Category Archives: Buddhism
It was sunny and calm this morning. The temperature was at 10 degrees Celsius as I returned to my corner in the garden that receives first morning light for meditation, the first time to meditate nude outdoors. I almost always meditate nude, but usually in the colder weather I find myself meditating nude in my office with a small electric heater to keep me warm. The office is the coolest room in the house for some reason and we typically keep the house at 18 Celsius. When I meditate clothed, it is because I am in a situation where privacy is sketchy, for example trying to meditate outdoors while at a textile campground with neighbours too close for comfort.
Even thought the temperature was significantly lower outdoors, the direct sunshine with no wind made it feel infinitely warmer.
Later this morning I will be spreading wood-chip mulch on our front garden. Since the front is wide open to passing foot and vehicle traffic, I will be required to wear clothing. Regardless, it will be worth it as the front garden is turning out to be something that I am proud to have designed.
Yes, Buddha, or should I say Siddhartha Gautama, would have looked like this not long after he began his journey to enlightenment. Like all those before him, that journey was marked by being skyclad, by meditation, and by deprivation. Today, Sadhu Nagas still continue this practice. Somewhere between then and now, the Digambara who stress the practice of nudity as an absolute prerequisite to the attainment of salvation.
Somewhere along his journey toward salvation, he decided that the traditional means of attaining salvation were just not enough. He abandoned the classical Hindu and Jainist rituals and carved his own path that he called the middle way. He came to reject nudity as being unseemly with the nude body being ugly and not suitable for polite company. As Buddha, he self-proclaimed as fully aware. Yet, he was still a man of his times, a time when nudity was not considered suitable in polite company. In other words, he didn’t want Buddhists to be in conflict with cultural norms. Another reason for his rejection of nudity was the fact that he was rejecting Hinduism and Jainism and he wanted his followers to be be distinctive in appearance and dress. Both reasons are sensible when the objective is to have Buddhism become mainstream. As far as nudity being objectionable in terms of ultimate moral truth, that would be a different story, one that Buddha never addressed.
Of course, Buddha also said that we each must carve our own path to enlightenment, not simply to adopt his path as our path. My path includes nude meditation and respect for the naked human body.
I want to bring in a different voice here, Radmila Moacanin who wrote in 1986 in a book that looked at Jungian psychology and Buddhism:
“the strength of Buddhism, namely the flexibility of its method s and practice, its emphasis on each individual’ s experience , not intellectual, philosophical knowledge alone , or blind faith. Nothing, no method is excluded that could lead to the ultimate goal of liberation.”
Blind faith, a rigorous following of a document as the “holy words” of a belief system, was not what Buddhism is supposed to be about.
It’s been a driving day towing my camping trailer to my grandson’s home as we will be heading to a camping site by a lake (his father, him and me) for the weekend. The drive passed through sunny stretches and pouring rain and thunderstorms, several times. By the time I reached my destination, I was very tense as the wind made towing the trailer a bit more of a challenge than normal. Life is like that on the prairies. Normally it is dry, but already this early summer we have slightly more than doubled the normal annual precipitation. We recorded more than 100 mm (4+ inches) in less than 24 hours on Monday. Needless to say, it is a good thing I add meditation to my ritual of handling the stresses that would otherwise leave me too tense and perhaps too edgy.
Mediation is vital in my opinion, for anyone who wants to get more “self” control. Without this control, I find myself “reacting” rather than responding with considered reasonableness. And, it often happens that I can listen better, let it wash through me without having it stick within me like some nascent cancer. To meditate skyclad outdoors in sunshine is the ultimate experience for me. However, even nude meditation indoors is treasured. And when there is no opportunity for either experience, even clothed meditation works on allowing me to be more present and more pleasant in my interaction with the universe.
“Healing a Broken Man” is now on sale in various locations, as well as on-line at Amazon. It is the final book in the autobiographical series that hopefully sheds light on why a rather ordinary man somehow found his path to healing via naturism, Buddhism, and Jungian psychology. The focus is on the movement from unconscious presence to becoming aware of all the warts, bruises, scrapes, and stains on the psyche. The work was not simply one of removing clothing, it was a serious peeling off of layers of denial and ferreting out skeletons from the closet.
It is a naturist book at its core, a testament to the healing power of being honest in one’s body, mind and soul. Now that it is being distributed, first in my home community, my neighbours get to understand a bit more of that strange man who is rumoured to sometimes be naked. Was it a courageous act to write this story? I don’t think so, it was more about spilling one’s guts out, like purging after drinking or eating too much, a purging that allows one to finally breath again. I hope you take the chance on ordering the book and reading it. If you are interested, the book can be found at CreateSpace and at Amazon.
The book is finally published and available for people to read. It is the third and final book in the Healing the Soul, Skyclad series. And as with all the other books in the series, the profits from the book will be given to the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre in Calgary which works to assist youth who have been sexually abused, as well as to work to make our adult world more vigilant in protection of our youth.
Human nature being what it is, sexual abuse will not disappear. Yet, by breaking the silence, we can allow those who are abused to find a way to receive healing in various ways. Those who are abused as youth, regardless of whether that abuse was sexual, physical, or emotional [think of abandonment as an example], the child is traumatized.
Somehow, our society only recognizes the soldiers who suffer trauma. PTSD has become recognized as being a condition that cripples the psyche. Yet intense trauma is also experienced by Emergency Response teams, nurses, policemen, and firemen. But what about the women who are raped and battered? What about the children who miraculously survive abuse without committing suicide? Too often we respond with “forget about the past and get on with life” for these children who have become broken adults. We need resources to help children, and the children who have survived into adulthood if we are to ever reduce the incidences of abuse in the future.
