Thursday, 2 April 2015

Just Me Philosophising and Standing in the Doorway

                  Walking My Middle Path

I have written before about how I am a very medium sort of person.  I can find many ways to describe most of my features and qualities as medium, but I will try not to bore you with those here.  A decade ago I spent a few years studying Buddhism, in a manner which some Buddhists would say is quite wrong because I did not have a teacher.  But tell me I am doing something wrong and I am all the more likely to keep on doing it that way.  My stubborn streak is a little more than medium sized.  I read a wide array of books written about Buddhism by Buddhists, subscribed to a couple of magazines, attended one group event and disliked it, engaged an online teacher and made him angry with me and refuse to teach me (I asked questions and did not just follow instructions) which lead me to decide he was not a very good Buddhist.  Eventually my  conclusion was that the philosophy of Buddhism aligns quite well with my own personal philosophy and I had many aha moments.  I am living a lay-Buddhist practice without bothering to call it that and being a very non-religious person I step widely around any religious trappings.  In this way, I believe I am actually doing exactly what The Buddha advised, which is to walk the middle path.

In western culture we often talk about seeking balance, which is really a synonym for the middle way.  My path and your path will not be exactly the same, just as what is balance for me and what is balance for you will not be exactly the same but the paths lead to the same place, happiness.  And if we find our balance we find our happiness.  I use the term happiness here as a very large umbrella and am not intending to assign any construct to it.  I alone decided what happiness is for myself, how to find it and keep it and you do the same.  Buddhism does teach a way to get onto the right path, and these teachings make sense to me.  It is not my purpose here to outline or attempt to teach those but I will recommend some books at the end.  Today I am thinking about the right-for-me balance between confidence and humility.  I have grappled with this most of my life, both in sorting out my own instincts and what I have been taught and how those fit within my culture. 

I have noticed two different, and practically opposite types of women who both feel they do not fit the mould. 
I know women who are exuberant, loud, colourful, bold and although they have the confidence to be so, they say oh I am this way despite always being told it is not feminine, it is not right, I must be quiet and demure.  I do not doubt their experience but mine is opposite.  I am naturally quiet and demure.  I was raised to be ladylike, though I must add, not subservient or docile.  I did not feel a need to rebel against that since it suited my nature well enough, but when not amongst my family I often felt like quite a misfit.  It seemed to me that I was dull, boring, a disappointment to my peers and not well equipped to get ahead in life in a world where I would need to stand out and self promote in order to do so.  I think that both of these experiences are valid even though they are quite opposite and that as odd as it seems, they can actually both exist in the same culture.  We must feel free to be whichever way is true to who we are.  We must celebrate and support all kinds of women and all ways of being women.  No one way is better or worse than another.




Mixed Greens

And here are the much anticipated bloomer-ish pants.  Not being elasticated at the ankles I don't know if they are technically bloomers or just really big pants.  They have a nice flat yoke across the tummy and a drawstring waist and are definitely voluminous around the hips and bottom.  I am not a fan of the gold metallic threads at the bottom but will live with them. Here, it looks more like a skirt.

So here I am doing my morning calisthenics and demonstrating the pantaloons.

               This is a total man-repeller outfit which delights me to no end but the tunic dress needs its green brightened up a little.  On its own it looks a soft sage but next to other colours it turns drab.


 Suggested Books To Start With:  These are meant for a non-religious approach to Buddhism, incorporating its philosophy into your own religious or secular views.

The Art of Happiness, by His Holiness, The Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler.

Buddhism Without Beliefs, Stephen Batchelor


18 comments:

  1. I must admit my knowledge of Buddhism is faint. I do remember reading Siddhartha long ago and feeling the narrator's frustration with that sort of Buddhist "ask no questions" mindset you mention you felt from your teacher though! I do know I have a tendency to be drawn toward guru/sage type thinkers, possibly because I'm not really religious, and I do enjoy Eastern attitudes and philosophy and find yoga very centering.

