Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Celebrating 10 years into Living Food


It has been 10 years on this journey with Raw...

Raw changed my life... and I am so grateful...

You want to know more.. here is my latest podcast from July 24, 2020 with Eric Mailhot from Ericzone Podcast

In-Joy the Magic of Food...Living Food

Live in Harmony, Love and Peace

La Reina

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Day 4, cont'd

 As I wanted to post about this experience... everything was already written and ready to be posted... and all of a sudden - it gets erased... literally... and I can not retrieve it.... so Sad.

Today, October 1, 2020, I am posting it for May 9, 2020... Day 4 Self-Course Vipassana Meditation, and I am guessing... it was about the day I went into plus the Discourse of Day 4...

Just to put you into perspective... today October 1, Harvest Moon, and back into Lockdown for 28 days...
Is it a coincidence? wasn't I supposed to share that specific day so it got deleted... I don't know.

In any case, here is the Day 4 discourse:



Anicca = Impermanence

I promised I will write the descriptions of the words Mr. Goenka uses in the discourses, and also are the fact of what we are practicing.

In a way, it reminds me at all times of all what my body is going through, the sensations, the wandering mind, specially the food thoughts that has been hunting me.

The teacher I connected with, warned me not to mix water fast with Vipassana, as Vipassana is not a simple meditation, it is a deep surgery within the body and mind for purification.

"You should not mix fasting and doing the self-course.  You should follow the regular course outline and code of discipline and do your fasting another time. To have a successful course one should follow the code of discipline and separate this 2 as two different projects."

So all my mind is kind of arguing with my body and thoughts should I or should I not.

Simply to mention, during the group sitting and the half day course that was offered online, I was thinking about texting the fellow of the organic grocery shop to ask him if he delivers to my area, and also had the ingredients in my mind: 2 bags of Celery, 2 bags of Carrots, 6 Beets, 6 Oranges, 3 Grapefruits, 6 Granny Apples... all I thought was because tomorrow is Sunday and now with the COVID, everything closes Sunday, I thought maybe it will be a good idea.

Anyways, I didn't message anyone, I simply wrote an email to the teacher, and waiting for her reply.

Following the course this am, I decided to clean my  place, slowly, as I felt tired, and I remembered that during all this time, I never rested, there is a lot of work that happens during meditation, plus I am all about preparing my water, and the fast, and the walks... so yes that was my realization.

So the group sitting at 2:30 was a success for me, at least I felt that I truly meditated. Usually this happens even during the course on campus... your mind and body are adjusting... plus I have tried so many ways of sitting, all failures until the last one.... Finally.

So to go over the definition:



- by the Vipassana Research Institute
Change is inherent in all phenomenal existence. There is nothing animate or inanimate, organic or inorganic that we can label as permanent, since even as we affixed that label on something it would undergo metamorphosis. Realizing this central fact of life by direct experience within himself, the Buddha declared, "Whether a fully Enlightened One has arisen in the world or not, it still remains a firm condition, an immutable fact and fixed law that all formations are impermanent, subject to suffering, and devoid of substance." Anicca (impermanence), dukkha (suffering), and anatta (insubstantiality) are the three characteristics common to all sentient existence.

Of these, the most important in the practice of Vipassana is anicca. As meditators, we come face to face with the impermanence of ourselves. This enables us to realize that we have no control over this phenomenon, and that any attempt to manipulate it creates suffering. We thus learn to develop detachment, an acceptance of anicca, an openness to change, enabling us to live happily amid all the vicissitudes of life. Hence the Buddha said that:

To one who perceives the impermanence, O meditators, the perception of insubstantiality manifests itself. And in one who perceives insubstantiality, egotism is destroyed. And (as a result) even in this present life one attains liberation. The comprehending of anicca leads automatically to a grasp of anatta and dukkha, and whosoever realizes these facts naturally turns to the path that leads out of suffering.

Given the crucial importance of anicca, it is not surprising the Buddha repeatedly stressed its significance for the seekers of liberation. In the Mahā Satipaṭṭhāna Suttanta, the principal text in which he explained the technique of Vipassana, he described the stages in the practice, which must in every case lead to the following experience:

(The meditator) abides observing the phenomenon of arising . . . abides observing the phenomenon of passing away . . . abides observing the phenomenon of arising and passing away.

