Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Another mandala

This one hangs in our meditation hall. I think Cynthia Burgess took the picture.

Here are some thoughts that can direct you in your reflection on the mandala:
The word "mandala" is from the classical Indian language of Sanskrit. Loosely translated to mean "circle," a mandala is far more than a simple shape. It represents wholeness, and can be seen as a model for the organizational structure of life itself--a cosmic diagram that reminds us of our relation to the infinite, the world that extends both beyond and within our bodies and minds.

Describing both material and non-material realities, the mandala appears in all aspects of life: the celestial circles we call earth, sun, and moon, as well as conceptual circles of friends, family, and community.
...
Carl Jung said that a mandala symbolizes "a safe refuge of inner reconciliation and wholeness." It is "a synthesis of distinctive elements in a unified scheme representing the basic nature of existence." Jung used the mandala for his own personal growth and wrote about his experiences.
I found the above quotations on this page.

Mandalas are found in most if not all belief systems. In Christianity, common mandalas are rose windows (typically found at the liturgical west end of cathedrals and other churches) and labyrinths (often found on the floors of the medieval cathedrals).

Monday, December 29, 2008

Mandala meditation gift

For Christmas, Marilyn Bedford gave me a set of circular cards with black and white mandalas on them along with some colored pencils. Included is a little plastic stand so that when I finish coloring a mandala I can prop it up and use it as a support for meditation!

I haven't colored one yet but I plan to soon. And I decided it was time for another mandala here on the blog. So. Here you go:

Image found here.

There are lots of places on the web that have black and white mandalas you can print out and color. One is the wonderful site called Wikimedia Commons. The page is right here.

This post also serves as your "Monday Meditative Picture" for today! :-)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The life skill that really counts


Vicky Spiegel sent me the following quotation. I really like it!

Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain.

-- unknown

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Our real choices

All men and women are born, live suffer and die; what distinguishes us one from another is our dreams, whether they be dreams about worldly or unworldly things, and what we do to make them come about... We do not choose to be born. We do not choose our parents. We do not choose our historical epoch, the country of our birth, or the immediate circumstances of our upbringing. We do not, most of us, choose to die; nor do we choose the time and conditions of our death. But within this realm of choicelessness, we do choose how we live.

--Joseph Epstein

Friday, December 26, 2008

Friday cat blogging!

About that "mind poison of delusion"

Some years ago I read a rather marvelous book called The Spirituality of Imperfection by Ernest Kurtz and Katherine Ketcham. I was reminded of it today when I came across a posting on a blog called living on both ends - an exploration of best and worst. The blog author offers this excerpt from the book:
[T]he essential thing, the great spiritual teachers constantly remind, is to see oneself in the proper perspective. “Pay attention to yourself!”

This approach was imprinted irrevocably on the tradition of Evagrius Ponticus, one of the more influential of the Egyptian monks.. Evagrius…emphasized honest self-knowledge. He set himself the task of detailing the different traps and temptations that can distort understanding by imposing on the mind some false perspective. Evagrius called these traps logismos – thoughts that bewilder and befog the mind so that slowly, bit by bit, we drift into a world of self-destructive fantasy.

The problem, Evagrius took care to point out, lay not in “bad thoughts” but in a process of bad thinking that is really wrong vision- seeing things from the perspective of our fears and fantasies (unrealities) rather than seeing things truly…Logismos are the arch-enemies of the soul, the demons from within that destroy proper perspective on the world, and thus prevent us from concentrating on the actual reality of our life, leading us further and further from our actual condition, making us try to solve problems that have not yet arisen and need never arise.
Over and over we are taught in the meditative tradition not to judge our thoughts. I really like this distinction between "bad thoughts" and "bad thinking". The problem is our perspective. How very true.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Another way of expressing mindfulness

I like this poem. I like it very much:

Summons

Keep me from going to sleep too soon
Or if I go to sleep too soon
Come wake me up. Come any hour
Of night. Come whistling up the road.
Stomp on the porch. Bang on the door.
Make me get out of bed and come
And let you in and light a light.
Tell me the northern lights are on
And make me look. Or tell me clouds
Are doing something to the moon
They never did before, and show me.
See that I see. Talk to me till
I'm half as wide awake as you
And start to dress wondering why
I ever went to bed at all.
Tell me the walking is superb.
Not only tell me but persuade me.
You know I'm not too hard persuaded.

