the larger sprouts can be lightly steamed or sauteed before consumption. Examples are aduki, lentil, garbanzo, and green pea. This warms them up and makes them easier to digest while maintaining the vibrancy and nourishment of sprouts.
Pick out your seeds and get them sprouting with this ratio: one part seed to at least three parts water. Soak them in a wide-mouth jar that is covered with a sprouting screen or cheesecloth secured to the jar. Rinse twice daily and return the jar to a mouth-down position to drain. Once they’re started, keep them in a cool place with indirect light.
When they’re ready to eat (you decide what size you want,) loosen the seed hulls in a large bowl of water with a gentle shake. Keep them in your refrigerator up to one week when you’re not eating handfuls in salad, on toast, atop stir-fries.
Another simple online resource: http://www.ekhartyoga.com/blog/sprouting-seeds
Other Spring food inspiration: http://healingwithwholefoods.com/articles/spring-into-summer/