I Fell off my Path

    Categories: dharma glimpse

    Dharma Glimpse by Katie

    a path through a desert with a rainbow in a a blue sky

    I fell of my path 

    I take a deep changing breath as I put the words together to write this, I have been promising Satya to take up the challenge but have been avoiding actually completing the task. I find myself with some very unusual time off and this now has felt the right time. 

    My path was always tight, long and went straight ahead towards the horizon but slowly very slowly I began to fall. I noticed myself slipping over the edge and I could no longer see the horizon but instead I felt fear as if I was at a cliff edge hanging by one finger, gravel and stones falling beside me. I was panicking, hot and sweaty and this was only making me slip further, my legs swung underneath me, and my breathing was tight and shallow. I was falling from my path and quickly, what was beneath me I had no idea but if frightened me. What made me fall I suppose your wondering? I didn’t fall, I was pushed, quickly and hard by the force that alcoholism had grasped me and taken a hold of who I was. I had become a functioning alcoholic, I was trapped, I was lost, and I had fallen. I was left hanging like this for 5 long years and I didn’t know how to lift my foot on the path and get back up and one terrible weekend in the mist of the COVID pandemic I nearly fell completely, I needed to get back up and I did. Someone took hold of my hand and very slowly over a period of nearly two years I was up and walking back towards the bright, powerful horizon ahead of me. The person reaching a handout was me and I pulled the shame, the guilt, anguish, and fear from myself. I looked up and there I was looking down at me smiling with a handheld out – I grasped my hand tightly and as the tears fell, I managed a small, frightened smile back. I was going to be ok. 

    I found myself on the route back guided by spirituality and faith. My mornings became bright and powerful, and my evenings became relaxed and calm. I practiced Yoga, Meditation, and I even began to run 5k regularly. I listened to Buddhist music as a way to escape temptations and then I came across the Bright Earth Temple. I very quickly learnt that with the love and care from Buddha we can live the life of forgiveness, be calm and embrace a healthy lifestyle. The words each week I speak with others ‘With Faith in the three jewels I pray that I may avoid intoxication’ remind me of the importance to stay on my path and keep walking with my head held high. I sometimes kick the bottle of wine in front of me straight of the side of my path listening to the crash of broken glass below me. Sometimes it might rain on my journey as temptation arises, but I will just open my umbrella and carry on towards the warm, welcoming sunshine. 

    We all have our own journeys and our own pathways, and I truly believe that with the glimpse of the Buddhist way I am firmly back on track, and I sit amongst these wonderful people on Saturday mornings, and I feel love and gratitude, I pray that our paths keep bright, warm, and strong. For the love we honour ourselves is so important. 

    Namo Amida Bu

    At the time of writing, I am 605 days sober 

    Mindfulness of the Cat

    Categories: dharma glimpse

    A Dharma Glimpse by Chris Earle-Storey

    a white and grey cat asleep on his side with what looks like a smile on his face
    Timothy the cat

    Timothy is relaxing on the sofa. Timothy does a lot of relaxing; like most cats, it’s a skill he has down to a fine art. Timothy doesn’t worry about mistakes he’s made in the past: he won’t be agonising over that time when he accidentally upset a mug of coffee all over the new carpet, or when he ripped a hole in the net curtain whilst trying to catch a fly. Timothy doesn’t worry about what the future holds either: he doesn’t feel anxious about the conflict in Eastern Europe, or feel concern about the damage us humans are doing to the planet. Timothy lives in the here and now. He enjoys the warm sunshine on his back; his strolls around the garden with all its fascinating sights and smells; the feel of a friendly hand stroking his back and around his ears; the taste of his food as the bowl appears in front of him courtesy of his tame human.

    Sometimes I wish I could be like Timothy. It would be so much easier and less stressful not to be concerned with anything beyond what is happening in this present moment within the narrow confines of my everyday life. On the surface, it may seem that “living in the present moment” is just that and nothing else – being mindful of what is happening to us in this moment, and putting aside everything else. However, living mindfully is so much more than that. If we live mindfully, we become more aware of what is going on around us; we become more open to the world with its joy and pain, its wonder and suffering, its potential and fragility. Being mindful doesn’t limit us, but rather expands our horizons.

    I could say more, but Timothy has got up from his rest and wants his dinner. He wants it now, of course.

    Dharma Glimpse from Upton

    Categories: Uncategorised

    By Dave Smith

    My partner and I have been living at the Buddhist temple in Malvern for about a year and a half now. 

    It has been our home and our place of refuge, and we have benefited greatly from living at the heart of this wonderful Buddhist community.

    Several weeks ago, we unexpectedly had to move out to help care for an elderly relative in a neighbouring town. 

    At first this seemed a wrench and an inconvenience and I was looking forward to our life returning to how it was before.

    Now, when I look at our life, I feel thankful for this opportunity to spend time living with Granny. 

    I have had the privilege to witness the love and compassion between her and my partner.

    There is sometimes a clash of personalities, as Granny is not always the easiest person to live with, but beneath this there is a real tenderness between them.

    Our lives have changed quite considerably, but when I look out the window, there is still the same sky, still the same sun and moon, and the birds are still singing. 

    Living at the temple taught me about attachment and impermanence, now I have been given the opportunity to put into practice some of these teachings.

    Living here I have a warm comfortable bed, a shower when I want one and the companionship of my partner and her granny.

    It is an easy life.

    I am regularly requested to leave the room when some of the more ‘personal’ care is carried out, I spend this time reading, walking the dog, or contemplating life whilst washing up. My time for Buddhist practice has increased due to the new routines of our situation and these short periods of time when I am alone.

    As soon as I stopped craving and longing for what I thought I had lost, or what I perceived I was missing out on, it quickly became apparent that I have everything I need, and more.

    The ever changing world outside is still there and my ability to find either peace or suffering is still within me, I’m choosing peace.

    Namo Amida Bu