--Robert Francis

Monday, December 22, 2008

Monday meditative picture blogging

The Great Mystery

Frank Ford sent me the following meditative teaching today:

From Wakan Tanka, the Great Spirit, there came a great unifying life force that flowed in and through all things-the flowers of the plains, blowing winds, rocks, trees, birds, animals-and was the same force that had been breathed into the first man. Thus all things were kindred, and were brought together by the same Great Mystery.

--Chief Luther Standing Bear (1868–1939)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Re-birth of the Sun

This is from the Religious Tolerance site:
"Solstice" is derived from two Latin words: "sol" meaning sun, and "sistere," to cause to stand still. The lowest elevation occurs about DEC-21 and is the winter solstice -- the first day of winter, when the night time hours are maximum.

In pre-historic times, winter was a very difficult time for Aboriginal people in the northern latitudes. The growing season had ended and the tribe had to live off of stored food and whatever animals they could catch. The people would be troubled as the life-giving sun sank lower in the sky each noon. They feared that it would eventually disappear and leave them in permanent darkness and extreme cold. After the winter solstice, they would have reason to celebrate as they saw the sun rising and strengthening once more. Although many months of cold weather remained before spring, they took heart that the return of the warm season was inevitable. The concept of birth and or death/rebirth became associated with the winter solstice. The Aboriginal people had no elaborate instruments to detect the solstice. But they were able to notice a slight elevation of the sun's path within a few days after the solstice -- perhaps by DEC-25. Celebrations were often timed for about the 25th.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Wonderful story. Just wonderful!

The lack of imagination is so sad:

I love the story of the little girl who showed her teacher a picture she painted of a tree. The tree was purple. The teacher said, "Sweetheart, I've never seen a purple tree, now have I?"

"Oh?" said the little girl. "That's too bad."

-- Marianne Williamson

Friday, December 19, 2008

Friday cat blogging!

Free of the worldly bias towards friends and enemies

At the end of every meditation class or sitting we do something known as "sharing the benefit". This is a practice in which we wish happiness and freedom from suffering for everyone - not just our friends but our enemies as well. The following develops that principle:

Is it possible for the rose to say, 'I will give my fragrance to the good people who smell me, but I will withhold it from the bad?' Or is it possible for the lamp to say, 'I will give my light to the good people in this room, but I will withhold it from the evil people'? Or can a tree say, 'I'll give my shade to the good people who rest under me, but I will withhold it from the bad'? These are images of what love is about.

--Anthony De Mello

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Boundaries and holiday stress


Many people find themselves under a lot of stress over the holidays due to family tensions, disagreements, old dysfunctional patterns, etc. This is where the cultivation of healthy boundaries comes in. I found really an outstanding web page about that called "Setting Personal Boundaries - protecting self".

Here are a few snippets from the article:

Setting a boundary is not making a threat - it is communicating clearly what the consequences will be if the other person continues to treat us in an unacceptable manner. It is a consequence of the other persons behavior.

Setting a boundary is not an attempt to control the other person (although some of the people who you set boundaries with will certainly accuse you of that - just as some will interpret it as a threat) - it is a part of the process of defining ourselves and what is acceptable to us. It is a major step in taking what control we can of how we allow others to treat us. It is a vital step in taking responsibility for our self and our life.

Setting boundaries is not a more sophisticated way of manipulation - although some people will say they are setting boundaries, when in fact they are attempting to manipulate. The difference between setting a boundary in a healthy way and manipulating is: when we set a boundary we let go of the outcome.
I think you can see from the last paragraph that I posted above how all this relates to meditative practice. Letting go of outcomes is exactly what meditation trains us to do.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Is that so?

