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Heart Wisdom News


A Divine Rainbow for Sandwich Mountain Sanctuary

Sites for BodhiHeart Yurt, Ceremonial Fire Pit (behind small group of trees)

and Metta Labyrinth

It is difficult for any one to ignore the majesty and mystical presence of a rainbow. Last week we received this beautiful image from above, offering us a divine message that our vision of expanding our sacred place here at Sandwich Mountain Sanctuary is indeed upon us. 

It has only been since June when we received a clear message that we were called to build a yurt/meditation hall, but it has seemed longer in the waiting for things to fall into place. In the meantime, our vision of a sacred space has expanded to include a 40’ Labyrinth, a large ceremonial fire pit and offering a space for community kirtan!

This week things are progressing a at quicker pace, as the fire pit is completed, Metta Labyrinth now has a perimeter of stones, and BodhiHeart Yurt will be landing at Sandwich Mountain Sanctuary in a few days.

We are blessed. We are full of gratitude. 
We are excited to share all of this with a growing conscious community!

Reflections on the Heart’s Way

Reflections on the Hearts Way 
~ Norman Scrimshaw ~  

We try so hard to bring who we think we are to realization. These efforts will fail. The imaginary self cannot awaken. Keeping the false self going requires strategy. It constantly needs protection. Fortresses need to be built, yet it is like a sand castle facing the rising tide, it crumbles and constantly needs to be rebuilt. 

We keep the imagined self alive with the ever changing “ Story of Me” We keep fears alive with memories of a past, then project them into an imaginary future. We forget the pain from time to time, with the dream of the “imagined one” who will awaken.

Let go of this dreaming—all that you think yourself to be. 
It is so much effort and it is high maintenance.

We hold our identity tightly like a clinched fist.

Why not let go of this busyness of the mind for a short time and see what happens? Enter silently into that which is formless, without the baggage of all you believe to know.

Let go of your clenching fist, it will open naturally.

In deep relaxation where all that you know is gone.
All that is left is beingness. You are that.

All is well and you know you are home.

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Mooji Heart's Way quote
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I love the simplicity of Mooji’s invitation to enter softly into the freedom of your heart.

Community Kirtan!

~ Sandwich Mountain Community Kirtan ~
Cynthia Garner Scrimshaw

Our vision of providing sacred space that supports awakening to the heart, to joy, our true nature and building conscious community—Kirtan, often referred to as Bhakti Yoga or devotional music—encompasses all of this. We love the joy and heart-expanding experience of Kirtan. Chanting and moving to kirtan music is meditation in active form and creates an experience of heart connection and unity.

I cant remember exact details around making the decision to purchase my harmonium. I just remember that it came from deep within. After ordering my sacred instrument, I immediately received information about “Kirtan Camp” with Amah Devi and Johanna Beekman at The Yoga Space in Keene, NH, a half day intensive on learning how to play the harmonium. Yes, the universe affirmed I was to play the harmonium and begin a daily chanting practiceand to use my voice! The next step: sharing this in community.

Devotional music is often seen as an essential part of Satsang. Other than occasionally playing a special recording before meditation, this is something new for Norman in all the years he has led Satsang. With his renewed energy for teaching, he is embracing the potential for deepening the experience of Satsang. When we chant ancient sanskrit mantras and sing together before meditation, it helps to shift our sense of separateness to that of oneness and unity with the divine source within each of us. In addition, Norman feels that devotional music added to Satsang can help to relax the mind and open the heart. We began with including one devotional song/chant before meditation at our last Satsang, and plan to continue with this format.

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Community Kirtans are increasingly forming throughout the US and the world. So, I thought: What better setting than in a yurt to sing and chant? Is this something we can offer our communityan opportunity to gather at BodhiHeart Yurt to deeply touch our souls with heart-opening, uplifting and comforting music? Can I imagine a community kirtan in the midst of the mountains, where all are welcome to experience and create sacred healing sound with devotional music? Am I willing to go out on a limb and lead Kirtan? 
Again, the answer is 
Yes”! Through this mind/body/heart processing, Sandwich Mountain Community Kirtan was conceived and is waiting to emerge.

Harvest Moon…

~ Harvest Moon at Sandwich Mountain Sanctuary ~

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It is now officially autumn and tonight is the Harvest Moon. Along with the moon, our hearts are full. It is one of our favorite times of the year here in the White Mountains. We must admit we have been challenged staying fully in the moment recently, with planning and making preparations for the building of BodhiHeart Yurt and Metta Labyrinth. The ground prep for both has been delayed by several weeks and we have received word that it will begin this week, weather permitting. Next week we will hear when to expect arrival of the yurt materials. A pile of old field stones continue to nest close by, waiting to become the foundation of sacred space for the labyrinth. 

All is well. When we stop and listen carefully, we can hear the land and the mountains whispering “Yes”.

