Archive for August, 2013

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.

Posted: August 23, 2013 in Quotes

Life is simple. Everything happens for you, not to you. Everything happens at exactly the right moment, neither too soon nor too late. You don’t have to like it… it’s just easier if you do.

– Byron Katie

  • It is very important to surround yourself with people who have loving kindness, understanding, and compassion, because day and night we are influenced by the collective consciousness.
  • When you observe your mind, you use your mind… If your mind is caught in anger, confusion, discrimination, then it’s not clear enough to do the work of observation, even if you have expensive scientific instruments.
  • It’s not important that you remember what was said, but that you are free.
  • The nature of a seed is that its manifestation, its fruit, is already contained in the seed.
    • You need a few conditions to help them manifest.
    • The seed and the fruit are not two different things.
    • You need the kind of environment where the seed of Buddhahood can manifest to the maximum. These are supporting conditions.
  • Sometimes obstacles and difficulties help you to succeed.
    • If the pine encounters only easy conditions along the way, then its roots may not go as deeply and firmly in the earth, and when the strong winds come it may be blown over.
  • A practitioner should be strong in order to accept both kinds of supporting causes: same direction or opposite direction.
  • Transformation and healing need to be steady and continuous.
  • Everywhere there is a perception, there is a delusion.
  • The Four Reflective Inquiries
    1. The Name – We tend to believe that since the name remains the same, the reality has remained the same also.
    2. The Meaning of the Word – We are always ready to label things with the names and concepts that we already have.
    3. Conventional Designation
    4. The Particular
  • Nondualism gives rise to nonviolence.
  • The nature of interbeing: Everything contains everything else; everything penetrates everything else. Looking into the one, you see the presence of the many, the presence of the all.
  • Every thought, every speech, every act bears your signature – you can’t escape.
    • If you produce something not so beautiful you can’t take it back – it has already gone out ahead in the future and begun to produce a chain of action and reaction.
  • We are a continuation. It’s like the stream of water on Earth is a continuation of the cloud in the sky. And the stream of water has not been born. It’s only a continuation of the cloud.
    • A cloud may become rain or snow or ice or water. But it is impossible for a cloud to become nothing.
  • The substance with which the future is made is the present moment.
    • If there is peace, harmony, right effort, and mindfulness now, we know the future will be good.
  • The Six Paramita (The Six Perfections)
  • When your heart is small, you suffer a lot. But when your heart becomes bigger, very big, then the same thing does not make you suffer anymore. So the secret is how to help your heart to grow.
  • Liberation is found on the other shore. But it is not a matter of time, not a matter of distance to reach the other shore – it is a matter of insight, of realization.
    • Releasing the shore of ignorance, of delusion, of attachment, of wrong perceptions we are already touching the shore of freedom, of happiness. It is not a matter of time.
  • When we love each other, we are not the possession of the other, we are not an object of consumption for the other person. Love has the substance of maitri inside, that is, the capacity to offer friendship and happiness.
  • The four element of love
    • Maitri – friendship
    • Karuna – loving kindness
    • Mudita – joy
    • Upeksha – equanimity, non-discrimination
  • You don’t really need a lot of money, or fame, or power to be happy. We need mindfulness in order to be happy. We need freedom – freedom from our worries, craving, and anxiety – so we are able to get in touch with the wonders of the life that are available in the here and the now.
  • The Five Earth-Touchings

Walking Meditation

The mind can go in a thousand directions.
But on this beautiful path, I walk in peace.
With each step, the wind blows.
With each step, a flower blooms.

I have arrived.
I am home
in the here,
in the now.
I am solid.
I am free.
In the ultimate
I dwell.

Resting is a precondition for healing. When animals in the forest get wounded, they find a place to lie down, and they rest completely for many days. They don’t think about food or anything else. They just rest and they get the healing they need. When we humans become overcome with stress, we may go to the pharmacy and get drugs, but we don’t stop. We don’t know how to help ourselves.