The following has long been one of my favorite Zen stories. Interestingly, the exact same story is found in the sayings of the Desert Fathers (early Christian hermit-monks of the 4th and 5th Centuries):
The Zen master Hakuin was praised by his neighbours as one living a pure life.

A beautiful Japanese girl whose parents owned a food store lived near him. Suddenly, without any warning, her parents discovered she was with child.

This made her parents angry. She would not confess who the man was, but after much harassment at last named Hakuin.

In great anger the parent went to the master. "Is that so?" was all he would say.

After the child was born it was brought to Hakuin. By this time he had lost his reputation, which did not trouble him, but he took very good care of the child. He obtained milk from his neighbours and everything else he needed.

A year later the girl-mother could stand it no longer. She told her parents the truth - the real father of the child was a young man who worked in the fishmarket.

The mother and father of the girl at once went to Hakuin to ask forgiveness, to apologize at length, and to get the child back.

Hakuin was willing. In yielding the child, all he said was: "Is that so?"
Wouldn't it be incredibly freeing to be so unconcerned about what other people think of us?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Monday meditative picture blogging


We are truly connected to all things:
We can speak without voice to the trees and the clouds and the waves of the sea. Without words they respond through the rustling of leaves and the moving of clouds and the murmuring of the sea.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The journey itself is the point...


I've longed believed that my training and work as a musician prepared me better than anything else for serious meditative practice:

We could say that meditation doesn't have a reason or doesn't have a purpose. In this respect it's unlike almost all other things we do except perhaps making music and dancing. When we make music we don't do it in order to reach a certain point, such as the end of the composition. If that were the purpose of music then obviously the fastest players would be the best. Also, when we are dancing we are not aiming to arrive at a particular place on the floor as in a journey. When we dance, the journey itself is the point, as when we play music the playing itself is the point. And exactly the same thing is true in meditation. Meditation is the discovery that the point of life is always arrived at in the immediate moment.

--Alan Watts

Friday, December 12, 2008

Friday cat blogging!

The mind

I've long thought that this is one of the most important observations Milton ever made:

The mind is its own place, and in itself, can make heaven of Hell, and a hell of Heaven.

-- John Milton

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Take a good look

How interesting that Sidney Lovett sees a objects of nature - non-human, non-animal, even - as evidence that we are not alone. We are all deeply connected - even with those parts of the universe we typically don't think of as being alive:

Every now and again take a good look at something not made with hands --a mountain, a star, the turn of a stream. There will come to you wisdom and patience and solace and, above all, the assurance that you are not alone in the world.

-- Sidney Lovett

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Wednesday life form blogging

Ultimate relinquishment

Sadly many people believe that personal progress is all about acquisition. Here's another way of thinking about it that I favor:

Perfection, then, is finally achieved, not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.

-- Antoine de Saint-Exupery

The more we let go, the more we relinquish, the more mature we become and the more genuine happiness is real for us.

(And, by the way, the word "perfection" in the quotation above does not refer to perfectionism but rather to completion or wholeness.)

Monday, December 08, 2008

Monday meditative picture blogging

The whole hoop of the world

How dearly I wish everyone realized this:

I was standing on the highest mountain of them all, and round about beneath me was the whole hoop of the world. And while I stood there I saw more than I can tell and I understood more than I saw; for I was seeing in a sacred manner the shapes of all things in the spirit, and the shape of all shapes as they must live together like one being. And I saw that the sacred hoop of my people was one of many hoops that made one circle, wide as daylight and as starlight, and in the center grew one mighty flowering tree to shelter all children of one mother and one father. And I saw that it was holy.

