Jonathan Foust

March 30, 2009

Happy For No Reason: Mai Toi

Filed under: Video — jonathanfoust @ 10:13 pm

Being a ‘worthy person.’  A Thai Life Insurance ad.

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Eastern Sky

Filed under: Nature, Photography — jonathanfoust @ 3:47 pm
An Opening in the eastern sky this morning.

An opening in the eastern sky this morning.

March 27, 2009

Magical Morning

Filed under: Nature, Photography — jonathanfoust @ 1:59 pm

This morning’s walk in the woods and along the river was filled with low lying clouds and magical light.  The cool weather has held back the spring growth and I can hardly wait to watch the explosion when things warm up.

Into the sunrise.

Into the woods and into sunrise.

Cool weather has held these buds back to incremental growth.  Just wait until we have three warm days in a row.

Cool weather has held these buds back to incremental daily growth. Three warm days in a row will change everything.

The land next to the river was prime gardening for the Native Americans. The forest floor is about to transform.

This low lying land next to the river was prime gardening for the Native Americans. The forest floor is transforming daily.

First of the Virginia Bluebells.

First of the Virginia Bluebells.

Hakuna is suddenly well enough to scramble down a 30' bank to snack on what's left of a yearling deer.

Hakuna is suddenly well enough to scramble down a 30' bank to snack on what's left of a yearling deer.

Tara and the Coots.  (Hmmm ... great name for a  country western band.)

Tara and the Coots. (Hmmm ... great name for a country western band.)

Full bellied happy camper heading home.

Full bellied happy camper heading home.

March 24, 2009

Call Me By My True Names

Filed under: Dharma, Photography, Quotation — jonathanfoust @ 10:25 am
A reflection of clouds at the river's edge.

A reflection of clouds at the river's edge.

The reading from class this week exploring ‘self and world.’  From Thich Nhat Han.

Call Me by My True Names

Do not say that I’ll depart tomorrow
because even today I still arrive.

Look deeply: I arrive in every second
to be a bud on a spring branch,
to be a tiny bird, with wings still fragile,
learning to sing in my new nest,
to be a caterpillar in the heart of a flower,
to be a jewel hiding itself in a stone.

I still arrive, in order to laugh and to cry,
in order to fear and to hope.
The rhythm of my heart is the birth and
death of all that are alive.

I am the mayfly metamorphosing on the surface of the river,
and I am the bird which, when spring comes, arrives in time
to eat the mayfly.

I am the frog swimming happily in the clear pond,
and I am also the grass-snake who, approaching in silence,
feeds itself on the frog.

I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones,
my legs as thin as bamboo sticks,
and I am the arms merchant, selling deadly weapons to
Uganda.

I am the twelve-year-old girl, refugee on a small boat,
who throws herself into the ocean after being raped by a sea
pirate,
and I am the pirate, my heart not yet capable of seeing and
loving.

I am a member of the politburo, with plenty of power in my
hands,
and I am the man who has to pay his “debt of blood” to, my
people,
dying slowly in a forced labor camp.

My joy is like spring, so warm it makes flowers bloom in all
walks of life.
My pain if like a river of tears, so full it fills the four oceans.

Please call me by my true names,
so I can hear all my cries and laughs at once,
so I can see that my joy and pain are one.

Please call me by my true names,
so I can wake up,
and so the door of my heart can be left open,
the door of compassion.

March 22, 2009

The Remains of Fall

Filed under: Nature, Photography — jonathanfoust @ 2:07 pm
Morning Light Behind a Beech Stand

Morning light behind a stand of Beeches.

Here it comes.  Distant trees start budding.

Here it comes. Border trees start budding before the field grasses.

Before and After the Flood

Filed under: Nature, Photography — jonathanfoust @ 2:00 pm

The Potomac River volume fluctuates wildly.

If you look in the tree branches above Tara (above left and extreme right) you can see some tufts of grass and mud from last year’s flooding.  The water was about eight feet higher than it is now.

pre-flooding2

March 21, 2009

Happy for No Reason: The Rapping Flight Attendant

Filed under: Humor, Video — jonathanfoust @ 12:22 pm

You have to admire his willingness to hang it out there.  I also appreciate the collaboration of everyone on board.

Last of the Ice

Filed under: Photography — jonathanfoust @ 12:11 pm
Last night might have been the last and coldest night until fall. Just a bit of ice.

Last night might have been the last, coldest night until fall. Just a thin layer of ice on the most shallow edges of the river.

March 20, 2009

The Life of the Buddha

Filed under: Dharma, Photography — jonathanfoust @ 1:06 pm

It’s easy to forget, when we are caught in the busy-ness of our lives, that we are on a journey.  Though we may not realize it, we are constantly growing, adapting and refining our understanding of what is around us and our relationship to it.

In reflecting on the Life of the Buddha and how it mirrors our own journey, I was thinking about how plain and straightforward I could make it. This is probably an over-simplification, but here is my thinking:

  1. We start off feeling protected and part of the whole. Womb service is great.  Everything we need.  As children, many (certainly not all) of us have for some period of time a certain degree of safety and sense of feeling loved.  A time of innocence.
  2. Something goes wrong. We don’t get what we need.  We have what in the Forum training is called “A Break in Belonging.”  The sweetness of a protected life is shattered and we realize we are on our own.  For many, this happens early and gets reinforced when we hit the big disappointments: failed relationships, unrequited love and the self-doubt that settles into our psyche.
  3. We shift to a strategy of austerity.  We resolve to fix what’s wrong. We focus on self-improvement. We decide to ‘whip ourselves into shape.’ We bear down on the degree we want. We make huge sacrifices of time and energy toward our job or career.
  4. We start to wake up. We begin to pause and question our motivations and ask ourselves what is most important.
  5. We surrender to what is. Rather than chasing something ‘out there,’ we begin to explore what is already here.  We begin to unravel the tensions and stress that hold us back from being fully present.
  6. We awaken. To some degree, we begin to recognize the power of shifting from the realm of thinking to engaging into moment-to-moment awareness.  We begin to live from an intention of cultivating greater presence to what is actually going on.
  7. Life goes on. From a place of greater inner freedom, we move through the world less bound, more prone to happy attacks and surges of gratitude.  We engage into action less driven by greed, aversion and delusion, and more from compassion.

Many of us are familiar with the story of the Buddha.  (I wonder how many people think the Buddha actually looked like Keanu Reaves?)

The first part of his life he was carefully and thoughtfully protected from the suffering of life.  His “rude awakening” was encountering the Four Visitors of Sickness, Old Age, Death and Renunciation.  He went off and engaged into six years of austerities, ultimately realizing that austerity would not lead to liberation.  He realized the Path of the Middle Way – neither indulging nor denying the senses.  Neither grasping nor pushing away anything that arises.

His practice was what we practice today:  bringing awareness and presence to the play of feeling, thought, moods and states, noting what arises, what falls away and to our relationship to this constantly shifting constellation of phenomena.

After his awakening he travelled and taught for forty years, freely engaging all who sought his teaching, summing his message as ‘teaching about suffering and the end of suffering.’

In that same way, I think each of us is waking up to the suffering in and around us.  We are coming to know more and more intimately the painful result of greed, hatred and delusion.

Each of us in our own way is called to pause, slow down and ask ourselves what, truly, is most important.

little-buddha

March 18, 2009

Transition

Filed under: Nature, Photography — jonathanfoust @ 5:54 pm
old-leaves1I am savoring each day here in the woods watching and feeling Spring emerge around me.  I was struck this morning by the textures of transition.  Here last year’s leaves have not yet given way to new growth.
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