We must recognize the fact of impermanence not merely in its readily apparent aspect around and within us. Beyond that, we must learn to see the subtle reality that every moment we ourselves are changing, that the "I" with which we are infatuated is a phenomenon in constant flux. With this experience we can easily emerge from egotism and so from suffering.

Elsewhere the Buddha said:
The eye, O meditators, is impermanent. What is impermanent is unsatisfactory. What is unsatisfactory is substanceless. What is substanceless is not mine, is not I, is not my self. This is how to regard eye with wisdom as it really is.
The same formula is for the ear, nose, tongue, body and mind—for all the bases of sensory experience, every aspect of a human being. Then the Buddha continued:

Seeing this, O meditators, the well-instructed noble disciple becomes satiated with the eye, ear, nose, tongue, body and mind (i.e., with sensory existence altogether). Being satiated he does not have the passion for them. Being passionless he is set free. In this freedom arises the realization that he is freed.

In this passage the Buddha makes a sharp distinction between knowing by hearsay and by personal insight. One may be a sutavā, that is, someone who has heard about the Dhamma and accepts it on faith or perhaps intellectually. That acceptance, however, is insufficient to liberate anyone from the cycle of suffering. To attain liberation one must see truth for oneself, must experience it directly within oneself. That is what Vipassana meditation enables us to do.

If we are to understand the unique contribution of the Buddha, we must keep this distinction firmly in mind. The truth of which he spoke was not unknown before him and was current in India in his time. He did not invent the concepts of impermanence, suffering and insubstantiality. His uniqueness lies in having found a way to advance from hearing truth to experiencing it.

One text that shows this special emphasis of the teaching of the Buddha is the Bāhiya Sutta, found in the Saṃyutta Nikāya. In it is recorded an encounter of the Buddha with Bāhiya, a wanderer in search of a spiritual path. Although not a disciple of the Buddha, Bāhiya asked him for guidance in his search. The Buddha responded by questioning him as follows:

What do you think, Bāhiya: is the eye permanent or impermanent?
Impermanent, sir.

That which is impermanent, is it a cause of suffering or happiness?
Of suffering, sir.

Now, is it fitting to regard what is impermanent, a cause of suffering, and by nature changeable, as being "mine," being "I," being one's "self?"

Surely not, sir.

The Buddha further questioned Bāhiya about visual objects, eye consciousness and eye contact. In every case, this man agreed that these were impermanent, unsatisfactory, not-self. He did not claim to be a follower of the teaching of the Buddha, and yet he accepted the facts of anicca, dukkha and anatta. The sutta thus documents that, among at least some of the contemporaries of the Buddha, ideas were current that we might now regard as having being unknown outside his teaching. The explanation, of course, is that for Bāhiya and others like him the concepts of impermanence, suffering and egolessness were simply opinions that they held—in Pāli, mañña. To such people the Buddha showed a way to go beyond beliefs or philosophies, and to experience directly their own nature as impermanent, suffering, insubstantial.

What, then, is the way he showed? In the Brahmajāla Suttanta the Buddha provides an answer. There he lists all the beliefs, opinions and views of his time, and then states that he knows something far beyond all views:

For having experienced as they really are the arising of sensations and their passing away, the relishing of them, the danger in them, and the release in them, the Enlightened One, O monks, has become detached and liberated.

Here the Buddha states quite simply that he became enlightened by observing sensations as the manifestation of impermanence. It behoves anyone who aspires to follow the teachings of the Buddha to do likewise.

Impermanence is the central fact that we must realize in order to emerge from our suffering, and the most immediate way to experience impermanence is by observing our sensations. Again the Buddha said:

There are three types of sensations, O meditators (all being) impermanent, compounded, arising owing to a cause, perishable, by nature passing away, fading and ceasing.

The sensations within ourselves are the most palpable expressions of the characteristic of anicca. By observing them we become able to accept the reality, not merely out of faith or intellectual conviction, but out of our direct experience. In this way we advance from merely hearing about the truth to seeing it within ourselves.

When we thus encounter truth face to face, it is bound to transform us radically. As the Buddha said:

When a meditator thus abides mindful with proper understanding, diligent, ardent and self-controlled, then if pleasant bodily sensations in him arise he understands, "This pleasant bodily sensation has arisen in me, but it is dependent, it is not independent. Dependent on what? On this body. But this body is impermanent, compounded, arising from conditions. Now how could pleasant bodily sensations be permanent that arise dependent on an impermanent, compounded body, itself arising owing to conditions?"