--Black Elk's Vision

Perhaps, if as many of us who read this aspire to keep the great hoop consistently in mind, we can form a critical mass.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Joy

And Joy is Everywhere;
It is in the Earth's green covering of grass;

In the blue serenity of the Sky;
In the reckless exuberance of Spring;
In the severe abstinence of grey Winter;
In the Living flesh that animates our bodily frame;
In the perfect poise of the Human figure, noble and upright;
In Living;
In the exercise of all our powers;
In the acquisition of Knowledge;
in fighting evils...Joy is there
Everywhere.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Today is the Feast of St. Nicholas, by the way.

Everything is connected

About a week ago, Frank Ford sent me this Elder's Meditation of the Day:

"Someone must speak for them. I do not see a delegation for the four footed. I see no seat for eagles. We forget and we consider ourselves superior, but we are after all a mere part of the Creation."

--Oren Lyons

Whenever we make decisions, we need to look around and see who would be affected by them. If we change the course of a river , who, what will be affected? If we put poison on the gardens, who, what will be affected? If we cut the trees and too many are cut, who, what will be affected? We need to become aware of the consequences of our actions. We need to pay attention to our thoughts. We are accountable to our children to leave the Earth in good shape.

It came from the website known as White Bison.

There is such a thing as the Law of Unintended Consequences. Our indigenous peoples were conscious of this. Most of us who are of European ancestry, sadly, are not.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Friday cat blogging!

The happiness contagion

Many people are often startled by my reply when they ask about the purpose of meditation. "It's to learn how to be happy," I typically respond. That sounds selfish to some people. But I have long contended that our own happiness has the effect of promoting happiness in others.

This morning I came across an article entitled "Study Finds Happiness Is Infectious" that says pretty much the same thing. Here's how it gets started:
Forget six degrees of separation. How about three degrees of happiness? Researchers from Harvard University and the University of California, San Diego have mapped the relationships of happy people and found that happiness is a collective phenomenon that spreads like a virus through social networks - affecting even strangers three times removed from each other.

The theory builds on the notion of emotional contagion, the process at work when a person smiles back at someone who smiles at him. Human emotions appear in clusters, behaving like stampeding animals, says study co-author Nicholas Christakis.

"You would never think to ask a particular buffalo in a herd, ‘Why are you running to the left?'" says the Harvard Medical School sociology professor. "The whole herd is running to the left."

Misery, on the other hand, does not love company as much as happiness does. "Unhappiness doesn't spread as intensely or as consistently as happiness," he says.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Discovering wisdom

You know, there really are no short cuts to inner work:

We do not receive wisdom, we must discover it for ourselves, after a journey through the wilderness which no one else can make for us, which no one can spare us, for our wisdom is the point of view from which we come at last to regard the world.

-- Marcel Proust

What really counts

From a meditative point of view, this observation is really about letting go of our attachment to ego-clinging, isn't it? I think it's both profound and moving:
Some people go through life trying to find out what the world holds for them only to find out too late that it's what they bring to the world that really counts.
From Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

The nature of things

One of the most common forms of suffering is the tendency most of us have to get in contests with ourselves. This often occurs when a person really wants to do something but another part of that person actually doesn't want to do the same thing. So resistence kicks in. We also experience resistence when the way things are is not the way we want them to be. Here's something meditation teacher Pema Chödrön has said about this dynamic:

The way to dissolve our resistance to life is to meet it face to face. When we feel resentment because the room is too hot, we could meet the heat and feel its fieriness and its heaviness. When we feel resentment because the room is too cold, we could meet the cold and feel its iciness and its bite. When we want to complain about the rain, we could feel its wetness instead. When we worry because the wind is shaking our windows, we could meet the wind and hear its sound. Cutting our expectations for a cure is a gift we can give ourselves. There is no cure for hot and cold. They will go on forever. After we have died, the ebb and flow will still continue. Like the tides of the sea, like day and night - this is the nature of things.

~Pema Chödrön

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Learning to turn clear

Thoughts

When all thoughts
Are exhausted
I slip into the woods
And gather
A pile of shepherd's purse.