Stress accumulates in our body. The way we eat, drink, and live takes its toll on our well-being. The practice of deep relaxation provides an opportunity for our body to rest, to heal, and to be restored. We relax our body, give our attention to each part in turn, and send our love and care to every cell.

If you have trouble sleeping enough, the deep relaxation practice can compensate. Lying awake on your bred, you may like to practice total relaxation and follow your breathing in and breathing out. Sometimes it can help you to get some sleep. But even if you don’t sleep, the deep relaxation practice can help because it can nourish you and allow you to rest.

Mindful breathing, total relaxation of the body can be done at home at least once a day. It may last twenty minutes or longer. We can practice it either with a group, with our family or alone. When we do deep relaxation in a group, one person can guide the exercise using the guide below or some variation of it. When you do deep relaxation on your own, you may like to record an exercise to follow as you practice. One member of the family can lead the session for the whole family, perhaps in the living room.

The Exercise

Lie down on your back with your arms at your sides (you may also practice in a sitting position). Make yourself comfortable. Allow your body to relax. Be aware of the floor underneath you and of the contact of your body with the floor. (Pause)

Allow your body to sink into the floor. (Pause)

Become aware of your breathing, in and out. Be aware of your abdomen rising and falling as you breathe in and out…rising…falling…rising…falling. (Pause)

Breathing in, bring your awareness to your eyes. Breathing out, allow your eyes to relax. Allow your eyes to sink back into your head…let go of the tension in all the tiny muscles around your eyes…our eyes allow us to see a paradise of form and color…allow your eyes to rest…send love and gratitude to your eyes. (Pause)

Breathing in, bring your awareness to your mouth. Breathing out, allow your mouth to relax. Release the tension around your mouth…your lips are the petals of a flower…let a gentle smile bloom on your lips…smiling releases the tension in the hundreds of muscles in your face…feel the tension release in your cheeks…your jaw…your throat. (Pause)

Breathing in, bring your awareness to your shoulders. Breathing out, allow your shoulders to relax. Let them sink into the floor…let all the accumulated tension flow into the floor… we carry so much with our shoulders…now let them relax as we care for our shoulders. (Pause)

Breathing in, become aware of your arms. Breathing out, relax your arms. Let your arms sink into the floor…your upper arms…your elbows…your lower arms…your wrists…hands…fingers…all the tiny muscles…move your fingers a little if you need to, to help the muscles relax. (Pause)

Breathing in, bring your awareness to your heart. Breathing out, allow your heart to relax. (Pause) Our heart beats for us night and day…embrace your heat with mindfulness and tenderness…reconciling and taking care of your heat. (Pause)

Breathing in, bring your awareness to your legs. Breathing out, allow your legs to relax. Release all the tension in your legs…your thighs…your calves…your ankles…your feet…your toes…all the tiny muscles in your toes…you may want to move your toes a little to help them relax…send your love and care to your toes. (Pause)

Breathing in, breathing out…my whole body feels light…like duck weed floating on the water…I have nowhere to go…nothing to do…I am relaxed…send your love and care to your toes. (Pause)

Breathing in, breathing out…my whole body feels lights…like duck weed floating on the water…I have nowhere to go…nothing to do…I am free as the cloud floating in the sky. (Pause)

(Music or silence for a few minutes)

Bring your awareness back to your breathing…to your abdomen rising and falling. (Pause)

Following your breathing, become aware of your arms and legs…you may want to move them a little and stretch. (Pause)

When you feel ready, slowly sit up. (Pause)

When you are ready, slowly stand up.

In the above exercise, you can guide awareness to any part of the body – the hair, scalp, brain, ears, neck, lungs, each of the internal organs, the digestive system, pelvis, and to any part of the body that needs healing and attention, embracing each part and sending love, gratitude and care as we hold it in our awareness and breathing in and out.

The Lesson of the Butterfly

Posted: August 11, 2013 in Short Stories
Tags: ,

Once a little boy was playing outdoors and found a fascinating caterpillar. He carefully picked it up and took it home to show his mother. He asked his mother if he could keep it, and she said he could if he would take good care of it.