He abides experiencing the impermanence of sensations in the body, their arising, falling and cessation, and the relinquishing of them. As he does so, his underlying conditioning of craving is abandoned. Similarly, when he experiences unpleasant sensations in the body, his underlying conditioning of aversion is abandoned; and when he experiences neutral sensations in the body, his underlying conditioning of ignorance is abandoned.

In this way, by observing the impermanence of bodily sensations, a meditator approaches ever closer to the goal of the unconditioned, nibbāna.

Upon reaching that goal, Kondañña, the first person to become liberated through the Buddha's teaching, declared, yaṃ kiñci samudayadhāmmaṃ sabbaṃ te nirodha-dhammaṃ—"Everything that has the nature of arising also has the nature of ceasing." It is only by experiencing fully the reality of anicca that he was eventually able to experience a reality that does not arise or pass away. His declaration is a signpost to later travellers on the path, indicating the way they must follow to reach the goal themselves.

At the end of his life the Buddha declared, vaya-dhammā saṅkhārā—"All created things are impermanent." With his last breaths he reiterated the great theme of which he had spoken so often during his years of teaching. He then added, appamādena sampādetha—"Strive diligently." To what purpose, we must ask, are we to strive? Surely these words, the last spoken by the Buddha, can only refer to the preceding sentence. The priceless legacy of the Buddha to the world is the understanding of anicca as a means to liberation. We must strive to realize impermanence within ourselves, and by doing so we fulfil his last exhortation to us, we become the true heirs of the Buddha."  --- Ref: https://www.vridhamma.org/node/2489

Day 4 - Learning Vipassana procedure & more to come

 Today is the day, where you start the process of learning Vipassana which is the operation of purifying the mind.

The mind being always agitated, it is not easy to train it to calm down, it is a long process of anapana, which is the first step to allow the mind to calm, so the feeling of the sensations on the upper lip below the nostrils start vibrating.

Here is a Mini Anapana meditation, should you feel like trying it

Last night's Discourse was interesting, my meditation afterwards was ok, not as rewarding as the night before... Mr. Goenka speaks about experiencing the moment as it is, and not getting attached to the moments before, as everything is impermanent - Anicca - anicca - anicca, the good feelings and the uneasy feelings they are all anicca - anicca - anicca (spelled Anitsha)

Definitions of Anicca will share it in another post, here are some words of Dhamma (Universal Law of Nature)

Words of Dhamma
Sabbe saṅkhārā aniccā’ti
yadā paññāya passati,
atha nibbindati dukkhe;
esa maggo visuddhiyā.
All things are impermanent
when one observes this with insight,
then one becomes detached from suffering;
this is the path of purification.

 I will write a blog referring to the sources from Dhamma.org about all what we need to know about this practice, and the words used to define every step, information, etc...

Today, again waking up at 6:02, drinking 1L of water, hopping in the shower & getting ready for the online group sitting from 7-8:15 and now, luckily, they are organizing from 9 - 12 online group meditation, which will help me deepen my practice. How lucky is this to be already starting to enter Vipassana's day and I am receiving the assistance, help I asked for. I am simply grateful.

I made a herbal tea now, thyme, rosemary, ginger and turmeric, which helps my day to start, food intake wise.

I will get ready for my 3 hours meditations, then I planned to clean the apartment, & again meditate ... hoping the weather later will permit for a nice calm walk outside.

Stay tuned....

Have a good day

Friday, May 8, 2020

my Body is Strong, the power of the body & sometimes, weakness of the mind

Following a good 55 minutes meditation, I looked up the window and saw the sun shinning, so I decided to go for a walk.

At the beginning, my body was lazy, tired, I was gonna give up so many times thinking that I can not keep that challenge, this is tough, I have to nourish my body otherwise my muscles are gonna get weak. Plus during this whole quarantine I have been kind of working out at home, from yoga, to walks, hikes, to keep my muscles strong. So imagine the conversations I was having with my mind all the way up to the beaver lake from my home.

"I can't do this anymore, maybe I should stop, it is ok if I did, what do I have to loose, you worked a lot on these muscles, and see, you can barely go up this small hill."