Like the little stream
Making its way
Through the mossy crevices
I, too, quietly
Turn clear and transparent.

-- Ryokan, translated by John Stevens

The Japanese poet Ryokan was a hermit and a contemplative who lived from 1758-1831. You can read about him in the article entitled "Zen Poetics of Ryokan".

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Candle meditation

Many years ago my mother taught me how to do candle meditation in my imagination. Mind you, she didn't call it meditation; she called it self-hypnosis. But it was certainly a powerful meditative practice. I first did it when I was a little girl and it helped me relax.

These instructions are from The Meditation Society of Australia website:
Imagine the candle as an entrance way to the vast spiritual dimensions permeating everything, imagine it as the doorway to the inner universe. You might see this candle flame standing at the threshold between the physical and spiritual universes.

As you fix your gaze upon it, feel that you are looking at the candle with your heart and that you are travelling through it with infinite peace.

Follow the flow of energy with your breath.

Breathe in the infinite peace of the spiritual universe. Feel your heart opening and expanding as that peace flows into your being like a golden light.

On your outward breath feel that your worries and anxieties which give birth to all your mental, emotional and physical tensions, are being gathered up and released.

You might imagine this is as a flow of light. You are breathing in a golden white light that is illumining your being with peace, and the darkness that is your tension in all its flavours, you are letting go.
Try this at first using a literal candle. Then try simply visualizing the candle. Both are valuable practices.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Friday cat blogging!

Photo by Rhonda Steiner

This is one of the kitties that lives at St. Crispin's Conference Center in Oklahoma.

Explaining meditation to children

I really like this a lot. I found it on The Meditation Society of Australia site:
We meditate to find and listen to our heart.

Our heart is the real home of us. When we can listen to our heart, we automatically feel love and joy, but also we will know what we can be.

Do you ever get sad? Do you sometimes worry too much over silly things? Do you get angry and lose your temper? What would you say, if I was to tell you that meditation will help you become the happiest person in the world? Would you be willing to try it for the next 10 days for at least 5 minutes?

It isn't a trick. In 10 days you will see the change in yourself.

You will see that the happiest people in the world are people that know and understand their hearts, and the most confused and sad people are those that don't.

If you are not sure, take the time to look around and see for yourself. People that know their heart will be more loving and happy. Sad, angry people are lost, because they have lost their heart.
This strikes me as an excellent description of the value of meditation for grown-ups too.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Wednesday life form blogging

A marvelous way to live

I've come across these lines several times just lately and I think it's quite wonderful. (But then I've been a Walt Whitman fan for decades now):

Love the earth and sun and animals,
Despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks,
Stand up for the stupid and crazy,
Devote your income and labor to others...
And your very flesh shall be a great poem.

-- Walt Whitman

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Understanding life

You know, I really like this a lot:
When I was 5 years old, my mom always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down “happy.” They told me I didn’t understand the assignment and I told them they didn’t understand life.
I found it here.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Monday meditative picture blogging

More on mindfulness

Here's another way to cultivate ongoing mindfulness. It's quite wonderful, I think!

One way to open your eyes is to ask yourself, "What if I had never seen this before? What if I knew i would never see it again?"

-- Rachel Carson

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Smiles


It's so easy to get preoccupied and not bother to greet people in a gracious and positive way - just due to distraction. Have you ever thought of mindfulness and smiling being intimately connected? Here's a lovely expression of that connection:

What sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity. These are but trifles, to be sure; but, scattered along life's pathway, the good they do is inconceivable.

-- Joseph Addison

Saturday, November 22, 2008

About endings

What a wonderful attitude:

I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity.

-- Gilda Radner

And so very true.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Friday cat blogging!

About forgiveness

Somewhere I read that forgiveness is "giving up all hope of a better past". That's been my favorite definition for some time now. Today I came across something else that's similar:

To forgive is not to condone wrongs but to refuse to let the past dictate the future.