Blessings from John “O’Donohue

Blessings from John ODonohue
~ Cynthia Garner Scrimshaw ~

Recently I came across an article that I had saved, called The Presence of Compassion, an Interview with John O’Donohue by Mary NurrieStearns. The quote below comes from his discussion about compassion and prayer. 

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Compassion and Prayer
"There is a place in you...that is the eternal place within you. The more we visit there, the more we are touched and fused with the limitless kindness and affection of the divine…If we can inhabit that reflex of divine presence, then compassion will flow naturally from us.” 

~ John O’Donohue
_______________________

After reading those eight pages of dialogue in the article, I deeply felt the presence of compassion and the beauty of O’Donohue’s spirit. It reminded me of his powerful short time on earth, the spiritual hope and wisdom that he offered us…and a couple of his books on the shelf that I had not visited recently. This morning, I spent some time with them. Below are some other heart wisdom words from him that I feel moved to share…
             _______________________

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Beauty in the Heart
Excerpts from 
Beauty, The Invisible Embrace: 
Rediscovering the True Sources of Compassion, Serenity, and Hope

Yet though the music of the heart may grow faint, there is in each of us an unprotected place that beauty can always reach out and touch. 
When the mind is festering with trouble or the heart torn, we can find healing among the silence of the mountains or fields,
or listen to the simple, steadying rhythm of waves.
The slowness and stillness take us over…

When serenity is restored, new perspectives open to us
and difficulty can begin to seem like an invitation to new growth…
the heart of vision is shaped by the state of the soul. When the soul is alive to beauty, we begin to see life in a fresh and vital way…
When we beautify our gaze, the grace of hidden beauty
becomes our joy and sanctuary.
” 

~ John O’Donohue
_______________________

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Blessings of Retirement
Excerpts from 
To Bless the Space Between Us:A Book of Blessings

This is where your life has arrived,
After all the years of effort and toil;

Look back with graciousness and thanks
On all your great and quiet achievements.
  

You stand on the shore of new invitation
To open your life to what is left undone;
Let your heart enjoy a different rhythm
When drawn to the wonder of other horizons.

Have the courage for a new approach to time;
Allow it to slow until you find freedom
To draw alongside the mystery you hold
And befriend your own beauty of soul.

Now is the time to enjoy your heart
’s desire,

To live the dreams you’ve  waited for,
To awaken the depths beyond your work
And enter into your infinite source.

~ John O’Donohue
_______________________

John O’Donohue has been described as an Irish poet and philosopher
and an awakened soul who believed that ancient wisdom
offers spiritual nourishment for the modern world.

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Thank you, John O’Donohue. What a gift to spend time reflecting upon your wisdom this morning. May others enjoy it, too.

Compassion Practice

Compassion Practice
~ Cynthia Garner Scrimshaw ~

The Practice of Compassion is rooted in the heart, at the very core of our being. It is the essence and ultimate expression of my own spiritual practice, and that of Buddhism, Christianity and other World Religions. Practicing compassion opens the heart and awakens us. In the practice of compassion, we discover our innate resilience that helps us cope with life challenges and personal suffering, and strength to hold empathy for others. Simultaneously, it offers us a way to deepen heart-felt feelings of love, joy, and connection with all sentient and non-sentient beings and the world we live in, and finding deeper meaning in our daily life.

So what does this practice look and feel like? How can one move concepts out of the mind into the true experience? I adore the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh. He has helped me simplify and develop my practice of compassion, such as mindfully drinking a cup of tea when feeling stressed, or moving my computer out of my lap to make the space for one of my cats, Ani or Bodhi, so that we can taste the sweetness of silent and healing connection with one another. This is a simple practice of compassion—being mindful, intentional and opening one’s heart to the beautiful experience of living each moment.

Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis
on which the world earth revolves—slowly, evenly, 
without rushing toward the future;
Live the actual moment.
             Only this moment is life.
                
                                                                                ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

With every mindful, benevolent and intentional moment we can develop a strong compassion practice. It is not about seeking perfection, but it is in living a conscious and meaningful life. We forget, we loose track, we get lost and bounced around with the stress of reacting to external events or internal musings. Then we remind ourselves “Oh yes, I remember what I truly want—let me return to my true home and where I want to live”. The practice of compassion develops and deepens as we remind ourselves before we get too far adrift. We begin to recognize it feels so much better to live in the present moment with all of the ups and downs of life, than it is to get lost in the mire of anger, blame, shame, isolation, or even the over indulgence of pleasure as an avoidance to facing something “uncomfortable”. 

With a focused compassion practice, we will get off our path less frequently,  and when we inevitably do, we find it much easier to find our way back— embracing the journey that is our true nature…

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What are you Searching For?

What are you Searching For?
~ Norman Scrimshaw ~

Behind all our desires we are seeking peace, joy, wisdom, love, and connection. These are natural to who you truly are.