At one point, I was gonna give up and come back home, thinking that now it is day 3, my body can be tired and simply needs to rest. Feeling all the aches everywhere, I was pursued that this is what I must do.

Than, I remembered how back in Egypt during the water fast, I had a lot of energy, and plus I was ready to run, exercise, with no food and only prana, from the water, the sun and the sea.

So here I am, repeating, "my body is strong, my body is strong, my body is strong" & I remembered back in 2017 when I ran the 1/2 marathon, when a week before I decided to sign up, and at the same time, my food intake was so little, and mainly drinking green juices and smoothies, of course, all plant based. So I thought, yes my body is so intelligent, and this is one of the reasons why I am taking the self-challenge, so I can witness the power of the body and sometimes, the weakness of the mind.

I did walk, for a little bit above 6 km, and I was happy, it was chilly outside, my body was cold, but I did it and that is what counts.

I am back home now, making a warm drink, with Ginger and Turmeric, maybe I will add a little bit of hemp seeds and blend them together.

It is already 17:17, and I need to soon get ready for the online group sitting at 18:00.

I wanted to share that experience here... to keep the memory of knowing, the body is STRONG.

Here are the distances I have done since I started.

Day 3 Self-Course Vipassana & Water & Liquid Fasting

After last night's discourse, I saw the "light" at the end of this tunnel of this specific journey/challenge.

It was very informative, elevating, and relieving.

Mr. Goenka spoke about The Code of Discipline
The foundation of the practice is sīla — moral conduct. Sīla provides a basis for the development of samādhi — concentration of mind; and purification of the mind is achieved through paññā — the wisdom of insight.

So during the discourse, the information explained about sīla and the examples are marvelous, and very true. He also spoke about samādhi and the different kinds of samā.

I truly encourage you to look into the discourse, and get insights, maybe that will help you abstain from most of the moral conducts that are hurting others, & by definition hurting yourself first.

I shared the discourse of day 2 in yesterday's writing of day 2.

I had a great meditation session after the discourse, from 8:45pm to 9:35pm, without instructions, and I truly felt the air going in the nostrils, and out of the nostrils, concentrated on the smaller area on the upper lip, with the tingling sensations. So that was marvelous. Then I went to bed.

What I forgot to mention at the beginning, is that during the discourse, and because I am not "eating" during the day, beside craving for the " old frozen soup", and how the mind manipulated me to make some vegan hot chocolate... so I do have raw cacao powder, some hemp seeds, some oats, maple syrup, beet powder & cinnamon power,  mixed everything up with hot water and the herbal tea already prepared, and I enjoyed every bits and sips of it.

So when Mr. Goenka was speaking about the sīla I felt that I have failed.. that I promised to simply be on a water fast during this period, and I am not taking it easy, I do drink a lot, water, water with lemon, herbal tea, & water lemon cayenne with apple vinegar cider and maple syrup... but that is not helping me.... I wonder how I was able to be on a water fast in Egypt... the sun, the warmth, the beach, surrounded by people who were doing the same....

Over here, the weather have been cold, it is actually snowing today and it is May 8, 2020... something I don't believe I have seen in Montreal. And so, during these hours, like when I started writing it was 11:45 am, and everyday around this time and for the hours of the afternoon, I feel shivers and cold... so when I meditate, I always have a cover, warm socks, a hoodie, & a shawl.

So my failure is that my sīla is cheating myself, and everyone I have informed that I will be doing this challenge of water fasting for 10 days... & that I have prepared the first day the expired protein shake, the second day the "old soup" & the hot chocolate & today my mind has been hoovering around about some carrot pulp that I freeze after all my juicing in the past few months.. & if I can create  a soup with it, adding garlic and some dry spices... mmmm
....at the same time, I have listened to my body.. whether it is the body or the mind.. it is something I got to discover.

Today, I have woke up late too, at 5:57am, hopped in the shower and got ready for meditation followed by the online group sitting at 7am. And I haven't felt like I felt the night before... all the sensations... which is fine, as we have to observe exactly what it is here and now.

and because today's weather is cold and snowy, I didn't go for a walk, so I stayed in and i tried to meditate as much as I can. Anyhow, it is only 12:14 pm now... so I still have time.