-- Huston Smith

I found it on the blog, Spiritually Directed.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The way we see things

Now here's a really good reason for being diligent in doing inner work:

We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are.

-- Anaïs Nin

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wednesday life form blogging

One freedom

I well remember when I first read The Little Prince. It was an amazing experience. Here's something its author said:

I know but one freedom and that is the freedom of the mind.

~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Sunday, November 16, 2008

For all band music lovers!


I've been meaning to post about this for a long time and I keep forgetting. My good friend, Doug Brown, is the host of a wonderful new radio show called Wind and Rhythm. It is broadcast every Sunday evening at 7:00 (Central time) on Tulsa classical radio KWTU at 88.7 on your dial. Or you can listen on their webite right here. Please tune in. I promise you won't be sorry!

Love and forgiveness


While listening to Speaking of Faith on NPR today, I heard an annoucement about a website called "The Campaign for Love and Forgiveness". I really want to recommend this site. It is not written from the exclusive view point of any specific belief system but draws from the teachings on forgiveness from them all.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

A wonderful attitude toward adversity

This woman really said some amazing things:

I seldom think of my limitations, and they never make me sad. Perhaps there is just a touch of yearning at times; but it is vague, like a breeze among flowers.

-- Helen Keller

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Today


Hmmm. Had you ever heard of "World Kindness Day"? I hadn't until I happened to notice something about it on the MSN homepage this morning. It's November 13. (I don't know why!)

Here's something about kindness for us to remember:

Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again.

~Og Mandino

This would actually be a very interesting project to take on. Let me know if you're going to try it. I am!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wednesday life form blogging

The perils of idealization

In the ongoing classes this week we talked about working skillfully with disappointment. Here's something that is pertinent, I think:

Never idealize others. They will never live up to your expectations.

-- Leo Buscaglia

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veterans Day, 2008

"Veterans Day"

I dream of giving birth to a child who will ask, "Mother, what was war?"

~Eve Merriam

Sunday, November 09, 2008

The power of connections

This is really deeply moving. And if we all said this and meant it, our world would be a very different place:

Let the good in me connect with the good in others, until all the world is transformed through the compelling power of love.

Rebbe Nachman of Breslov in The Gentle Weapon

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Interconnectedness again

This, of course, is the classic awareness of the mystics. But it is discernable through ordinary meditation as well:

Reality cannot be found except in One single source, because of the interconnection of all things with one another.

-- Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz

Friday, November 07, 2008

Friday cat blogging!

The joy of letting go

I'm sure I've posted this before but it's been a long time. The following is undoubtedly the best quotation I know regarding impermanence and non-attachment:

He who binds to himself a joy
Does the winged life destroy;
But he who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in Eternity's sunrise.

-- William Blake

Thursday, November 06, 2008

So where are YOU going? :-)

You know, somehow this one really seems appropriate today!

You got to be careful if you don't know where you're going, because you might not get there.

-- Yogi Berra

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Wednesday life form blogging

Handling post-election feelings with meditation principles

All right, here is the reality: Many people are celebrating today and many people are grieving. The meditative approach to whatever you are feeling is first of all to remember that all things are impermanent and that includes both delight and dismay. Next, if you are grieving, the meditative approach is to give what's known as "sympathetic joy" to those who are celebrating. Sympathetic joy is the state of being truly happy for someone else's success (rather than envious or resentful.) If, on the other hand, you are celebrating, the meditative approach is to give compassion and lovingkindness to those who are grieving - that is, sincerely to wish that their suffering is alleviated and that they be well and happy.

And, I offer you the following for your reflection:

But the greatest menace to our civilization today is the conflict between giant organized systems of self-righteousness -- each system only too delighted to find that the other is wicked -- each only too glad that the sins give it the pretext for still deeper hatred and animosity.