~You are already that which you are seeking~

Often we are not experiencing this natural state of being. We are identified with a mind that assumes we are lacking something that we need.  This mind churns to seek what is missing that would complete us where we feel deficient. It could be more money, a new relationship, a better job, a house, or land. Perhaps if we had more friends, we would be happy…  Some seek power to feel more safe—“if only people would behave towards me the way they should”. Getting what we want may help us feel better for a time, but the feeling of “something is missing” returns. It is never enough. Those who seek spiritual experiences can fall into the same trap of believing in a mind that is never satisfied. The light is not bright enough. The experience didn’t last. Eventually the disappointing experience rises as “I lost it” or “I need a bigger experience” and so on. 

~You are not the endless parade of thoughts that run through your head~

In the stories that you hear in your mind—sometimes you are wonderful, sometimes a failure. You may give yourself status in comparing yourself with others. Your identity may be tied in with your profession, your possessions, your religion or philosophy—and your passions. Identifying with what you are not is the cause of your suffering. 

~ It is in knowing what you truly are, that you are free.

I am here to remind you there is nothing missing. You are already complete and whole in who you truly are. You are Awareness itself. You are the attention that sees and holds the thoughts, feelings, and experiences.  In deep silence, we can begin to experience the qualities of what is awake in you, unconditional love, peace, joy, contentment, compassion and wisdom. In the beginning our attention may be so identified and entangled with thoughts, that experience of truth may feel limited.

In meditation we begin to experience a gap between thoughts and consciousness itself. As we begin to experience a gap between our thoughts and awareness itself, we begin to have a choice to simply notice thoughts without claiming them as ours. With the recognition of a space where thoughts arise of their own volition, we can give our attention to thoughts that are in service to a joyful and fulfilling life which is reflective of our True Nature. We can learn to turn away from a fixation with an indulgent soap opera of our stream of consciousness. We can then rest in the quiet peace of our own essence. 

So many thoughts arising filling every gap of silence, when attached to as ours they separate us from the beauty of the direct experience of this present moment. They pull us into dullness and suffering. Without attention thoughts fade away. To the degree you give any thought attention as real, more thoughts arise in support.

No thought that arises in consciousness is ours. They never were. They come and go at their own accord. If we choose not to give attention and reality to a thought, it has no power in our lives. 

No thought can hold the whole truth. At best, a thought holds partial truth. A thought that carries suffering carries no truth at all. Instead of claiming thoughts as ours, From spaciousness we discover that we can hold thoughts we carefully choose lightly and let them go when their usefulness has past. 

We need thoughts to live as a human being. We use thoughts as tools, knowing they are not truth itself. There are practical thoughts needed in life which involve things such as making grocery lists, solving problems, and budget planning. There is also a place for thoughts beyond the practical. Creative, playful, loving and connecting thoughts are all part of our natural expression.

Much of the time our mind is busy producing thoughts and words which we accept in an unconscious way.  So many of these thoughts are noise and not in service to our being.  As we learn to recognize thoughts and thought patterns that create separation and suffering, we have the opportunity to let them go before they take root. When we choose to use thoughts more wisely, we can notice thoughts, then turn our attention away from thoughts that don’t uplift us. The mind begins to quiet. We then find ourselves enjoying many more sweet moments of silence in simple Beingness where Joy is Alive.

Ultimately, we are the loving presence that holds all experience. We also are living on this Earth as human beings with its many challenges, confusion, and conditioning to overcome. At times, we may feel separation. We can learn to trust the great love that we are as ever present, always shining its light on our humanness. It softens, heals and comforts even the most wounded places of our human experience. We feel its warmth 

Then we know again… All is Well

If We Build It, Will You Come?

We wake up each morning in gratitude to be living surrounded by such natural beauty here in the White Mountains. For many years, we have had a vision of building a yurt as a sacred space on this land. There is a new stirring in our hearts that the time is NOW! We are feeling a deepening in awakening that needs expression. We keep getting an image of the movie, “Field of Dreams”. A voice in our hearts speaks, “If you build it, they will come”.

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There are other voices in our Heads, that say…
“Are you crazy?”
“It is too expensive”
“You are supposed to be retired and are too old to start something like this”
“No one will come this far into the wilderness”

We have decided to follow the voice in our hearts. 

The deposit has been made and it’s non-refundable! We anticipate the “raising” of the 25-foot diameter yurt to happen the beginning of October 2018.

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Below is the site where the yurt will rest. Look carefully for the Prayer flags that are flying over the sacred space that has been chosen.

More news and pictures to come, as we share the progress.

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The Call to Serve…

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When we decided to retire a few years ago, we envisioned spending our time enjoying the natural world and our home, doing more traveling, reading, and a sundry of other activities. 

We have done a lot of this, yet what we realized after deep inner listening, is that we both are called again to serve others. Serving others in awakening to the beauty of their hearts, we continue to deepen a sweet intimacy in our own true nature and love for life.         

Norman and Cynthia

© Awakening to the Heart -  2018