Saturday, July 31, 2010

The power of visualization

I dream my paintings and then I paint my dreams.

-- Vincent Van Gogh

In the Foundations in Meditative Practice course here at the Center, Session 4 is all about cultivating the ability to visualize. Van Gogh's observation here is one of the reasons for doing so.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday cat blogging!


A giving person

A pessimist, they say, sees a glass of water as being half empty; an optimist sees the same glass as half full. But a giving person sees a glass of water and starts looking for someone who might be thirsty.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Relationship meditation

“There is sitting meditation. There is walking meditation. Why not listening and speaking meditation? Isn’t it sensible that one could practice mindfulness in relationship and so get better at it?”

~Gregroy Kramer

If it's true that anything and everything can be a support for meditation then, yes, mindfulness in relationship is both possible and sensible.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Wednesday life form blogging


Precious teachers

The traditional meditation principles make it clear to us that we are to view difficult people as "precious teachers". Here's something that illuminates this understanding:

Whosoever may torment you, harass you, confound you, or upset you, is a teacher. Not because they're wise, but because you seek to become so.

-- Mike Dooley

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Learning to forgive oneself

This is really good and, more than that, really important:

I don't know if I continue, even today, always liking myself. But what I learned to do many years ago was to forgive myself. It is very important for every human being to forgive herself or himself because if you live, you will make mistakes- it is inevitable. But once you do and you see the mistake, then you forgive yourself and say, 'well, if I'd known better I'd have done better,' that's all. So you say to people who you think you may have injured, 'I'm sorry,' and then you say to yourself, 'I'm sorry.' If we all hold on to the mistake, we can't see our own glory in the mirror because we have the mistake between our faces and the mirror; we can't see what we're capable of being. You can ask forgiveness of others, but in the end the real forgiveness is in one's own self. I think that young men and women are so caught by the way they see themselves. Now mind you. When a larger society sees them as unattractive, as threats, as too black or too white or too poor or too fat or too thin or too sexual or too asexual, that's rough. But you can overcome that. The real difficulty is to overcome how you think about yourself. If we don't have that we never grow, we never learn, and sure as hell we should never teach.

- Maya Angelou

Monday, July 26, 2010

Monday meditative picture blogging


Impermanence as benefit

Often we unthinkingly believe that impermanence is a bad thing because we are so often beset by suffering when we experience loss. Here's another take on that however:

Continuous eloquence wearies. Grandeur must be abandoned to be appreciated. Continuity in everything is unpleasant. Cold is agreeable, that we may get warm.

-- Blaise Pascal

No one can maintain a state of ecstatic pleasure indefinitely. Part of what makes it so wonderful is that it is brief, fleeting.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

True heroism

Oh, I really, really like this:

Anyone can slay a dragon, he told me, but try waking up every morning and loving the world all over again. That's what takes a real hero.

-- Brian Andreas

Friday, July 23, 2010

Friday cat blogging!



I observe such enormous suffering when people refuse to accept what is:

"What is the secret of your serenity?"
Said the Master, "Wholehearted cooperation with the inevitable."

-- Anthony de Mello

How true. How very true.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Temporarily out of commission

Greetings to all my readers.

The computer guru has taken my computer away for the time being and so I'm a bit hampered in getting the usual posting done.

Check back on Friday evening. I'm hoping I'll have it back by then!

May everyone have peace and happiness.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Something worth pondering

Take a look:

Loving people live in a loving world.
Hostile people live in a hostile world.
Same world.

-- Wayne Dyer

Monday, July 19, 2010

Monday meditative picture blogging


Put downs

A dear friend of the Center, Larry H., wrote the following:

What is the appropriate way to respond to put downs? Someone calls you a jerk or worse uses a profanity in name-calling. Perhaps one describes my behavior with sweeping generalizations, such as, "You always yell at me when I ask you to do something for me." Tempting as it is to fight fire with fire and return with similar name-calling or accusation, it may be more effective to ignore rude behavior or to respond by bringing attention to the feeling expressed by the individual issuing the put-down. Isn't it true that people who don't respect themselves frequently project those negative feelings onto others? My favorite reply to name-calling is the reply I've borrowed from Peewee Herman, namely, "I'm one, but what are you?" That may not make total sense, but at least it identifies what the other person is doing and simultaneously takes me off the hook for a response to the attempted insult. The Greek Stoic philosopher, Epictetus, also had a clever way to handle put downs. He said, “If you hear that someone is speaking ill of you, instead of trying to defend yourself you should say: "He obviously does not know me very well, since there are so many other faults he could have mentioned."
I personally have received much benefit from reading Epictetus. There's a little book of his sayings called The Enchiridion that I highly recommend.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A skillful way of looking at time

When I was in the convent, we were taught to experience each day as a lifetime. We went to sleep as if it were our death and woke up each morning as if it were rebirth. The following expresses the same basic idea:

I do not cut my life up into days but my days into lives, each day, each hour, an entire life.