-- Herbert Butterfield

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Today



I got to the polls before the doors opened. Then I came back to the Center and meditated. I specifically did "lovingkindness" practice. I prayed for my own happiness and wellbeing and then for that of everyone in the nation. Then I deliberately recited the prayer for ALL the candidates --- even (heck, especially) for the ones I don't support.

Today is an important day to apply the meditative principles - either to helps us calm down if we're on pins and needles until the returns come in or to cultivate compassion and lovingkindness toward those with whom we disagree.

No matter what the outcome, meditation will support your happiness, your well being and your equilibrium. Be sure to do it!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

A really, really, really good question

Take a look:

Whoever said anybody has a right to give up?

--Marian Wright Edelman

What we really need to give up is our attachment to instant results.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Another way to help others

And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

-- Marianne Williamson

Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween cat blogging!

Here is your black cat for the evening. It's old Leroy, of course!

Happy Halloween!

And you KNOW at this point I'm going to say that meditation will help. (And it will!)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Encouragement

Two of the most basic principle of the meditative tradition are compassion and lovingkindness. Both prompt us to offer encouragement whenever we can. I would also add that the meditative experience helps people with self-encouragement because it gives us confidence that diligence in training the mind will really make a difference in our lives:

One of the most beautiful gifts in the world is the gift of encouragement. When someone encourages you, that person helps you over a threshold you might otherwise never have crossed on your own.

- John O'Donohue

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Wednesday life form blogging

Young Llama

How to "decompress time"

I may have blogged this before but it bears repeating:

Try pausing right before and right after undertaking a new action, even something simple like putting a key in a lock to open a door. Such pauses take a brief moment, yet they have the effect of decompressing time and centering you.

-- Br. David Steindl-Rast

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Something about anger

Choose

The single clenched fist lifted and ready,
Or the open hand held out and waiting.
Choose:
For we meet by one or the other.

-- Carl Sandburg

I believe it was Carl Sandburg one time who said that the ugliest word in the English language is "exclusive." Something to think about.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Monday meditative picture blogging

Photo by Paul Rogers

Transform the mind and be happy

What is the real problem and what is not the real problem?
When things go wrong in our life and we encounter difficult situations we tend to regard the situation itself as the problem, but in reality whatever problems we experience come from the mind. If we were to respond to difficulties with a positive or peaceful mind they would not be problems for us; indeed we may even come to regard them as challenges or opportunities for growth and development. Problems arise only if we respond to situations with a negative state of mind. Therefore, if we want to transform our life and be free from problems we must learn to transform our mind.
I found the above right here.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Something about impermanence

This is definitely something to ponder:

In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on.

-- Robert Frost

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Learning to appreciate routine

Our culture unfortunately encourages us to become addicted to entertainment. As a result we often experience repetitive practice as boring. Here's another way of looking at it:

Repetition is the soul of spiritual practice. In any tradition I know of, there are daily practices... and a sense of faithfulness to a daily routine. This takes some gentle self-discipline, encouraged by some support from others within whatever spiritual community you can find to belong to. Doing the same thing over and over again may seem dull but the more you immerse yourself in spirtual practice, diving into it day after day like jumping into the bracing ocean with its sunlit wavetips, the more wonderful it becomes.

--Norman Fischer

Thursday, October 23, 2008

"But I don't have time to meditate!"

Yep. This one is true:

Some people think that meditation takes time away from physical accomplishment. Taken to extremes, of course, that's true. Most people, however, find that meditation creates more time than it takes.

-- Peter McWilliams

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The importance of self-respect

Here's why it's really not skillful to scold ourselves for our imperfections:

The capacity for getting along with our neighbor depends to a large extent on the capacity for getting along with ourselves. The self-respecting individual will try to be as tolerant of his neighbor's shortcomings as he is of his own.
...
The remarkable thing is that we really love our neighbor as ourselves: we do unto others as we do unto ourselves. We hate others when we hate ourselves. We are tolerant toward others when we tolerate ourselves. We forgive others when we forgive ourselves.

-- Eric Hoffer