Buy the book and support a vital cause. The print version of the book is found at: https://www.createspace.com/6166654 – the eBook version is available through Amazon at: http://www.amazon.com/Healing-Broken-Man-Along-Skyclad-ebook/dp/B01ECWK8AI?ie=UTF8&*Version*=1&*entries*=0
In my office I have put up a few bits of memorabilia on the wall in honour of completing the Camino de Santiago. Forty days on the trail took me from Saint Jean Pied de Port to Santiago del Compostela. I was interviewed by a local news reporter about the walk and am now following up that interview with a series of emails for more information and some photos of the event. The article is to be published sometime in the next week or two from what I have been led to understand.
One of the questions had to do with what I gained from this experience. It made me pause for a bit while I thought about it. I don’t normally try to evaluate experiences but simply be present in the experiences and move forward from that point. During the Camino, I became better at “being in the moment,” as that seemed to be all that existed at the time. Extraneous thinking was banished, thankfully, allowing me to see, smell, and fully experience the trail, the people, and all the unknowns that awaited me with each step going further down the trail. For so many of the kilometres walked, it was as if I was in a state of mindful meditation, being aware and present without thinking taking me away into another world, a false world, the world of ego which is within the head.
Now, more than two months after the final steps into Santiago where I received my compostela of completion, I am finding that I have been able to enter into this state of being present much more easily. It almost makes sitting meditation a redundant activity – well, not really. Yet, if I don’t take time for a sitting meditation I don’t find myself so easily rattled by the events of the day. So yes, the Camino was a life-changing event for me.
Every morning I meditate with early morning sunshine filtering through the leaves of trees in our back yard. I sit at the entrance to our casita with door open so that the breezes as well as the occasional rays of sunshine can touch me. I meditate with a state of openness, not trying to force meditation into one direction or another. I meditate with my eyes opening slightly before gently resting as I get caught up in my breathing.
Breath in, breath out, pause – repeat. My eyes open not in search of anything, but simply to accept unquestioningly that which appears before my eyes, not judging, not valuing or devaluing. What is seen is simply just seen just like the breath going in and out is just breath.
A thought appears, and I notice its presence and simply let it go without trying to work out what that thought is trying to tell me. I learn to trust that if a thought is important it will return when I leave my meditation cushion. I have spent too many meditation hours following those rogue thoughts as they create so many fantasies of illusion, thoughts that work emotions to the point that any hope for peace had vanished leaving me drained. It has taken me years to get to a basic level of peacefulness while meditating, a peacefulness that curiously has seeped into my other hours of wakefulness.
Om mani padme hum.
It is New Year’s Day and I haven’t made any resolutions that are worth discussing other than to attempt to be au naturel when opportunities present themselves.
It’s easy to be so caught up in the past which in turn makes it so difficult to be in the present. For me, meditation is one of the key strategies for prodding myself to return to the present moment simply through returning to the breath that enters then leaves the body.
Sure, there are sorts of thoughts that arise and attempt to have me forget that I am living in the present. Most of those thoughts are nothing but illusions, fears, false premonitions, fantasies and likely products of unconscious contents within me. With practice, I have learned to let go of these thoughts, gently, and return to my breathing and in turn, to my body.
Being aware of one’s body and accepting that it is one’s body is something that has allowed me to give myself the authority to care for that body rather than rely on other “authorities.” As a result, I am learning to respect my body and myself as I consciously look at what I put into this body and onto this body, always asking myself, “Why?” Why this food and not better choices? Why this beverage and not better choices? Why these clothes when none would be a better choice in certain situations?
I already hear what I can only call excuses, but they are simply that excuses. For most people, the only true reason is the fact that they don’t believe in themselves. The voices of others have more weight, more authority – even the voices of strangers. Most of us think that the opinions of others are much more important that the stirrings within our own souls, within our own heads. Most of us get overwhelmed with the idea that we are fully responsible for all of our choices. After all, we have made these choices every step of the way on our journeys through life whether we admit it or not.
If there is one thing I could wish for is that you dare to be you, dare to accept the reality that it is you who makes all the decisions. You’re never going to please all the others out there – ever! The best you can do is at least to strive to be authentically yourself.
You just have to love it! It’s winter time, and for Canadians that typically means living in a deep freeze that would rival Siberia. Yesterday morning I woke up to -28 C with a wind chill that made it feel like -40 C. This morning I woke up to +23 C which makes a world of difference. I felt very comfortable finding a place to put my meditation cushion in the garden for my daily nude meditation. At home in Canada, it is necessary to use a little electric heater to meditate nude. We keep our house quite cool, about 17 C during the day and 14 C over night.
With meditation done, morning coffee in the garden with my wife was enjoyed without the need to wear clothing. Then, we went out for our usual ten kilometre (six miles) walk on the beach wearing the minimum. For her, a small bikini and for myself, a mini Puma (Speedo style) bathing suit. Now, just before I go outside to enjoy some more sunshine au naturel, I am taking a few moments to write, nude of course, this post. I will be back with more from Mexico.
Kneeling with head bent in prayer
Opening up, consciously, willingly
Inviting close inspection of the soul
Hidden deep beneath the ego
Hidden deep beneath words
Hidden deep beneath intention
Sun’s rays fall upon
The bared body of a woman
Broken by fear and anger
Warming, showing a path
Through the dark shadows
Hiding the soul
Denying the soul
Penetrated by light
A sliver of hope wells
A hope that has no words
That lifts the bent head
Lifting the veil of shame
Pulling the soul up
From banished depths
With mind stilled
With mouth quiet
An emptiness emerges
That is filled with joy