Wednesday, September 29, 2010

We are Only Travelers

In Tibetan, the word for body is lu,
which means
"something you leave behind,"
like baggage.

Each time we say lu, it reminds us that
we are only travelers, taking temporary
refuge in this life and this body.

~Sogyal Rinpoche

Of Note: Wisconsin is known for many things such as dairy cows, milk and cheese. It may not be famous for paradigm-shifting neurological research like that carried out at the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds in Madison, a new research lab which is studying whether or not meditation can promote compassion and kindness. The Dalai Lama wants to change that and has donated $50,000 to the cause. It all started back in 1992 when the center's founder, Dr. Richard Davidson, met the Dalai Lama in the Himalayas. His Holiness challenged the neuroscientist to use sophisticated imaging tools to investigate things like kindness and compassion. At that point, Dr. Davidson made the promise to do everything he could to "put compassion on the scientific map." Since then, he and his coworkers have hooked electrodes to the heads of meditating Buddhist monks and others. They found that compassion changes brain wave patterns. Next on the agenda is teaching 5th graders meditation skills in order to change "habits of the heart" and measure the results. This is only the beginning, I feel sure, particularly with the support, financial and otherwise, of the Dalai Lama who promotes compassion wherever he goes.

Of Note: I greeted a woman in the Walmart parking lot today with the question: "Isn't it a beautiful day?" She smiled back and said: "Only for a little while." I asked what she meant by that negative sounding remark to which she responded that rain was on the way. Looking around, I couldn't imagine that she was telling the truth. But, by the time I got out of the store a short time later, ominous clouds had rolled in and rain began to fall. Now it's pouring. So much for our sunshiny day. The lake will like the change, however, as it rises day by day. Even though our rainy, cool season continues, downtown Los Angeles clocked a record 113 degrees Fahrenheit yesterday, even if only for a few minutes at midday. This broke the all-time record of 112 degrees set in June 1990.