Just to mention, I have been weighting myself since day two, so yesterday I weighted 58.5 kg & today 58.1kg.

Also, what I have been enjoying, is truly getting back to writing, without the wanted or the need for anyone to read, I am simply putting it out there for whom ever feel attracted to read, and benefit my sharing.

I am planning to do the enema today for few days, so I can release all that is stuck in my intestines. clearing the path of that organ.

I have also realized, that, I am meditating when I am writing, walking, showering, making my teas or preparing my water, all I am doing is breathing and being conscious of the breath, something I have been doing already, and this journey is reminding me of the importance of conscious breathing.. and how your body reacts to a thought or an action... as lately my body was reacting, seldomly, in the past month, with one specific person, & that bothered me a lot - one of the reasons was that I felt lied to, & submissive -

I will get myself back to preparing my enema, then meditate for the rest of the afternoon... with the thought of not preparing the soup... and look forward for my discourse of this evening then get to bed & try to wake up earlier. (even though I have been waking up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom with all the liquids I have been drinking)

Here is the link for the Day 3 Discourse, I look forward to watching it tonight.

Day 2 Self-Course Vipassana & Water Fasting

To my surprise, I look at the watch, and it is already 6:20 am!!! I have missed my morning wake up alarm, and the on my own meditation & chanting.

Hopped in the shower, and was ready for the 7 am online group sitting.

Tired, sleepy, my meditation kind of failed, I would open my eyes after 20 or so minutes, although we are supposed to have a full hour meditation every time we meditate... so I keep meditating.

Had all my water, water preps, and herbal teas & ready to take a walk...

Looked up the weather, and realized it will be sunny and zero wind till 1 pm, so I switched the timing and decided to go for a walk and sun bath... being in the sun gives a lot of prana and energy, so I bathed myself with its light. only walked for 5.6 km & sat around 30 min in the sun! how wonderful.

During each walk, and specially during the course, 1st, you are silent, 2nd you are consciously breathing, third, you start observing  mindfully everything that is there, the trees, the flowers, the nature, the skies, the clouds, the wind... all the natural beauties... and also, to my surprise, the people's littering....

As I have mentioned before, the quarantine, since 36 days now.. so the workers in Mont Royal parc are not there... and people are still walking, consuming and throwing in the full loaded garbage can.. instead of walking few meters away and find another can... Here is photo of it.

The distance between the two

I will also add photos of the flowers, and magnificent things I encountered during the walk (my phone is off, I used it only to measure the km walked.. and snapped some photos) also, need to mention, my smelling sensations increased... yes, I was smelling beautiful smells, even from far!

So a wonderful start of day, regardless the late wake up and change of morning plans.

Coming back home, I drink & drink and drink then I meditate... also heads falls down, my sitting position hurts (oh I didn't mention that I had a fall on the 31st of December 2019 right on my tail bone)... and yes yes yes, it still hurts every time I sit down.. so imagine meditating for a full hour, or sometimes more with that pain... it is all about learning equanimity.

Followed again a recording group sitting at 2:30 followed by stretching yoga few poses for 20 min.

& forgot to mention, during the meditation, my mind wandered around again... thinking about the food, what can I make from the tiny things I have.. which is almost nothing... I remembered a year ago I had put a raw soup in the freezer... and my weaknesses got me to take it out... the mind, the mind... is simply a manipulator... I added some spices, heated it up and had it very very very slowly.... the taste is so so... do I regret, I can't say, maybe... I should have stick to my program.

One of the hardest thing to do is to self-commit, in this way. I have committed to myself in the plant based food for 8 years (maybe cheated here and there - and always try never to buy anything at home so I do not smell it... but when I go to my sister or parents in Lebanon, I get to have a great commitment, which might slip once or twice during a whole months or 2 period...

Anyhow... coming back to now. Finishing the soup and getting ready for my 6pm online group sitting, followed by the discourse of the second day... excited what Mr. Goenka will speak about... then meditate for 30 min & head to bed.

Here is the video of Day 2 Discourse... and Yes, it did answer a LOT of my questions... if it is not for the evening discourses, I would have stopped any minute.. this gives me the power and the motivation to continue.

Tomorrow is another day, Day 3! Let's see how that goes!

Have yourselves a wonderful evening,

May you all find the peace within, live in harmony and enjoy every moment of your life.