- Juan Ramon Jimenez

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Learning how to be happy

Ya just gotta click through on this one:

6 Ways Your Dog Can Teach You to Live a Happier Life

Here's a sample:
Live life to the fullest. Watch your dog as he goes through his day. Every scent is new and different, every person is special and every morsel of food is to be savored. That's how you should be living your life. Even if you do the same things every day, find a new way of doing them.
The others are good as well!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Friday cat blogging!


Something about impermanence

"Who are YOU?" said the Caterpillar. This was not an encouraging opening for a conversation.

Alice replied, rather shyly, "I--I hardly know, sir, just at present-- at least I know who I WAS when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then."

-- Lewis Carroll from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The best response to greed ever

Just look:

We are here to add what we can to, not to get what we can from, life.

-- Sir William Osler

I think this approach simply does not occur to a lot of people. Our consumer-oriented society reinforces in people the assumption that they ought to get what they can from life. It occurs to me that Osler's approach is much, much more fulfilling.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wednesday life form blogging


Something about simplification

Here's a headline that caught my attention and that I really like:

Here's just a little excerpt:
But let’s be real here. In spite of embracing the concept of simplicity, most people really love their stuff, and they love acquiring more stuff. Like our attitudes about a healthy diet, our feelings about material things are complicated. We know what’s good for us, but we just don’t want to give up what we like. Our stuff makes us feel good.

Is it possible to live a simple life and still love stuff? How much letting go of stuff really counts toward simplifying anyway?
I'd like to recommend that you click through and read the article. There are some guidelines about buying new things that are truly helpful.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A very touching observation

This moved me very much when I found it:

Some of the shells that wash up on the beach were once very beautiful. We don't know what kind of journey they had to take to get them in their fragile condition. The same is true for people. Be kind.

-- Linda Gifford

Monday, July 12, 2010

The "parent" of all virtues

This morning I took a look at a Care 2 article on gratitude. Here's a little excerpt:

The recognition of gratitude as the foundation for a life worth living comes through every ancient civilization. Aesop, the famed Greek fabulist, stated: “Gratitude is the sign of noble souls” and Cicero, the ancient Roman statesmen wrote: “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.” Yet even with this long standing recognition, there is a great deal of gratitude that goes unsaid. Like a tree that falls in a forest with no one to hear it, is gratitude real that is unshared?

Yes and no, I think. The fleeting grateful thoughts that I have that go unsaid and unrecorded do change something in me momentarily, but they do not really live in my heart and offer their magical balm until I give them away. I think one of the keys to making your soul a noble one through gratitude comes from paying attention to those thoughts. Interrupting your regularly scheduled life to stop and notice whatever is good in front of you and actually take the time to share it.
This is so, so true. Just for today, let's each one of us actively look for ways to be grateful, okay?

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Wednesday life form blogging


On not prolonging the torment

Cynthia sent me the following quotation this morning:

“The cow runs away from the storm while the buffalo charges toward it—and gets through it faster. When I'm confronted with a tough challenge, I do not prolong the torment. I become the buffalo.”

Donna Brazile

It's really a classic meditation principle to go toward the difficulty we experience instead of away from it.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Why speculation is not all that useful

These two quotations really seem to go together to me. See if you think so too:

"I'm astounded by people who want to 'know' the universe when it's hard enough to find your way around Chinatown."

-- Woody Allen


"One world at a time."

-- Thoreau, when asked about the hereafter

Monday, July 05, 2010

Monday meditative picture blogging


What we think

This is so true and, also, so important:

You may believe that you are responsible for what you do, but not for what you think. The truth is that you are responsible for what you think, because it is only at this level that you can exercise choice. What you do comes from what you think.

-- From 'A Course In Miracles'

Sunday, July 04, 2010

"God mend thine every flaw"


May truth and freedom come to every nation
May peace abound where strife has raged so long;
That each may seek to love and build together,
A world united, righting every wrong.
A world united in its love for freedom,
Proclaiming peace together in one song.

The original hymn (sung to the tune Finlandia) was written by Lloyd Stone but that had only two verses. This added verse is by the theologian Georgia Harkness.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Wise words

The following is very much in line with meditative practice and principles:

Realize that true happiness lies within you. Waste no time and effort searching for peace and contentment and joy in the world outside. Remember that there is no happiness in having or in getting, but only in giving. Reach out. Share. Smile. Hug. Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others without getting a few drops on yourself.

-- Og Mandino

Friday, July 02, 2010

Friday cat blogging!


Something ordinary but quite thought provoking

Take a look:

Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. "Pooh!" he whispered.

"Yes, Piglet?"

"Nothing," said Piglet, taking Pooh's paw; "I just wanted to be sure of you."

-- A.A. Milne

Is there anyone in your life right now who would like to be sure of you? Why not help that process out just a little?

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Soothing, centering


The photo of the sky at 4:09 is particularly lovely, I think.