    I like what you say about women, I definitely fall into the latter category, though some of my closest friends have been the first. It's easy to wish your very nature was different, that it would somehow make life easier. I think accepting who you are and trying to make the best of it is definitely the way to go as you wisely say! It's just figuring out your path that is the tricky part! I like the wide pant of your bloomer/skirt! I also like the soft green colour combination, very soothing!

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    1. Zen Buddhism is full of questions so I naturally prefer it. "What is the sound of one hand clapping?"
      Accepting who you are and making the best of it is the only way. All other ways are banging your head against a brick wall. However, I am one of those people who will walk over to the brick wall and touch it and think, hmmm, would banging my head here be better? xoxo

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  2. Great post! Thanks so much for sharing. My favourite colour is green. Happy Easter and warm greetings from Montreal. :)

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    1. Hi Linda in Montreal. I am waving at you from Vancouver Island. I love Montreal. Green is a very soothing colour to me. I am quite drawn to it. Happy Easter to you too! xo

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  3. Loving the tousled hair, it looks fabulous.
    The Dalai Lama is at the Glastonbury Festival this summer. Hope I get to see him. x

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    1. Thanks Vix, that is sort of my 'real' hair. LOL as opposed to my smoothing it out with the blow dyer. I saw the Dalai Lama in Vancouver a decade ago. It was a huge crowd and I sat uncomfortably for hours on a hard bench, but I am still glad I went. xoxo

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  4. I love the Art of Happiness book and have read it twice and bought it twice just to hand it off. So inspiring.
    I love your green bloomers/culottes/pantaloons/gouchos there's so many names for them. I'm sure I'm missing the correct name though. I love that color green on you.

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    1. That's why I just say 'baggy pants'. I have tried getting other family members and friends to read The Art of Happiness but without success. Maybe I should take a lesson from the JWs and start going door to door with it. ;-)

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  5. I was raised Catholic and while I think of myself as a religious person in faith, I do not like the whole "business" of religion. I have always wanted to learn more about Buddhism...I will check these books out.

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    1. You are right, personal faith and organised religion are different though they intersect in the individual in various ways. Buddhism has it's version of organised more prescribed and and religious approaches too and many different sects like Protestantism. It can be a religion or faith to those who wish it or it can be a philosophy and companion to other faiths. xoxo

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  6. Shawna, you changed your blog colors! It used to be a cozy reading corner, and now it's a room with an open window and blue sky. With Buddhist books here and there. :)

    Love your pantaloons!! xxxxx

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    1. Thank you, Natalia. Yes, I am very affected by the seasons, after hunkering down for a cosy winter I needed to open the window! xoxo

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  7. I'm not sure where I sit. I can be loud and dramatic but hate self promotion.
    Although raised a Christian, I resonate with a lot of Buddhism. Although the middle way is very difficult for the dramatic in me. I like your query bloomers. They remind me of my wrap pants. I agree the tunic looks light against the other deeper colours, but I would dispute dull. Man repelling is a fun subversive pass time! And often against female advice not male :-) xo Jazzy Jack

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    1. You sit right where you belong, with your own special combination. I also do not think self promotion is always a bad thing at all. It is just one way of being and if a person likes to stand up and shout hey look at what I can do, that is just her way. Sometimes we promote ourselves in our own ways without knowing it, I think. We might draw attention by being loud and dramatic but sometimes the quietest person in the room also stands out. xoxo

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  8. You're getting the lagenlook down to a fine art ... you look great.
    I start off quiet and demure, but the better I know you the louder I get ... of course wine probably helps that too ... so I guess I even out to be a medium person too :0)
    xx

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    1. Thanks, Jo. OH yes, wine or knowing a person well definitely makes me more outgoing. Give me wine and I talk waaaay too much. xoxo

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  9. *swoon* I've been wanting bloomers for a while. Those are gorgeous.

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  10. OH -wrong post but I meant to say in the other one that the shoes are Naturalizer brand but bought in a thrift shop. The bloomers are from a thrift shop too but you could make them easily with your skills. xoxo

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