Saturday, February 27, 2010

A benefit of staying calm

A while back I mentioned an article I found on ways to calm down. Here's another good reason for cultivating that capacity:

Without doing anything, things can sometimes go more smoothly just because of our peaceful presence. In a small boat when a storm comes, if one person remains solid and calm, others will not panic and the boat is more likely to stay afloat.

Thich Nhat Hanh

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Something about reality and perception

Hmmm. Try pondering this for a while!

Reality is what we take to be true. What we take to be true is what we believe. What we believe is based upon our perceptions. What we perceive depends upon what we look for. What we look for depends upon what we think. What we think depends upon what we perceive. What we perceive determines what we believe. What we believe determines what we take to be true. what we take to be true is our reality.

-- Gary Zukav

Maybe this is why we need community. We're trapped in an endless circle unless someone interrupts that in some way. Everyone has a blind spot. By definition, we cannot see our own blind spots. Yes, we need each other!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Learning to calm down

I tend to go for a long time forgetting to check in to the Beliefnet website and whenever I remember to visit I'm really glad I did. Today I found a slide show type artice entitled 7 Quick Ways to Calm Down.

Here's a bit about one method:
Breathe Deeply
Years ago, I learned the "Four Square" method of breathing to reduce anxiety:

1. Breathe in slowly to a count of four.
2. Hold the breath for a count of four.
3. Exhale slowly through pursed lips to a count of four.
4. Rest for a count of four (without taking any breaths).
5. Take two normal breaths.
6. Start over again with number one.
This is really excellent and it works like a charm.

I'm thinking it might be a good idea to copy down just the basic name of all seven calming methods on an index card or the like and tape a copy to our desk and/or a kitchen cabinet or some place else where we can easily see it. Then use one of the methods whenever the occasion presents itself for the need to calm down.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Strategies for letting go

Many people claim that they know letting go will help them feel better when faced with a life difficulty but that they don't know how. The classic principles of meditation teach us both the why and the how. Here's a sample:

Do a meditation on impermanence... Sitting in silence, and seeing the coming and going of your feelings and bodily sensations, you become less attached to them. You more fully identify with your "true self" that exists like the sky beyond the clouds.

Change your self-talk. Stop saying "I am depressed," or similar things, even in your head. Learn to say "I feel depressed," or "The feeling of depression is passing through me," and the feeling will be less "real." Did you know that in Spanish you can't say "I am afraid?" You say "Yo tengo miedo," which is "I have fear." When you "are" something, it's harder to remember you can let go. When you "have" something, you are more likely to remember that you can stop having it.
Self talk is extraordinarily powerful. This is why it is invariably counter-productive to scold ourselves when we believe we've made a mistake.

I found the above excerpt on a page entitled "Letting Go" that is part of a website I just discoverd called The Meditation Site. I'm looking forward to exploring it.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sunday art blogging

Artist: Franz Marc
Image from Wikimedia Commons


I'm sure I don't have to tell you that there are meditation principles that will help with this!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Remembering this will help us all:

No matter what you do, no matter how stupid, dumb or damaging you judge it to be, there is a lesson to be learned from it. No matter what happens to you, no matter how unfair, inequitable or wrong, there's something you can take from the situation and use for your advancement.

-- Peter McWilliams

Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday cat blogging!




Double click on the graphic to enlarge, if you like.

The above is used with permission and I found it right here.

I particularly like the words, "...we are all made for strength and struggle..." and I think that phrase is a marvelous reminder for self-coaching.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


Grasping and clinging create so much suffering and unhappiness; really they do:

You must release everything when you truly awaken. Are you letting your life go by in frustration and worry over not having enough? If so, relax and remember that you only get what you have for a short period of time. When you awaken you will see the folly of being attached to anything.

-- Wayne Dyer

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Wednesday life form blogging


In observance of the day

These seem appropriate for today:

Where shall the word be found, where will the word
Resound? Not here, there is not enough silence.
Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still.

-- T.S. Eliot (from Ash Wednesday)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Oh, what a challenge!

This strikes me as a very difficult discipline indeed:

Complaining is the absolute worst possible thing you could do for your health or your wealth. The worst! ... For the next seven days, I challenge you not to complain at all.

-- T. Harv Eker

I venture to guess that many of us are not even aware of how often we complain. Perhaps it would be illuminating to begin by just noticing ourselves doing it!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Monday meditative picture blogging

Helping others

Lately, I have found myself observing more and more how the perfect often becomes the enemy of the good. Many people are convinced that, if they can't do a thing perfectly or greatly, they might as well not do it at all. Not so! Let us cultivate the willingness to do small things in ordinary ways. It's amazing how they add up:

Great opportunities to help others seldom come,
but small ones surround us every day.

-- Sally Koch

Sunday, February 14, 2010

In observance of the day


Image from Wikimedia Commons

The most important things are the hardest to say,
because words diminish them.

~Stephen King

Friday, February 12, 2010

A sense of peace

Aligning our minds with the most compassionate words and thoughts we can muster can bring connection and a sense of peace. For some, it means giving up almost an entire way of life, but only this will allow glints of joy to shine through.

-- Laura Berman Fortgang

How interesting to observe that some people must give up almost an entire way of life to align themselves with compassion. I would suggest that this is a considerable indictment on our society.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


If you ever wonder if you're doing anybody any good, remember this:

Sometimes our light goes out, but is blown again into instant flame by an encounter with another human being. Each of us owes the deepest thanks to those who have rekindled this inner light.

-- Dr. Albert Schweitzer

Remember: we won't necessarily see that rekindled inner life in an unmistakable way. It still happens. Truly it does.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

A very spacious way of life

Artist: Ion Andreescu
Image from Wikimedia Commons

I know of a certainty that I have posted this before. But it really merits a repeat here:

On Arturo Toscanini's eightieth birthday, someone asked his son, Walter, what his father ranked as his most important achievement. The son replied, "For him there can be no such thing. Whatever he happens to be doing at the moment is the biggest thing in his life -- whether it is conducting a symphony or peeling an orange.

-- Ardis Whitman

It would do us some good, I think, to let go of our attachment to hierachies of accomplishments. Many wonderfully beneficial and enjoyable activities are too easily devalued with all the rankings we manage to devise.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Sentient-beings-style comic relief

Take a look:
Mom: …and after we had to put Buddy down, I decided that I wanted something that would outlive me so I had you.
Me: So I’m a replacement for a cat?
Mom: Yep. Love you, honey.
It's from a website I recently discoverd called "Crazy Things Parents Say". There're a lot of examples of awareness there if you explore a bit.

You can find dharma anywhere, I always say!

Friday, February 05, 2010

Friday cat blogging!


Flexibility and wisdom

This is an excellent way of clarifying the distinction between letting go and indifference:

Once we see that everything is impermanent and ungraspable and that we create a huge amount of suffering if we are attached to things staying the same, we realize that relaxing and letting go is a wiser way to live. Letting go does not mean not caring about things. It means caring about them in a flexible and wise way.

-- Jack Kornfield

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Living in the moment

A lot of people complain that living in the moment is difficult. Well, here's the article for you:

Go on over there. You'll be glad you did!