The little boy got a large jar from his mother and put plants to eat, and a stick to climb on, in the jar. Every day he watched the caterpillar and brought it new plants to eat.

One day the caterpillar climbed up the stick and started acting strangely. The boy worriedly called his mother who came and understood that the caterpillar was creating a cocoon. The mother explained to the boy how the caterpillar was going to go through a metamorphosis and become a butterfly.

The little boy was thrilled to hear about the changes his caterpillar would go through. He watched every day, waiting for the butterfly to emerge. One day it happened, a small hole appeared in the cocoon and the butterfly started to struggle to come out.

At first the boy was excited, but soon he became concerned. The butterfly was struggling so hard to get out! It looked like it couldn’t break free! It looked desperate! It looked like it was making no progress!

The boy was so concerned he decided to help. He ran to get scissors, and then walked back (because he had learned not to run with scissors…). He snipped the cocoon to make the hole bigger and the butterfly quickly emerged!

As the butterfly came out the boy was surprised. It had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. He continued to watch the butterfly expecting that, at any moment, the wings would dry out, enlarge and expand to support the swollen body. He knew that in time the body would shrink and the butterfly’s wings would expand.

But neither happened!

The butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings.

It never was able to fly…

As the boy tried to figure out what had gone wrong his mother took him to talk to a scientist from a local college. He learned that the butterfly was SUPPOSED to struggle. In fact, the butterfly’s struggle to push its way through the tiny opening of the cocoon pushes the fluid out of its body and into its wings. Without the struggle, the butterfly would never, ever fly. The boy’s good intentions hurt the butterfly.

As you go through life, keep in mind that struggling is an important part of any growth experience. In fact, it is the struggle that causes you to develop your ability to fly.

  • To love work for work’s sake and not for its gain.
  • Happy is he who sees not his unhappiness.

Posted: August 11, 2013 in Quotes

Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit, wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

  • In most cases, to experience higher spiritual existence, we must be at least open to the possibility that such perception exists.
    • …there is a profound difference between knowing about and debating spiritual perception and actually experiencing these perceptions ourselves.
  • The anxiety of early abuse creates a severe need in children to take control of life.
  • The secret of life is learning to make a fool of yourself gracefully.
  • …at a certain point our focus on the economic aspects of life became an obsession used to push away the anxiety of uncertainty.
  • Though our ability to affect the world in both cases, nondirective intention (that is, holding the idea that the very best should happen without injecting our opinion) works better than directive intention (holding the idea that a specific outcome should occur).
  • When we think positively, uplifting ourselves and others in the process, incredible events begin to unfold.
  • Where attention goes, energy flows.
  • Every person is an energy field consisting of a set of assumptions and beliefs that radiate outward and influence the world.
  • Four control dramas:
    1. Interrogation which manifests as judging. Usually the Interrogator comes from a family in which his parental figures were absent or not attentive to his needs.
    2. Aloofness which manifests as being withdrawn and enticing people to draw us out
    3. Pitifulness (a.k.a. “poor me”) which manifests as guilt-inflicting self-pity and even helplessness
    4. Intimidation which manifests as being threatening
  • Yet we must remember that it is because we are short of energy, cut off from the source that the dramas operate.
  • Corruptions of capitalism occur when people are vulnerable to excessive advertising that seeks to create needs based on insecurity.

Posted: August 5, 2013 in Quotes
Tags:

Compassionate listening brings about healing… Deep listening nourishes both speaker and listener… You have to listen in such a way that compassion remains with you the whole time you are listening. That is the art… Compassion is the only energy that can help us connect with another person.

– Thich Nhat Hanh

Posted: August 4, 2013 in Quotes
Tags:

I believe all suffering is caused by ignorance. People inflict pain on others in the selfish pursuit of their happiness or satisfaction. Yet true happiness comes from a sense of inner peace and contentment, which in turn must be achieved through the cultivation of altruism, of love and compassion and elimination of ignorance, selfishness and greed.

– Dalai Lama