Green Tara

If you have plants in your home then you will know what joy they bring, aesthetically pleasing, plants have a unique feel good factor and contribute towards purifying the air we breathe. Like us they need certain conditions to be met in order to survive; water, sunlight, nutrients, and the necessary processes of respiration and metabolization. They are impermanent yet intimately tied to continuity. One particular plant of mine is the vibrant Anthurium. It is the plant pictured here in this painting, recognised by its distinctive flowers.

Recently I have been reading about Tibetan Buddhism and Green Tara in particular, the goddess of compassion. I started to see my Anthurium plant as a kind of embodiment of Green Tara, the form and shape of it was graceful, energetic and abundant. The white heart shaped flowers a beautiful symbol of compassion, and the green of regeneration, hope and vitality.  I was truly inspired and decided to run a yoga and creativity workshop, inviting people to choose a plant as a focus for their meditation and art.

Unfortunately that same month my husband suffered from Covid 19. He was confined to the top floor of the house, it was an unusual situation to care for a loved one with distance and masks, to see them suffer yet not be able to offer them the comfort of normal human closeness. It was during this period that I did the workshop on zoom.  It was a joy to do this workshop and see others in the flow state of creativity.

This plant painting is the result of what started off as a sketch during the workshop, as the painting progressed my husband also progressed well with his recovery. Returning to normal health and wellness there was genuine gratitude and a sense of life affirmation.

The painting has some Japanese text in the top left and right, the kanji reads as mujō which translates as impermanence. The white square symbolises the moon, the yellow, the sun.

Overall for me the painting is rejoicing in life whilst recognizing its transitory nature.

100 dollars from the proceeds of this workshop were donated to CCR, the Centre for Contemplative Research in Colorado. This centre is dedicated to contemplative and scientific research to address the nature of genuine well-being and seek to understand through meditation and science, the nature of human consciousness.

You can read more about this organisation here:

https://www.centerforcontemplativeresearch.org/about-ccr

Observe Yourself

When the mind and body are in balance it is like the ever present clear blue sky, a vast spaciousness of non-reactivity. What clouds and dulls the mind is negative mental states along the spectrum of I like it, I don’t like it. There is a craving for something or a sense of clinging to the view that if only things were different then life would be better.

Our day to day life is always in relationship to, or in relationship with, whether we are alone or with others, it is always in the plane of relating. It is how we comport to situations, people, things, that determines whether we are in balance or not. When we feel ill at ease, be it mildly or more pronounced we will feel it as tightness in the body and mind, reflected in our mental, verbal and bodily actions.

The very early sign of liking or disliking as a mental state is a feeling sensation in the body. To understand this and start to transform it is no easy task. It does however begin with awareness of that early reactive tone in the body and the voice of your mind. If we know a situation or interaction triggers us to behave in a certain way we can start to catch ourselves before we spill over into the habitual reaction. We can pause for a moment and actively choose to respond differently.

It is part of being human to be reactive and have emotions like anger, fear or jealousy, BUT we can modify or reduce the volume of these reactive states, through repeated self observation, reflection and a caring understanding attitude. Beneath all of this is the vast clear non reactive body / mind experience.